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HOW I BECAME INTERESTED IN ROCK N’ ROLL & THE DIGRESSIONS – LUV ROCK N’ ROLL & RHYTHM-BLUES MUSIC

 

Because I befriended this teenage White girl who lived across the street from where I lived in Phoenix, Arizona she talked to me sometimes. I was about 10-11 years old, 1959-60.  Once she brought over her boyfriend or friend.  I did not know what he represented.  She walked across the street to where I lived because I was a very shy youth who did not know how to initiate talking to someone like her.  To me she appeared to be a lot older than me.  She was an adult in my eyes, although she was just a teenager.  She flirted with him or he flirted with her, which I viewed. Her and that guy lay on a blanket on the grass.  He let her rest her head  between his shoulder and arm.  He dressed Elvis Presley like, mainly with the oiled pompadour, swept up hairstyle with a duck tail.  She wore brown/white oxford shoes, red lip stick and a short black hair cut.  I had a girlfriend whose sister cuffed her levi jeans to calf length on her legs.  Her sister wore huge white men’s dress shirts.  She curled her hair with huge curlers, and then she teased it to look like a round bowl on the head.  She wore pastel ribbons on both sides of her head.  I wore the brown and white oxfords myself when I was 11-12 years old like the teenage girl across the street at the time.

I remember girls in the 8th grade, 62-63 wore their hair in a pony tail, but the front section of the do was curled and teased.  I did that myself, but I did not look good in it.  It looked unnatural to me. I have seen pictures with such a hair style on myself. So when the counter culture arrived, I knew I looked better with long, streaming hair hanging down my back. Where I really changed my fashion style was during the sophmore year, 14 years old.  The Beatles arrived with the British musical invasion.  The London Carnaby street was a huge influence in fashion.  I follow fashion to this day because I like it.   Somehow one of my girlfriends who looked like Deborah Harry of Blondie, knew about a party that Vince Furnier’s group, The Spiders who eventually became Alice Cooper were having and she invited me to it.  I bought a Mary Quant pattern and sewed up this Mary Guant dress to wear at the party.  Nothing really exciting happened.  I observed the young adults at the party.  The 20 year olds seemed so adult to me, much older, but I had a good time anyhow.  I did not drink beer and wine at that time.  I was a very naive teenager.  I was not the type who got into trouble or gave parents trouble like I hear from some parents or about some teenagers.  I was a late bloomer in San Francisco, 71 in my early twenties, when I became exposed to the wierd, strange, surprising, positive physically beautiful pictures, people aspects of the young adult world.

I liked Elvis Presley’s music, but did not realize that this music was Black music until much later.  Once I remember I was scheduled to view “King Creole” with my girlfriend who lived across the alley.  I became physically sick so I could not go, but my sister did.  She liked the film.  I wanted to see the film badly but that’s the way it goes.

At Cortez High in Phoenix, Arizona from 63-67 I became interested in rock and roll and soul music full blown.  I luved it.  I listened to music from the radio, a.m. and f.m.  The first 45 r.p.m record I bought was a “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” when I was 10 or 11 years old. Also, I bought the albums when I was 14 years old. My mother and father never censored me to listen to this music.  I was able to listen to all kinds of music and view films when I was a teenager.  The rock and roll music which I did not like was “bubble gum”  music. With all the rock and roll movements that developed I liked some songs from each.

I viewed television in it’s early days.  I remember a program called the Hit Parade.  I was never crazy about the Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin styles of music.  My mother played his Christmas songs every Christmas. I liked that Christmas album, but she also liked Hank Williams, which transferred to me.  She said she attended one of his shows in Phoenix.  She must have liked him.  When the early 60’s arrived and the British invasion happened, programs like “Shindig,”  “Where the Action  Is” and “Hullaballoo” appeared on the tube.  The “Smothers Brothers Show” welcomed the latest rock and roll group to play and sing.  I watched those shows because my favorite groups appeared on those shows.  Some films and documentaries released about my favorite music idols the Beatles in “Hard Day’s Night”which I liked better than “Help.”

Also, at this time, but it began in 7th grade, 12 years old, 61-62, I became very interested in dancing the social dances like the mash potatoes, twist, Bristol Stomp and others.  During the 7th grade at my school’s social dances, hardly anyone knew those type of dances. I knew them because I watched those rock and rolls shows and American Bandstand.  I tried to imitate the dancers and the dances on the shows. The Bristol Stomp song came up at one of those 7th grade social dances of females and males.  Hardly anyone at my school danced it so I got up by myself and did it.  It has been that way ever since whereever I dance socially, to dance solo, if I cannot find a partner.  I have noticed that in Europe to dance by yourself, solo is more accepted than here in North America. I danced solo within a circle with other people at a lounge in Locarno, Switzerland during 1989.  I liked that about Europe. I do not know why North Americans are so uptight about dancing solo, if you cannot find a partner to dance with.  It is a natural movement to do.

During high school I took an art class with Cavalierre Ketchum. He was my still photography and art class teacher.  He taught both classes. I remember he played an album he liked, “The Times are a Changin” by Bob Dylan.  I took note and that started my interest of Bob Dylan’s music.  I viewed Don’t Look Back by D. Pennebaker about Bob Dylan’s life when I was 16.  I drove to a Tempe art film theater in Tempe, Arizona, 20 miles from where I lived in Phoenix at my folks to view this film.  I luved this direct cinema film style. I viewed this film literally because I wanted to know more about Bob Dylan. It is why I went I to see it.  I was kind of obsessed with Bob Dylan a little  bit.

Heavy metal music never went over too big with me, which came into existence in the mid-70’s with the Led Zepplin.  I liked some of Led Zepllin’s songs but not all. Liked some songs from Black Sabbath.  Over all I like the old school stuff and not so much of the present day stuff I hear on Much Music and MTV.  To me they are copies of the original stuff. The only single modern day rock and roll/soul music artist I like is Alicia Keys. She sings the soul style of the old school, which is why.  She has a beautiful voice.

How come not many First Nations rock and rollers or musicians are mentioned, since I am First Nations, Dine’ known as Navajo?   I think First Nations singers/writers/musicians exist much more now a days than previous, but none has attained any status and success on the music charts as Buffy St. Marie and Robbie Robertson. I was unaware that Robbie Robertson was a First Nations person until 1994 when his cd, Robbie Robertson and Red Road Ensemble album came out. It was the sound track for the movie made for television, Lakota Woman.  Buffy St. Marie wrote some hits: an anti war song, The Universal Soldier. Other songs she is famous for are My Country Tis of Thee and Codine. They both write great songs!

I notice people who have any kind of ethnic heritage in the entertainment business, the attitude usually is not to inform the public of that particular ethnic group where she/he stems from. If a person is Latin, what kind of Latin is this person; for example, Mexican or Puerto Rican. Being Mexican is different than Puerto Rican.  I was told the dialect is different from country to country; for example, where ever the Espanol language is spoken such as in Columbia and Mexico. Being Dine’ known as Navajo is completely different than Lakota known as Sioux (the name the colonists called these Nations) because linguistically and culturally, the Nations widely vary; for example the landscape where the Dine’ lives looks different than the Lakota, south of Rapid City, South Dakota, except for the Badlands looks similar as in parts of the Navajo Reservation, the layered sand rocks. Ceremonies, regalia clothing…..a long list. Why is it such a big deal to hide this information?  It would be helpful if the public knew if the entertainer was a person of color or First Nations or whatever. I began to notice this more as I became older, 30 on up because it matters to me. It definitely is odd and wierd. I think such information educates the public that people of color are able to achieve success, which is good. The stereotypes are alive plenty out there about people of color currently.

Also, I say this because Indian people usually ask each other, the first thing, where do you come from? What’s your Nation or your tribe?  That is the way it is from a rural or urban raised Indian person.  Indian people are proud of their heritage and where they come.  They do not want to hide it, unless their parents or grand parents made them ashamed of it.  I have heard of such stories. I cannot believe it when people tell me that.

Many other Indian people I have met throughout my life did not usually attend an all White high school like me.  I know I am very different in that way.  Mostly you hear about Indian young people who attended boarding schools in United States or residential schools in Canada. They are the same things. Everyone grew up different, but a majority of the world does accept this difference about us. Instead it is very romanticized about Indian people.   I am just being polite here about it.

List of rock and roll and Black music I really liked the best:

Chuck Berry rock and roll style, some Elvis Presley, folk music, but not the very mainstream stuff like “Tom Dooley.” Music on my A list: Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Peter Paul and Mary, Phil Ochs, Janis Ian, Simon and Garfunkel, Buffy St. Marie and others.  Folk Rock: The Mamas and Papas, The Hollies, The Turtles, The Byrds, The Leaves, America and others.

Late 60’s and early 70’s rock and roll: The Doors, Quick Silver Messenger, The Jefferson Airplane, The Allman Brothers, Santana, El Chicano, Lynnard Skynnard, The Cream, The Kinks, The Yardbirds and The Zombies.

Other types of rock and roll: Beatles, Yes, Laura Nyro, Love, The Seeds, Country Joe and the Fish, some of the early Rolling Stones, T. Rex, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Mott the Hoople, Cat Stevens and Joni Mitchell.

Rock and Roll, late 70’s – present:  Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers, The Ramones, Tracey Chapman.

Rhythm and blues or soul music: Aretha Franklin, Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, Average White Band, Patti LaBelle, Finley Guay, The Temptations, James Brown and others.  Motown Artists: Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Marvelettes, Smokie Robinson and Funk Brothers.

Other Black rhythm and blues & rock and roll artists, mid-80’s: Prince.

Discoteque:  Donna Summer, Chic,  Earth, Wind and Fire, The Commodores, Sylvester, Evelyn Champagne King, Gloria Gaynor, Alicia Bridges, Evonne Elliman, Grace Jones, Cheryl Lynn, Irene Cara, Sister Sledge, Bee Gees, Peaches and Herb.

New Wave:  Blondie, The Joe Jackson Band, Gary Wright.

Country and Western:  Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton.

Blues:  Delta-Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Skip James, Koko Taylor, Willie Dixon, Big Mama Thorton, B.B. King and Buddy Guy.

American Indian Music: Robbie Robertson & the Red Road Ensemble & Buffy St. Marie.

Women singers:  Anita Baker, Whitney Houston & KoKo Taylor.

Reggae:  Bob Marley and Toots and the Maytals.

Some hip hop: Ini Komoze and Black Eyed Peas.

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4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. By how to download free mp3 music on 23 Mar 2008 at 10:16 pm

    […] visualeye wrote an interesting post today on Journal EntryA March 23, 08 EASTER SUNDAYHere’s a quick excerptI was in high school at Cortez High in Phoenix, Arizona from 63-67, where I knew something definitely was up with rock and roll and soul music. I luved it. I listened to music from the radio, a.m. and f.m. The first 45 r.p.m record I … […]

  2. By how to download free mp3 music on 24 Mar 2008 at 1:45 am

    […] visualeye wrote an interesting post today on Journal EntryA March 23, 08 EASTER SUNDAYHere’s a quick excerptI was never crazy about the Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin styles of music. My mother played his Christmas songs every Christmas. I liked that Christmas album, but she also liked Hank Williams, which transferred to me. … […]

  3. […] Fitzgerald wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptI was never crazy about the Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin styles of music. My mother played his Christmas songs every Christmas. I liked that Christmas album, but she also liked Hank Williams, which transferred to me. … […]

  4. By how to download free mp3 music on 25 Mar 2008 at 9:15 pm

    […] Visualeye’s Weblog wrote an interesting post today on Journal EntryA March 23, 08 EASTER SUNDAYHere’s a quick excerpt I was never crazy about the Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin styles of music. … My mother played his Christmas songs every Christmas…. […]

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