March 11, 2007
When I lived in New York I used to listen to a music station with the slogan, "The Sound Track of Your Extraordinary Life." I loved that. I think of the phrase whenever I stick a new CD into the slot -- in my car or in my house.
At that time, I liked a little classical music as background, but my record collection was of The Band, Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, and Broadway musicals. I had a few Frank Sinatra albums and one of my sister's boyfriends had given me Sinatra's "Only the Lonely" which he said had been his teenage-makeout album and he didn't need it any more.
Over the years the sound track has varied. In Geneva, my husband and I had a large collection of jazz records which we enjoyed retaping on to audiotapes for the car. This was in the 1980's, and living in Europe we hadn't found radio stations to our liking. Besides, it was a way to play deejay, his and hers. He preferred Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Earl "Fatha" Hines (who lived just up the lake and often appeared in clubs with his entourage in Geneva), and the many Danish and English jazz artists, while I liked the classical/jazz noodlings of André Previn and the upbeat piano stylings of Teddy Wilson, Errol Garner, and Art Tatum. I'm a sucker for piano and trumpet and like a smattering of Dixieland. He liked saxophones more than I (because I don't like them at all, not even Coltrane or Coleman Hawkins), but we both loved guitar and singers like Tony Bennett (I loved his pianist, Ralph Sharon), Dinah Washington, and Carmen McRae. We had music on all the time; it was not unusual to be talking with someone on the phone who would hear that sound track in the background and spontaneously say, "I love the music at your house!"
Over the years the music changed. In the 90's I developed a love for Enya and the Celtic music that dominated the airwaves and I built up a stock of CD's. I even bought the best of Yanni.
I've been off music for several years, and a few months ago the cat took a flying leap onto my plastic-covered record player and sent it crashing to the floor. I replaced it with one of those oddly designed players intended to resemble an old radio, which plays vinyl, CD's, and tapes as well, but with little speakers offering questionable sound.
It's time for me to update my soundtrack, now with an iPod. I'm still thinking about it. It means getting hold of equipment to convert my many records to the new technology, which means editing the collection and learning how to use the iPod itself. Maybe I'll get an iPhone when they go on sale. That will mean carrying a cell phone everywhere, but having a sound track I can summon at any time. I have a computer-savvy friend who's promised to help me with the transfer of sound to equipment, but it's up to me to program the music, real-time.
A daunting challenge, but I'm actually looking forward to it. It will mean a chance to hear all my music again and take it with me in my life once again. Having a sound track will enhance what is already an extraordinary life.