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July 28, 2006



Où sont les neiges d'antan? Where are the Ben Websters of yesteryear? The Hank Mobleys? You will not hear from me for three days--I off to what Mr. Cusack calls Lac du Saint-Sacrement (more commonly known as Lake George). I--as one who has not abandoned Jazz--will have the following CDs with me for the weekend:
Hank Mobley, "No Room For Squares" (good enough for the Great Wall, good enough for Lac du Saint-Sacrement),
"Miles Davis in Person Friday and Saturday at the Blackhawk," and
"The Tony Bennett Bill Evans Album" (first track, "Young and Foolish"). I am not sure if this is exactly "mourning the passing of his youth." But I enjoy Mr. Bennett (whose 80th birthday is coming soon), crooning:
"Soon enough, the carefree days, the sunlit days go by
Soon enough the bluebird has to fly...
I wish that we were young and foolish again."
Have a great weekend.

Mrs. Peperium

My horse friends and I met Mr. Bennett at an Italian restaurant in Westport the night before I left for college. He was pleased we knew who he was and he readily signed our napkins. I kept the napkin for a long time but then threw it out. Stupid me.

Mrs. Peperium

You go to Lake George? That's not that far from here. Next time tell us. Have a great time.


Well, my visits to Lac du Saint-Sacrement have been at 15 year intervals, but I will definitely give a more timely report, next time. (And I now know that you consider the 662.7 miles from Detroit to Ticonderoga as "not far.")

Mrs. Peperium

Well, its not as far as Maine. I have some genealogy work to do in Rutland plus there's quite a bit of historical interest there for Mr. P. We've never had a chance to view the area that Francis Parkman wrote so well about. There is a museum there that is quite good. Plus a few Princetonians of the old school put together private funds to map almost the entire floor of Lake George locating all the wrecks. We have had the good fortune to make the aquaintance of one of them and the stories of the discoveries have us intriqued.

Next year set a course for the Finger Lakes. We can be there by lunchtime and they have great microbrew beers there.

Andrew Cusack

I don't like country music, but some cajun stuff is alright. Every now and then I dabble into RadioLouisiane.

Basil Seal

Mr. P, I agree with your lament for songs with meaning for the man of middle years...In the past, when music was recorded onto plastic discs, called albums, we found that if you took said albums which contained C&W music and played them backwards on your phonograph (now extinct) your wife would come back, your dog would come back to life, you would get your job back, your pick up would run, etc...

Mr. Peperium

Priceless, Basil.

And it makes my point about the contrast between Rock and Country. Play a Rock album backwards and you get "Paul is dead".

I, too, remember turntables and records with things called "grooves" and the never-ending quest for the tone arm with the lightest touch so those groovs wouldn't be gouged out like farmland in the Spring.

You sum up the post nicely: it is a lament for songs with meaning for the man of middle years. Too much pop music is wedded (if I can use that term of middle-aged, boring commitment) to the vision of eternal youth; I do believe sincerely that it is a powerful agent--along with chic lit, most magazines, the MSMedia, Oprah--that keep the majority of my age cohort in a perpetual state of emotional and intellectual childhood. And this is not to say the modern Country is not complicit. But behind most Country music celebrations of drink and sex I usually sense an "I-know-I-shouldn't-be-doing-this-and-so-do-you" subtext. Because I'm new at this--and because our local Country station just plays songs and never identifies the singers--I don't have any examples ready to hand.

But even in a song about a guy being approached in the first stanza by two girls who want to show him a good time the refrain runs: "I ain't as good as I once was..." Alot of Country's appeal has to do with the honesty of the lyrics. It is the source of much of the charm and humor of the genre. In "My Next Thirt Years" Vassar admits that he's going to have to watch his weight and drink fewer beers.

Andrew: I, too, love Cajun and Bluegrass, two tastes that I guess led inevitably to Country. The kids have taken to Irish music as well, and I'm sure the thread of lilting fiddle that runs through all English, Irish, Scots, Cajun and Bluegrass music attracts me to Country. (The racial stock, after all, is the same; I'm contemplating embarking of David Hackett Fischer's "Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America" in order to follow up this topic). Like those old ballads, Country tries to tell a story...something that modern poetry, in its passion for the short lyric, has forgotten how to do. Stefan Beck and I got into that somewhat after dinner at the Oyster Bar. We didn't solve the problem but we did anatomize it thoroughly.


Generally I don't like 'country music', but sometimes ... My Ipod is full of hundreds of 'oldies but goodies'. I just can't relate to rap and some of todays so-called music. Call me old fashioned.

I read a book where the main character was given an Ipod and a gift certificate for 100 songs. He took it as a challenge, 100 songs and 100 songs only.

Boy I couldn't do that, just choose 100 songs that I like. There are so many that would have to be left out.

Mr. Peperium

You are one of the few people I know who actually use their iPods after the first flush of the technological honeymoon. Of course, I don't know that many people with iPods.

"Songs" is an odd category. After I fell away from Rock I didn't listen to songs anymore; I listened to concertos and sonatas and gradually Jazz standards that were at one time songs but were now played on tenor saxaphones. I will never forget my impotent rage at my iTunes two jobs ago when I tried to load my music on my work computer. Being automatically set to sort "songs" the machine took all those "adagio" and "allegro" movements and simply lumped them all together, regardless of composer or piece. It was one of those moments when I realized I was inhabiting the wrong chunk of the space-time continuum.

Andrew Cusack

I-Pods, bah! Listen to life, my friends! It's much better, and free.


The only time I use the I-Pod is when I'm on the treadmill. It makes the three miles go much faster. Other than that I don't use it.

I also have classical music on the I-Pod, Mozart, Bach, ... Some Broadway soundtracks,... some what I call easy-listening like Kenny-G, Charlotte Church, some Don Ho (we lived in Hawaii for a time), my favorite pop artist Elton John, and Josh Groban.

Have you heard Josh Groban? You would love his songs, very uplifting, full of praise and love.

I have some Louis Armstrong, Michael Crawford, Ray Charles, Roy Orbison,...

I guess I'm very eclectic, ha. I play piano and organ, hubby is a natural musician and can play any instrument he picks up with no lessons, he hears it, he can play it. No, he is not a professional musician, he is a physician.

Mr. Peperium

That bit in Shakespeare about a man who hath no music in him being fit for treasons, strategems and spoils always makes me nervous. If it's true then I must be a double agent for OBL without knowing it. I shrink from singing in church for fear the children might get the idea that that's what music is and be soured forever. I have never been able to play any instrument I've picked up and I've picked up several in my time. I know I'm not alone. Ulysses Grant could never stay in step on parade at West Point because he lacked an ear for music (he earned demerits for it). He once said that he only knew two tunes: one was Yankee Doodle and the othjer one wasn't. But the link Shakespeare makes between an aptitude for music and moral well-being is, as you probably already know, as old as Plato (which means it's undoubtedly older). No wonder your hubby is a doctor.

Mrs. Peperium

Mr. P refuses to have Tiny Bubbles in the house but someday I'll conquer him.

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