Sunday, January 13, 2013

Dad, Johnny and Me

I thought of waiting to post this on what would have been my Da's  80th Birthday,   He was born on a Friday, the 13th day of the 3rd month in the year 1933. The Third son of a Third son. I've decided to go a head and post it early.

I was blessed with a lot of wonderful quirks via my Father. One of them is an eclectic taste in music. Dad was all over the musical hemispheres. It wasn't unusual to hear a "set" containing Nat King Cole, Wells Fargo wagon from the  Music Man Soundtrack , a little Wild Gypsy Guitar, and the Chipmunks singing She Loves Ya Ya Ya.

My love of "World Music"  was first sparked when I received the Zulu soundtrack from my parents for Christmas . My Father's Idea no doubt. Side two of that album contained traditional Zulu Stomp music arranged with a rock flare by composer arranger John Barry. I wore deep grooves in that hot wax.  Replaced it a long while back with the CD, but I still have that record in my humble vinyl collection .

I also recall Dad having  a massive collection of 78's. . I fondly remember  when we lived with His Parents on Atlas Ave in Toronto,  I  would spend  hours in their dimly lite dank, musty old basement parked in front  an old phonograph player spinning those 78's. Wonder where they all got to.. anyway.

This all brings me to the fact that my Dad  loved  Johnny Cash. He wasn't a huge country fan, yet something in Johnny's  voice and music resonated deeply with Him. I'm ever grateful for all the rich memories of the time the three of us spent together. Yet something deeper. There was an integrity and  grace. A what you see is what you get gut wrenching honesty.  A certain way of seeing the world and treating the "other"  i witnessed in my father that was affirmed by Johnny's music

 I cut the eye teeth of my social conscience  listening to Johnny wail about the plight of the poor, the down trodden, the forsaken and the forgotten. He sang boldly and with out apology of the  injustices done to the Native Americans. He went into Folsom and San Quentin prisons and sang for our society's untouchables.  He unceremoniously gave the finger to the suits and establishment types. Yet he was deeply connected to the common every man, the salt of the earth. There was a profound blending of the sacred and the secular. An irreverent yet  vital spirituality that resonated  with in my young heart and still does.

My father wasn't a very political person. As far as that was concerned as i got older, we were more often than not on differing ends of the political  spectrum. But he genuinely cared about people regardless of their racial, political, religious or social stripe.He was the most genuinely gracious and accepting person i've had the privilege of knowing.

 Dad, Johnny and Me... maybe that's why i still prefer dressing in black

Happy Birthday Da...

No comments: