Sunday 29 November 2009


"If music be the food of love - " as Shakespeare said, then I say 'Bring it on, man.'
Probably, music like books is a big passion with me - like a soundtrack to the story of my life.
Early life it was classical music in the shape of Tchaikovsky and Beethoven until I discovered my Uncle's 78 rpm recordings of Harry James, Artie Shaw and Gene Krupa. Big band jazzy sounds from the war years in the 'Swing Series'.
I had just gone to Secondary School when Bill Haley & The Comets heralded in the rock n roll era. It was around this time that I realised that music was categorised into genres. Just like books, in a way.
But rock n roll, Bill Haley style, was a progression. The more I listened to 'Rock Around The Clock' and 'See You Later Alligator' I began to wonder about all the publicity about how rock n roll was a 'disturbing influence on the young'.
I mean I never heard the same being said of Harry James, Glenn Miller and their kind.
Bill Haley's music sounded as though it had roots in the swing era. 'See You Later Alligator' didn't come across any different to 'Pennsylvania 6-5 thousand'. And the beat of 'Rock Around The Clock' could be compared to, say, 'Traffic Jam'.
And then, I discovered, that Swing had roots in Classical music - Harry James had not only recorded Rimsky-Korsakov's 'Flight Of The Bumble-Bee' but jazzed up 'Carnival In Venice'. Artie Shaw, too, had borrowed from the classics.
Django Reinhardt had teemed up with classical guitarist Stephane Grappelli to produce some of the greatest jazz recordings that embraced both worlds.
With the advent of the Sixties music changed again - but again whether jazz, classical or plain old pop it was still progression. Bands like the Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Kinks produced their own 'sound' and spawned imitators.
Into this mix came Joe Meek with his own sound with the likes of John Leyton's 'Johnny, Remember Me'; The Tornadoes 'Telstar' and The Honeycombs 'Have I The Right' this latter keeping the top names from reaching that No 1 spot.
Like branches on a tree music spread out and by the seventies and eighties came Glam Rock, Punk Rock and The New Romantics.
And what is film music but put together comes across like movements in a symphony.
Heavy Metal reminds me, at times, of sections from Stravinsky's 'Rite Of Spring'.
Music like writing evolves - it's just that the older we get it gets a touch harder to keep up with it.
I love it when a band like 'Hayseed Dixie' turn heavy metal AC/DC bluegrass.
Music is a matter of taste and mine runs through many genre's.