Rich's Musical History
In The Beginning- Music has always been a large part of my life. My dad was a reed player as was his brother and intheir early 20's had a big band on Long Island. WWII came along and after the warwhen my dad returned, the big bands were on the way out and the smaller combos were becoming more popular. Benny Goodman wasoften on the turntable when I was growing up, as was Frank Sinatra. My dad's brother, Phil, hadheaded out to the west coast and was playing in the NBC orchestra as first sax and clarinet and oboe. So it's no surprise that at 6-years-old, I was started on sax and clarinet. They were ok but I never really took to them. I liked music but not playing the reeds! I liked lots of different kinds of music, jazz, classical, folk, Broadway musicals, whatever. I remember that Sundays were my Mom and Dad's sleep-in morning and they weren't to be disturbed until they opened the door. It was, however, ok to put music on the Hi-Fi. We had lots of classical albums and at that time-the mid 1950s-all the symphonic music we had was still on 78s so we'd get up early and stack the records on the turntable and when one of the records would finish playing, the next one would automatically drop into place on top of the previous record. When I think about all the children growing up now that only know cell phones and music on CDs, I feel really old!
In grade school, I was also put in chorus, another ultimate failure. I remember the last year I was still in chorus I started skipping all the practices and I had to show up for the Xmas concert or be given a failing grade in music.I showed up and moved my mouth the whole night without singing a single word! It was so embarrassing. It wasn't until I was 12 going on 13 that I discovered my first musical love, the guitar. We were traveling acrossthe US to visit my dad's brother and his family for the first time ever. My dad had picked up a guitar that he had started to noodle around on at home for a year or so and I was interested, but when we headed out cross country that summer in our red and white 1957 plymouth station wagon with the pop-up tent camping trailer hitched to the back, I found refuge in the way back of the wagon with a little folk song book that had chord charts. By the time we got to California, I could playand sing most of the folk standards like Red River Valley, etc. Nobody else seemed to mind my practicing since the road noise drowned most of it out and at the campsites, it seemed to help makefriends so there was lots of positive reinforcement.
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