Tag Archives: Music

Traveling Music: The Soundtrack to My Life and Times by Neil Peart – review

Traveling Music: The Soundtrack to My Life and TimesTraveling Music: The Soundtrack to My Life and Times by Neil Peart

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I found this and another Peart memoir in a used book store and snapped them up because I really like his writing. Interesting format, this…Peart says “Since childhood, music has had the power to carry me away, and this is a song about some of the places it has carried me.” Interwoven with the songs he loaded into his CD changer on a solo road trip in 2003 from California to Big Bend National Park in Texas (and back), this is part playlist, part memoir. He talks about the songs he chose, sharing the history of the music and his history with them. And he talks about other extraneous experiences, musical and non…cycling in Africa, motorcycling between gigs in America.

There is a lot here that speaks to me…when young, he wanted something exciting to talk about at the family dinner table, and “I guess I spent the rest of my life making sure I always had something to talk about […]” and a later observation that ties to that:

How could anyone ever be bored in this world, when there was so much to be interested in, to learn, to contemplate? It seemed to me that knowledge was actually fun, in the sense of being entertaining…

So true! How could anyone ever be bored? (I cringe when I hear that word…and fell sorry for the lack of imagination that allows it to be said.)

Apart from one specific … act…he has interesting and eclectic tastes in music, and I liked reading about how he came to enjoy Sinatra, Gene Krupa, the Beach Boys, Dusty Springfield, and more. How he held little appreciation for groups like the Rolling Stones who only pretended to be rebels because they conceded to changing their lyrics on the Ed Sullivan Show where The Doors, who were true rebels, refused to change their line in “Light My Fire” about the girl getting “much higher” (and were subsequently banned.) How he saw Woody Herman in a backwoods restaurant gig in the decline of his life, having to play those gigs because of IRS troubles. How he got rid of all of his vinyl LPs, holding onto maybe 100 of his treasures (I did the same, losing my 100 or so treasures to a fire in 2013…)

Reading how he hears Sinatra on Watertown is something I sadly can never seem to get (but I appreciate any insight to help me try):

Sinatra’s subtle, sincere expression of that character’s life carried all the emotional subtext Jake Holmes had woven into the lyrics so skillfully, reinforced by Bob Gaudio, Charles Callelo, and Joe Scott. For this listener, Watertown had more than stood the test of time, it had grown stronger, and remained not only a personal classic (the whole album perfect for in-helmet singing on a long bicycle or motorcycle ride), but also a great American work of art.

Okay, now I have to go find it and listen to it! I most likely won’t have the same reaction, but who knows? Same as with both Moby Grape and The Grateful Dead’s eponymous debut albums: I’ve never listened to Moby Grape and could never get into The Dead, but now I’m going to give them a shot. Same as with Dusty Springfield’s Dusty in Memphis…Peart piqued my curiosity.

He likes The Macallan…bonus points for that. He also …and it hurts to type this…likes..I can’t say it…{cringe} …Coldplay. Major points subtracted for that.

Something to ponder (on Jann Wenner on George Martin – the Beatles Martin – commenting on Brian Wilson…Wenner in the negative, Martin, the opposite):

Everyone’s personal opinion is worth the same, in religion, music, and politics, but some expert opinions are definitely more informed, more reflective, and more valuable.

I would say, probably on informed, possibly on reflective, but highly debatable on valuable. And on his reviews of his own performance, he asks himself What would I think of this if it wasn’t me? I keep seeing five-star rating “reviews” from authors on their own books and wonder if they’ve ever asked themselves that question!

So many well turned phrases pepper the text, one in particular I’ll share. When talking about Pasty Cline’s Heartaches collection album and a wandering soul slave to a sound of an “outward bound”

And what a sound that is, too, the distant blare of a train’s horn dopplering away in the night, and it echoing right back to my own childhood and all the way forward.

So, I have music to explore, and another book to read in a little while. I’ll thank Mr. Peart for the tacit recommendations.

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Coming to grips

This is the family coin we had made in Korea when I retired in 2003:

Family coin mediumAndrea edited English manuals for Samsung products and worked with one of their graphic artists to design it. The van was how people knew us in Korea (custom vans were rare and often used by celebrities instead of limousines.) As there doesn’t seem to be a coat of arms for Razinha, let alone the hybrid Razinha-Davis, we made up our own with emblems of things that were important to us: the Navy, music, books and animals/pets. The “Live Well-Laugh often-Love much” quote was on a plaque in our kitchen and Rufus Choate just happened to say something that we hold true.

As I said, I retired in 2003, but the Navy will always be a part of who I am. As for the others… they were ripped from us on July 31st. The van? Destroyed. Our personal library of 5,800 books…gone. Guitars, basses, drum kit, baby grand piano…gone. Our dear, sweet cats….so much more than symbols on a coin.

Out of all of us, I seem to be having the hardest time dealing with the devastating loss of our house and as near to everything we possessed as you can imagine. I, a champion of rational thinking, became physically ill when I went into a bookstore last week. Remembering this

Libraryis probably why.

I, a champion of reason over emotion, feel my chest tighten when I think of this:

P1020733I spent years building, creating, arranging, tweaking, adding to our admittedly WAY over the top display. I even took precious time away from studying for the Professional Engineer exam in 2010 to set it up because it’s such a part of the family tradition. While Andrea’s art went in so many directions and grew so fast that I had a hard time keeping pace, this was a stable part of our lives that I considered my art. Right now, I don’t know how I can start over. It’s like taking ten years off from the gym and thinking, “I can bench press with the same weight I remember I used last time, right?” How can you go from super huge to a couple of skeletons and gravestones? Still reeling. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the things we lost.

“You need to deal with this.” “You need to get past this.” “You need to move on.”

These are words I’ve heard lately from several people. All said, I know, with sincere concern for me. I can forget a ton of things, but for me to “deal with” and “get past” so I can “move on”, I’ll have to wall off those memories of things that can never be again so that I don’t think about them because I can’t forget.

The saying goes: Time heals all wounds, but the podiatrists know that time also wounds all heels.

Confessions of an Amateur Dungeon Master

For those reading on Facebook, this is found on my WordPress blog (https://jimrazinha.wordpress.com)

When I was young, I read a lot of science fiction. Okay, I read a lot of everything. But a lot of science fiction. Eventually, I also read a lot of fantasy, as did my wife, Andrea. As such, we have a considerable collection of sci-fi/fantasy in our library. Our oldest, Brandon, 23, plowed through the fantasy. I know he loves Raymond Feist, Joel Rosenberg and Christopher Stasheff because those are the most worn books. Colin, 19, also reads some fantasy, but he prefers sci-fi like Nive/Pournelle, Clarke, Jose Farmer, and Jack Chalker. What fantasy he does read tends toward R. A. Salvatore, and the D&D genre. Their online gaming follows that: in addition to Eve and more about which I have no clue, they’ve recently resurrected their interest in Dark Age of Camelot.

Dylan, 12, having read Harry Potter and Percy Jackson amongst many other books, has discovered Piers Anthony’s Xanth series. “Discovered” when I gave him “A Spell for Chameleon” to read. I had seven of the series (1-4,6,13 and 19), so went trucking off to Half Price Books to start filling in the gaps. Imagine my surprise to learn (I only read up to #4 myself) that there are 33 (so far)! Anyway, he’s devoured them, reading 11 in the past six weeks. And Drew, 11, also having read Harry Potter and more is on his third go around with Percy Jackson.

That establishes the framework for this post. Continue reading