Guest Post: Janet from Scout 66

the road
Image by jesuscm via Flickr

The lovely Janet from Scout 66 is sharing some musical influences today, as I get ready to hit the road for Type A Mom Conference.

Scout 66 is all about sharing the love for live music, a cause I can totally get behind. From the site:

“When a little night music steals your heart away, walk right in to your computer, sit right down, and baby let your mind roll on. We want reviews of live music from Seattle to Spanish Harlem, Galveston to Jackson, and San Francisco to New York. Whether you’re sitting on the dock of the bay, walking after midnight, in the squares of the city, or in the shadow of the steeple, live music is made for you and me. Freedom of the press is being put directly into your hands to support all the working class musicians across this country.”

ROCK ON, Janet! Check it out, share your finds!

With no further ado, here’s Janet!

Music has always mattered to me. As a Baby Boomer, my generation experienced a cultural explosion no other generation has come to know so fully. The past fifty years are brimming with every musical genre and sub-genre imaginable.

Lindsay Maines graciously agreed to host this post, suggesting I write about my Top 5 favorite albums. The reality is I can’t pick five absolute favorites. But I can pick five influential albums, which is what this list ultimately represents.
In full disclosure it’s important to note I’ve spent nearly 26 years working in music. I’ve promoted some of the most inspiring and prominent music of the 20th century spilling its weight into the first decade of the 21st century – history’s most saturated musical era. Contemporary music is built in part on the foundation of the following five albums.

Country music played a big role in my life when I was young. My parents enjoyed it, but I think it was radio that made country music relevant in rural Oregon where I grew up. The queen of country music was, and may always be, Patsy Cline. Her voice and her bravado as a pioneer in women’s music are irrefutable as she crossed over from the country charts to the pop charts in a career that lasted only eight years. Patsy Cline’s Greatest Hits was released in 1967, four years after her untimely death at age 30. Just listening to the twelve tracks elicits memories strong enough to sing along with her most popular songs including “Crazy,” “I Fall To Pieces,” “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “She’s Got You,” and “Sweet Dreams.”

During the same era two bands exploded out of the Northwest with a raunchy rocking sound that is unmistakable to this day. They are The Fabulous Wailers and The Ventures.
Both bands are universally recognized as the original garage bands; and the Wailers are credited as the first rock band to have an artist-owned, indie label. 2009 marks the 50 Year Anniversary for both bands – a milestone no other rock band has reached. To celebrate, the two groups collaborated on an 18-track compilation of memorable tunes. Two Car Garage is rock, it’s funk, and it’s R&B. It’s the feel good kind of music that influenced some of the world’s most famous musicians including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, and Jimi Hendrix. The most-recorded rock song in history “Louie Louie,” appears on this CD, as well as “Black is Black,” “Needles & Pins,” “Tequila,” and “Wipe Out.”

The first concert I ever attended was held in our elementary school gym in 1969. I was twelve and the whole town of about 3,000 people was buzzing over the performance of its native son. Mason Williams had taken the pop world by storm winning three Grammy Awards for his inimitable guitar solo, “Classical Gas.” Eighteen years later, Williams teamed up with Mannheim Steamroller and launched a CD titled Classical Gas with some of Mason’s classics as well as stunning newer tunes. Among them are “Sunflower,” “La Chanson de Claudine,” “Country Idyll,” and “Shady Dell.” “Classical Gas” is cited by BMI as the most-broadcast instrumental tune in history.

My fourth selection is an instrumental record with Americana roots, and a little bit of trail dust for a country feel. What I love about Eric Tingstad’s Southwest is how he captured the sound of the ancestral spirit that speaks through his original compositions. There are three distinct cultures in the American southwest. First is the Native American culture which speaks volumes on this CD. There is also the Hispanic culture and the western cowboy culture. How Tingstad managed to blend all three together is an amazing feat. “The Last Caballero” has a spectacular country rock vibe. I can’t pick out a country guitarist who comes close, but the rock influence is definitely something Lindsey Buckingham might do as a solo. “Where the Moon Stood Still” and “Taos Hum” are in the same category instrumentally as Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Southwest has been compared to Ry Cooder’s “Paris Texas” which is epic.

This last selection is a difficult one because there are so many to choose from. But for many reasons the fifth and final album in my Top 5 is Heart’s Dreamboat Annie. Maybe it’s because this debut album contains three different versions of the title track. The folk-tinged melody and delicate vocal execution are college coffeehouse repertoire. It fit my lifestyle in the mid-1970s when the album was released. The original takes of “Crazy on You,” “Magic Man” and “White Lightening & Wine” are perfectly innocent just the way they are. They’ve been revised over the years, but it’s nearly impossible to improve on the original take.

So there you have it. Five disparate but influential albums that have rocked my
world over the past five decades. Hopefully at least one or more has captured your heart as well.

Janet Hansen

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