By Dave Swanson - Summit FM Contributor
So often, time dictates a storyline regardless of the truth and the way things actually happened. It's all for the "good of the story." That's my main issue with 'biopics,' as they attempt to tell the tale of historical figures of varying significance. Hollywood will dictate how the tale is told. While that's just the way it's all played out, at least stories are being told, and with any luck, exposing these stories to a public that will go on to investigate further.
So what's this rant all about then? Well, a brand new biopic of Bob Marley titled ‘One Love’ has just been released. Like so many stories told before, the man at the center here; singer, songwriter, prophet, and musician, was far more complex than can be unraveled in the two hour film, but let's hope his story has been well told here, the most significant aspect of which, was his music.
Bob Marley was immersed in music from his teenage years until his untimely death, forming the legendary Wailers, in 1963, with friends Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. Several recordings onward, and Marley had become the last man standing and leader of the band, going on to record a run of classic reggae albums. In the mid 1970's reggae was being talked about by music industry insiders as a possible “next big thing,” and Marley was right at the front of it. Eric Clapton had a hit with his "I Shot The Sheriff," and his records kept reaching a larger audience, until cancer claimed his life in 1981. He was only 36 years old.
A decade later Island records issued a best of called 'Legend,’ which would ultimately sell over 22 million copies. It has become the one reggae album people feel the need to have in their collection, much like even those who aren't into jazz own a copy pf Miles Davis' 'Kind Of Blue.' While 'Legend' is a wonderful collection of some of Marley's best known songs, there are so many more just under the surface to be heard!
So, in honor of the new biopic, 'One Love,' here is a list of some fantastic Bob Marley tracks you may never have heard, but should!
'Keep On Moving' (1970)
The pure sounds of early reggae are hard to top. From ska through rocksteady on to reggae, roots, dub, and more, Jamaican music is a fascinating thing to explore. 'Keep On Moving' is pure sweet Jamaican soul music
‘Stop The Train’ (1971)
Originally released as a single in 1971, 'Stop That Train' would find a second chance at life when re-recorded for the Wailers' 1973 album 'Catch A Fire.' There is something more engaging and dynamic about the original version, with its punchy American soul vibe still intact, showing the early Wailers in top form.
‘Concrete Jungle’ (1973)
Haunting, driving, and hard to shake, 'Concrete Jungle' ranks among Marley and the Wailer's finest recordings. It's everything great about those early years, condensed into one track. You can hear from this what all the fuss was about.
‘Burnin' and Lootin'’ (1973)
From the 1973 ablum “Burnin', 'Burnin' and Lootin'” is prime Marely. That constant, engaging rhythm, deep warm production, and ace lyrics make for an early classic.
‘Lively Up Yourself’ (1974)
‘Lively Up Yourself' was a celebratory jammer that kicked off his 1974 'Natty Dread' LP. Setting the tone, it helped the LP become an underground classic of the era. Marley's message was starting to cut through.
‘Roots, Rock, Reggae’ (1976)
By the release of 'Rastaman Vibration' in 1976, Marley's fame was growing. The album reached into the US Top 10, and this track, released as a single, jumped all the way up to No.51. Though credited to Vincent Ford, years later it was noted by Marley's Widow, Rita, that Bob had written the track, but it, along with a few others, was credited to Ford for various reasons.
‘Natural Mystic’ (1977)
The 1977 album 'Exodus' ranks among Marley's finest moments, perhaps his definitive statement. Full of great songs from open to close, it's easy to see why this is a go to favorite for fans over the past several decades. 'Natural Mystic' is but one of the classics here with its genre defining groove and mood.
‘Punky Reggae Party’ (1977)
A large contingent of the punk crowd loved reggae music. From The Clash to The Slits to Mr. Lydon, it was a soundtrack to life. Aware of the connection, Marley penned this club classic, even name checking The Damned, The Jam, The Clash, and Dr. Feelgood! Originally issued as the b-side to the Top 10 UK hit single, 'Jamming,' it became a classic all its own. "It takes a joyful sound to make the world go round" indeed!
‘Sun Is Shining’ (1978)
A brilliant and lovely track from the 1978 'Kaya' LP, 'Sun Is Shining' is a glorious production enhanced by clever percussion and sweet guitar licks. One of Bob's most glowing moments.
By Sarah Swirsky, MSW, LSW, Summit FM Wellness Coordinator
You're likely aware of the incredible power of music to uplift and inspire, but were you aware that music can also have positive effects on your mental health and wellness? So, crank up your favorite song and explore the surprising health benefits that music has to offer!
1. Helps improve focus
Do you often listen to music while studying or working? If the answer is yes, you are among many who find it helpful. According to a 2007 study conducted at Stanford University School of Medicine, music engages areas of the brain which are involved with paying attention, making predictions, and updating events in our memory. Other studies have suggested that music affects cognitive development in children resulting in “sharper minds” as older adults.
2. Regulates or alters mood
If you are feeling down, consider creating or tuning into your favorite feel-good playlist! Research featured in Frontiers suggests that tuning into music has the potential to alter your mood. Individuals struggling with uncomfortable emotions, such as anger or anxiety, found relief through soothing sounds of calming music. Similarly, those experiencing feelings of depression found solace and comfort when listening to music that resonated with their current emotions. Dr. Oliver Sacks, best-selling author, physician, and professor of Neurology writes, “Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears - it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more - it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity.”
3. May ease pain
Studies suggest that music can trigger the brain to release chemicals that redirect the body's focus away from pain. Music has also been found to significantly reduce perceived intensity of pain, particularly within geriatric care, intensive care, or palliative medicine. Rebecca Jenkins- Swirsky, Summit FM member, shares with us that when her husband was hospitalized with Leukemia, registered music therapists helped him to cope with the mental and physical pain by playing his favorite music live in his hospital room.
4. Stimulate Memory
Have you ever been amazed by the way a song can whisk you away to a specific moment in your past? According to Harvard Health, music triggers parts of the brain associated with memory, acting as a potential key to unlock your "memory vaults." This phenomenon isn't limited to the general population; it also extends to individuals with dementia, providing a pathway to access forgotten memories. A study carried out at UC Irvine revealed that Alzheimer's patients experienced improvements in memory test scores when they listened to classical music.
To make the most out of music for wellness, we recommend increasing listening time to your favorite music, as well as discovering new music! Tuning into the Summit FM on the radio, or app, is a great way to discover new music to elevate your mood.
Research from this article was taken from the National Association of Music Merchants
By Dave Swanson - Summit FM Contributor
Ben Folds Five Make Their Debut LP Back In 1995
29 years ago, during that post-Alt Rock hangover, there seemed to be room for just about any style of music, from the angst soaked leftovers and hip hop mongers, to disposable pop music and the imminent rise of Britpop. So then, why not a modern day piano man with songwriting chops, style, and a melodic sensibility? Come on in Ben Folds, the water's fine!
Hailing from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Ben Folds Five was a lie! They were actually a trio, but Folds liked the way 'five' sounded better, so, why not confuse everyone. Joined by Robert Sledge and Darren Jessee, their style may have glanced back to a singer songwriter ethic of the early 1970s, but was firmly planted in the mid-90s. Armed with a stash of catchy songs and lively production, courtesy of Caleb Sothern, the Ben Folds Five proved a welcome addition to the musical landscape at the time.
In an era where loud guitars set the standard so often, Folds was not only the piano player, but the band leader, instantly setting a different template away from the Soungarden/Alice In Chains axis. 'Philosophy,' 'Underground,' and 'Uncle Walter,' all released as singles, grabbed the attention of listeners with their melodic hooks and clever lyrics. 'Underground' pokes fun at the hipsterism of the era with references to 'nose rings' and 'mosh pits.'
"It's a minefield of dead ends," Folds said about songwriting. "I write something that ‘feels’ right, syllables, rhymes, a happy sound over an unhappy lyric. You maneuver yourself around and you get caught in the maze of 'how do I make this feel right?' And then I throw it out there to other people and they can feel what they want to."
Traces of Todd Rundgren, the Kinks, and Elton John can be heard throughout, but the album never comes off as retro, and 29 years on, maintains a freshness about it. Part of his secret here is that, many of his songs are deceptively simple, giving them a lasting flavor. “Songs can do so many things,” said Folds. “They can literally tell a story, or they can very abstractly tell a story.”
So this is where it all started for Folds and Co,. and if anything, it sounds better three decades on.
By Dave Swanson - Summit FM Contributor
Oasis Hit The Ground Running 30 Years Ago With ‘Definitely Maybe’
This is not news, but just to make clear, years do indeed evaporate before our very eyes and ears. How is it possible that this summer will signal the 30th (yeah, count 'em!) anniversary of the debut album from Oasis. It all seems so quaint now, a tad charming in fact, the whole ‘Britpop Battle of the Bands’ between Blur and Oasis, then followed by all the stragglers chasing that car. There were a lot of good songs and good records that came out of the whole movement and though Blur, Suede, and a couple others were first to the party, the arrival of Oasis seemed to be the defined starting line for the era.
They were nothing new, of course, a mini gang of ego driven wise ass guys, out to prove themselves to the world. Armed with a couple guitars, rhythm section and a singer overflowing with attitude, how could they lose?! Especially, when they had such a fine songwriter in band leader Noel Gallagher, the kind who knew just how much to steal to seal the deal and make it his own.
'Definitely Maybe' was released in the aftermath of the 'alternative' rock wave that had crashed following the suicide of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, and the deluge of mediocre faceless bands that marched in amongst the wreckage. The press, the fans, and the radio were still full throttle on 'alt rock' which, by that point, meant basically anything that wasn't REO Speedwagon. So here comes this brigade of bands from the UK that don't look 'grungy', in fact, they look pretty cool and stylish, from the glam residue of Suede and new wave nod from Elastica, to the Mod aesthetics of Blur and Oasis, this all felt fresh and exciting, despite a feeling that we'd been here before.
The album kicks off with the celebratory and defiant 'Rock And Roll Star,' a total celebration of rock and roll and everything surrounding it. This was miles away from the sour and dour sludge the flannel brigade was so enamored with. Lead singer Liam Gallagher had enough Johnny Rotten in his being to sell it, and sell it well as the brash wall of guitars embraced the listener. This was the sound of a post-‘Madchester’ England, guitars at full volume, attitude even higher.
'Shakermaker,' 'Up In The Sky,' 'Supersonic,' and the anthemic 'Live Forever' (which made the British top 10) all rang out in braggadocios glory while even the most blatant theft of 'Cigarettes & Alcohol' (No. 7 in the UK) with its tried and true Marc Bolan guitar riff, as if played by Neil Young, at its core somehow avoided any generic retread. These boys from Manchester seemingly had found the keys to the kingdom, in their homeland anyway. 'Definitely Maybe' was an emphatic chart topper in England and sold very well around the world, and in the process, set the stage for the global takeover with their next album, 'What's The Story Morning Glory?' 30 years on, people are still talking about the Gallagher brothers in singular as well as in the context of Oasis. The mark they've left has yet to be fully defined in some ways. I think time has been kind to most of their musical output and yes, please file under Essential!
By Chad Miller - Summit FM Music Director
What's everyone been listening to out there? There's been an AVALANCHE of great new songs coming at us to start the new year, as per usual, with STILL more to come! Easily the most exciting time of the year in our world of music, that I get to sort through and play them for you on the radio. So much new music coming at us, so little time...however, these songs that might fly under the radar to most are what I've been diggin' most especially these past few weeks!
Like what you hear? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think!
Adrianne Lenker "Sadness as a Gift"
I've always been of the opinion that sad songs, or at least ones with a hint of melancholy, wistfulness, or nostalgia, are usually the best songs. Music that makes you FEEL something. I mean, isn't that basically the whole point?! On this one, Adrienne Lenker, lead singer of indie rock juggernauts Big Thief, absolutely nails it in every conceivable way. Beautifully arranged and executed, and incredibly poignant and vulnerable, it's almost as if she's summoning and willing a memory of her past all the way back into existence. All of the subtleties of Lenker's lyrics, along with the delicate guitar, piano, and violin in the background, make for a worthy song that cements it as being timeless, yet with a hint of eclecticism that she (and her band Big Thief) are certainly known for. She never stops making music, whether it's by herself or with her band, and this song has me very excited to hear more from her forthcoming sixth solo album "Bright Future" arriving March 22nd, on 4AD Records. What a stunner
Beth Gibbons "Floating on a Moment"
I absolutely did not see THIS coming! As lead singer of trip-hop innovators and originators, Portishead, the famously reclusive Beth Gibbons has re-emerged with this gorgeous song from what will be her debut solo album "Lives Outgrown,"to be released on May 17th, via Domino Records. To know the music of her band Portishead, who have been so dormant now it almost seems like they've literally existed in a past life, is to know that the band's noir-ish sounds and vinyl sampling and scratching were a perfect counterbalance to her tortured vocals, dripping in a sort of agony that's both very soulful and genuinely emotive. With this new song, Gibbons works through feelings and musings of mortality. A gentle folk song, with cinematic flourishes about simply just growing older, it is so wonderful to have her back with new music to appreciate. This forthcoming debut album of hers is certainly one I can't wait to dive into further upon its release.
Ducks Ltd. "The Main Thing"
One of the catchiest songs I've heard in a LONG time, this Toronto based duo's new single strikes jittery jangly rock gold, with all sorts of frenetic energy careening about on this track from their forthcoming album"Harm's Way," out on February 9th, via Carpark Records. The duo of Tom McGreevy and Evan Lewis have really come into their own as a band, with a sense of confidence evident in their songwriting. With this sort of melodic guitar-pop prowess on display, the storytelling takes center stage. Inventive, bright, and feverishly melodic, this song is irresistible, a total foot-tapper, and one that I personally can’t get enough of.
Grace Cummings "On and On"
I'll never ever forget the very first time I heard her song "Heaven," off her previous album, a song that we played a couple years back, here on The Summit FM. I was specifically told to watch the music video for the song, and have that as my first experience to it. Man, did it blow me away as I was not at all expecting that intense voice of hers to be coming at me like that! Such is the allure of this Melbourne based art-rock singer-songwriter, and actress, who combines a visceral intensity with, at times, brutally forthright lyrics. On this new song all of that gets dialed back a bit, but still showcasing her stunningly rich vocals and dramatic songwriting, in an effortless manner, front and center. Working with producer Jonathan Wilson, a frequent collaborator of Father John Misty, her forthcoming third album "Ramona" will be released April 5th, on ATO Records. Prepare to be blown away with the vocals and otherworldly sounds from this magnificently talented Australian.
Kim Gordon "BYE BYE"
Sometimes what you want in a loud rock song is a bit of a menacing, and slightly dangerous sensibility coming from it, and that's exactly what's happening here, in a blast of distorted electro-rock fury, that from the first time I heard it, had me absolutely hooked. The legendary Kim Gordon, former lead singer and guitarist of the iconic band Sonic Youth, has mostly laid low since that bands spilt in 2011. This eternally cool 70-year-old rockstar has come roaring back with this blown out guitar freakout, with an almost speak-sing delivery, as she very simply and matter-of-factly runs through a simple checklist of things to do, and stuff to accomplish, before seemingly heading out to go somewhere...wherever that might happen to be. That’s it, that's the song! It's weird, it’s chaotic, it's in your face, it's simple and to the point, while buried in fuzzy sounding noise, and it absolutely and unquestionably rules.
A welcome return indeed to our world of music with Phosphorescent, the terrific project led by singer-songwriter Matthew Houck, as he's recently released this new single, which is the title track to his newly announced album "Revelator,” which arrives April 5th, on Verve Records. Summit members might recall his visit to Studio C, on December 5th, 2018. After spending all of 2022 releasing cover songs, from many of his favorite artists, this new album sees Houck navigating through the ups and downs of life, home, family, obligations, and how it can be, at times, a challenge to manage. This particular song really resonates as it's an acknowledgement of just wiping the slate clean and starting over. Houck has even said that this song was the one that made him realize he was making an album, and that it might even be the best song he's ever written. Lofty words indeed considering his instant classic "Song for Zula" just over decade ago, but I couldn't agree more with him to be honest.
Membership Has Its Perks!
Chad Miller hosted a Sounding Board for our Summit members on January 24, 2024. Sounding boards give members the opportunity to rate new songs before they hit the airwaves. Six times a year, Chad brings members together to discuss these songs and then they are rated in order.
As a donor/member of the station, you are invited to all sorts of fun events like the Sounding Board, including Studio C and Summit Movie Nights. You can become a member or donate here.
The following results are based off the votes of Summit Members in attendance that night.
1.) 8.621 Mama Zu "Lip"
2.) 8.067 Stephen Sanchez "High"
3.) 8.000 The Jesus and Mary Chain "jamcod"
4.) 7.241 Porno for Pyros "Agua"
5.) 6.931 Liam Gallagher & John Squire "Just Another Rainbow"
6.) 6.788 Michael Maracgi "Scared to Start"
7.) 6.655 Hurray for the Riff Raff "Alibi"
8.) 6.613 Waxahatchee "Right Back to It"
9.) 6.269 Aaron Lee Tasjan "Horror of It All"
10.) 6.032 Ride "Peace Sign"
11.) 5.964 Khruangbin "A Love International"
12.) 5.636 Rett Madison "Flea Market"
13.) 5.581 Adrianne Lenker "Sadness as a Gift"
By Dave Swanson - Summit FM Contributor
When Roxy Music hit the world in 1972, they were utterly unique. No band had ever looked or sounded quite like that before. They rode a rail between past and future, between Pop Art and Pop Music and Rock and Roll. Though they were indeed a band, with each member adding their own flavor to the mix, it was undeniably the concept of lead singer and main songwriter Bryan Ferry. It was, however, the other 'Brian' in the band that got a lion’s share of the publicity and attention, due not only his strange look, but to his strange sounds he contributed.
Though the band would survive and succeed beyond his tenure, the presence of Brian Eno within their ranks still means a lot to their story, even over 50 years on. Brain's retro futurism look, along with his synthesized treatments, tape loops, and general adornment of these first class 'pop' songs, added a dimension that had never been known. After the one two punch of their self-titled debut, and the equally stupendous 'For Your Pleasure,' Eno knew it was time for him to step out on his own. Even Eno couldn't have known the wide open spaces his solo career would take him as performer, innovator, pioneer and producer, but in 1974 he had bid farewell to Roxy and set his own sail.
What better way to start a solo career than with one of the most unique and, quite frankly, best albums of the rock and roll era. Released on February 8, 1974, 'Here Come The Warm Jets' is a shimmering slab of pop music presented in a previously unused set of colors. This was futuristic pop music that still sounds out of time. Casual elements of the Glam era shine alongside Art Rock infused sonic exploration, with a nod to the past and a kick into the future, while firmly planted in the present. Not, mind you, an easy task.
From the opening surge of 'Needle In The Camel's Eye' through the fading riff of the title track, it remains one of the most concise and perfect albums ever constructed. Jittery pop songs, with a bit of Syd Barrett-esque whimsy, can be found via 'The Paw Paw Negro's Blowtorch' as can the electric charge of 'Baby's On Fire,' a surging rocker with one of the most insane guitar solos ever recorded, courtesy of King Crimson's Robert Fripp. Elsewhere the breezy 'On Some Faraway Beach' gives way to the minimalist, proto punk of 'Blank Frank'. No two songs are cut from the same cloth, and yet all fit together seamlessly.
A song like ‘Cindy Tells Me’ is straight up, almost retro pop, with a vague wave to the simple songs on the charts in the 1950s, yet shot through with a space age glow of sorts. At the same time, ‘Driving Me Backwards’ is a very Avant-garde approach to a pop song.
It easily stands alongside albums like the Beatles' 'Revolver,' Beach Boys 'Pet Sounds' and the Who 'Sell Out' as examples of Pop Music as Pop Art, and as much of its time as it is out of time. Eno may have been and experimental explorer at heart, but he knew his way around a catchy pop song as well, which is why this all works so perfectly. He would issue a follow-up late in the year called 'Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy,' which continued this adventure, but after that, all bets were off on where Eno would go next. One could argue Eno was creating ‘post punk’ music in a pre-punk world, which only goes to show how useless and cluttering it can be trying to put labels on music.
While albums like 'Before and After Science’ and ‘Another Green World’ would retain elements of this futuristic pop approach, other elements were added to change the ultimate trajectory of the music. At the same time, he had started to pursue an entirely different path to what would eventually become known as 'Ambient,’ with such albums as 'Discreet Music,' 'Music For Films,' and ‘Ambient 1: Music For Airports.'
Wherever many an artist would explore in the 80s and 90s, Eno, a true musical pioneer, had already been there whether by his own recordings, his collaborative works with the likes of David Bowie, Robert Fripp, and Harold Budd, or as producer of countless acts, notably Talking Heads, Devo, and U2. Though he would occasionally dip a toe in the more pop music waters, he never stepped back into the role he played in 1974, which, while kind of sad, just makes those two albums, especially 'Here Come The Warm Jets,' so special.
By Dave Swanson - Summit FM Contributor
Initially released in November of 1998, 'White Ladder' proved to solidify everything David Gray had been working towards since the early part of the decade. With three albums under his belt, Gray settled in at his home studio to record his fourth album in the spring of 1998.
The first three albums had all seen the light of day via Virgin Records, in the UK, and it's indie imprint, Caroline, in the U.S., but things we far from big time for Gray. "I was very naive," he said in a more recent interview. "I just wanted to write and sing and see where it took me, and where it took me was through three albums. But things just got steadily worse."
Having been dropped by his label, album number four was initially a self-released affair, on his own IHT Records label. But fast forward to the spring of 2000, and Gray found he had a major fan in Dave Matthews. Matthews in turn, re-released 'White Ladder' on his ATO label, thus giving Gray that much needed boost into a bigger audience well over a year after the album seemed left for dead. In addition, Gray hit the road as opening act on Matthew's tour and helped Gray win over DMB audiences.
The release of the single 'Babylon' turned out to be a major part of the album's success, as it scored high on several charts of the day, including a stop at No.1 on the 'Adult Alternative,' and a No.5 hit in his native England. His folk meets electronica in the post-alternative world, seemed to find a home with both mainstream and indie fans. Other singles such as 'Please Forgive Me,' 'This Year’s Love' and 'Sail Away' pushed the album to number one in the UK and into the US Top 40.
Its real success story, however, was in Ireland, where the album stayed at the top of the charts for six weeks. His status in Ireland continued to grow, as over the three years that followed the release of 'White Ladder,' it was certified 20 times Platinum, and to this day remains the biggest selling album in Ireland.
"It's a record that was made in my bedroom, " Gray recalled on the album's 20th anniversary. "So it's not like a big major production, it's quite low key. I'd always been a singer songwriter in this traditional mode but was itching to find some new sounds.” It was the right record at the right time for Gray, selling over 7 million copies worldwide. It ranks in the top 30 best-selling British albums of all time and is one of the ten best-selling albums of the 21st century to date. That seems pretty essential!
By Matt Anthony - Summit FM Digital Media Specialist
“Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself.” - Francis De Sales
My father had pretty much thrown in the towel.
All his years in the classroom as an experienced industrial arts teacher were being put to the test. Successfully navigating a high school student’s journey from never-having-picked-up-a-hammer to constructing-a-solid-end-table-that-won’t-topple-over appeared to be merely a secondary achievement, a blip on the radar.
The task at hand seemed Herculean: getting his son to digest the fine art of learning to drive a stick-shift.
His patience was wearing thin, though, and he decided that the day’s lesson would have to end. Hearing him vent his frustration at recounting my proclivity towards grinding metal and gears together in a symphony of torquey chaos, my uncle, standing nearby, suddenly asked for the keys to our olive-green 1971 Volkswagen Bug.
“Jump back in, Matt. Let’s go back up to the road behind the cemetery.”
It was a picture-perfect West Virginia evening as we rumbled up past the headstones and on to a fine gravel road. There, we switched positions, with me now behind the wheel…again…nervously shaking at the thought of more clutch-oriented torture.
“One pedal moves one way, and one pedal moves the other way,” he said. “Imagine them going past each other. They stop to say hello, just for a second. And then they move on. That’s it.”
So, I did imagine it. Slowly releasing the clutch with my left foot and slowly pressing the gas with my right. Each time the car would move forward, but not without first eliciting a bone-jarring bump and a raking of the gears, throwing us both forward, before I’d press in the clutch, stomp on the brake, and try it again.
“Just relax and be patient. You’ll find the sweet spot.”
And after 7 or 8 more tries, I did just that. It was an unexpected moment of satori. Suddenly, I generated just the right touch when releasing the clutch. And I tip-toed just the right amount of pressure with the accelerator. Both pedals paused ever-so-slightly to say ‘hello’ before heading in their own respective directions.
And finally, the drab olive-green 1971 Volkswagen Bug moved forward, unimpeded, surging with silky smoothness, and awaiting my command to increase the speed and propel us both into 2nd gear.
“Beware the fury of a patient man.” - John Dryden
When it comes to ‘patience’, I’m a work in progress. While my threshold for juggling multiple tasks without losing my cool seems formidable, there is a spot along the patience time-space continuum where the bottom seems to drop out and my humanity bares its ugly fangs.
Supposedly, the English poet, William Langland, scribbled the phrase ‘patience is a virtue’ back in 1360. It seems like we’ve had plenty of time to try to work this out. But, apparently not.
It’s why I tend to rewind the reels and re-visit that day near the cemetery with my Uncle Jerry. From time to time, when the struggles mount and the patience feels as thin as a New York-style pizza, I identify more with my father, whose tutoring had run out of gas on that otherwise gorgeous summer evening. I get it.
But my gratitude lies in the measured, calm, rational approach of a person who found a common thread between understanding, progress, and time. It’s an event in my life that I’ve reflected on a great deal lately, especially with the challenges confronting us over the past years. I miss my uncle, who passed away several years ago. And I miss that Volkswagen Bug, too, with its quirky steering, throaty sound, and the baseball bat-handle that served as a gear-shifter. Thankfully, I can return to the memory of that evening with the hopes of applying the same graceful demeanor and calm approach.
By Michelle Charles - Summit FM Membership Director
Born in 1882 in East London, Max Champion wrote a library of songs with unusual musical and lyrical twists and turns. Other than that, we know very little about him except that he was possibly related to noted performer Harry Champion. Only one of his recordings “The Bishop and the Actress” survives, and until recently, his sheet music was thought to be lost forever.
According to Joe Jackson who recently released “What a Racket”, an album of entirely Max Champion’s songs, the first two pieces of his music were found in Malta. A couple of years later, nine scores were found in an old wardrobe in the back of an antique store in East London. A few more resurfaced in the attic of a boarding house and then finally in an old farmhouse in Belgium. Only a few of them had been published – most were still in his handwriting.
The style of music that Max Champion wrote in is called ‘music hall.’ This was music created by the working class and was performed in the streets and pubs of nineteenth-century London. The songs were not considered respectable and features lyrics that are either humorous, satirical, sentimental, or patriotic. While the lyrics were not overtly sexual, they do feature many bawdy innuendos and double entendres. These songs were extremely popular back in the day because they featured the trials and tribulations of the working class.
Singer and producer Joe Jackson was drawn to this music when it was discovered because of its humorous side. He found their spirit of fun to be refreshing and from an era when people knew how to go out and have fun – despite how horrible their lives may have been. Joe feels that we need that type of spirit now. The timeless lyrics are almost as if Max is speaking to us now from the 20th century.
Joe Jackson’s album “What a Racket” features Jackson along with a 12-piece orchestra performing 11 of these songs. According to Jason Rubin of The Arts Fuse, the album features “a set of songs that really feel authentic to the time period they are meant to convey.”
The album is an absolute delight and is one of the first that I personally have purchased in several years. It is available now wherever you buy or stream your music. You can also catch him in concert in late May early June this summer.