Exploring Madison's Music Scene
Jan 2, 2014
10:04 AMLocal Sounds
The Sounds of Saturdays
Saturday has always been a special day for me, especially the morning hours. I’m not sure why, probably the relief of not having to go to school, escaping the grind that we are subjected to at such an early age.
It was the day I usually did some cleaning. Housework for my parents (mostly forced) and later, after I rebelled, the basement room I conquered and claimed as my own. My first real feeling of owning my own space, I guess. When we were all small, my two brothers and I shared a single room with a bunk bed, a single bed, one three-drawer dresser (I got the middle one, being the middle child) and a pathetically small closet. I don’t know how we made that functional. I remember a red-lit radio tower that could be seen from the window despite being on the first floor. That fascinated my older brother who went on to collect lots of antique radios, one of which I inherited after he died.
There was some strange comfort in those Saturday mornings. Always, they were accompanied by music. I had certain records I associate with this time and this period. Chicago II and E Pluribus Funk by Grand Funk with their strong political and environmental messages were having a big effect on me. George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass was a mainstay for some time, one of the records that affected me profoundly. I bought it from a neighbor up the street for three bucks I think. I don’t know why he would part with it, especially being so new. I still have it. I still miss Harrison dearly. Deep Purple’s Made in Japan was another. I played that incessantly. One album that always, always has a Saturday morning feel to it for me (and a summer feel) was The Yes Album. Another record that changed me forever, although I had heard Fragile earlier.
I’ve always been fascinated with the correlation of my life—times, places, events—with the music I was listening to at the time. I always think of where I was living at the time when I hear certain songs. I have a parallel musical timeline it seems, as I’m sure many of us do. Even when the music we love goes out of fashion or becomes dated we still cling to it. This is why. Memories are powerful devices.
Today the sun streams in through the winter fog on the windows. The morning dishes are cleaned, the cats and children fed, laundry running, chickens let loose. I contemplate which domestic chore to tackle next, keeping the workday world and its worries at bay. For a while I’m free in time; I could be anywhere, at any point in my life. It feels good. It feels warm. A time when there were less problems, I guess. This morning it’s Joni Mitchell. I’ve taken to playing her a lot on Saturday mornings lately. My oldest daughter works on a puzzle book; my youngest is right next to me, a picture of beauty even with string cheese hanging out of her face. I wonder if they will have their own remembrances of Saturday mornings. I hope they do, and I hope that the music they associate with those memories is as sweet as the sounds I hear in my head. Sounds I can recall at any time, anywhere. Sounds that bring comfort.