Sunday, September 30, 2007

My new favorite group … and why. An old Sixties ‘Rocker’ reconsiders

My new favorite group … and why. An old Sixties ‘Rocker’ reconsiders
Or…can an ‘Old Dog’s’ musical taste still learn a few new musical ‘tricks’?

The year was 1967 and my band was opening for the Kingsman (of Louie – Louie fame). We knew all about Rock & Roll and could rip a rift from one end of a stadium to the other..
The Stones were king as well as ‘Mo-town’, Eric Clapton’s blues, the ‘Folk’ of Dylan and folk/rock of the Byrds.
We had redefined musical taste in everything from concerts to commercials for the next milleniumn and it was fine with us,

Ever since those golden/vinyl days we Boomers have had the self-satisfaction of knowing that we have set the standards for rock and pop music for the foreseeable future.
After all, who could displace us? Certainly not the pallid, wimpy ‘Disco’ groups of the late Seventies or the self-conscious’, gimmicky wanna-be’ groups of the nineties. After all, we were – no strike that – are (well we still are, right?) the generation that invented Rock & Roll!
We are the generation that said “Bleep-You” to convention and the status quo. We changed everything from morals to music to the way as Shakespeare would have put it – “the world wags on.”
So I’ve gotta admit in retrospect that I might have been a tad bit ‘closed minded’ when one of my kids told me about a new ‘break-out band’ that they’d heard in one of the rowdy bars that I used to play in when I was a musical young punk growing up in Boston back in the sixties.
They played a few cuts off of a CD but I’m ashamed to admit that for one of the pioneers of musical freedom four decades ago, I was sadly close-minded. I mean what could these twenty-something ‘head-bangers’ have to offer the generation that invented the youth culture and put sex, drugs and Rock & Roll on the societal map.
Well guess what… LOTS !

Yes – we Baby Boomers gave the world a culture of new social mores and a musical heritage that will last a lot long than we will. I mean, hey, we gave society words and music that are used for everything from commercials to Webster’s dictionary. The feelings and once idealistic dreams of the sixties have not only become part of the lexicon of contemporary society, but in many cases – the law itself!
In other words fellow Boomers, we (as Pogo would have said) “have met the enemy and he is …Us!

So it was with some surprise that I came to the realization this weekend at a wedding for one of my sweet nieces … And many, many continued best wishes for happiness, Betsy! …that the musical envelope is continuing to be pushed. And in more creative ways then we ever could have dreamed.

And that brings me to the point of my rant – no, my observation … ( Jeeze Ric – about freakin’ time ! ) The world continues to have both interesting and innovative expressions of music and society whether we buy into it or not.
You see the group that my kids thought I’d like (and I would have if they hadn’t suggested it first) is a fantastic Punk Rock, Folk/Irish group called the Drop Kick Murphy’s.

Now bear with me for a minute here. When I say punk-rock I’m not talking about some pimply faced Goth types with more tattoos than ‘Popeye the Sailor’ and at least as many piercing as a striped bass in a Sunday afternoon fishing contest.
No – what make this group “wicked awesome” as we say around Boston – home of Standels, of ‘Dirty’ Water fame, is that they actually combine Folk, Irish traditional, hard rock, head banger, punk and … whatever – with a creative blend of traditional folk and hard driving contemporary Pop/Rock/Folk/Punk sound that makes them all at once children of the sixties folk/pop and at the same time a totally new mix of the gritty best of the new wave punk/rock rebel iconoclasts.

In fact if The Drop Kick Murphy’s had been around in the ‘old days’ of the 60’s vinyl R&R that I recorded on, I probably would have worn out at least two of their CD’s this weekend!

But bottom line id that those of us who pioneered ‘Do our own thing’ – and - ‘keep an open mind’, should probably take a good long look in the mirror every once in a while to make sure that we’re still practicing what we preach.

I finally did - and my reward was a fantastic new group to my personal pop/rock list. Right up there with Dylan, Beatles and Stones.

So in the end this ‘Old Dog’ put his musical parameters through their paces and learned another trick or two. I recommend it.

All the best!

Ric Wasley - Author

· Shadow of Innocence - Kunati - April 2007
· Acid Test - 2004

New from Kunati Publishing: SHADOW OF INNOCENCE - The Newport Folk Festival provides a groovy backdrop for this fun and exciting mystery set in the music and drug soaked sixties. The Baby Boomers and everyone else are sure to enjoy this appealing mystery featuring a pair of musician partners in love and danger. Don't miss Shadow of Innocence! From Kunati Publishing. Available now on; Amazon , Barnes & Noble and at bookstores everywhere.

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