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Lost and Found Songs

1. Jotting Down Songs

There was a time when I would jot down a song or singer whenever I heard something I liked. Sometimes it was on the last page of the journals I used to keep. Sometimes it was a quickly scribbled note on a notepad. Sometimes it was on the outside of the envelope of some bill that was sitting (likely as yet unpaid) on the kitchen counter.

(Ask the industrious Trudy about the piles of paper that used to sit on my kitchen counter.)

2. Cleaning the Garage

This weekend, we spent a lot of time in the sweltering heat trying to bring some order to the garage. Yes, there was a similar project last summer, but this time we went deeper, tossing ultra-old paperwork that we tentatively retained last year. 

And in some box that had my name on it, in some folder in that box, there was a small pile of jotted down songs. I set them aside with the intent of writing them here and including links to whatever I might be able to find. Mind you, the scribbled notes were often my rendering of whatever it was I heard on the radio. So there was no telling if I’d be able to reconstruct what it was that originally caught my attention.

3. The Jots I Found

Hank Jones. On the outside of an envelope from Johnson Federal Credit Union, I scribbled this: Sara-la. Hank Jones. Mandinko Music. (Africa/Mali) Shake-tidian Sek. Yeah, good luck figuring that one out, I thought. Yet with the help of Duck Duck Go, here is what I found: Hank Jones, Cheick-tidiane seck and the Mandinkas : Sarala.

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. On envelope sent to me when I rented a house in Clear Lake, I scribbled this: Pak. Quaali Music, Badra Ali Khan. Not as hard to find, except I got the Badra thing incorrect, and I misspelled qawwali. Here is a sample of what I was probably listening to: Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.

The Iguanas. On the top of a page ripped from a spiral sketchbook was The Iguanas — I move too slow. Ok, that shouldn’t be too hard. But no, I only find a link to the lyrics of their Super Ball album, which includes a song, “I moved too slow”:

I moved too slow
I took my time
I should’ve let you know
But I moved too slow

Perhaps those words resonated with me. (Sounds about right, right Trudy?) Anyway, here’s a link to something else of theirs which probably captures what it was that I liked.

Ramblin Jack Elliott. On that same sketchbook page, there was Ramblin’ Jack Elliot “Friend of Mine”. Evidently that was from the album “Friends of Mine.” Jerry Jeff Walker and Ramblin Jack sing “He Was A Friend of Mine” on that album, a song with an interesting history.

The Mozart Sessions. There were three scribbles on a small sheet of paper torn from a tablet: Chick Corea, Bobby McFarrin, “The Mozart Sessions”. No, those aren’t three separate references, they are a single one, and when I played part of it, I remember how it blew me away.

Ricky Scaggs. On a piece of paper from the Lutheran General Medical Group Family Practice in Park Ridge, where my brother once worked, I scribbled Ricky Scaggs Ancient Tunes (Bluegrass). It was bluegrass alright, a Ricky Scaggs album entitled Ancient Tones (not “tunes”). Walls of Time might have been what caught my attention. 

Mustafa. On that same sheet below Ricky Scaggs I drew a line, and below that I wrote two blanks followed by Mustafa. Fat chance. I’m not even trying to figure that one out.

Martin Sexton. Evidently it was 3:15 on Friday, and I was listening to KPFT. At least that’s what the scribbled note on the back of a LinCom paycheck envelope says. Above it, I wrote Daimler and crossed it out. Then I wrote Dinner and crossed it out. Finally, Diner followed by three dots and My Shiny Shiny Love. Here it is. It makes me smile even now. I mean, who says lyrics need to be profound!?

Diner my shiny shiny shiny love

Chicken ‘n’ biscuits
With a side of gravy (peach cobbler)

Scribble Forensics. That particular note has information that helps me guess what I was doing at the time. If I was working at LinCom, then I was still living in Clear Lake. And if it was 3:15 on Friday, I must have been on my way to the airport to pick up Ben for the weekend (otherwise why wouldn’t I be at work instead of listening to KPFT). Indeed, at the bottom of my scribbles are two URLS written in Ben’s handwriting: www.thislife.org and www.pulcina.org. We must have been on our way home from the airport, listening to This American Life, and I must have asked Ben to jot down the links. Who knows why.

…and now I can toss those pieces of paper into the recycle bin.