Sunday, June 18, 2017

Changing Times And Changing Towns

A look at the songs that have shaped
my life and ended up on my devices.
A few days or so after I moved to Tucson in 1999, and with some time on my hands before I started my new job, I was going through the Usenet group (remember Usenet?) and ran across a posting from someone who had come across several Genesis outtakes and b-sides compiled onto a CD. He offered to share it with anybody who wanted a copy, and I quickly responded, offering him to pay for postage and media. Remember, posting and downloading of music had not yet come into fashion.

Not long after, I got a CD with about a dozen tracks I had never heard before. I fancied it a brand new Genesis album after the disappointment of ...Calling All Stations..., in which Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks tried to replace the departing Phil Collins with new singer Ray Wilson and some help from session drummers. The album bombed, and deservedly so. Genesis without Phil just wasn't Genesis, even though I felt the album had some promising tracks. This one, "7/8," was an instrumental left off the album but tacked onto the CD single of "Shipwrecked."

I'm not sure if the title was a working one or not, but it refers to the song's time signature. Genesis did a lot of great instrumentals, and I consider this one of their best. It starts small, rises, envelops into a wall of sound and falls back into a comfortable refrain. I can remember this song going through my head many mornings at KOLD during the week, when I served on associate producer duty, helping other producers write. This song reminds me of that respite I had from the grind of line-producing two shows every weekday. I still had to do that, but now I was only doing that on weekends.

Several weeks later, I noticed the $5 check I had sent to my musical benefactor hadn't been cashed. I emailed him back, and he told me that he had gotten it, but it ended up forgotten on his car dashboard. He didn't mind: "Merry Christmas!" he wrote back.

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