Listen to this...

Later this summer Mr. Beers and Mr. Bobo will go on vacation. We will be cruising and sightseeing a little bit. It’s something we’ve done before. On a previous cruise I noticed that the background music onboard the ship seemed a little bland. It was a little generic for my taste. This year I decided to try something. Last week I mailed the event planners a package of ten CDs of music of various genres by a myriad of artists that I had personally selected and deemed worthy of being the fabulous soundtrack for our vacation. I included a note explaining my intention, with a disclaimer saying that at the very least "someone in the office would have some new music to enjoy."

Maybe you know this about me and maybe you don’t: I like to force my taste in music on other people. It’s not quite as bad as it sounds. I try to do it in a nice way. I like to make "mix tape" CDs for my friends and family. On more than one occasion, I’ve gone so far as to buy friends iPod shuffles for their birthdays and pre-load those little suckers with music that I think they might enjoy.

For as long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed listening to all kinds of music. Growing up I got a healthy dose of country music, as well as good amount of the popular music on the 1950s and ‘60s. My parents had pretty eclectic taste in music, too. I remember listening to the 8-tracks of Santana’s Abraxas as well as Johnny Cash’s Live From Folsom Prison. I grew up enjoying all kinds of stuff. And, as we all do when we’re adolescents, I convinced myself that some songs were written with me - just me - in mind. Helen Reddy’s "Angie Baby" was a song I could identify with:

You live your life in the songs you here
On the rock and roll radio
And when a young girl doesn't have any friends
That's a really nice place to go

Living in rural Arkansas in the mid-1970s, I considered listening to the radio something I had to do to maintain my sanity. We lived close enough to Shreveport, Louisiana, that I could pick up a particularly groovy FM station at night. FM radio stations those days were pretty cool, playing music that you could not / would not hear on Top 40 AM stations. FM radio was where I learned about Todd Rundgren’s masterpiece Something/Anything. I was able to enjoy the extended versions of songs like CCR’s "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" - all eleven minutes. During this time, my sweet parents bought me a small portable reel-to-reel tape recorder. I loved that little machine. I would hold up the microphone to the radio speaker to capture my favorite songs. Later I got a cassette recorder with a built-in mic. I would hold the whole cassette recorder up to the radio. Then I got a radio/cassette combo that I could use to record directly from the radio. These little activities kept me happy and busy for hours, creating my own little "playlists."

Years and years later, Mr. Beers gave me my very own mixer. It was the perfect gift. I had a great time with this very special toy. With my mixer, I could pick and choose from my huge collection of vinyl and CDs and cassettes, and come up with all kinds of mix-tape masterpieces. Those mixes were used as soundtracks for my work at The Polo Shop, motivation music for workouts, and background tunes for various parties. For years I provided Chris Madrid’s Burgers And Nachos restaurant with lots and lots of cassettes filled with everything from CCR to Vicente Fernandez.

The vinyl is almost all gone now. I took the rare / hard to find things and put them on my hard drive, burned some of them onto CDs, kept a few, and sold the rest to Half Price Books. The cassettes are all gone. There are still a lot of CDs on the shelves, but I rarely play them. These days most of my music is in my iTunes library. But I’m still making my mix-tapes. They’re just CDs now. Just a couple of weeks ago, our dear friend Jo Ann (a.k.a., Crazy Jo) called with a special request. Her brother Bubba is turning 70 later this year, and she’s throwing a party for the old boy. She needs music for the shindig. "He likes that old country and western music," she said, "like George Jones." Well, that’s all I needed to hear. I got right down to business, putting together some CDs of great stuff like Hank Thompson’s "The Wild Side Of Life" and Loretta Lynn’s "Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’", and, of course, a heaping helping of George Jones.

If you come by W. D. Deli around Christmas, or Valentine’s Day, or Fiesta, there’s a good chance that I’ll hand you a CD full of little ditties that I consider appropriate for the season. It makes me happy.


  1. wf.davis@grandecom.netJuly 22, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    Hope Ak. and I remember the giant peaches. bill


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