MEMORABLE MUSIC AND FUTURE FAVORITES

Aaron’s

RADIO

SHOW

Transcripts original

Episode 11 - My Three Songs with Jen Lapin

Transcript

This transcript was originally generated using artificial intelligence ("AI") software. It has been edited by a human being, but it may still contain some misspellings, lack necessary punctuation, or include other anomalies. We are regularly working to improve our transcripts!


Jake:

Coming to you almost live from Berkeley, California. It's Aaron's Radio Show ... with your host, Aaron Gobler.

Aaron Gobler:

Thanks, Jake. And welcome, everybody to Episode 11. Welcome to My Three Songs, where I play three special songs chosen by my guests when we talk about why they chose each song. Today, my guest is a fellow high school friend, Jennifer Lapin. Hi, Jen, how are you?

Jen Lapin:

I'm good. How are you, Aaron?

Aaron Gobler:

I'm great. Thank you. Thanks for being on My Three Songs. You are the official guinea pig for the first episode. And I can't tell you how much I appreciate that.

Jen Lapin:

I am a trailblazer.

Aaron Gobler:

So before we get started, can you tell me something about how music fits into your life? Like is it an integral part of your day, or just some kind of background music.

Jen Lapin:

So it really depends on the day, most of the time, it's background music, and I turn it on when I sit down at my desk and turn it off when I leave my office. But it's usually just on but there are times during the day where I feel the need to hear a particular song and I put it on and I raised my standing desk and I dance at my desk. That's so yeah. So it depends on the on the day, but for the most part, it's on in the background and pretty much all day. Some people would say like music could be distracting to them.

Aaron Gobler:

But do you find that it actually helps you in your day? Or it does I not?

Jen Lapin:

I am a fan of quiet. But when I'm really concentrating on something, I like to have something in the background. Sometimes I don't even hear it. Like I don't acknowledge it as what song is playing, I just know that there's music in the background. Like I can't identify what the music is. But there's music in the background.

Aaron Gobler:

Part of the concept of the My Three Songs is songs that bring back something to your mind as soon as you hear the song. So do you find yourself hearing a song now? And then and like immediately you're back in a certain time and place?

Jen Lapin:

Oh, absolutely. 100% my daughter actually went to overnight camp for eight years. And she went to the same camp I did and will be in the car. And because you and I went to high school at the same time I listened to music that's much older than my child. And a song will come on and I'll say oh, that's a camp song. And she'll you know, then we'll listen to her music a song. Oh, come on. Oh, that's a camp song. Yeah. So yeah, so So there are moments that take me back to high school to college. Different events in my life that have been meaningful.

Aaron Gobler:

You've chosen three songs. Now one of them was recorded in 1960. But the remake of it was from 1980 1981. And the other two songs you chose were also from 1981. So I thought that was an interesting thing that these were really poignant for you. So the three songs you you chose were 867-5309/Jenny by Tommy Tutone, which was 1981 New Orleans by Gary US bonds recorded in 1960. But but but popular he popularized in the Blues Brothers 2000 movie, but he had re-recorded that I think in 1981, and The Best of Times is by Styx from their Paradise Theater album from 1981. So obviously that the 80s and that was when we were we were in high school right in the middle of our high school.

Jen Lapin:

So in the middle of high school and yeah, so I I do listen to a lot of 80s music I listened to a lot of classic rock. A lot of you know I listen to all kinds of different music, but I you know, grew up in 1887 Yeah, yeah. So that was so those are my people. And I don't know if you'll edit this part out. But I am a deadhead. So, if I'm not listening to the Grateful Dead, I'm listening to a lot of other things. Okay. But I do listen to a lot of Grateful Dead. There are a lot of people, some are your listeners who don't think I listened to anything other than the Grateful Dead. That's why I didn't really want to pick a whole bunch of Grateful Dead songs. Like I do have other interests.

Aaron Gobler:

So let's take a listen to Tommy Tutone with 867-5309. And then on the other side, I'll ask you some questions about it. Why is the song meaningful to you, Jen?

Jen Lapin:

So Well, aside of the obvious name thing, you know, other other people had songs named after them. And I finally got one. It was it was kind of a joke, a joke. I mean, it's a great song, and I love it. But it was also kind of a joke between me and some of my friends in high school, because I was on the crew team. And we would row out of boathouse row. And on either side of us were all male schools, also rowing. Right, so so we were in our boathouse. And then there were other teams all along boathouse row. And some of these boys went to all boys schools, obviously. And they would ask us for our phone numbers. And for the ones that were not interesting, I would give out this phone number, and some of them got it right away, what a significant portion of them did not. And that just made it more reasonable for me to give them this number is more than enough to figure out that it wasn't a real number.

Aaron Gobler:

But you don't think somebody you don't think somebody with a 215 or area code had that number

Jen Lapin:

They might have and I feel bad for them. But they didn't. Yeah, back then. It was just 215 I think. If if they did I apologize. Yeah, I did. I did it in college to a couple times. And the song was no longer popular. Okay, I got, I got away with it. Probably more in college. But that's funny. And to be clear, it's not like 1000s of people were asking me. So it was it was a nice joke. And it was easy, an easy number to pull out of your head real quick and sound natural saying it. Right. Exactly, exactly. And even to this day, not that I give out the phone number anymore. But when the song comes on, I still, you know, get that little nostalgic feeling of oh, I remember this song. I liked the song. And you know, play that was fun. Give out that phone number number too.

Aaron Gobler:

That's a great story. Thank you for sharing that story. So the next on your list was a hit by Gary US bonds and it's called New Orleans and we're going to listen to his original recording from 1960. Jen, I've heard that song many times before but I don't think I've ever known the name of the song or that it was by Gary US bonds. I think I only knew of him through his through these 1981 hit this little girl is mine.

Jen Lapin:

Yeah. And that was like a mega hit for him. But again, this song was from a lot earlier.

Aaron Gobler:

What prompted you to add a song to your list?

Jen Lapin:

So I love this song. But not because it's Gary US bonds because I like you had only heard of him in 1981 because of that big hit that he had. I love this song because it's the finale of The Blues Brothers 2000 movie which is equal to the Blues Brothers. And the jam band which is made up of incredible performers is called the Louis Louisiana Gator boys. Okay. And it's lead singer is BB King. It h as Eric Clapton, Bo Diddley, Travis tritt. Jimmy Vaughn, Gary US bonds. Isaac Hayes, Lou Rawl, Koko Taylor, Clarence Clemons, who is my all time? Favorite? Sure.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. From Springsteen? Yes.

Jen Lapin:

Yes. Okay, I love him so much I named my dog Clarence. But that's an aside, Charlie, Musselwhite. Billy Preston, Stevie Winwood. Grover Washington. Just so many stars. And this was the song that they sang to close out the movie, and it rolled the credits. And then as they rolled the credits, they would have the other stars of the movie singing pieces of the song. And it was, it was yeah, like Aretha Franklin. And I think Jr, Walker. And it just every time I hear it, it just makes me so happy. And it's one of those songs where what I said, I raise up my desk and dance. It's one of the songs that I seek out to raise up my desk and dance at my desk.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, it's a wonderful song. Thank you for including that because I really, it's on my playlist. Now I'm gonna listen to it some more. And so the last song in your list was The Best of Times by Styx. And so we'll give that a listen. And then I'm eager to hear what you have to say about that. Thanks for including the song. It brought back memories of my high school years. And made me think also about just how many incredibly talented bands that were cranking out great albums consistently, at least, us as high school students thought they were great bands, and that their albums were consistently good. Why is this song on your list?

Jen Lapin:

So really, any song from Paradise Theater is on my list? Because that album to me was sort of influential in me moving from a more pop genre of music in my listening to a more rock genre. And I'd love that the album is a story. It tells a story. I know there are other albums like that, and I love them as well like Tommy and Quadrophenia. And Kilroy Was Here, I think it's one of them. But this album was just sort of, you know, in 1981, I turned 15. I was growing up. I was asserting my independence a little bit more. And sticks, I think was possibly the first concert I went to without my mom.

Aaron Gobler:

Okay. Yes, that was a very memorable thing.

Jen Lapin:

With friends from high school. Yeah. In fact, you know, one friend even had a driver's license and a car. Kind of exciting. But it Styx in general, but this album in particular is one of my all time favorite bands and also as an aside and not the main reason but I also thought Tommy Shaw, Tommy Shaw was really cute.

Aaron Gobler:

Nice. He was a lead the lead guitarist.

Jen Lapin:

I think he was the lead guitar. And I think JT is the bass player. And Dennis the young the the lead singer. Yeah, the thing. Yeah. Wow. Yeah, you know, any song you picked from this album? I just l ove all of it.

Aaron Gobler:

Great. As we grow older, we would be hearing those songs on like soft rock stations and yeah, and stuff. They just kind of end up in that in that soft rock bin, you know, with like the ballads by Journey and such.

Jen Lapin:

The oldies station.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, exactly.

Jen Lapin:

The oldies station -- they're all on the oldies station.

Aaron Gobler:

So, thank you for your thoughts on that song. And is there is there anything else that you wanted to share about the selections or anything I didn't ask you about?

Jen Lapin:

I mean, I could have picked so many other songs, and I can have a lot of fun thinking about it. So, it was hard. What's hard, you know, because there's so much good music out there. Yeah. And I don't know that these are the three definitive songs that I would identify with, but there are three that you know, make me smile when I hear them.

Aaron Gobler:

In wanting to do this format my original thought was pick your favorite three songs and then when my family asked me what are my favorite three songs I realized this was not easy. I think it's most effective just to pick three songs that means something to you and and then pick another three at some other points. So I'd be glad to have you back again! I want to thank you again I really appreciate you know the journey of what do they say a journey of 1000 miles still requires one step I'm sure yeah. And and I want to say to my listeners if you want to be part of this show -- and Jen you can do this again certainly -- start by going to our website Aaron's Radio dot show, and clicking on the My Three Songs button on the homepage, there is a a form that Jen filled out and you can do it too. And looking forward to to hearing from other listeners and their their favorite songs. So thank you again Jen will talk to you soon.

Jen Lapin:

It was nice chatting with you.

Aaron Gobler:

Yes, it was a real pleasure and and until next time, everybody keep your ears and mind open and let more music into your world.

Episode 12 - My Three Songs with Amy Harwood

Transcript

This transcript was originally generated using artificial intelligence ("AI") software. It has been edited by a human being, but it may still contain some misspellings, lack necessary punctuation, or include other anomalies. We are regularly working to improve our transcripts!


Jake:

Coming to you almost live from Berkeley, California. It's Aaron's Radio Show ... with your host Aaron Gobler.

Aaron Gobler:

Thanks, Jake. And welcome, everybody to Episode 12. Welcome to My Three Songs, where I play three special songs chosen by my guests, and we talk about why they chose each song. Now today, my guest is fellow high school friend Amy zweisimmen Harwood. Hi, Amy. Can I call you Amy or should I call you by all three names?

Amy Harwood:

No, Aaron, you can absolutely call me Amy.

Aaron Gobler:

Great. I want to thank you for being on my three songs. You are officially the second guest on the show. What made you decide to be on the show?

Amy Harwood:

Well, first of all, I love Jen Lapin. I have known her for many, many years and have been a music follower of her taste and style. And when I saw that she had done it, listen to it. I knew I wanted to jump on board as well.

Aaron Gobler:

Awesome. Awesome. Um, so before we get started, can you tell me something about how music fits into your life? Like is it a key part of your normal day? Or is it mostly like in the background?

Amy Harwood:

I think that music is a soundtrack to your life. So there are certain songs that when you hear them, they bring you back to a period in time. But I grew up with parents who played music in the house all the time. We spent a lot of time at the Philadelphia Orchestra for Children's series. We spent a lot of time at the Mann Music Center or the Robin Hood gal East Robin a dark Yes, before with the Mann Music Center. My parents had very eclectic tastes. So we listened to everything from Mozart and Chopin to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. And then my sister and I had the pleasure of introducing our parents to music, which was so nice. So I think that I love listening to the music. I love what it reminds me of. And every once in a while a song gives you that shiver that you wish it didn't remind you of.

Aaron Gobler:

You know we both of us grew up out outside Philly. We know that Philly has like a deep music history in the Sound of Philly and such but I'm guessing some people may not actually think of Philly when they think of, of, you know, music history and, and then the there were so many venues...

Amy Harwood:

You know, there was 23 East in Ardmore, used to get great bands, the Main Point, which used to get amazing folk music, which was right outside of Narberth, Pennsylvania, one of the suburbs near us. And then of course, there was the Theater of the Living Arts and the Spectrum. And before it was destroyed, JFK was one of the two international hosts for Live Aid. So, you know, millions of people were involved in that project. We also had a very musical High School. We had incredibly talented musicians that we went to school with. And I think the performing arts were celebrated there. thanks to people like Dr. Geirsch and Mr. Peluso who encouraged students to become involved in players whether it be from the variety show with spring musical.

Aaron Gobler:

Amy, you selected three great songs. I'm going to rattle off the titles and artists and then we'll listen to each song and then talk a bit about each. How's that sound? Okay, so so your son gs were Spanish Moon by Little Feat and that was from 1974. This Land is Your Land, the version by Peter Paul and Mary from 1963. And What the World Needs Now is Love ... the very popular version by Jackie DeShannon shine in from 1965. So I don't mean any offense by this because you and I are the same age. But these are all certainly considered oldies by any standard, right? A couple of them are from around the time when we were born. So I'm really eager to hear your stories about them. And first we're going to take a listen to Spanish Moon by Little Feat. Well, Amy, I have to confess, I really don't know much of Little Feat's catalog, and I certainly don't recall this song. But it was a lot of fun listening to and I was kind of bopping around here. It's got I feel like it's got this southern sensibility to it. But it actually has like a real soul and funk core. And, and now I want to go back and listen to like Little Feat ... to their catalog. So thank you.

Amy Harwood:

Get Waiting for Columbus. Okay, it's a great general album, when they always have those Facebook surveys, which I don't do anymore because I think they use it to hack you. But when somebody says oh, we you know, one of your favorite albums for the next 10 days, Little Feat's Waiting for Columbus always makes it in there. But this song, which is not as popular as Dixie Chicken, or Fatman in the Bathtub, brings me back to the summer of 1986, which I call the last free summer, summer after junior year of college. So you knew that after you graduated college, there was going to be either graduate school or work or something small. Sure. I lived at Ann Arbor, I stayed with my friends that summer, one of my closest friends had been a teaching assistant of mine who was a huge Little Feat fan. So it was always playing in his apartment when you were there. And it was, you know, outdoor Alfresco dinner nights and movies being shown on the side of buildings and dancing to cover bands in the middle of the Diag in Ann Arbor. And this song always was played it the mellow, it's part of the evening, it always put me in a good mood. And as you said, you don't expect to be bopping along but you are. Yeah, I think little fetus is one of the Southern bands people think of the Allman Brothers. They don't necessarily think a Little Feat and they're just great.

Aaron Gobler:

Thank you again for including that I really was enjoying it and tapping stuff on my desk and and I and then I also feel like bad like, wow, why wasn't I listening to this more years ago, like, but now I have something more to explore.

Amy Harwood:

It's never too late.

Aaron Gobler:

Never too late. Okay, all right. Okay. Well, thank you. Thank you for giving me that permission. So the next song is, is certainly a very famous song. And everybody probably has heard this song already. And I can't remember which version of the song I'm some I'm more familiar with. But, but this this is, uh, this Land Is Your Land. And this version is from Peter, Paul and Mary from 1963. So we're going to listen to that. And then on the other side, we'll talk about it. So let's, let's listen to that now.

Amy Harwood:

That song has to put a smile on your face.

Aaron Gobler:

You know, it's it's fun hearing Peter, Paul and Mary my mom played one of their albums for us as kids in the 60s and 70s. But Amy I found that I find it novel that someone included a Heartland classic like this in their list. What made you add the song to to your list today?

Amy Harwood:

Um, so this is a total growing up on Andover Road song. My parents were huge Peter Paul and Mary fans, we saw them at the Mann Music Center. We never saw them at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. They actually never played the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Um, but, you know, my parents were huge hence, and my father would sing along at the top of his lungs, and of course, my sister and I would be mortified and embarrassed. I remember once we were at a national park, and they used to do these, you know, big events for their guests, and they would always be playing the song and my father would be singing along. I think that in a time when people feel so separated about how they feel about the United States in our country. This song somehow manages to not get stuck in that. Okay, um, and it's a song that kids learn how to sang. It does talk about what this country should be or how it should be. It's a kid song that if you really listen to the words, it has a much deeper message. But I think the reason I chose the Peter Paul and Mary version versus the Pete Seeger or the Arlo Guthrie, which are also very well known and very popular versions is my connection. To Noel Stookey who's Paul. His daughter was a friend of mine in grad school, we had the honor of meeting him. But probably one of the things that I got to take with me after I lost my father was that my father was very involved in a medical organization in the year that he was president. The foundation's fundraiser talent was Peter, Paul and Mary. And sitting at our table and watching my father sing along and no longer being embarrassed and mortified. And just being able to enjoy watching him, like it's so much and be so joyful about it. And how that night getting that was so great, that was so great. And how happy being with my sister and I and our partners at the time made him and that my children love the music, and they sing it along as well. It's just one of those songs.

Aaron Gobler:

And it's one of those songs, you'll continue to hear through your life in different situations. And it sounds like there's a bittersweet story to it, but it sounds like when you hear it, it makes you feel good.

Amy Harwood:

Yeah. Yeah.

Aaron Gobler:

Thank you for that story. That sounds like something very personal connection to a song and to the artists. Then that the last song that in your set was what the world needs now is love. And it's sung by Jackie DeShannon, of course, written by Burt Bacharach, and Hal David ... two wonderful writers, very prolific writers. So let's listen to Jackie DeShannon's version, and then I'd like to talk about the song afterwards. Amy is as I mentioned, you know, there are many recordings of the song by a lot of artists so the Shannon's version sounds a lot like Dionne Warwick I don't know if that's just in my mind, because I know that she's sung so many...

Amy Harwood:

Dionne Warwick turned it down. I don't even understand. But um, I actually picked this for a very specific reason. So in my parents' eclectic music case, there was the Burt Bacharach album with Hal David and the album of the soundtrack for Alfie and, and so I grew up listening to the Burt Bacharach version and 1997 ish, a movie came out called My Best Friend's Wedding with Julia Roberts, which wasn't a particularly good movie, but had an excellent soundtrack. And that song was on it. And somebody had like, burned their CD of it for me and used to play it in the house. And my son Daniel was about two and a half and I was ridiculously pregnant with my second child. And that song would come on, and Daniel would look at me and go, love sweet love mommy, let's dance to love sweet love. You can Yes, imagine a very pregnant Amy Harwood holding her two and a half year old with the belly trying to dance to this song. I realized when I was picking songs that emotionally meant something to me. This was a song that it meant one thing when Burt Bacharach was singing it and I was listening to my parents, Hi-Fi in the living room, but the shag carpeting and was very different when I was listening to Jackie DeShannon saying it and me dancing with my son instead of my father. And it really, it's a song that, you know, makes the transition and that's what's great about a lot of these old songs, they're coming back and movie soundtracks Guardians of the Galaxy brought a ton of songs from childhood ... introducing it to a whole new generation of people and, and that song was the song of my, you know, my oldest son and I in fact, that was the song we dance together and his bar mitzvah because it's just and still, when we hear it on the radio, we're passing, all four of us will call the love sweet love song. Because that's what it meant was back in 1998. Right before my younger child was born.

Aaron Gobler:

That's, that's a sweet story. And it was, it's very interesting to hear, like, you know, your differences in the versions and how the different versions of the different singer how they are different for you because somebody else might say, well, it's just the same song, you know ...

Amy Harwood:

Dionne Warwick belts it out ... and Burt Bacharach does it to be like, you know, a nightclub singer. Right? And then she does it like it's a sweet love story.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. Yeah. I think there's even a version on like one of the Austin Powers movies or something. Right. The second his second movie? Yeah. Well, that was thank you for that. Thank you for that story. That's, that's really, that's sweet. And I can understand why it's such a poignant song for you. So, tell me, is there anything else that you'd like to share about your selections in general ...

Amy Harwood:

I think that they're all songs that have been around for way before me and will be around way after us. I mean, I think they're those you know, one hit wonder flash in the pans. That still when you hear it, you love it. But, you know, the other day, I was listening to my younger son sing King Harvest's Dancing in the Moonlight. Right, right. Okay, that I remember singing that at the Friends' Central pool in the early 70s. And kids are singing it now. So, you know, that's the great thing that yeah, the Grateful Dead. There's a whole group of Dead Heads around that weren't even alive when Jerry was still alive. So ...

Aaron Gobler:

and yeah, it's perpetual, right? Yeah.

Amy Harwood:

And they're very bad music out there if I never hear Mony Mony ever again, i'll be okay with that.

Aaron Gobler:

Now, I agree there's some kind of like a flash in the pan or where they were really big at that moment, but there it is, it is fun hearing your kids play music that you don't remember like ever introducing them to or, or that they found out, you know, of that music from Glee or something or some movie or something you're like, Okay, however you did it. That's it is kind of exciting to how some songs can just keep reappearing in each generation. So well. I want to thank you Amy, for your time. This was a lot of fun.

Amy Harwood:

It was so much fun.

Aaron Gobler:

I'm glad you enjoyed yourself too. And I'm hoping that listeners will enjoy this too. And I want to remind our listeners that if you want to be part of this show, you can start by going to our website Aaron's Radio dot show, and clicking on the My Three Songs button on the homepage. And when thank you again, Amy and and say, you know until next time, keep your ears of mind open and let more music into your world.

Female voice:

You're listening to Aaron's Radio Show.

Episode 13 - My Three Songs with Karen Frasier-Kolligs

Transcript

This transcript was originally generated using artificial intelligence ("AI") software. It has been edited by a human being, but it may still contain some misspellings, lack necessary punctuation, or include other anomalies. We are regularly working to improve our transcripts!


Jake:

Coming to you almost live from Berkeley, California. It's Aaron's Radio Show ... with your host, Aaron Gobler.

Aaron Gobler:

Thanks, Jake. And welcome, everybody to Episode 13. Welcome to My Three Songs where I play three special songs chosen by my guests, and we talk about why they chose each song. Today, my guest is fellow Berkeleyan, Karen Fraser-Kolligs. Hi, Karen, how are you?

Karen Frasier-Kolligs:

Hi, Aaron. I'm pretty good today.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, good. Yeah. Is Berkeleyan the right word? Is that as that describe us? Yeah,

Karen Frasier-Kolligs:

You know, I actually was having this debate with somebody recently about whether it was Berkeleyan or Berkeleyite. My preference is Berkeleyan. Somehow it just sounds smoother to me.

Aaron Gobler:

And so, you know, I've been in Berkeley now or in this area for 22 years, and gotten to know you through various connections. How long have you been in Berkeley?

Karen Frasier-Kolligs:

Gosh, about that same amount of time we moved to Berkeley from San Francisco. In 1998. That's now? 23 years?

Aaron Gobler:

Yes. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I've often said you, one becomes a native Californian after you've lived here about 10 years.

Karen Frasier-Kolligs:

Well, I am a native California. Angeles actually moved to San Francisco in the early in the early 80s. So but I feel like I do feel like a native more like a native Bay Area-en San Franciscan, or Berkeleyen or something now, but I've spent a lot the first part of my life in Los Angeles.

Aaron Gobler:

Gotcha. Oh, that that is a distinction. There are plenty of native Californians. But it seems like there's more people who are not. Yeah. So yeah. Karen, I want to thank you for being on My Three Songs. You're officially the third guest on this show. And I think I think I'll stop counting after you. I feel like maybe I'm on a roll at this point. And, and I want to thank you again for for joining me. I'm curious, what made you decide to be on the show?

Karen Frasier-Kolligs:

Well, when you first posted that you were going to try this format, I thought oh, that sounds really interesting. And and then started thinking about what would my answer be? Because as I think, you know, it is really hard to pick three songs. And, and I kept every time I kept sort of thinking about it, every time you would have a I would see a post on Facebook, I would think I wonder what songs I would choose. The first song we're going to do is always the top of my list, but I always wonder what are the other songs going to be? And this time when I saw I guess it was just yesterday that I saw that you didn't have guest yet for this week, I thought okay, my time has come I need to do something. So that was why I decided to give it a try.

Aaron Gobler:

Well, thanks. Thanks again for for stepping up to the plate. So before we get started, can you tell me something about how music fits into your life? Like? Is it a key part of your normal day? Or is it mostly in the background? Or like do you listen to music on a whim?

Karen Frasier-Kolligs:

Um, you know, that's a really interesting question. And that's something that has changed depending on you know, when in my life we're talking about, I used to be one of those people who always had music going always in the background. I mean, I don't know if that's typical teenager and college age behavior or what but but music was, I had a soundtrack to my life and music was always going on, I guess I would say. And more recently, I feel like the soundtrack to my life was all of the noise that my kids made. And now that they're adults, and no longer in the house, I've started I don't know, reclaiming my soundscape or whatever you want to call. And that I do find for the most part, because both my husband and I are working at home full time right now, I don't usually play music while I'm working these days because we don't have quite as we aren't quite soundproofed enough from each other and we spend most of our days on conference calls. But I so mostly these days, I listened to music in the car and living in Berkeley. I'm not spending a lot of time in the car, but enough to get a fix and just pre pandemic. I had decided that I wanted to, I don't know, get back to my roots or something and start seeing more live music. And I was just starting to go to live shows and things when a small venue kind of live show. It's not big stadium concerts when the Shelter in Place hit. I mean, in fact, I saw two concerts a week before that and had tickets to a couple of concerts that were cancelled immediately after we started the shelter in place.

Aaron Gobler:

Karen, you selected three great songs, I'm going to rattle off the titles and artists. And then we'll then we'll listen to each song, and we'll talk about it a bit. So your songs were, "I Melt with You" by Modern English from 1982. And then, a song with a very long title, which I'll read, "I Believe When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever" by Stevie Wonder from 1972. And "Throw Your Arms Around Me", performed by Luka Bloom from 2000. So, this is an interesting set. And then each song is of a different genre and energy level. I'm eager to hear your stories about them. First, we'll take a listen to "I Melt with You" by Modern English. Now, Karen, this song has to be one of the most memorable songs of the 80s. And I feel like Modern English was one of those group of 80s bands that had just one single blockbuster hit. Why is this song meaningful to you?

Karen Frasier-Kolligs:

Well, back in around 1982. When I mentioned I grew up in Los Angeles, and I had just graduated from college and was back in Los Angeles. Living at my parents house going to grad school. And my, one of my oldest and dearest friends at the time was going to college in upstate New York. And she said to me, you hardly ever talk to anybody on the phone long distance in those days, but we happened to have a phone conversation where she said to me, you know, the worst thing about being here is that there's no good music, we don't have a good radio station. I need I need music, like the music that we listened to on KROQ, which KROQ was the big new wave radio station in Los Angeles in the late 70s. And through the 80s. And it was, you know, the place where we got all of our music for a very long time. And so what I did was I essentially picked songs that I was hearing on the radio all the time and made her a mix tape recording laboriously recording songs on to a cassette off of the radio, and trying to get versions of them where you know, the DJ didn't start talking over the music and stuff like that. And I could not get a version of this song where the DJ, and this song had to be on the tape. And I could not get a version of the song where the DJ, the DJ was, would not start speaking either at the beginning or the end or something. And I finally went out and bought this music it was on an EP. And which I don't even know what else is on it. I mean, to this day, I don't listen to any of the other music you were mentioning. They're sort of a one hit wonder. But I must have been completely uninterested in it. But I bought it just so I could put it on the mixtape for my friends. And I don't remember what else was on the mixtape anymore at this point. I mean, this was 1982. Right? But, but this song just has stuck with both of us, we both still really enjoy listening to this song. And she says she has the mixtape someplace. And next time I visit her periodically in Los Angeles. And next time I'm down that we were going to, you know, look around for it and stuff. But so this and it really does evoke the 80s too. And so it also evokes that whole time in my life when I was so you know, between college and grad school, but you know, not really a grown up yet, but feeling pretty grown up and having a whole you know, I don't know it has that kind of optimistic my life is ahead of me romantic sort of feel to it.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, and so, you know, I don't listen to the radio almost at all now. And so it seems like that might just be a trend that, you know, back when people were mostly listening to the radio is what you had to wait till the song came on, like you said, to hear it. And now it's more like really it's on demand like you feel like inspired like you want to hear it. So it's not like you're gonna just hear that any this song just spontaneously? Maybe you'll hear it in Trader Joe's or something. Right? Right.

Karen Frasier-Kolligs:

That's always on the Muzak in Trader Jo e's right? Yeah, exactly. I mean, it's a very different world the whole idea that we had to have difficult it was to me now I want this on my playlist. I hit a buy in there. And the whole mapping out exactly how long as each song and how many minutes are there on this set? So can I you know, am I near the end? Do I have enough time for this? I'm gonna cut it off and Middle and, you know, the whole process was also just so different then I was trying to explain it to my kids once and they just frankly did not believe me. That I had to do to go through that kind of an ordeal to create mixtapes.

Aaron Gobler:

And this is before like Excel or VisiCalc or any of these things right. We had to do it like probably on a on a piece of paper. Yeah, yeah, I love the whole mixtape story, because I had made my own share of mixtapes, and I don't know how they'll sound now because probably partially demagnetized. But um, yeah, thank you for that story. That brings me back to my mixtape days. The next song on your list is Stevie Wonder's "I Believe When I Fall In Love, It Will Be Forever". So let's take a listen to that. And then I'm very interested to hear your thoughts on it afterwards. Karen, I just love Stevie Wonder's work from the 70s. And I dig how this song ends with this unexpected, like, funky sound that, that I associate with a lot of his 70s work. And I feel like when I listen to his music, I can't help but feel like I'm listening to an extremely talented writer and performer. What made you add this song to your list?

Karen Frasier-Kolligs:

Well, let me like music nerd on you for a second and then talk about the emotional resonance. Sure. So this, this song is from the album "Talking Book", which came out in the early 70s. I think I was in junior high at the time this album came out and the songs that everybody knows from this album are, "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" and "Superstition" is on that album and there's "Maybe Your Baby", I think is the other one that I don't know, those songs were just like, all, you know, constant rotation on the radio through my, you know, junior high school, high school, college. I mean, well, I mean, forever. I mean, even it wasn't just the 70s they were you just heard them all the time. And, and I did never I never heard this song at that time. And that album is, I guess, sort of known in the Stevie Wonder whatever, as the album that sort of marks his real shift from his like, traditional standard, Motown R&B to more of the stuff we think of when we think of Stevie Wonder. And this song, kind of, you can see that bridge, you know, sort of, as you mentioned, it suddenly switches it the tone there at the end. And he threw in something that was completely different. And really is more sort of the direction he was moving in at that point in time. But I never heard the song and I probably heard superstition so many times I could, you know, was hearing in my sleep and, and, and then I watched high fidelity movie. And this song plays over the end credits of "High Fidelity". And I don't know if you've seen it or not,

Aaron Gobler:

John Cusack movie, yeah.

Karen Frasier-Kolligs:

Based on this Nick Hornby book, that's about making playlists. I mean, among other things, it's about music and this guy's relationship to music and, etc. And the use of this song over the closing credits, like as perfect in the movie with where it where the story has gotten to at that point. And, and I had never heard the song before. And it just really kind of grabbed me. And because I love the I love the melody of it. I love that kind of like lush, melodic thing that's going on. And then I mean, obviously, in the movie credits, you don't hear that tale at the end, it doesn't matter which credits don't last that long. Or maybe you do if you really listen all the way to the end, right. But at the time, that's in the early 2000s I think I was at home with a baby. And I had well, I also had a preschooler, but I was mostly at home with the baby and watching babies in my spare time on you know, at home in my living room, and that was when I saw High fidelity for the first time and heard the song and the song. I mean, it's obviously a love song. But to me it was like a really great the chorus of that is a really great thing to be singing to your baby when they're trying to come to him or her to sleep. So when I when I hear that song, I think of it as you know, the love story between me and my children more than our love song for another adult person. And I really it just like takes me back to that time. I mean, sort of in the same way that like let's talk liminal spaces or whatever the first one took me to this time in my life where I was between college and grad school and going out into becoming an adult and this one was this really interesting in between time in my life when I had stopped work for a while I was home with my little kids and was really focused on them for a couple of years and this song always reminded me It reminded me of the movie of High Fidelity but it also really reminds me of that time, being home with my kids dancing around the living room sort of swaying and trying to put my infant who never napped to sleep singing the song, but it's a really precious memory for me. And I also, regardless, I love love songs, apparently, every song I could think of to pick was always a love song was really pretty romantic. I seem to you know, gravitate towards those unlike other music do but when it comes time to pick songs for a list or something, these are the kinds of songs I tend to pick.

Aaron Gobler:

So it's it's almost like a meditation of sorts, or it kind of centers you when you're hearing these songs. Yeah. brings your mind to a positive place.

Karen Frasier-Kolligs:

Yeah, especially this song, it has a lot, it's very repetitive. You know, it doesn't, there aren't a lot of lyrics to the song. And the chorus just repeats over and over and over again. I'm not a musician I have it's chorus or the bridge, but whatever it's repeating over and over again in this really meditative way.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I had heard the song at some point. But it was really nice to revisit it and then really be surprised at the end with that funky part of the mix. I don't think I ever associated that with with this song. So thanks. Thanks for including this one in your in your list. The last song in your set was "Throw Your Arms Around Me", performed by Luka Blum, and we're gonna listen to that, and then I'll talk to you about it on the other side. Karen, when I looked up this song, I realized I had never heard of Luka Bloom. It really is a beautiful song. And its simplicity is I feel like it's part of its charm. I'm interested in knowing why the songs in your list and do you recall where you were in your life and how you first felt when you heard it?

Karen Frasier-Kolligs:

Yes, actually. So Luka Bloom, if you've never familiar with Luka Bloom, listen to Riverside, which is I think his first American album, that's really good. Anyway, okay. And he's an Irish singer, songwriter. And he put out this and I have his first album came out sometime in the early 90s. And I just started to make a practice of buying all of these things as they came out. And this particular album came out and I just bought it without really knowing what it was. And it turns out to have been, still is an album of covers all the songs on it, our covers of other people's music, and, and quite a few of them were songs I wasn't familiar with. And this was one of them, I'd never heard it before, and it actually, but I just fell in love with it, I love the kind of dreamy tone of it, the, it just it really feels like that sort of dreamy, beginning of a relationship where you're, you know, you're, you're really falling in love or lust with this person. And you really want that connection. And you're you're hoping it's going to be something that that lasts, but it might not. And it just really felt like that to me. And I'm the kind of person who like cries at romantic comedies when they everybody gets together in the end, and stuff like that. And so it just, it was this thing where I would get this like well of emotion about these people in this relationship. And it was just going to be so wonderful. And that is the kind of and as I said, I for the last 20 years have mostly listened to music in my car, I guess. And it was something that when it when it would come on, I would repeat, hit repeat on this track, and listen to it over and over again. And I found it very soothing. I tend to use music to like if I'm worried about something or just it's been a long day or whatever, to kind of calm me down and transition to whatever the next part of my day is. But so at some point, really recently, like within the last two years, three years, I guess it suddenly occurred to me to wonder what is this the cover of? I've never I've never ... I love the song so much. And I'd never heard it before. And it kind of never occurred to me that it was anything I didn't know this was an album of covers that there might be another version of this song that might be really good. What was its original and I went and found the original, which is a sort of classic 80s song from an Australian band that nobody outside of Australia has ever heard of. And it sounds very 80s it doesn't sound like this at all. And it kind of made me cringe a little bit. But then I started poking around and found that actually Pearl Jam does this song in concert all the time. And there are quite a few recordings of Pearl Jam doing this song and there's also a video somewhere a purge of Eddie Vedder and the guy who wrote the song a guy named Mark Seymour singing it and it's really wonderful. I have four different versions of it on different playlists that I listened to on a pretty regular basis, but the the and I just found it so interesting when I started looking into it apparently, according to Wikipedia and verified by a close friend of mine who was from Australia, this is the most popular song in Australia of all time. This particular song and this this song not not this version of it the original version sigh whatever they were called Hunters and Collectors or something. Yes, she tells me its pronounced is just called Hunters because she says Australians don't enunciate So, everybody knows this song. Everybody knows the band. This is the kind of song that it's like, if it starts playing in a bar, everybody stands up and starts belting it out. Like an anthem. Yeah, it's like it's like Sweet Caroline at a bar or something, everybody, which is so funny, because it's this kind of sad romantic song. I actually checked with her yesterday, I said, you know, I said, I'm going to be talking to my friend Aaron about this song. And I just want to be sure this is really true. And she's like, Oh my God, that's so true. It is like, you know, even though it's from whatever it is the mid 80s everybody to this day knows the song loves the song will burst into song singing it people always often have it as like the first dance at their wedding. It's an Australian institution and it was completely an anybody I know who knows it now. It only knows it through having heard Pearl Jam, sing it, and most people have never heard it. Like you and like me before. I've got The Luka Bloom album. But anyway, I just love it.

Aaron Gobler:

Right, this might help me break into the Australian market with having the song on this list. So yeah, so thank you. Thank you for that for that story. It was really very, very. Yeah, definitely the carrying amount of romantic theme across these songs. And I'm glad I heard that song. Thank you. Is there anything else you'd like to share about your selections that that I hadn't asked you about? Or that you're dying to just talk about?

Karen Frasier-Kolligs:

Not really, I think it's pretty obvious. As I said, I like a love song. And and somehow ones that evoke nostalgia or some special time in my life, or I like even more.

Aaron Gobler:

Awesome, awesome. So I want to thank you again, Karen. This was a lot of fun. And I hope you enjoyed yourself.

Karen Frasier-Kolligs:

Definitely I'm glad I decided to I'm glad I decided to do it. It was really really hard. I mean, of course you know, I gave you more than three songs. But even to give you six songs was really hard to narrow it down I feel like you know on any given day I might except with the exception of "I Melt With You" I probably on any given day would give you a different list. The other two songs would be something else.

Aaron Gobler:

I mean for this show, when I first was thinking about it, I thought oh, just your top you know, favorite songs but but I'm realizing that that's difficult you know even for me to do can pick those top three songs and really perfectly the way you've you know, encapsulate each song about the story that's really kind of where where I want the you know, the show to be so I really love your stories. And I want to thank you again for joining me and joining our listeners ...

and to my listeners:

if you want to be part of this show. Start by going to our website Aaron's Radio dot show, and clicking on the My Three Songs button on the homepage. And until next time, keep your ears and mind open and let more music into your world.

Episode 26 - My Three Songs with Renée Benmeleh

Transcript

This transcript was originally generated using artificial intelligence ("AI") software. It has been edited by a human being, but it may still contain some misspellings, lack necessary punctuation, or include other anomalies. We are regularly working to improve our transcripts!


Jake:

Coming to you almost live from Berkeley, California. It's Aaron's Radio Show ... with your host, Aaron Gobler.

Aaron Gobler:

Thanks, Jake, and welcome, everybody to Episode 26. Welcome to My Three Songs, where I play three special songs chosen by my guest, and we talk about why they chose each song. My guest today is Rene Benmeleh. Today's interview marks a milestone for this show. The past 15 episodes have included guests I knew personally, some volunteer to be a guest and others joined after I had to do some arm twisting. But Rene is the first guest who I really didn't meet until today. Next week's guest is also brand new to me. And I really like this trend. So Rene, tell me how you're doing today.

Rene Benmeleh:

I'm doing great. How are you?

Aaron Gobler:

I'm doing well. The weather in the East Bay here in California is amazing. And we're both inside. So we have to figure out how to do this outside?

Rene Benmeleh:

Yes.

Aaron Gobler:

If you don't mind, can you tell our listeners how you found out about the show?

Rene Benmeleh:

Yeah, I'm part of a list called BREX, which is an acronym for Brain Exchange. And it's a women's group who basically exchange ideas, sometimes items for sale notifications of different things. And apparently your mom, she sent in a message to the group and said I was on a radio show. And I was just kind of curious what that was, even though I've never met your mom. And I went ahead and logged on and listened to her interview, which was so fun to listen to. And then I listened to a number of other ones.

Aaron Gobler:

Okay, well, I'm delighted that listening to her show, kind of pique your interest. And you were like, then interested in listening to the other shows, it's really exciting. Before we get started, can you tell me how music fits into your life? Like do you seek it out? Or is it usually in the foreground or background of each day?

Rene Benmeleh:

It is in the foreground, for a number of reasons. One is that I love how I can work with my own mood, with music, I can change my mood, you know, in any direction that I want to with music. So that's one way that it's in the foreground. The other way is that I I happen to be a professional musician. I'm a vocalist, and a Community Music Facilitator, and a, you know, private teacher as well. And so it's just part of my life. I mean, I have to practice, you know, if not daily, definitely weekly, and I use my voice a lot to move through the day to express myself and release. Because music for me. It's enjoyable. And it's technical, but it's also medicine for me. So it's kind of like it's like nourishment, as well. Yeah.

Aaron Gobler:

Because you're so immersed or involved with music. And it has this foreground kind of effect for you ... was it a challenge to come up with three songs that you wanted to feature in this show?

Rene Benmeleh:

Extremely.

Aaron Gobler:

Oh, you survived.

Rene Benmeleh:

I was I was like, Wow, there's so many. But the one that there was one that I picked that you didn't choose. But if you don't mind, I'll just say a teeny bit about it. Because ...

Aaron Gobler:

Please, please.

Rene Benmeleh:

When I was a little girl, this was really the beginning. I think of what what I would call like my music training. My grandma had this record. I grew up in Venezuela in 19. I was born in 71. I just turned 50. And my grandma had this record of this man from Mexico, who became known as Cri-Cri, which is like the little sound of the cricket in the singing cricket. Yeah. And so he became this character. And his music is incredibly beautiful. Of course, when I was a child, I don't think I could have known how, how elaborate his music was for for children's music in comparison to some of the stuff that I've heard now that you know that his children's music, which is a lot more simple. But as an adult, I remember listening to it and thinking, wow, there's like a whole orchestra going on and all kinds of themes that are deep and important. So there was this there was this record, you know, that I listened to over and over and over again as a kid and my grandmother eventually made me a cassette. And we played it in the car and I basically memorized it from beginning to end. And I feel like that was the beginning of my, my vocal training, my singing training or how I fell in love with music. I also my family was Jewish. So we went to, I went to Hebrew school. So we sang, you know, it's part of life at Hebrew school. And, and I'll add also that my family happens to be Greek, Moroccan and Turkish. So, you know, there was a lot of music, always dancing and music from different parts of the world. So that was my my upbringing.

Aaron Gobler:

It just underscores for me how some families are very music centric or music centered. And others, it's just kind of this thing, someone's listening to a radio here or there. My mom had mentioned in her interview, that she used to listen to the Hasidic music festivals. And I distinctly remember that her playing those albums a lot. And that's where I learned a lot of 60s 70s inspired tunes to a lot of very classic songs. But yeah, there was a fair amount of music and in our household, and that definitely, I'm sure inspired me. And that sounds like it was very inspirational to you.

Rene Benmeleh:

Mm hmm. Yeah, I definitely got the bug.

Aaron Gobler:

So you were able to choose three songs. They are, What's the Matter Here, by 10,000 Maniacs, and that was from 1987; Wide Awake by Tuck and Patti, and that was from 1988. And then As by Stevie Wonder, from 1976. So I'm very eager for both of us to listen to these together. And I'm interested in knowing why each of them is meaningful to you. And I guess specifically, how you chose them out of the many, many songs you could have chosen. So first, let's take a listen to What's the Matter Here by 10,000, Maniacs. Rene, I'm well aware of 10,000 Maniacs, and I've heard this particular song before, but I confess I've never paid close attention to their broader catalogue. Why did you choose to include this song?

Rene Benmeleh:

Well, a number of reasons. One is, it spoke to me personally, because there was a time of my life where there was some physical abuse in my family system. So it touched me personally, I went to see 10,000 Maniacs when I was in high school at the Greek Theatre, and they were doing a tour for In My Tribe. And I was struggling to quit smoking, believe it or not. I went, and I saw her. And there was something so striking to me. I liked her voice. But even more than that, here's this little tiny woman with this huge persona, who was singing songs about real things, you know, and, and really, really difficult topics. And I'm not kidding. I literally stood there at the Greek Theatre, and I said, I'm going to be a singer. And I'm going to quit smoking right now. And I won't, we'll never forget the moment.

Aaron Gobler:

Okay.

Rene Benmeleh:

So it impacted me so much. And then I became a hardcore 10,000 Maniacs fan. I mean, I just followed them around for four years. And so much of their music was this interesting combination. I mean, they did a really tricky thing, where they would have tonalities that were often very happy sounding. But the lyrical content would be very intense. You know, and it was it was odd. And I think that, you know, Natalie merchant has been interviewed sometimes. And she she sometimes has said, she looks back on those songs, and she thinks, oh, gosh, there was so much dissonance. But I think that there was just something about it that led people to hear a message that they might not have otherwise heard.

Aaron Gobler:

Is it like adding a spoonful of sugar to the medicine?

Rene Benmeleh:

Yeah, and I don't know if they did that consciously or not? Yes, it's a little bit. It's a little bit like that. And I don't mean to say all their songs were like that they weren't. But there were some that had that quality. And this is one of them where, you know, you're like, you could say the tonality is a little more, it's a little more emotional, but it has this major key with this really sad content.

Aaron Gobler:

Uh huh uh huh, if it didn't have the lyrics on top of it, you might think something different about the song. It's through this radio show that I've actually had to really I want to pay attention really close to the song and some of these songs I've heard many times before, but not really paid attention to lyrics and some songs are just lyrically complex. But our brains may not really go to the lyrics first. They're just hearing the music and And I also wonder if this is a good marketing technique, because you were able to have an upbeat sounding song, but still have quite an artistic presentation of lyrics.

Rene Benmeleh:

Well, they certainly had a very large following of people. So something was working for them. Okay, okay. I will say I am very lyric centric. But on the other hand, the other type of work that I do and that I love is improvisational singing, which is often in gibberish. So, there's that world too.

Aaron Gobler:

Is that like, we're like scatting kind of thing? Or is it singing in a way that your voice becomes an instrument? How would you define it?

Rene Benmeleh:

Scatting is one form of that kind of singing. And believe it or not, I mean, among jazz singers, there's almost like very specific kind of syllables that people tend to focus on when they scat that you'll hear; that you recognize in you listened to a lot of scat singers. I will say for example, Ella Fitzgerald, who really brought that to the forefront. She did a lot of risk taking, you know, wasn't just like shabad baby boo boo, bah, bah, gah, gay. Whoa, right? Like, she would just go off and make these super crazy sounds and it's part of what would just completely light me up like my whole body would be resonating. It was just okay; oh my god, did she ... where is she going, you know, just super funny and incredibly fun stuff. Then there's the world of vocal improvisation. The sounds can sound a little bit more like different languages, right? It could sound like something from Africa, or something French, or Aboriginal music so it could be more like Banga. dukkha, Dara tuna masala bow para buddha mama, para buddha mama. Baba. Like, I don't even know where any of that's coming from. You know what I mean? But someone could say, oh, that sounds a little bit like this. Or from that country. So there's a little blend a little mix. I love that stuff. And yet, I love lyrics, too. I love message.

Aaron Gobler:

As a side question. Do you appreciate like Bob Dylan, who you can't even understand what he's saying? Is that like his kind of like, abstract type of vocalizing his lyrics?

Rene Benmeleh:

Well, I have to say, he might not be the best example for me, because I'm not that into Bob Dylan. I know, that's like, gosh, oh, my gosh, she's not that into Bob Dylan. How could that be, you know. But there one thing I will be honest about it, I have to like someone's voice to listen to it. And I don't love his voice. So I just tend not to. Now that said, I have heard some of his lyrics. And they're, they're amazing. They're wonderful. Once I was able to see what they were.

Aaron Gobler:

But yeah, what a wonderful lyricist. And I think he won a Pulitzer Prize for his lyrics or something. So it's pretty remarkable. Is there anything else you want to say about the song?

Rene Benmeleh:

I just love, the love in it, you know, the love in the song, the way that she's bringing light to this issue that so many people probably live with in their own neighborhood, but are too afraid to speak up. And I feel like the love in her heart brought her to write that song and put it out in the world. And I can't imagine how many people heard it and went wow, I know that story really well.

Aaron Gobler:

It does underscore again that there probably were just as many people who never really paid attention to the lyrics and never really absorbed it in that way. And others who who paid more attention to ... Rene, the next song in your list is Wide Awake by Tuck and Patti. Let's give that a listen. And we'll talk about it on the other side. Rene, I was not familiar with this jazz duo until I heard this song and then I did some research on them. I learned that Patti was classically trained. And then in light of what we've been talking about today, you and I, I noticed how much her voice is like an instrument in the song. And I'm thinking maybe that is has something to do with your attraction to the song. But what inspired you to include this song on your list?

Rene Benmeleh:

Well, I have loved Tuck and Patti for a long time and had been listening to them ever since I was in early college. And I mean, they've been around the Bay Area. They are local to the Bay Area. They've been here for you know, 35, or 40 years performing. Tuck is a just unbelievably stunning jazz guitarist. And Patti is an incredible, incredible jazz and improvisational vocalist. She's unique in that she has this deep, deep her voice. And I like that she's not afraid to go down to the depths, both you know tonally. And also lyrically, if if needed. This particular song has had me for many, many years. And the reason is because I mean, it's beautiful. But lyrically, the message, again, is one of something that touched something in my life. Like when I was young, I was actually an early drug and alcohol abuser. And I got sober, you know, at one point, and later came the quitting smoking and all that. But I had to learn to feel and to not be afraid to feel and to face things in life. So that is what this song is, is really about is about being wide awake, with our full body, mind, spirit and all of our emotions. And I love how she says, if you cannot look, then you cannot change. Open up your eyes. Don't be afraid. I'm right beside you. You know, I will never leave you lonely. And I'm not remembering exactly how it goes. But the the main thing is that she's like, you're not alone in this. I'm here with you. We're here together feeling what's happening in the world. Let's feel it. And then let's change it together. You know, that's what I feel like she's really saying here, so. Yeah, you know, uh huh. Yeah.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. It's a beautiful song.

Rene Benmeleh:

It's an incredible, beautiful song. Yeah.

Aaron Gobler:

Thank you for sharing that song with me.

Rene Benmeleh:

I hope you'll go listen to more Tuck and Patti?

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah.

Rene Benmeleh:

Incredible.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. Yeah, I'd like to do that. The last song in your list. And this is the second time we've had a Stevie Wonder song on the show. And I, I just would love to have more Stevie Wonder. So listeners, go find your favorite Stevie Wonder song.

Rene Benmeleh:

Ha ha!

Aaron Gobler:

The last song on your list is As by Stevie Wonder from 1976. Let's give it a listen. And we'll talk about it on the other side. Rene, Stevie Wonder was a powerhouse in the 1970s. And I personally believe that's when he created his most impressive work. And this song is from the album Songs in the Key of Life. And I'd heard the song before but not in the last 25 years maybe ... and listening to it now, I'm seeing this infectious gospel kind of appeal in it. And it just has some really, really raw emotion, especially at certain times in the song. And as I'm listening closely to the lyrics, now it is clear, it's a really intense assertion that his love is literally timeless, like and then as I'm looking at, it's almost like, like, it's a psalm, it's like, each line is just kind of reinforcing the same idea. But through all different types of things like when the dolphins are flying and the parrots are in the sea. It's really fascinating. So I really want to thank you for for bringing this kind of back up bubbling up to the top, because I wouldn't have normally just thought about this song. And it's just really fascinating to kind of do like a little bit of quick research on it while it's while I'm listening to it. So why did you include this song on your list?

Rene Benmeleh:

Well, Stevie Wonder, was someone who I would say, you know, inadvertently taught me how to sing. Okay, because you know, when you're a singer, and you're learning you copy everybody, you know, that's how you learn, until you figure out your own sound, you know. So I listened to him so much in the night, I guess, in the, I guess for me, because in the 1970s, when this music was coming out, I was just a little itty-bitty person. And I wasn't even living in this country. So was probably not till the 80s and 90s that I really started listening to him. And just fell in love in love again, and again and again and again, with so many of his albums and the way he sang, and the messages and the funkiness and how it just made me want to move you know, it was just like, Oh my God! I remember that. I was went through a phase where I was reading Be Here Now, Ram Daas, there was the section at the end where it was saying something like, think of the highest being that you can imagine during this meditation. And I remember just sitting there thinking, it's Stevie Wonder. I mean, I can't think of a higher being than him. I look at the lyrical content. And so what you're saying yes, this is this is a supreme love song, you know, to whoever he is singing it to. And there was a point in time when I had to make it a song to myself in my own journey of of loving Rene. I started realizing I was like, You know what, I'm gonna sing this too. Me.

Aaron Gobler:

Okay.

Rene Benmeleh:

And so it became an anthem for my life. So that is very special in that way. But there's just so much incredible poetry, and so much love. And then that very, very last line until the day that you are me, and I am you. Oh, yeah, what else? What else? Is there? I mean, oh, higher? What what? How high? Can you get? You know, it's just like, yes, if we could achieve that, Lord have mercy. What much more peace in the world you know?

Aaron Gobler:

So is there is there anything else that you'd like to share about your selections that you may have thought about while you were listening to them or anything else you want to add?

Rene Benmeleh:

I don't think so. Okay, I feel complete with what I've shared.

Aaron Gobler:

I really enjoyed your selections, and that also your story about how each of these has kind of challenged you or inspired you or pushed you in certain directions and how they're very meaningful. Each song is very meaningful to you, as part of your life journey. Like this song inspired me to do this. And this song changed my life in this way. So I think that's really kind of remarkable. And I appreciate you sharing the songs with me on the show.

Rene Benmeleh:

Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. And I just I'm so happy that I turned you on to maybe one, at least one song that you hadn't heard.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, yeah.

Rene Benmeleh:

Or maybe inspired you to go listen to some other music. So I love that.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, I did have a lot of fun today.

Rene Benmeleh:

Yeah. Good. So did I. What you don't know is that while the songs were playing in the background, and I was muted, I was just sitting here singing.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, yeah, I was tapping away. I got little things on my desk that I tap and I'm tapping them. Thanks again, Renee. And I want to say to my listeners, if you want to be part of the show, start by going to our website, Aaron's Radio dot show and clicking on the My Three Songs button on the homepage. You can also sign up for our mailing list so you'll know immediately when a new episode is available. Until next time, keep your ears and mind open and let more music into your world.

Female voice:

You're listening to Aaron's Radio Show.

Episode 27 - My Three Songs with Nadine Bean

Transcript

This transcript was originally generated using artificial intelligence ("AI") software. It has been edited by a human being, but it may still contain some misspellings, lack necessary punctuation, or include other anomalies. We are regularly working to improve our transcripts!


Jake:

Coming to you almost live from Berkeley, California. It's Aaron's Radio Show ... with your host, Aaron Gobler.

Aaron Gobler:

Thanks, Jake. And welcome, everybody to Episode 27. Welcome to My Three Songs where I play three special songs chosen by my guest, and we talk about why they chose each song. My guest today is Nadine Bean. Nadine, I must say you're the first guest I've had that has a rhyming name. I'm sure you get told all the time ...

Nadine Bean:

I've never heard that before. Really?

Aaron Gobler:

But more seriously, you're the second guest on the show who I did not know, personally prior to you signing up. And I want to thank you so much for being on the show. How are you today?

Nadine Bean:

Good. I'm excited about this.

Aaron Gobler:

Great. So if you don't mind, can you tell our listeners how you found out about the show?

Nadine Bean:

Um, one of my former work colleagues, Beth Shearn, who is a friend of yours from way back, who is a friend of mine, posted a link to her interview with you on My Three Songs. And I listened to it, and I was mesmerized. And I almost immediately filled out the form and sent it in to you to be considered for guesting on the show,

Aaron Gobler:

it's inspiring to me that the show clicked with with you so quickly, and that you wanted to be part of this. So that makes me feel really good. I really enjoy doing the show, I find it very rewarding. And it's additionally rewarding when others see merit in the show and and want to be part of it. So thank you so much again. So before we get started, can you tell me how music fits into your life? Like do you seek it out? Is it usually in the foreground or background of each day? Or where does it fit in your life,

Nadine Bean:

it's very much in the foreground and has been as far back as memory serves. Even as a child, I was very, very moved by all types of music, even as a very young child, when some thing moved me musically. And it could be anything from the Bluegrass that I heard from my paternal grandparents who Myrtle and Henry Bean, who were living in West Virginia at the time, but then they moved to Ohio, and to classical music to even folkloric music that I heard from my Ukrainian immigrant grandmother, who I shared a room with, I would get goosebumps and the hairs on my arms would stand up and I would get teary. It's just always been this way for me and I love all kinds of music.

Aaron Gobler:

Do you find that you're finding music on your own? Or do you find that you're getting recommendations from others for music?

Nadine Bean:

It's both, yeah, it's both. For instance, I discovered a fairly new artist, Rhiannon Giddens, who is an African American woman artist from North Carolina, who has brought to the fore traditional songs from Appalachia and the Black roots of those songs. I discovered her via a interview on NPR's Fresh Air and loved it, so I immediately bought it. Alicia Keys I discovered on a CBS interview, immediately went and bought her CD at the time. I sometimes see posts from friends. So I get recommendations. I'm moved by music via all kinds of venues.

Aaron Gobler:

Uh huh. So take me back when you heard the Alicia Keys. Interview. I'm just guessing you heard her perform. What do you feel? Do you feel something visceral when you're exposed to something that you hadn't heard before? It sparks something in you.

Nadine Bean:

Yes. Very visceral. So I respond to it in all sorts of sensory ways. Like I was saying tactile joy when I get the goosebumps and the hair, stand up on my arms, so she was playing, falling. And I just thought she was amazing.

Aaron Gobler:

Do you seek out particular music to get you into a certain frame of mind?

Nadine Bean:

Yes. So I do it both to perhaps calm me. Music is a very much a part of my life in that way. I use it almost in a meditative way certain types of music and things that I really love. I use it also to activate me. So, for instance, two of the songs that I chose today, I chose because of their connections to my very early social activism starting in my teens.

Aaron Gobler:

I see a theme across the three songs that you chose. And we can talk about that perhaps after we listened to all three. The songs you chose, were What a Wonderful World, by Louis Armstrong, from 1967. Amazing Grace, as covered by Judy Collins, in 1970. And the song Ohio, by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and that was also from 1970. So I'm eager for both of us to listen to these songs together. And I'm really interested in knowing why each of them individually is meaningful to you. And then perhaps there's, you know, that again, there's some theme that's running through all three of these songs. So let's first take a listen to What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. Nadine, this is such a beautiful song, especially in its imagery, poetry, and positivity is things we really seem to need nowadays. Why did you choose to include this song?

Nadine Bean:

It is beautiful to me. In fact, when you were playing it, I got teary. I remember when it came out, and I was only about 12 years old. So now you know exactly how old I am.

Aaron Gobler:

Okay, I'm not gonna do the math, but I get an idea. Okay.

Nadine Bean:

So Louie Armstrong, actually was a fixture on variety shows on television in the 60s. Okay, I remember hearing this and watching it with my parents and my grandmother. And I remember a collective gut reaction. How beautiful this was. And hopeful because this is exactly when the Vietnam War was really ratcheting up. Yeah. And that war, really what colored my life in middle school and high school and even my first year of college, when it ended, my high school years were touched by the boys graduating, not asking them, where are you going to get a job? Or where are you going to go to school? But what is your draft number? And some of the boys in my class or classes just above me or below me, some in my neighborhood didn't come back. Or came back. Very changed. And when I need to be uplifted and inspired, I listened to this song, and we do need it now. We really do with the terrible racial and political divisions we have going on in this country.

Aaron Gobler:

When you were listening to the song shortly after it came out, you found a kind of like, a respite or a way to kind of anchor you to the beauty and things and and yeah, and now when you listen to it, do you still kind of have those feelings? Or or does it bring you back to those days where you really needed to hear the song?

Nadine Bean:

It's both. It's both. We really need it now.

Aaron Gobler:

We need it now ... true. Yeah.

Nadine Bean:

And these songs that I chose, I'm also playing to my grandsons, when we still had CDs. I would play Louis Armstrong's Greatest Hits in my car constantly. And now I do it through a streaming service now often choose to listen to this.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, it underscores for me how the world is, well, our material things are the earth things and then the people and you know, living beings, right? If we had a positive mindset and took in the wonders of the world, it would be if we could just make it a better world. And so for me, when I hear the song, it's it's bittersweet. Because, because you can see how a lot of the world, at least in my mind sees things as competitions and not as collaboration.

Nadine Bean:

Absolutely, yeah, it also instills hope. And that actually is my mantra. Okay. As a former social work professor, I always said to my students across my teaching career first instill hope.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, yeah, I think that's, that's really vital. Because if you don't have hope, then you don't create intention. And without intention, then that's where things fall apart. If everybody has some intention, at least, hopefully a good intention, we can move forward.

Nadine Bean:

I just purchased Jane Goodall's new book on hope. And I just feel such a kindred spirit with her. Okay. It's almost as if this song plays in the back of my mind. When I'm reading the book.

Aaron Gobler:

Does she derive her feelings of hope from her ... I'm guessing from all of her experience with primates and such as that a kernel of it?

Nadine Bean:

Yeah, yes. And people in the world. And her premise is, like you said, Without hope you really can't have intention or feel purpose driven. From hope springs action, without hope you become inactive.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. That's very true. The next song on your list is Amazing Grace, by Judy Collins. And this is of course, a very classic song. And let's take a listen to it. And we'll talk some more about it on the other side. Nadine, I imagine nearly everyone's heard some rendition of Amazing Grace. I had never heard this version before. It's really touching really, really beautiful. What inspired you to include the song on your list?

Nadine Bean:

Judy Collins' Wales and Nightingales album from 1970 is one of the very first albums I ever bought when I started working as a team. There are so many cuts from this album I love such as Farewell to Tarwathie, another traditional piece, all of which moved me deeply. But her cover of Amazing Grace, I think, is absolutely incredible. And a couple of weeks ago, I've fulfilled something on my bucket list. I saw Judy Collins live in person awesome. And she had just begun touring a short while ago, again, for the first time since the pandemic. And she is 81 years old, or 82. And she finished with Amazing Grace, and I just jumped to my feet as did most of the audience. She invited us to sing along and tears were just streaming down like this came out again at the height of the Vietnam War protests right after, and I forgotten to mention when I talked about Satchmo's What a Wonderful World ... his song came out, then her work came out. Also at the height of the racial upheaval, and riots in many major cities, including Cleveland, where I grew up, okay. Again, this song instills hope to me and of course, Amazing Grace has such a long and proud history. I just gravitated toward it. Again, it instills hope in me.

Aaron Gobler:

In listening to her version and just thinking about the song in general. It is somebody who is very humble, seeing hope, expressing belief that there's better things and that the way the song ends, it kind of peters out very softly. Kind of just the whole personality of it is very, very humbling full of humility. The way she the way she sings it, and the choir is subtle as well. It's not a really in-your-face kind of sound.

Nadine Bean:

And that's the way it was penned originally.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, it's a it is a timeless song. And thank you for including this because I I don't think I've listened to renditions of the song by popular artists. The last song in your list is Ohio, by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Let's give that a listen. Nadine, this is a relatively short song, but its message is so powerful. You know, each time I hear it, I immediately reflect on the events and mindsets that continue to exist in our society. Today, decades and decades later, from when that song was was made, like 50 something years since that song, a lot of that angst and a lot of the issues still exist. So tell me specifically why you included this song on your list?

Nadine Bean:

Well, I was born and raised in Ohio, and I born in Cleveland, raised right outside of Cleveland. And this is about the Kent State University shooting, when there were three days of protests, peaceful protests, about the continuing Vietnam War. My father was a reporter for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, and he covered the riots and the shootings. This song, therefore really haunts me. And Kent State was the beginning of my social activism. And when I began to participate in protest marches against the war in Vietnam and against racial injustice, and my father, I credit with my social awareness. He actually won some awards for his coverage of the Kent State shootings. And it was a very scary time. He was gone for a couple of days. And we knew, of course, we saw it play out on television, the shootings, and four students were killed, and many more were injured. Yes, yeah. And the governor at the time in Ohio, and President Nixon ordered the National Guard in on, I believe, the second day of protests, and they opened fire on the students on a hillside and kind of big central green part of the Kent State University campus. It really was a turning point for me. And just a couple of days ago, we had a white person take action against protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and he was acquitted on all charges. And he killed two people in seriously wounded a third. And I just got a clutch in my throat as we were listening to this again, especially when I heard David Crosby at the very end. You hear him over the instrumentals. And the other harmonists, Crosby, Stills Nash and Young saying, why, how many more? And goodness it's still continuing 51 years later, it can't continue forever. We just got to get it together in this country. But Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young was also another group that propelled me into social activism. And of course, the Kent State shootings.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. The theme or the undercurrent really is how to respond to protests. And and in my mind, how a certain part of the population just wants things to not be messy, doesn't understand that in order for us to change some times there there is you know, there is messiness, there is protests there is getting people outside of their their comfort zone, or a little bit on edge. Yeah, and then the poignancy of what's transpiring now with these new era of protests and and how our country responds to those who are how our laws are set up in response to them. You know, I have heard Crosby say "how many more" and it was more poignant to me listening to it in a very quiet room here with my little my little earphone here to hear him say that and I don't know if that was ad hoc or ad libbed or whatever...

Nadine Bean:

I'm not sure how they recorded it; I'm not sure if it was ad libbed, but to me it's really the punctuation mark. It's really the exclamation mark exclamation slash question mark at the very end that is really important.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. It's there's four dead but but he wouldn't be say why how many more because he knows that this is not this is not the beginning. This is somewhere in the middle and And we're still kind of in that middle, I feel like

Nadine Bean:

Unfortunately.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, yeah. Wow. Is there anything else you'd like to share about your selections now that we've gone through them something about any one of the songs that you want to talk about?

Nadine Bean:

I didn't realize, but there certainly is a collective theme pointing out that our shared humanity and the senselessness of interpersonal violence from slavery to racial discrimination and oppression to the senselessness of war, which unfortunately, disproportionately affects those of different racial and ethnic groups, and black and brown people, Asian people, more than white people, also, that at least two of the three do instill hope. One other thought I had about Louis Armstrong and my love for him, which goes back decades after Hurricane Katrina, I'm American Red Cross disaster mental health services volunteer. After Hurricane Katrina, I volunteered in New Orleans, and I continued long after the Red Cross had pulled out ... the Red Cross is a disaster response and relief organization. We aren't a rebuilding organization. But I got involved with a new nonprofit, rebuilding organization and I took over 100 students over a couple year period, down to work with me in New Orleans Lower Ninth Ward, who help in rebuilding and no, Louis Armstrong is just synonymous with New Orleans. My love for him grew even more as our there are a number of artists that I absolutely adore, from New Orleans. And I was able to see some in person when I was there taking a break from working in rebuilding and it just strengthened my love for him. And now, I've discovered a new artist Jon Baptiste also from New Orleans. And I just am finding him so much fun and full of hope. And he does a cover of What a Wonderful World and a cover of Ohio. I play Jon Batiste for my grandchildren. I feel very, very connected to New Orleans, the people the music, the tradition, and very moved by them.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. I mean, I know Jon Batiste from Stephen Colbert late night television show, and I've heard some of his songs, but I didn't know that he did the covers, like you just had described that. I got to go check them out. Yeah. Wow. Yeah, very interested in hearing his rendition of Ohio. Well, I'd like to thank you again, Nadine. This was a very moving conversation. I feel like we touched on a number of themes. And there was a lot of poignancy in each of your music selections.

Nadine Bean:

Thank you. I agree. I agree that it was very poignant. I'm almost exhausted of being moved. But at least two of the three selections were hopeful. And the third one makes us examine our history and what's going on right now. And how, and maybe we can still find hope, so that we're moved to activists.

Aaron Gobler:

Yes, I agree completely. Yes. Thank you for taking time again to put together your list and sharing your thoughts on the show.

Nadine Bean:

Thank you for having me.

Aaron Gobler:

To my listeners. If you want to be part of the show, start by going to our website Aaron's Radio dot show, and clicking on the My Three Songs button on the homepage. You can also sign up for our mailing list so you'll know immediately when a new episode is available. And you can now also find Aaron's Radio Show on your favorite podcast service. The podcast includes only the interviews and no licensed music so if you want to hear the music parts, then you need to stream it from the website. Until next time, keep your ears and mind open and let more music into your world.

Female voice:

You're listening to Aaron's Radio Show

Episode 28 - My Three Songs with Julie Ringquist

Transcript

This transcript was originally generated using artificial intelligence ("AI") software. It has been edited by a human being, but it may still contain some misspellings, lack necessary punctuation, or include other anomalies. We are regularly working to improve our transcripts!


Jake:

Coming to you almost live from Berkeley, California. It's Aaron's Radio Show ... with your host, Aaron Gobler.

Aaron Gobler:

Thanks, Jake. And welcome, everybody to Episode 28. Welcome to My Three Songs where I play three special songs chosen by my guest, and we talk about why they chose each song. My guest today is Julie Ringquist. I know Julie for Facebook, but I really can't remember how we became friends there. I'm sure no one else has ever been in this situation. Julie was a contestant on a Zoom-based game show I produced in 2020; and I'm delighted to have her on this program, too. Julie, thank you so much for being on the show. I really appreciate you supporting my projects. How are you today?

Julie Ringquist:

I'm doing great. It's a lovely day here and I'm looking forward to talking about music.

Aaron Gobler:

You're in California? Tell us where in California.

Julie Ringquist:

I'm in Irvine, California, Orange County.

Aaron Gobler:

And do you identify yourself as being from Orange County or from Irvine?

Julie Ringquist:

Irvine. I grew up in Long Beach, which is LA County. So I guess to be specific, I say Long Beach or Irvine.

Aaron Gobler:

I know it's common for people to identify where they live as Orange County. Everywhere I've lived has been a city name or you know a town and people didn't identify it as like, oh, I live in Alameda County or Montgomery County. Is there any history as to why people just say Orange County?

Julie Ringquist:

I think there's a certain distinction from LA County versus Orange County, a lot of people may be referred to the "Orange Curtain". You know, Orange County is certainly more fun with Disneyland. So I think a lot of people like just saying Orange County rather than maybe you don't even know where Santa Ana or Irvine are. Exactly.

Aaron Gobler:

I see. I'm sorry to put you on the spot. I know you're not necessarily a historian for California counties. But you know why it's called Orange County.

Julie Ringquist:

Orange groves. Lots and lots of orange groves.

Aaron Gobler:

Okay. Suddenly, I'm picturing the No Doubt album; right? With the oranges on the cover.

Julie Ringquist:

Tragic Kingdom.

Aaron Gobler:

Tragic Kingdom. Thank you. Yes. Julie, if you don't mind, can you tell our listeners what made you decide to be on the show?

Julie Ringquist:

Well, I've always loved music, music is hugely important in my life. I love songs. I love lyrics. And knowing you, and seeing you put this together, I've thought that would be kind of fun. Of course, it was daunting. as everybody has said, trying to come up with three songs. You love thousands and thousands of songs. But I think I kind of put it into categories and picked one from each little category, one from each of three categories anyway. So I just thought it would be fun to share some thoughts about some of these songs that I love.

Aaron Gobler:

After this exercise of picking these songs, was there any kind of realization or lightbulb or something that went off? Or did you feel rewarded after you chose them?

Julie Ringquist:

Yes, it took a long time to get there because it hurts so much not to include some songs. It's like, how can you insult that song and not have that particular one? You know, Let It Be? How can I not have Let It Be in the three? It hurts so much. But once you get there you go, "Okay, I'm just going to talk about these for the various different reasons." I don't want three things with one reason behind them that gets a little boring. I want to feel different things. And these are the three I happen to choose. And we're just going to go with that and hope that people enjoyed listening to them.

Aaron Gobler:

I'm sure they will. I think they're three great choices. So before we get started, can you tell me how music fits into your life? Like do you seek it out? Is it usually in the foreground or the background of each day?

Julie Ringquist:

It's in the foreground and background. It's I'm one of those people like your Mom, I like to have something going on. Often it's TV even as background noise just just to play around the house. But it's often music; and I will say I do have one funny story if I could share it from when I was a very young child. My family tells me that before I even turned one year-old ... my grandmother would rock me to sleep of course singing Rock-a-bye Baby or other songs like that, and she would often think I was asleep and start humming instead of singing ... and my eyes would pop open. And I would take my little hand and touch her her lips, and say something like Baba Baba, meaning please do not hum; "I want to hear the lyrics to this. Don't get lazy on this job, please while I'm falling asleep." So, lyrics have always been important. And even as a two to three year-old, my grandmother objected because I listened to songs that she didn't think were appropriate for me to sing. One in particular, the story is Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves by Cher. Even the word tramps being in the title, as a two year-old or three year-old singing a song that my mother played around the house. And my mother would say, "Mom, she hears that she just picks it up, she knows the words to these songs, I can't help it." And, you know, my mother, you know, didn't really try to censor because how bad were things in the mid 70s? Really? That's how it's been.

Aaron Gobler:

That's a funny story. It's common to get overly concerned with what younger people especially you know, toddlers and such are understanding about what they're hearing or saying. And then when our reaction actually reinforces for them that maybe this is something that they shouldn't say and so then they decide to say it more.

Julie Ringquist:

Exactly, because they get a reaction.

Aaron Gobler:

That's, that's funny. Julie, you chose three great songs. I've heard all three of them. And I want to say four of them because the first one is a mashup. And that's the first mashup we've actually had on the show ... and people who don't know a mashup is as an artist taking two o r more songs, and kind of combining them .. or interweaving them, as opposed to sequentially ... they're actually kind of mashed together. So the first song you chose was a mashup of Lovely Day and Good As Hell, by a group called Pomplamoose; from 2020. The very classic song Year of the Cat, by Al Stewart from 1976. And a very popular song, Love is the Answer, by England Dan and John Ford Coley from 1976. I have to say that name very slowly, because it is almost a tongue-twister. I'm eager for us both to listen to these songs together. And I'm interested in knowing why each of them is meaningful to you. So first, we'll take a listen to Lovely Day/Good as Hell, which is a mashup by Pomplamoose

Julie Ringquist:

Yes, and the reason I chose this is it's just a feel good song. And it just brings your spirit up every time you hear it. And I love the little changes that adding in Good as Hell added to it.

Aaron Gobler:

Julie, I'm so glad you chose a song by Pomplamoose. They've done some great mashups and covers, I first discovered them through their Pharrell mashup, Happy Get Lucky. Their creations are wonderful new interpretations of some great songs. So why did you choose this song?

Julie Ringquist:

Well, first of all, I've always loved the original Lovely Day by Bill Withers, I love his version. Yeah, of course, it always makes me feel good. And Jill Scott also does a lovely version if you're interested in feeling good with the song. Then came 2019, when I discovered Lizzo, and the summer of 2019 was all Lizzo for me. And Good as Hell is one of those songs that just also kind of makes you feel good, no matter what you're doing. So when I discovered this mashup, and I have heard some Pomplamoose before, but this one was really what brought me to them. When I heard this, I just thought that's perfect, because what it does is it kind of changes this this great song Lovely Day into a romantic song because it talks about when I see you, you know, everything changes, and I realize it's going to be a lovely day. So it kind of depends on having somebody in your life. But Good as Hell says, you know what, even if he doesn't love you anymore, do your hair toss, check your nails, go out that door feeling good. And together, it just, it's perfect for me.

Aaron Gobler:

So part of the magic is not just the musical integration in the you know, the the tones and the melody in the song. But actually, the two different messages that are being sent kind of complement each other.

Unknown:

To me, certainly they complement each other or they include everybody ... you don't need to have that person to see their face and then realize everything's all right. And it's going to be a lovely day, no matter what I'm going through, you know, even they, you know, they say when everybody else always seems to have the answers instead of me, you know, I think that's something we've all felt and, and I like that Good as Hell makes it say and you know what if you don't have that person in your life at this moment, do your hair toss check your nails go out that door and greet the world.

Aaron Gobler:

I'm sure Bill Withers ... I'm assuming that Withers wrote it, you know, wrote that song in having another person in mind. But I guess the way we're both discussing this, perhaps you could be looking in the mirror and be saying it's gonna be a lovely day and referring to like, loving yourself.

Julie Ringquist:

Right? Exactly. I just one of the we all need more feel good songs right now especially or always through history. I guess. I just wanted to give a shout out to that one.

Jake:

My story with Pomplamoose kind of mirrors what you're describing is that you heard you hadn't heard, I'm assuming you hadn't heard of Pomplamoose until this song entered your world. I hadn't heard of them until the Pharrell mashup that they did, which was around this time with these two songs that forever was so involved in the song happy of course, which was from Despicable Me. Yes. And the Get Lucky song by Daft Punk. He had performed on that and I guess helped work with on the writing of that too.

Julie Ringquist:

And of course, the mashups really started for me with Glee, the television show. There were a lot of mashups on there and I found I really enjoy them. So anybody wants to go back and look at some of those many many Glee soundtracks, there are some fun ones there, including get happy, which, which was the one I love to get happy. And Happy Days Are Here Again, really nice one,

Aaron Gobler:

There's one that sticks in my mind that I thought was very creative. And that was a mashup of Young Girl and Don't Stand So Close to Me, which are totally different, completely different songs. But the I believe that episode had to do with one of the students having a crush on the music teacher.

Julie Ringquist:

That sounds familiar. Yeah. So yeah, and a very different song.

Aaron Gobler:

So really a challenge to kind of weave them together different kinds of threads, there so well, hopefully, some listeners will go in and investigate Pomplamoose. And it's not spelled the French way for grapefruit. It's spelled more phonetically, you can look at the episode notes on the website to see more about that. Maybe I'll put a link to the YouTube video for a couple of these other songs. So thank you for including that. Yeah. And your list. I I saw Pomplamoose in the list. I'm like, okay, this is great.

Julie Ringquist:

Yeah, I have to also say I chose it because it has an updated I am, I am definitely a 70s fan. Most people like the music from their teen years. I'm stuck before I was born to probably 68 to 82 is my sweet spot. And I like the teenage years stuff for me, but I don't love it like I do the 70s stuff. So I wanted to include something more modern, although I like all modern music too. But it just, I'm picking three songs, it's probably not going to be something for the last 30 years.

Aaron Gobler:

I hear you; and the next ... the other two songs in your list, are both from 1976. So we're gonna we're gonna go, we're gonna turn the clock back for those songs. So the next song on your list is Year of the Cat by Al Stewart.

Julie Ringquist:

And I chose this one because it paints such a picture for me when you really listen to those words. And if you love old movies like I do, you just can get lost in this song when you really listen. So hopefully everybody enjoys it.

Aaron Gobler:

Julie, this song came out when I was 12. And, and hearing it brings me immediately back to my middle school days. I really enjoyed listening closely to the lyrics this time, and really appreciating what a rich lyrical piece this is. So why did you include it on your list?

Julie Ringquist:

Exactly that reason. I just wanted a song that kind of takes you away from whatever moment you are in; you can close your eyes. And I just the very first two lines put me in an entirely different place when he says on a morning from a Bogart movie in a country where they turn back time. You go strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre contemplating a crime. She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running like a watercolor in the rain. I am there you've got me.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, and musically it's so beautiful. It's like it just a beautiful stream of music and in his voice, I can understand why it really has lasted all this time.

Julie Ringquist:

Yes, I think it just evokes so much and it's so romantic. I mean, you can't help but think of Casablanca, of course, with the Bogart movie and Peter Lorre. And I think that it takes you there. But I like how it also does it in color for me because later he goes on to say, you know, by the blue tiled walls and the market stalls there's a secret door she leads you through. And I can just picture the blue tile and the market area and people all around. And I think back to there was a time in my early 20s, I spent a month on the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean. And I still regret to this day, you could take, you know, few hours .. two to three hours boat ride and be in North Africa. But at the time, and often because of political things, you sort of think, oh, is it safe as a young girl American tourist? Maybe I won't. And to this day, I wish I had because I am a fan of all those old movies and the romantic idea of Morocco, Casablanca, and all of those things being in Egypt, all of that. So it this song at least takes me there a little bit. Someday I'll make it in person hopefully.

Aaron Gobler:

The last song is also from 1976. And this duo, England, Dan and John Ford Coley had several top hits. This was not their top top hit, but was a very popular song back in the 70s. And this song is Love is the answer.

Julie Ringquist:

Right? This is kind of the the big one for me. This is one of the my life mantras. This is one that I just think says everything I want to say. And I think it's an important song. So again, I hope everybody enjoys this one.

Aaron Gobler:

Julie was great listening to the song after so many years. I can't recall the last time I heard it probably was on like a smooth jazz station or something. But the the highlight for me personally was discovering that the song was written by Todd Rundgren who I really enjoy. Listening to it through that lens, I can definitely hear several lyrical and stylistic trademarks of Todd Rundgren. So that was kind of fun listening to it with with that in mind. So why did you include this song in your list?

Julie Ringquist:

Well, this song for me is just one that says exactly how I feel about life about humanity. Love, is the answer. Love is the answer always. And I want to, I'll say what love, love isn't the answer to or what isn't love in my mind, because I do feel like just saying be loving, loving, loving all the time, you know, is is not sustainable is not doable, there are situations. And so I will say I'm talking about making decisions from a place of love from a place that recognizes kindness recognizes the value of other people as precious individual beings. That brings joy. And definitely not talking about giving someone a pass on bad behavior. You don't have to react in love with that, in fact, reacting with love, maybe calls them out on that bad behavior, because going through life, doing bad behaviors, treating people badly treating you badly doesn't really further their joy in the world. So and of course loving yourself is part of this. And so it doesn't mean let people treat you badly, and just react in love; loving yourself as part of this and maybe having a boundary that says this is not appropriate behavior. And I love you enough to tell you that this isn't going to work for you in the world. So I want to say for sure it's not love of money. It's not love of power. The mantra of this song they repeat over and over again is love one another, love one another, love one another. And that includes yourself. So, to me, it brings to mind that quote from Nature Boy, you know, "the greatest thing you'll ever learn in life is just to love and be loved in return". And I think when you make decisions that come from a place of love, rather than a place of anger, or fear, or apathy for sure. When you think if I were making this decision, and I loved this other person or these people that I don't know, what would I do then what would the real decision be? I think we'd all be a lot better off.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, that's, that's uh, I like the way you put that. I think in songs especially the word love we often associate with romantic love, and one could listen to the song and think, love romantic love is what this person's talking about. And then some people might think that "love" is too much of an emotional thing. And so it's a little too, it's a little outside of their, their normal thinking, like it's reserved for something that's very emotional ...

Julie Ringquist:

Right. And it doesn't have to be ... But I think of the song, I think go out in the world and make a decision out of love. Sometimes that means letting the person come out of the driveway and make the right turn in front of you rather than hurrying ahead. You know, because that can make you feel better in the day, something as small as that, you know, making eye contact with the fast food person and saying, thank you so much. That's all love. And that all makes you feel better to this is a little bit selfish, I guess, in that I want to feel good in the world. And so do those nice things, and you'll get a little boost to your day.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, I try to exercise that; to certainly try to be very positive with people I don't know, in cases where something is frustrating trying to just not wallow in that particular moment. Or I may come home and and vent to somebody at home about it, but not deal with it in that in that moment. But in this context, I think really love is the answer meaning "Be kind, and treat the other person with the the humanity that they deserve" just just as being a human being and start from there.

Julie Ringquist:

Right. And I think that's one of the hardest ones, right? Because I know what it means is it saying universal religious themes. Although Todd Rundgren as I understand his said, the song isn't meant to be religious, although a lot of people take it to mean that especially with "light of the world". Many people think maybe refers to Jesus or, or some other things. But I think it's that universal religion, you know, that sort of Love Your Neighbor idea. And I think it's hard. It gets hard, especially today when you're talking about politics. But I think it's about loving all races, all politics, the homeless, the immigrants, the refugees, you love them, and you acknowledge their suffering. And that's the hardest me, of course, is politics. At this point, when I'm at my best, I try to remember that what they are saying is simply coming from a place of fear. And if I love that person, I have to acknowledge their fear. And think about what it is that they're really afraid of, and how I can allay that fear, rather than just what sounds like an awful thing coming up.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, the whole I mean, whole conversation around fear, that could go on for a couple hours. But that's an excellent, that's an excellent point in identifying ... a lot of our negative actions or reactions are likely rooted in some kind of fear we have and the more open or welcoming or non-judgmental, you can be with somebody, I'm guessing would allay some fears they might have.

Julie Ringquist:

I think that's true. And that that is the hardest, I think that's what many of us are struggling with, especially today in this particular climate that we're in, and especially the last few years. But I think it's just an ideal to keep in mind that you know, love is always the answer. Look at it through the lens of of love for that person for that group. And you can maybe make some inroads? Maybe that's a little hopeful, but you know, I think it is possible. And it doesn't mean you're not the wonderful activist that you want to be and you don't you know, fight for the things you want to change but you're doing it from a place of love.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, and and others will respond, how they respond ... you can only ... you can't control how they're going to respond. But, but if we start out with the assumption that that they will understand what you're trying to do, as opposed to assuming that they won't, it's better to try and to and to start with love ...

Julie Ringquist:

Right. Yeah; so that to me this answer you know, this thing of course, it's romantic love too; it's it's think of the person you're in love with in a loving way, even when you're mad at them. Think of where they're coming from and recognize their their individuality. Treat them with kindness and compassion and all of those things. It's romantic. It's for the universe. It's for nature, it's for animals. It's really love is the answer always it really, is the best way to go.

Aaron Gobler:

Yes ... I have been in a relationship for a long time. It's so easy just to see your partner or just the world through your own reality, and that it takes certain empathy and imagination and openness to understand that everybody's got their own reality in some capacity and be compassionate and open-minded and not project your own reality on others and not just immediately try to understand them through your own filter.

Julie Ringquist:

Exactly, exactly.

Aaron Gobler:

So on that light note, is there anything else that you'd like to share about your selections, something that you thought about while you were listening, or we haven't talked about?

Julie Ringquist:

I just think music is so many, many things. And I love that, you know, we can talk about a song that takes you away from the real world, like Year of the Cat, and I love that we can talk about just a fun song that makes you feel good and walk out the door with a little bounce to your step. And then other songs can really be as deep as deep can be with Love is the Answer that you can really dig into this song. And like you said, we can talk about things like fear and seeing other people seeing their fear as opposed to their, their anger, and go on for hours about it. You could take these songs, and it's just a whole life, right? It's it's everything. So I just love taking apart music and thinking about what it means. And I, I just hope everybody enjoyed the songs and are going out of this feeling good about their day, maybe put on one of the songs again, if you liked it, go out and face the world with some love and some bounce in your step.

Aaron Gobler:

Well, I had a lot of fun today. It was definitely enjoyable, meaningful, enlightening, and I do encourage listeners to go and seek out these songs that we played today. I hope you enjoy yourself too, Julie.

Julie Ringquist:

Yes, it was a lot of fun to get to talk about music. You rarely get to do that. And it's it's great to share these songs and I hope somebody got something out of it. I'm sure they did. But I look forward to your next episode, too. I've been enjoying hearing everybody's stories.

Aaron Gobler:

Awesome. And I'm going to keep doing these. You're welcome to come back with another three songs if you wish in the future.

Julie Ringquist:

Great. I will start on it now!

Aaron Gobler:

... so to my listeners. If you want to be part of the show, start by going to our website, Aaron's Radio dot show and clicking on the My Three Songs button on the homepage. You can also sign up for our mailing list so you'll know immediately when a new episode is available. You can also find Aaron's Radio Show on your favorite podcast service. But I have to warn you the podcast episodes only include interviews and no licensed music. So until next time, keep your ears and mind open and let more music into your world.

Female voice:

You're listening to Aaron's Radio Show.

Episode 29 - My Three Songs with Dorothy Brown

Transcript

This transcript was originally generated using artificial intelligence ("AI") software. It has been edited by a human being, but it may still contain some misspellings, lack necessary punctuation, or include other anomalies. We are regularly working to improve our transcripts!


Jake:

Coming to you almost live from Berkeley, California. It's Aaron's Radio Show ... with your host, Aaron Gobler.

Aaron Gobler:

Thanks, Jake. And welcome, everybody to Episode 29. Welcome to My Three Songs, where I play three special songs chosen by my guests, and we talk about why they chose each song. Today, my guest is Dorothy Brown. I know Dorothy through the Albany Rotary Club of which I've been a member for almost 20 years, we have dozens of mutual friends in real life. And I am so thrilled to have her as a guest today. Dorothy, thank you so much for being on the show. And did I say how glad I am to have you on the show?

Dorothy Brown:

Well, I am I'm really delighted to be here. I think this is gonna be a lot of a lot of fun.

Aaron Gobler:

I'm sure it is. I have a number of people on a list that I send out asking them to be guests. But I had an epiphany ... but more accurately, it was my wife who suggested that you be a guest on the show. And I'm so glad that you responded yes, that you want it to be on and and and then also scratch my head as to why I hadn't asked you sooner. So I'm really looking forward to going through your list of songs and understanding why you chose them for your list.

Dorothy Brown:

Well, I have to say thank you, Lisa.

Aaron Gobler:

And now if I could get you to cajole Lisa to be on the show, then it would be just a win win. Okay, to listeners, if you know, Lisa, then please solicit her for being on the show. Thank you. And so Dorothy, before we get started, can you tell me how music fits into your life? Like do you seek it out? Is it usually in the foreground or the background of each day?

Dorothy Brown:

Yeah, it's funny, I can't really do background. I think it's because I grew up in a household that was very chaotic, with background sound and noise. And as a consequence, I really like a quiet background. So when I'm listening to music, that's what I'm doing. Although sometimes I'm also driving, or cleaning the house or something that that is less important than the music. I can't go into a coffee shop, for instance, to work on something. Because the music gets in my way. If it's a song that I like, then I want to listen to it. And I probably want to sing and nobody wants that. And if I don't like it, it really irritates me. So in either case, I just couldn't concentrate on anything else.

Aaron Gobler:

It's really fascinating: the responses I get to that question, because everybody's brain processes background and foreground sound differently. And what you're describing is that your brain is processing the music in such a way that it does impact the parts of your brain that you need to do be productive, per se. And I know my case, I can listen to background music, and it's sometimes meditative or just soothing. And sometimes I just don't like having absolutely no sounds, lack of sound. Sometimes can can be more distracting. But I also find that if it's a podcast that I'm trying to really absorb, while I'm trying to do some work, that doesn't work, because I do need the same part of my brain for doing work and listen to the podcast. If you were listening to say classical music, do you think with no lyrics or anything? Would that be equally as distracting?

Dorothy Brown:

You know, probably not. And I'm the same way as you with podcasts? Yeah, I guess I don't have the right filters.

Aaron Gobler:

So it seems like the times that you would listen to music are ones you're seeking out ...

Dorothy Brown:

Right. You know, I put together playlists to walk to or and then in the past, what 20 months that we've been in this pandemic situation, I have spent an inordinate amount of time on YouTube. And I have discovered things that way as well.

Aaron Gobler:

That's great. So you have particular styles or categories, or Thor genres of music that you would use for particular activities. Like you said, walking ...

Dorothy Brown:

Yeah, walking ... would probably be the classic rock. Okay, the stuff that that you hear in Trader Joe's, as I've heard you say many times, yes. I select them for their pace for a walking playlist. But yeah, those ar e my go to there are a couple of whole decades that are lost to me, the 90s being one.

Aaron Gobler:

And lost in in that you I just ... (?)

Dorothy Brown:

I just don't know that music.

Aaron Gobler:

So can I replace your list from today with just 90s hits? Would that work? No.

Dorothy Brown:

It would be a very short show ... but sure!

Aaron Gobler:

So I should make a note to myself that if I come back to you to be on the show, again that I not ask you to pick your 90s favorites. Yes?

Dorothy Brown:

Correct. Or give me a lot of time.

Aaron Gobler:

We couldn't have a long discussion about grunge music or something like that.

Dorothy Brown:

No.

Aaron Gobler:

Well ... you've chose three great songs. And many times when I'm producing the show, the selections people make are songs I know already. And then they're oftentimes songs that one or one or two songs out of list that I've never heard before. So I have to sit down and listen to them ... I don't HAVE to ... I ENJOY sitting down and listening to them, and being exposed to some newer songs. So what you have in your list is a classic song, a song I've never heard before. And then the third song is a version of a song that I've heard many times, but not heard this particular version. So this was a lot of fun. Just hearing two things that I hadn't heard before. When you put your list together, you have no idea how many of these songs I know. It's always fun for me to to, to hear new stuff, or to hear new interpretations of things. So let's get to that list. The first song is Brown Eyed Girl, by Van Morrison from 1967. The second song is If We Were Vampires, by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit from 2017. And the final song is Unchain My Heart. This cover is done by Hugh Laurie from 2013. And listeners may recognize that name because he was the lead actor on the show House. I'm eager for us both listen to these songs. And I'm interested in knowing why each of them is meaningful to you. So first let's take a listen to Brown Eyed Girl, by Van Morrison. Dorothy this song is such a classic ... in my mind, it's truly part of American music culture. Also, and more importantly, is my wife Lisa's all time favorite song. So why did you choose this song to include in the list?

Dorothy Brown:

Well, I am just liking Lisa more and more. It's just my favorite song. You know, there was no question that it would be on this on my list of three. I I was born in '55. So by the time I was paying attention to music, there was just a rich variety to choose from, they were still playing 50s Rock and roll there were you know, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Stones and I like all of that. But somehow this song just rises to the top for me. It's part of any playlist I create if it's for a party or a road trip or to walk, it's it's there.

Aaron Gobler:

One of the key reasons that I wanted to do a radio show was because music can take us back to particular time and place almost in a meditative ... or I want to say transformational way ... just our brain can switch to some some time in place. And so it sounds like ... are you saying that when you hear this song you are transported back to that time?

Dorothy Brown:

I am. Um, it's I don't know if it's silly or what but I grew up in Burlingame and I went to Catholic school and we were first to eighth grade in one school. And every year the Parish had a picnic at at Blackberry Farm in Cupertino, and the eighth grade class would have an additional picnic there. And sometimes when I hear this song, I can smell eucalyptus, from that place and and that picnic, and it just never fails to make me happy this song. And now it's funny because it is a classic. And unless it's I play it on purpose, or I'm in Trader Joe's or I'm at a wedding because it is almost without fail one of the songs that they you know, sort of throw a bone to the old people. And I can honestly be mid-sentence with somebody and I'll hear that bump um, and I am looking for Todd my husband and we we are dancing because it's just it's just that kind of a song. It's the only time I regret having green eyes.

Aaron Gobler:

I think that's ... Lisa has brown eyes which is maybe why ... when you're describing this but hearing the just the, you know the first beats of the song and then immediately switching I'm thinking about hypnosis and how suggestion can be placed in your brain and then triggered you know by ... traditionally the hypnotist will snap their fingers or make some or touch you on the shoulder or something. But in this case, you hear the beginning of the song. And immediately it evokes this something that if you know that you're switched from whatever's going on to, to wanting to dance, and it brings back obviously, good feelings to you. Does that kind of describe it? Yeah. Okay.

Dorothy Brown:

I absolutely does. And it's just great to have a song like that in your back. You know, sometimes, your, your mood needs a little help.

Aaron Gobler:

The next song on your list is called If We Were Vampires, and it's by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. And as I mentioned earlier, so there's songs that I've never heard before that guests choose. And I was very curious about the title of this song. If We Were Vampires, I wasn't sure where the song was gonna go. But as as listeners will hear, when we play the song, I asked you to pay attention to the lyrics and and we'll talk about it more on the other side. Dorothy, thank you so much for sharing the song. As we listened to it right now, I just wanted it to keep going. (I) lost track there and like, oh, it's almost over. It's so beautiful, both musically and lyrically. And, and this as an aside, my daughter and I just finished watching all 145 episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So I'm really able to connect with the train of thought here ... in regards to vampires ... that I wouldn't have appreciated prior. So what inspired you to include this song on your list?

Dorothy Brown:

Right now, this might be the most beautiful song I've ever heard. I mean, I know that my own opinions could change. But this song just slays me. I I found Jason Isbell this past year. So during this very strange pandemic time, and it's kind of like when you discover something great ... you just want everybody to know about it. And that's why I knew I was gonna include it. The first two songs on this list were no brainers for me, okay? And, and sort of the path that led me to it is I love storytellers. And I'm very interested in process. So when I like an author or performer, I'll usually go to YouTube to find interviews and listen to them tell stories. And just as an aside, that's why I enjoy listening to this radio show. It's just fascinating to hear people's stories about the music they love. But I was reading a book by George Saunders and I'd never read anything by him before. So I was poking around and I found him in conversation with this person named Jason Isbell. And sort of when I saw that headline on the the YouTube video, I assumed that Jason Isbell was the interviewer. But it turns out that Saunders is a great fan of his books. And he wanted to learn about the songwriting process. So was like an hour-long conversation. And it was fascinating. So then I had to find the music. And I've listened to many of Jason Isbell songs, they're all amazing, but this one was just so special to me. Because as you say, because of the lyrics to me, they're perfect. It's a song that sounds like he worked on it really hard. I've heard the story that Paul McCartney tells that the song Yesterday sort of came to him fully formed in a dream. And I think that happens sometimes, but it didn't happen here. And I know that poetry is really hard because every word has to count. And in this song, there are no easy rhymes, there aren't clever phrases, he just found the best words to convey what he wanted to say. And I love the structure of it. I love the list format, as a means to discover why the singer feels the way he feels, and just sort of going through them you know, it's no it's not your beauty. It's it's not our intimacy, even though I noticed both of those things in in specific detail. It's not even your character. I mean, how how great a line is the mercy and your sense of right and wrong. I mean, that that is just perfect. But you know, the singer is saying that it's it's the combination of all of those things and knowing that this can't go on forever. You know, there is an expiration date. We just don't know when it is If it makes me cry, the next line is the one that I love. Well, I love them all. But he says, likely one of us will have to spend some some days alone. And he could have said, likely one of us will have to spend some time alone, he could have said, we'll have to spend some nights alone. Because it's not a word that has to rhyme with anything, it just has to be one syllable. But for me, the fact that he chose, likely one of us will have to spend some days alone is the most poignant choice. Because it, it just means I'll miss your company. So I think, I don't know, maybe it's the pandemic that is doing this to me. But it just, it just hits hard. Because I emphatically do not want to live forever. There. I do not want to live forever. But that means there will be a loss. And, you know, in this particular time, when we've been forced to be apart from a lot of people that the message is just all the more moving and and urgent, you know, that we need to pay attention to the people we love. And he goes on and says, you know, maybe time running out as a gift. And you know, maybe we can turn some of this pandemic experience into a gift. I don't know,

Aaron Gobler:

Your takeaway was different than mine, in that I'm listening to it from .. I'm just a wordsmith and I love words. And then you alluded to this, you know, the choice of words in the song. And maybe it's because I had been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a couple hours every night for several months ... that understanding the whole idea of vampires living forever. And I agree with you, I don't think I'd want to I don't think I'd want to live forever. But it was I thought it was so clever the way that concept was woven in, like, I don't think Jason Isbell, and his partner really want to be vampires. But just using that as a mechanism in the song to ponder whether you'd want to be living forever. But if you could, you could then laugh at the people who who are mortal.

Dorothy Brown:

Right. And that that moment in the song, you know, he said, we just go out on the sidewalk and smoke and laugh at the lovers. Yeah. And I wouldn't feel the need to hold your hand. So the fact that time is finite, makes it just more precious. And I just think he crafted that so beautifully.

Aaron Gobler:

This is the first time I've heard of Jason his bow. And this song is a great entree both as like to get me into listen more of his stuff, but also an entree like, like something you'd eat. Yes, it was really just a wonderful, wonderful dish. And so I want to I want to taste more. So thank you so much for including the song, and definitely a gem. And I'm delighted that you shared it with me. And I am expecting that some listeners are going to go and search for more music by him so so thank you again,

Dorothy Brown:

I hope I hope they do because he's got some gems out there.

Aaron Gobler:

Your last song is unchained my heart and many listeners may recognize this as a song by Ray Charles. Now Ray Charles didn't write it, but he was the first one who performed it. And it's probably the most famous version. But this particular cover is by Hugh Laurie. And it's from 2013. So let's give it a listen. Dorothy, in 1987 Joe Cocker also covered the song, and some listeners may recognize the song from from his rendition. I was not prepared for Hugh Laurie's version. It's a great interpretation and it gives the song new life thank you so much for including it . Why did you put this in your list?

Dorothy Brown:

Well, songs 1 and 2 were ... they just came to my mind immediately. And for song 3, I was I was actually thinking that I would include female voice because I love female voices and female harmony and all of that. So I went to my iTunes library and I saw this and I said, well, that has to be the one because of the story behind it. And first of all, Hugh Laurie is a remarkable talent. I don't know if you know he has written a novel, okay. And anyone who can be equally compelling in the Night Manager and Avenue Five, which could not be more different from each other as an actor. You know, he's just someone to watch for his acting ability, but he plays the piano. He played the piano on this track, plays the guitar, he sings. So I wonder if there's anything he can't do. But it turns out that he first heard Blues when he was like seven years-old. And he said it felt like he was home, he just felt this is my music, this will always be my music. And so he sort of has enjoyed it and studied it and played it for himself since then, and when people get famous opportunities sometimes come to them. So as House was coming to an end, a record company approached him and asked him if he would like to do an album of you know, Blues, music, New Orleans, Jazz, that sort of thing. Now, I don't know if you've ever seen an interview with Hugh Laurie, but he could not be more British. Right? He's very reserved. And he listened to the invitation and just sort of thought, Who do I think I am? You know, I can't do this. But then he thought further, and he thought, nobody's ever going to ask me to do this again. And if I don't do it, I'll just regret it. I'll, you know, I'll kick myself. So he did it. And it became bigger than he ever expected. I think he did ... I know he did two albums, but I think he did three, toured the world, literally, with the Copper Bottom Band that is in this track, and he just had the time of his life. And he knows how amazing that is. And I get excited for him. I mean, it's absolutely ridiculous. I don't know Hugh Laurie. He doesn't care what I think. But I'm just so happy for him. And it just is, I don't know, kind of a lesson that life takes unexpected turns and and sometimes you just want to grab these opportunities. And well, he said, it's a terrible thing, I think in life, to wait until you're ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There's almost no such thing as ready. There is only now and you may as well do it now. And I mean, that's just plain old good life advice. Plus, he got he got to do it. And he never expected that would come his way. You know, in a small way, I think I have had something like that happen to me could be why I love the story so much. Because I can't play any instrument I can't sing. But I love to dance. And so maybe 10 years ago, I guess I started doing this long-term photography project of the Cajun and Zydeco music scene in the Bay Area, which has a really rich history. And I love the music and I got access. And I love having access, I love being able to watch closely things that I don't know how to do myself. It's kind of like why I like to listen to these interviews of people. It's planning their process. But I was doing that for a couple of years: photographing these bands. And I finally admitted to myself that what I really wanted to do was just put the camera down and dance. But I thought to myself, I don't get to do this, you know, some of these folks have been dancing to this music since the 90s. This is this is THEIRS, you know, it can't it's not something I can, I can just work my way into. But I kept thinking about it. And it just was it looked like so much fun. And none of them were telling me I couldn't do it. So I just decided, you know, I maybe I just need to get over myself. And and Todd already loved the music. So we took a few dance lessons. And we started going. So for about five years, we went to the Ashkenaz in Berkeley almost every Tuesday night, which was Cajun Zydeco night, and it was such a surprise to find this in my 60s. And such a joy it is it is only joyful. The people are so nice, the musicians are amazing. And what I discovered is that when music is played for dancing, the dancers actually bring something to it. There's this energy that flows from the band to the dance floor and then back. And there's this loop and it just makes everybody better. And I been you know sometimes when there weren't very many dancers and the band just doesn't have as good a time and I don't know, I just I just love that. So things shut down in March of 2020, and it just underscores you know, both of these last songs that that time is precious life is precious and you should take risks sometimes even though this was a very this wasn't real risk, but it felt that way and just enjoy, enjoy the opportunities that fall to you.

Aaron Gobler:

Several things entered my mind as you were talking about this song and Hugh Laurie's path. We were told at an early age, if opportunity knocks answer the door, or in my later years told, you know, the universe, when the universe speaks, or the universe presents you with something ... that you should take it and not discount it ... don't have regrets. In Hugh Laurie's case, like you said, there was probably little or no downside, you know, when he was approached to do this recording, but I'm sure it was pretty scary when he first started going into that and doing it. Because he it sounds like maybe he hadn't actually pursued it himself. And if it wasn't offered to him to do this musical production that he wouldn't have. And then it turned out to be this really amazing thing. And that yes, if we wait to do something that we feel really strongly in our heart, or, or have this urge to, if we just wait, that doesn't do us any any good, we should, we should jump in. And at least say we tried.

Dorothy Brown:

Right. I think people knew he could play. But to be able to explore this particular type of music that was so important to him with this caliber of musicians and feel like they weren't humoring him, he kind of earned his spot in the band. And it's just such a lovely thing to say.

Aaron Gobler:

I want to just also riff on the idea of, of being provided an opportunity for something and then deciding to go for it. And this will resonate with our listeners who are in the Albany Rotary Club. And that is that there was a fundraiser that the club had many years ago, that included a live band, which was like a cover band for 50, 60, 70's music. And I don't recall all of the background, but they invited me up to the stage to sing Little Sister, by Elvis Presley. And I was reluctant, but then I decided to go ahead and do it. And it was exhilarating because I'd never performed. I performed in like karaoke, but never with a actual band behind me, and playing the song very authentically. And then at the very end of the song, I moved my arm down in a way to like, be like, this is the end, you know ... everybody end it here. And they ended it right there. And so I could have just said, No, I'm too embarrassed. I don't want to do this. But now I'll remember that experience for the rest of my life. So. So I do believe my own way. You should take opportunities when they're offered like that.

Dorothy Brown:

Absolutely, absolutely. Because as he said, you know, they might not ask you again. Just do it.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. And it's a good thing there's no video of it. Because I, in my mind, it was perfect. There you go. A little reverb on the microphone, you know, it can compensate. So Dorothy, is there anything else you'd like to share about your selections, like something that came to your mind as we were listening to them or that I didn't ask you about?

Dorothy Brown:

Not really just except to say, what a what an interesting exercise this was. And music is kind of infinite. You know, you can go in so many different directions to try to find three songs, but I'm happy with the ones I chose. It was wonderful. And I'm just so glad you asked. So, you know, I could have said, I'm too embarrassed. And I said no.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It was a lot of fun talking with you. I see you almost every week and talk to you. But in this particular format ... I really enjoyed myself, and I hope you did too.

Dorothy Brown:

I definitely did. Thank you so much, Aaron.

Aaron Gobler:

You're welcome. To my listeners. If you want to be part of the show. Start by going to our website Aaron's Radio dot show and clicking on the My Three Songs button on the homepage. You can also sign up for our mailing list so you'll know immediately when a new episode is available. You can also find Aaron's Radio Show on your favorite podcast service. But I'll warn you the podcast episodes only include interviews and don't include licensed music. Until next time, keep your ears and mind open and let more music into your world.

Female voice:

You're listening to Aaron's Radio Show.

Episode 30 - My Three Songs with Dan Kaplow

Transcript

This transcript was originally generated using artificial intelligence ("AI") software. It has been edited by a human being, but it may still contain some misspellings, lack necessary punctuation, or include other anomalies. We are regularly working to improve our transcripts!


Jake:

Coming to you almost live from Berkeley, California, it's Aaron's Radio Show ... with your host, Aaron Gobler.

Aaron Gobler:

Thanks, Jake. And welcome, everybody to Episode 30. Welcome to My Three Songs where I play three special songs chosen by my guest, and we talk about why they chose each song. today. My guest is Dan Kaplow. Dan is another friend from my high school graduating class. He's a television and film producer with at least 43 credits to his name, including the Netflix miniseries "The Haunting of Hill House", and the forthcoming NBC/Universal "Joe Exotic" TV series starring Kate McKinnon. Dan, thank you so much for being a guest today. What inspired you to be on the show?

Dan Kaplow:

Thank you for inviting me to the show. I love this format. First of all, a little trip down memory lane, hearing some of my favorite songs and then discussing them and discussing life I guess in general. Sounds like a nice hour for me.

Aaron Gobler:

Great. So, Dan, before we get started, can you tell me how music fits into your life? Like do you seek it out? Is it usually in the foreground or the background of each day?

Dan Kaplow:

Okay, music is a dominating force in my life. My father was a classical musician and conductor composer. My mother taught classical music and strings to elementary students for about 40 years in the Philadelphia school system. My brothers all played instruments. I played an instrument; I was a percussionist. I play piano; I compose music. And to this day, music is a huge part of my life. In the television and film world, you know, music is such a big part of the composition of a scene. So I'm very involved with picking the composer picking the source music. I love working with artists. I love music, I try to go to see as many classical concerts and ballet and live concerts and rock and roll and jazz and as I can.

Aaron Gobler:

When you started your career, was it music-focused originally? What was your original plan? And we all have plans after high school and college that don't end up the way we maybe we expected; maybe in a much better way or whatever. So tell me what was your plan for your career?

Dan Kaplow:

That's a funny question. So in high school, I was very involved with all the all the music performances. And I was, you know, in the orchestra, the band, the Jazz Band, the show band, the marching band. I was very involved with all all of those things. And, you know, secretly I wanted to be a rock star; I love the rock star life, I loved music, I love performing. But that didn't pan out for me. I didn't really pursue it. Maybe because I was scared, maybe I didn't think I was good enough. There was lots of reasons that I didn't pursue it. So I sort of changed my focus to producing and learning about the entertainment business, which music is a huge part of that. I just didn't pursue the Rock and Roll aspect of it all.

Aaron Gobler:

Was music, then . ... pardon the pun... instrumental in you finding your path on television and film production in general?

Dan Kaplow:

It certainly was a part of it; it certainly it wasn't the driving force. The driving force for me was I just love show business. I love movies. I love television. I loved watching it. I wanted to explore what that really meant. And I went to Syracuse University and studied it; didn't really learn a lot. I didn't really learn anything about the entertainment business really until I arrived in Los Angeles in the late 80s. And so music was always sort of in the background for me. But as I progressed in my career and started producing and, and learning more about how everything works, music has certainly come to the forefront. You can't have a great scene without music, elevating a scene, or it's just too dry. I learned a lot about music. I've worked with a lot of great musicians. And I just love it. It's you know, it's such a big part of my life.

Aaron Gobler:

Do you feel that's something that you bring as a special skill or technique to your work that other producers may not be as engrossed or informed about?

Dan Kaplow:

Do you mean like musically?

Aaron Gobler:

Yes. So we all have unique skills or we all have special areas or passions. And most certainly, I totally agree with you ... when you're watching something in a movie or television, the music can be just as important as as the script in terms of getting you to feel a certain way. And that do you feel like you're ... you have an innate or natural thing that you bring to your production?

Dan Kaplow:

Yeah, that's, that's a really great point, Aaron, because music has the ability to move me emotionally. And not many things can do that. So you know, your relationships can do that. I think music can do that. I'll give you a great example. I just recently saw "West Side Story", which is one of my favorite movies of all time, and it's one of the greatest scores ever written. And the new version didn't didn't move me emotionally. Which was very disappointing. Because I love Steven Spielberg, I'm, you know, in California, because in part of Steve, by Steven Spielberg, and then I saw a movie the other day called Tick, Tick, Boom; which is the story of Jonathan Larson, who wrote "Rent", and that movie moved me musically, and was incredible. So music has that power, it can do that. And I think because I grew up with classical music, I grew up in the ballet world, I grew up with emotionally-charged music from the masters, that sort of informs a little bit of how I operate today. And I always look ... a lot of times when I'm doing something creatively, I'll put some classical music to it in my head. And that that'll help me understand the scene a little bit better. And I try to influence studios, or some of my producing partners to do the same, as opposed to just going for oh, let's go for Rock and Roll music here, or let's go for something that's a little bit more traditional, like no, take a look at some of the classical music and see if it helps you emotionally.

Aaron Gobler:

Mm hmm. I also, in terms of the power of music, and this is something that I've talked about on this show that the guests have often brought up, is how a song can take them back to a particular place in time. And I think about in film and television, you know, establishing shots or showing a visual to get somebody to get an idea in their mind as to where something is. But I feel like music is so much more powerful, that you just place a song, or part of a song, or a style of music over your visual production, that it can bring the person immediately to where you want them to be. Is that an effective mechanism?

Dan Kaplow:

Yeah, yeah. And that's the goal, because you want music to bring you to that place you want the whole, the it all works in concert, the picture, the directing, the acting performance, the music, it all works in concert, to take you to that emotional level. And to make you kind of disappear into the story, which is very, very difficult to do. But when it happens, it's like magic. And music really can do that. It can help you. It elevates, I always say the music elevates a scene. It's not the only thing if you if you take all the tracks out, you're just listening to music. It's beautiful. Sure, but you need everything to work together for it to really have that experience for you. And yeah, I mean, the three songs that I picked are certainly songs that take me back they have meaning for me. And there's they're very, there's lots of depth to the three songs and and lots of nuance that we can talk about when we listen to them.

Aaron Gobler:

Right? Well let's jump into the songs. The songs you chose were "Lonely Boy" by Andrew Gold from 1977; "Did It In a Minute" by Hall & Oates from 1982; and "Punk Sandwich" by the Dixie Dregs from 1979. I noticed all these three songs came out during our middle school in high school years. So there may be some theme there. I'm eager for us both to listen to these songs together. And I'm interested in knowing why each of them is meaningful to you. And so let's first take a listen to "Lonely Boy" by Andrew gold. Dan, this is honestly one of my most favorite songs from the later 70s As I was just starting to kind of refine my music tastes at the ripe age of 13. I enjoyed the story from the lyrics, but the music had a unique sound of construction and I think that's what made the song never grow old for me. Why did you choose to include the song?

Dan Kaplow:

Well, first of all, thank you to the late Andrew Gold for writing such gem. The song I mean, the song speaks to me in a lot of different levels. Andrew Gold was Linda Ronstadt's piano player/background singer, and he wrote the song, and I'm just so amazed that people that can write something ... like people call them one-hit wonders and you know, Andrew had a couple hits but this this song is his obviously his most famous. The lyrics really speak to me, you know, when I get sad or I'm feeling lonely, I'll put the song on and just makes me feel better because it's a deep, deep topic. It's an incredibly sad song. But the melody is so light and uplifting, that it contradicts itself. And I love that about this song. I also love the the chorus; the chorus is friendly, and, and you can sing along to it. And it's beautifully constructed. And the other thing is that it's a little bit of an odd song because the beat is not really on the beat. And so it's a little bit offbeat. So it's it's just the whole thing is just a brilliant, brilliant piece of songwriting. It's stuck with me for you know, 40 years now.

Aaron Gobler:

You mentioned one-hit wonders. And we do know that Andrew Gold had some other ... like you said ... some other hits ... this is an international hit for him. And that there's certain recipes for good songs. And we sometimes don't understand, or may never understand, why particular songs are just, you know ... some Beatles songs or other ones just seem timeless and just stay with us. But this certainly is one of those songs that has has made it through the years. And he did everything right in the song. It is it's really a wonderful tune.

Dan Kaplow:

Yeah, and speaking of one-hit wonders, I'm amazed by one-hit wonders, I think there's a movie in there. I don't understand. I'm trying to understand how an artist can come up with such a beautiful song, and then not be able to repeat it. I don't understand it. There's a great group called Sneaker. And they wrote a song called "More Than Just the Two of Us". And if you ever get to listen to that you just listened to it's one of the most beautiful love songs ever written. And they just ... all of their other songs aren't even close. I'm thinking, did someone else write these songs? These one-hit wonders, and they just got a hold of them. Like how is it possible that can write something so amazing. And then never, ever? Repeat it? It's fascinating.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. I'm thinking of "Somebody That I Used To Know", by Gotye. Yeah. And that just was like a zeitgeist around that song. And then, yeah, I haven't heard I haven't listened anything else that he did. But uh, yeah, it does make you wonder if maybe these maybe some kind of alien came down ...

Dan Kaplow:

I know. I know. It's fascinating. It's hilarious. And that's why I love one-hit wonders. Especially 80s one-hit wonders, because there's a lot of them. But then the groups go into obscurity and, or they end up touring and they play their one hit people go hear them just to hear the one hit. And they can do that and go on tour for years on a hit.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. Yeah. And I but I also think that they're, like you said, like, there's some one-hit wonders that you just you can listen to their whole catalogue. And you're like, yeah, it's okay. But like, where did that one come from?

Dan Kaplow:

That's right.

Aaron Gobler:

But there are others who just don't make it into, you know, they had one song that broke through because it was just pop enough. Or it was just, it fit what people were listening to at that time. And it was a really good version of that kind of sound at the time. But you go back to their catalogue, and you're like, wow, the rest of stuff is really good. But I can see how maybe it wasn't as commercial, but it's still great. So I think some of them, you know, they were with a label that just wasn't ... in my mind ... I'm a big fan of Marshall Crenshaw, like he was when he was on Warner Brothers Records at the same time that Van Halen was, and Warner Brothers was like, just promoting the hell out of Van Halen. And really neglecting him. And he had like, one hit "Someday, Someway" that made it onto the top 40. But you could listen to most of his records, and they're like, just really just solid work. So there's an example where like, you think Marshall Crenshaw? Who's ever heard of him? Well, you know, yeah. So, it's common, it's, you know, it's both, I guess, and then I'm thinking there's some groups that just did a song, or an album and then disbanded. So like, there was one little flash at one time, and that's what you got, you got that one song.

Dan Kaplow:

It's amazing that if you even get that one song, I mean, there's, you're right, there's probably hundreds of groups that have great songs that we've just never heard for one reason or another. Whether it's they never got the promotion, they never got a record deal. And that's true in Hollywood, too. Because there's a lot of scripts that are really great. There's a lot of actors that are really great that you just never would know, because they never had the connection to or the luck to get themselves into the arena.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. So part of that could be just could, you know, it could just be serendipity. It could be you'd be the most talented person, but you don't have that opportunity or were not given the opportunity or didn't take an opportunity somebody offered you. You never know. You could be obscure, or you could be super famous.

Dan Kaplow:

It's literally a thin line. It's a very thin line between ... I was looking at. I'm not sure you know what stand-ins are. But stand-ins are people that stand in for the actors while they light the set and the scene. And they're literally five feet away from stardom. But they can't get those five feet. They can't translate to that, because they don't have it. They don't have what it is. So it's the same thing for musicians and music. It's like there's a lot of people that are really great, especially on Broadway, that, for one reason or another, they just can't get the the right audition the timings not right, the show wants a star instead of an unknown. And that's why I thought that movie "Tick, Tick, Boom" was so good. It really like showcased that.

Aaron Gobler:

I'll have to check that out.

Dan Kaplow:

Yeah, it's great.

Aaron Gobler:

And so 180 degrees from that would be a group like Hall & Oates, who have multiple hits. Their catalogue includes a variety of different types of styles. And they kind of adapted to the time for what kind of sound people were listening to. And they did a really wonderful job in their, in their delivery and production. So the Hall & Oates song you chose on your list was "Did It In a Minute" from 1982. So let's take a listen to that, and we'll talk about it on the other side. I just love that. Dan, as as Philadelphians. It's hard not to love hollow notes. And as I mentioned before, they made so many solid pop hits. What inspired you to include this particular song on your list?

Dan Kaplow:

Yeah, I I'm absolutely obsessed with Hall & Oates. I've been that way for 40 years, so obsessed, in fact, I did a show called "Hello Ladies". And we did the main title was a Hall & Oates song and I got to meet them and work with them and kept in touch with with John Oates. And first of all, they go by Daryl Hall and John Oates. They don't go by Hall & Oates, which a lot of people don't know. They are just great Philadelphia musicians, they have this Philadelphia sound, they have the most incredible harmonies. When they sing their choruses. I love the chord, the harmony on the chorus. I picked this song because it's sort of representative of all of their work. It's poppy. It's got a great chorus, incredible harmonies that you can sing to. And they usually open the show with the song and I've seen them a few times. It's just I just love the song and I mean all their songs are good. I could have picked a lot of them. But this one especially just ... it represents sort of their entire body of work and what I love about them, they just have this they have this big band sound you know they use live instruments and their work they have just great use of all the instruments in the song and but you know what they're really known for is their like Simon and Garfunkel, but just the harmonies are incredible. They work so well together.

Aaron Gobler:

Do you feel John Oates is under underestimated or underrated?

Dan Kaplow:

Very underrated. Yep. Very underrated, very underappreciated. And, you know, he's half of the songwriting team he wrote a lot of those songs with with Daryl okay. Yeah. And when you meet him, he's just such a nice guy. They live in Colorado now. And, you know, they still play, they still sound great after all this time. But that song is just, it just gets you going. Like, I can listen to that song. Sometimes I'll put that song on in the morning. If I have an early morning call, and you know, it gets the heart pumping, you start singing to it. And you know, you get ready for your day.

Aaron Gobler:

Do you feel like ... I'm thinking of older songs like Sara Smile and Rich Girl, which were much earlier; many years earlier than this, and they had a much stronger story or feeling to them ... lyrically. Do you feel like a lot of the poppy hits just like this have like throwaway lyrics, or did you get anything lyrically from this particular song?

Dan Kaplow:

No, you hit it right on the head. I mean, they did a

whole bunch of these:

"Kiss On My List", this song, they were told by the record company, we need three-minute hits, and that are poppy. And that's how you're gonna make your money. And that's what they did, because they weren't making a lot of money in the late 70s ... when they had those classics, "She's Gone". And some of those. That's amazing. And so they went poppy in the 80s. And they made a lot of money. And they did ... the tours where everything in the 80s. You know, the big band tours, and that's where they made tons of money. And then you know, in the 90s and early 2000s They went back to sort of their roots, and they did longer songs and they did more nuanced songs. But yeah, this one is just it's it's such a great like hook. You can't you can't not like this song.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah,you know, we can mock the lyrics on on the 80 songs. The music ... I'm always fascinated when I research certain songs if I'm researching, like "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson, and that I believe he was inspired by "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)", which lyrically it has a certain story to it, but it's not like you know what, I really just enjoy the the musicality of that song. And there are other songs that have a "Maneater" sound. There's a lot of other songs that have a similar sound to that. But I hadn't heard that particular sound before. So they definitely were an inspiration not just to general music listeners, but to other musicians.

Dan Kaplow:

Yeah, that's definitely true. I wasn't aware of the Michael Jackson connection. But I think that's, that's awesome. I mean, it makes complete sense to me when you think about it. And yet the 80s ... first of all, the, let's just face it. For me, the 80s were the greatest decade of music in my lifetime. And I love a lot of songs from the 80s. And just the musicality from Hall & Oates is very special. And Daryl has got this show called "Live from Daryl's House" where he played songs. It's so good!

Aaron Gobler:

It's wonderful.

Dan Kaplow:

It's wonderful to listen to, and Daryl still sings really well after all these years. And so does John. And they're great together. And it's they're touring together now again, which is very nice, because they weren't speaking for a while. But now they're touring again. And, and I just love I ... you know, again, I could have picked one of 50 songs from Hall & Oates. And this was just such a great one.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. Oh, thank you for for including it, it brings me back to the 80s immediately. And I also want to thank you for including your last song, which is "Punk Sandwich" by the Dixie Dregs. That's from 1979. And I'm excited to listen to it again. And we'll talk about why you chose a song after we give it a listen. Dan, I had never heard the song before. And I want to thank you again for sharing it with me and our listeners. I was trying to think of a way to describe the song to someone who hadn't heard it before. And the best I could come up with was if you combined Emerson, Lake & Palmer with early Doobie Brothers and threw in some Charlie Daniels Band, and then you sped it up. So ...I'm not sure if that description does the song justice, however, but it is incredibly incredible song, especially when you listen to it with with headphones. So I encourage people to do that. So what inspired you to include the song on your list?

Dan Kaplow:

This group is an unknown group. I know this group very well. I've seen them live probably five times. And I absolutely love this group. This group is a mix of classical jazz, rock and roll, Philly music, everything all thrown in to incredible songwriting by Steve Morse, who's the lead guitar player who played with Kansas, he played with a whole bunch of he was a session musician for a while and he created this group called the Dixie Dregs. Some of the finest musicians I've ever heard in my life. And I love great musicianship and this guitar playing. I mean, he's he's a world class guitar player, up there with Pat Metheny, and Dave Grohl, and some of the other ... Eddie Van Halen ... some of the greatest guitar players in the world. He's up there ... and throw in his songwriting ability. I mean, his songs are beautiful. And I encourage everyone to go out and listen to night meets light and some of the other the Dixie Dregs that first two albums. It's incredible, incredible songwriting and musicianship all mixed into one and yeah, there's some Charlie Daniels in there with the the violin playing and just just a wonderful group. And this is one of my favorite songs by them.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, I was gonna originally say it was like a seven-course meal. But it's more like a smorgasbord. It's like a smorgasbord for your ears. It really is just a collection of some really wonderful sounds. And they all just flow really well through each other. And just I was so surprised, because when I saw the title of the band and the name of the song, it just had nothing. I had no idea what I was going to be hearing.

Dan Kaplow:

Yeah, most people have never heard of the Dixie Dregs before they may have heard of Steve Morse before. Yeah, um, but when you when you start listening to them and understanding their music, and I hope your listeners do ... you realize what, what did I miss? I mean, this this group is fantastic. I just love them. I could I could listen to punk sandwich. I can listen to a lot of these songs over and over again and they never get old. I keep finding and discovering new things that I never heard before. And listen to the production of it. The mix is incredible. This is first rate stuff.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. Do you recall where you were or what time of your life you were in when you first discovered them?

Dan Kaplow:

Yes. So my my friend Lower Merion alumni, Bobby DiLullo introduced me to the Dixie Dregs. And I first listened, listen to them, and I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I'm like, this is incredible guitar work I love. I love great guitar work. And then I started seeking them out, I heard one song, and then I wanted to hear too. And then I heard their album. And then I heard they were performing. And I went to see them. And I actually got to meet Steve Morse and talk to him. I just been following them and following them over the years, and they broken up several times, they've done their own things. And occasionally, they'll do a reunion concert. I just, I just love my wish I could see them again.

Aaron Gobler:

And so was this during high school, that you ...

Dan Kaplow:

This was all like late middle school and early high school and and we were sort of into in high school, we were into eclectic music back then. I loved all different kinds of music. And then you know, again, with my classical background, this kind of music spoke to me because it was Rock and Roll. But it also had elements of jazz and classic, and classics. And so it was like acceptable for me to like this.

Aaron Gobler:

And so the three songs you chose, were all I mentioned earlier, we're all bunched around this, you know, a three year window or a five year window. Does that say anything to you in terms of how you chose your songs? Or maybe you didn't intend that, but do you glean anything from that? Um, no,

Dan Kaplow:

I mean, I was very intentional. The three songs I picked, I tried three different styles of music, but songs that I love, and that had meaning for me. Uh huh. And most of the songs you know, I don't love the music of today. I don't there's some there's some really good music today. But, you know, I keep going back to the 70s and 80s that that for me is the generation of music that yeah, that is just speaks volumes to me and everything I do. So I picked three songs that I thought were different enough, but in a way represented me and yeah, that's why I love them. Great.

Aaron Gobler:

This was a lot of fun. It was like a little walk down memory lane. And, and it was great just discussing how the entertainment industry ... besides music ... incorporates music so, so much and importantly, in how it operates.

Dan Kaplow:

Yeah, thank you, Aaron, this was so great to talk to you. And you know, you have a really vast knowledge of music, and I just enjoyed the flow of conversation and discussing these songs.

Aaron Gobler:

Great. Thank you. And to my listeners, if you want to be part of the show, start by going to our website Aaron's Radio dot show, and clicking on the My Three Songs button on the homepage. You can also sign up for our mailing list so you'll know immediately when a new episode is available. You can also find Aaron's Radio Show on your favorite podcast service, but the podcast episodes only include interviews and no licensed music. So until next time, keep your ears and mind open and let more music into your world.

Female voice:

You're listening to Aaron's Radio Show.

Get In Touch

This form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.