Monday, August 7, 2017

1967-1968 and two albums

Fifty years ago in 1967 was the "Summer of Love." During that time, I was about to enter Fesler Jr. High in Santa Maria, California. My next door neighbor, Ron Zieman was one year ahead of me and about to enter the 8th Grade. My family had moved to Tunnell St. when I was in 5th Grade, so by 1967 Ron and I were fast friends. I would have to say, Ron was my first mentor. As both of us wanted to be hippies, Ron actually set course to accomplish this mission by growing his hair a little longer and wearing his Levi's a lot looser. His mother Ruth, would have none of this, but Ron fought the good fight in rocking our conservative christian upbringing in our little but growing farming town, starting with the dress code.

Another pillar to fall our way was music. In both of our houses, we were not allowed to mess with the stereo console in the living room. Ron lead the way with getting a portable record player for his room and by starting a record collection. Anyway, sometime in 1968 Ron came up with the idea for us to join the Columbia Record Club. (The Columbia Records manufacturing facility was actually only several blocks from our house.) As mentioned in an earlier blog, I had only one record at that time, The Beatles Hard Days Night, which I had clipped from my grandfather.  He for some reason had gotten it in his Columbia Record Club subscription as it probably got included with him buying so many records. My grandfather passed away in 1967, and I like to think he was giving Hard Days Night to me in a gracious posthumous gesture.

So I think Ron's scheme was- we join the Record Club and get several free records by just joining, and then, we quit the Club... like nobody ever thought of that before. I don't remember as Ron was the brains of the operation, but I do remember (with his help) the first two records I ever purchased, (or think I purchased) - Buffalo Springfield Again and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced, which were both released in 1967. Fifty years later, I'm looking back to listening to those two records with Ron in his room and I'm thinking, "If you had to pick two records that hold the test of time, these two make the cut."

This past week, I'm on my trail run with my Amazon Music shuffling the songs on my phone and Expecting to Fly comes on. It made me think of what you're reading right now. A couple of nights ago, I'm flipping through the channels on TV and the Showtime documentary, Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church comes on. Electric Church is Jimi's performance at the Atlanta Pop Festival in 1970 with 300,000 people. I've watched this documentary two times already, and you know Jimi never gets old and it's always a good place to come back to. Jimi Hendrix and Buffalo Springfield forever! In 2017, my summer of love includes upcoming concerts with Tom Petty, Eric Clapton and the Eagles. This time around, I get to be part of the crowd, even if it's a hair shade of gray. Happy summer my friends!


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