"Derailed"  

a brief ride on my train of thought

musings of the homebound mind by jim "shu" carroll

  • jim "shu" carroll

life during the british invasion

born in the usa. just like bruce said. more specifically born in the northwest USA, just a handful of miles from seattle, but out in the country. surrounded by cherry orchards, lakes, and pastureland. born in 1952, late in the booming boomer crop, since my brother and sister both pushed their way onscene four and six years ahead of me, respectively. but a boomer by definition. still, even in our little micro-generation there were significant differences in those six years that made a huge difference. my sister was influenced by elvis. paul anka. jimmy clanton. i don't know who all else, but those were the 45s that lay about her room as i peeked in and around, looking for clues as to the identity of this semi-adult human who claimed to be my sister. other than meals and the occasional argument about the TV she was a stranger to me, and remains so to this day living in alaska. we live on different planets. my brother played guitar. but not rock n roll. oh he knew about chuck barry and gene vincent and maybe even got interested to hear jerry lee lewis or fats domino, but he was a folk guy. so much of what i know of harmonies is due to my brother's deep affection for peter paul and mary and the other folk artists of that time. born just a few years earlier my brother would doubtless have been a beatnik, but he was a middle child and therefore not allowed to make such extreme choices. instead he fell in with the likes of joan baez and phil ochs and simon and garfunkel. i loved the mixed voices that came from the living room when he and his various bandmates would gather. it sounded nice. but i wanted more than nice. i wanted the music to make me feel something. i got my wish. the beatles landed in dead stride with the onslaught of my hormones. what a heady cocktail that was. i didn't really know what satisfaction was yet, but i knew i wasn't getting any and mick understood that perfectly. born in 1952 i was slowly steeped into sexual awareness in the emotional stew that was the music of the middle sixties. if you were there, just hearing the titles will "spin the wax" in your head again: She Loves You, Where did our Love Go?, Oh Pretty Woman, I Get Around, My Guy, Love Me Do, Under the Boardwalk, Glad all Over, Dancing in the Street, A World Without Love, Have I the Right, Walk on By, House of the Rising Sun, Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying, Dawn Go Away, Baby I Need Your Lovin, You Really Got Me, Louie Louie, Needles and Pins.. all of these in 1964 alone. there were periods of time when certain groups held center stage for a while. i remember when the zombies understood me better than anyone else. or maybe for a while it would be gerry and the pacemakers. if you were there, i don't have to explain it. if you weren't there the best i could hope for would be some sort of musical translation that would somehow equate roy orbison with michael buble. we would just have to trust each other. but some part of each of our brains would always believe that OUR particular linked music and sensory experience was unquestionably superior. i remember being at a kissing party in bryan mccourt's garage. it sounds silly now, but it was painfully serious then. low light from shaded lamps, big overstuffed chairs and a couch arranged around a table covered with records and personal effects. and five boys and five girls arranged around in various entanglements, aware of the presence of the others but lost in the wonders of lips touching lips. hands intertwined. fragrance and hormones creating feelings that would become as addictive as heroin without all that bad news. as far as i know we were only kissing, but we were kissing as if our lives depended on it. and when jo jean sullivan parted her lips and her tongue flicked across my lower lip and caressed my teeth i experienced something i had never known, but for which i developed a lifelong craving and appreciation. pair that with the soundtrack of the sixties and you are forever changed. and that music will forever have the power to transport some number of brain cells back to that moment with an appreciation and nostalgia as powerful as any drug. to this day when i hear "hey jude" i am driving my dad's 66 fairlane home from my high school girlfriend's house, her unique scent - a combination of perfume and hair spray and maybe some lipstick - on my shirt, the warmth of her lips still fading. and somehow paul knew. he just knew. it wasn't even a love song, really. but it was all in there anyway. years later more intense sensations would be accompanied by other soundtracks, though the beatles never left the playlist entirely, did they. but no sensation. no "more" ever displaced or superseded the emotional center stage of those first moments of wonder and discovery bathed in the similarly new and sensuous sounds of the early days of the british invasion.