At work my younger colleagues put on the tunes, and it has been great -- I'm hearing a lot of new stuff. Still, there have recently been a few things I've wanted to listen to again that I once had on vinyl and that really show my age. Two of those are "Talking Heads: 77" and "More Songs About Buildings and Food." So I recently got them as a Father's Day gift to myself . . . It's hard to over-estimate the impact these albums had on me. I encountered "More Songs About Buildings and Food" first. One summer when I was doing research at the college science center, I was also babysitting Harriett's record collection, and they were a group I had heard a lot about but hadn't heard. I listened to it all summer. The cover was just amazing, a mosaic made of of SX-70 instant photos. The songs were great, and I know enough about soul and R&B to know that their version of "Take Me to the River" was something special.
But it was the earlier "Talking Heads: 77" that really sold me. One reason was that the players were recognizably about my age (though preppier). And the sound was way stripped down, something I could imagine myself almost playing (if I could almost play the guitar . . .). They weren't smiling. They had just a hint of wry grins. And Tina Weymouth looked like a boy.
And what were those lyrics about? Art school. Living in New York. Worrying about air travel over the boondocks. Consoling (ironically) the listener about the government:
I see the states, across this big nation I see the laws made in Washington, D.C. I think of the ones I consider my favorites I think of the people that are working for me
Some civil servants are just like my loved ones They work so hard and they try to be strong I'm a lucky guy to live in my building They own the buildings to help them along
Back in that era, I listened some to the albums after these, but it had become big rock and now I don't feel much of a beckoning to revisit them.comments powered by Disqus