MUSIC FROM HEAVEN
There's nothing quite like it. Nothing quite like closing your eyes and being transported to another time because your ears and mind are being filled with music from a long time ago in your life.
The late fifties were when rock n' roll was born. It was a time when youth became different in so many ways to the generations that had experienced their teens in earlier times. The late fifties and early sixties were touched by magic.
Things helped, of course. There had been the dreadful war against Hitler (I won't say Germany because I like Germany and its people). That war had cost so much and the cost piled on after the last bullet had been fired. Vast populated areas had been destroyed. Many precious buildings were charred matchwood. Food was in short supply and rationing continued for what seemed ages. But those privations were coming, slowly, to an end.
And youth was allowed to bloom.
Rock n' roll, of course, was seen by the old conservatives in their bowler hats as an evil influence. It made kids dance in cinema aisles when it formed the soundtrack to films. And some of the heroes (sorry, performers) lived their lives on the edge. Some fell into an abyss of their own making, but most pulled through.
These days you can't go anywhere that music is being played without hearing the fifties and sixties again. When my wife, the wonderful Dorothy, had her eyes tested recently it took some time and whilst I was waiting for her I listened to the records being played at the opticians. They were from most ages, but the majority were 50s and 60s magic. Then we wake every day to Chris Evans' programme on the radio, and he plays a great deal of records from that favoured era. He's got to: they're the best!
It's everywhere, and there's only one reason: the optimism in the air, the way a new generation intended to change things for good, to wipe away the ordered nonsense in which everyone knew his place in a society that scorned most of its members because in a pyramid the majority are at the bottom. And that optimism climbed into popular culture. The kids (we kids) had something to sing about, something that meant something, and we had heroes with the skill to create a soundtrack to a brand new age.
Now that age is long gone though its melodies linger on just about everywhere, and since it faded I've turned into my parents' generation and grunt unhappily about the music of the kids today just as they grunted unhappily at ours. Rock n' roll, to start with, was a byword for testosterone-fuelled hooliganism (though it was never really that) and parents often banned their kids from having anything to do with it. Banning never works, of course. Banning is a challenge and youth is good at rising up to challenges!
Then, every so often, something happens to bring the whole lot back.
For Dorothy and me it was a day in Whitby.
On a paved area in front of the tourist information offices was a young man playing and singing, and when I heard his version of the wonderful old Shadows instrumental hit Apache (I learned to play the Marvin line myself when I was young) I just had to go and make a donation into his bucket. But I didn't. Instead I noted that he was selling two CDs of his work, and I bought them instead. Much better than a nameless donation! You can't play donations when you get back home.
And that's what we've been listening to today. And of all the money I might have spent in Whitby that day by far the best value would be those two CDs.
Being me, I looked on Facebook to see if I could find out anything about him, and there he is.
What I didn't know was that he is only 16 years old. That's how he's described on Facebook. Sixteen! Don't I wish that I could be 16 again!
And he's got all that talent. He really does bring back to me an age he can never have known. There's a sound in his voice that must have been moulded back then, a true and mighty echo of a precious age.
Those of us old enough to remember the real years will all be gone before too long but I do hope that the future might be brightened a little by shades of our own precious youth and the songs we sang.
It might just be worth anyone with memories of times gone by to seek him out. Youtube will help, and Facebook, and his own website at www. robsonfield.co.uk. I have no interest other than the years he's managed to shave away, no, not years, the decades, and the magical hours he's giving me now, in my little park home with my wonderful wife and a sunny, marvellous day outside. So search out Robson Field. He's quite a talent.
© Peter Rogerson 09.07.13