Songs in the key of life

The ’70s and early ’80s were desperately bleak periods in my life, when I found it impossible to accept my facial disfigurement. I wanted to believe a girl could like me, could somehow see past my facial scars, but I wallowed in self-pity and fear.

One of the things that helped keep me sane was a love of music, and because I didn’t drink or drive, and didn’t have a social life, I was able to spend money on building a fine record collection. I could immerse myself in songs and for a while forget that my face hadn’t changed and neither had my fears.

Strangely enough, I never bought a Beatles album even though I grew up with their music, but back in the ’60s I didn’t have a record player or the cash to fund LPs.

I loved the Rolling Stones, Cream, and lots of heavy rock groups, but pop bands like the Beach Boys, Bee Gees, etc., also got my attention.

One of my memories was making an unannounced trip in 1975 to my Uncle Johnny in Huntington (home of Oliver Cromwell and former Prime Minister John Major) to discover he, his wife and daughter were making their own surprise trip to Cork – the following day!! Fortunately, my cousin Derek had decided to stay home or else I would have had to make a difficult decision as to what to do during the next two weeks.

One day Derek and I hopped on the bus to Peterborough where we found ourselves in a fine little record store. After rummaging around for a while I became the proud owner of 10 LPs that filled  two plastic bags. A few days later I began my journey home, and in those days when you took a London flight home you were picked up from the Tara Hotel (then owned by Aer Lingus if memory serves me right).

I arrived in the hotel with some time to spare so I got myself a drink, but when I reached for my bags to leave for Heathrow one of the plastic bags was gone. That lost bag and those precious LPs have haunted me ever since. It’s almost sad really, but I can remember more about the lost bag than the records in the other bag, none of whose titles I recall!

You see, I had had the opportunity to plays some of the albums in Derek’s and that probably contributed to my sense of loss. For example, Elton John’s ‘Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy’ is the only title that sticks out and the only Elton album I ever bought. Someone, somewhere has got my copy! I also remember a really great  compilation double album which brought together some amazing rock and soul singers in a live concert, with lots of back stage chat and fabulous songs.

And then there was this other rock album which I can remember little of, except that I loved a particular number which incorporated a violinist. As the years rolled on I clung to the hope that I might stumble on the name of the band, maybe even figure out what the song was called. Unfortunately, the Internet wasn’t around for a while, and by then the little I remembered had faded away, so I was clueless.

Until today. The band name came out of nowhere to me this morning, The Flock. Off I went to YouTube and there they were. I only hoped I could find the song, but I did in a couple of minutes. ‘Tired of Waiting For You’ had that really scratchy violin intro I had going around in my head for so long, played by Jerry Goodman. Hard to believe that memory goes back 42 years.

Sadly, The Flock died a death well before I bought that album, never able to find the success their rivals Chicago had. Ah well, music is littered with what ifs. Now, I wonder where that missing bag of LPs is?

 

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