Local Rhythms – 15 Discs That Changed My Life

picture-9Though I’m pretty caught up in Facebook, their gimmicks don’t appeal to me.  A poke (or God forbid, a super poke) won’t get a response, my flirts are apparently hurting, and I’ve no pieces of flair adorning my corkboard.

Fort that matter, I don’t have a corkboard.

But Facebook lists are a different story.  I’m a sucker for surveys asking me to answer 20 questions with just one word, or list 25 random personal facts.

This recent Facebook meme really fished me in, along with a few thousand music fans:

“Think of 15 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it,” it asked, that, “no matter what they were thought of musically shaped your world.”

Making my own list was fun, but I was more interested in other responses.

I’m not one of those people with a thousand Facebook pals.  Rather than make new friends, I prefer to do a better job with the ones I’ve already got.

I learned plenty with this exercise.

My oldest friend in the world is a certified metalhead, but his picks surprisingly included Blind Faith and Herman’s Hermits.

A lot of women had Carole King’s “Tapestry” and Joni Mitchell’s “Blue,” but my sister, bless her heart, also put “Best of Bread” on hers.

Way to take that “no matter what they were thought of musically” caveat seriously, Sis.

The sixty-something friend who, in Facebook-speak, first “tagged” me with this “note” chose lots of classic rock (Clapton, Hendrix & Joplin), but also had the Kingston Trio.

He couldn’t limit his Beatles picks to just one album.

Plenty of folks needed more than 15 slots, including one friend whose list ran to 35 choices.  Excessive maybe, but it produced an eclectic mix including Tommy Clancy and Duran Duran.

I prowled the Internets to see if the rest of the world resembled my friend list, and found one wag who had Chris Whitley’s “Dirt Floor” keeping company with Boston’s first disc and a Nicola Conte acid jazz 12 inch – technically, not an album.

The whole experience reinforced my belief that music to some extent shapes everyone, especially my Facebook friends.

I’m going to start my own list called “songs that confuse me,” beginning with “A Horse With No Name” and “Take Me To the Pilot.”

Here are my picks for the week:

Thursday: Pete Merrigan, Brown’s Tavern – This may be the first time I’ve ever picked Pete in March.  He’s acquired a lot of new fans via the Yellow House Media web site, which recently added a lot of songs.  “Born Here” held the top spot on the most popular song stream list for several weeks.  He’s heading down to St. Pete (no relation) for a show later this month, along with a radio interview.  Lucky guy.

Friday: Talkin’ Smack Band, Imperial Lounge – Formerly known as Junk in the Trunk, it remains to be seen if this band has some new tricks to go with their new name.  Not that they need any, as they serve up a steady diet of the kind of selections that fit well on my 15 best list (multiple decades at that). Imperial is shaping into a great music room, with lots of room for dancing and good sound.

Saturday: Extra Stout, Killarney – My better half is named Patty and was born on St. Patrick’s Day, so we tend to celebrate the whole month of March.  That’s also true for this Okemo-area pub, which touts an authentic Irish vibe.  The music of this Vermont-based band is described as “drinking and rebel tunes, ballads, jigs and reels.”  All perfectly served with a pint of Guinness.

Sunday: San Jose Taiko Drums, Hopkins Center – Based in my former California home town, they specializes in kumidaiko – ensemble drumming on Japanese drums.  These colorful, propulsive and hypnotic performers also appear Saturday at the Colonial Theatre in Keene. The Japanese-American troupe draws from samba, rock and Afro-Cuban rhythms as well as their native roots.

Tuesday: Dublin City Ramblers, Lebanon Opera House – The Upper Valley’s official St. Patrick’s Day headquarters, Salt hill Pub, is sponsoring this traditional Celtic band’s appearance.  Better yet, they’ve agreed to visit the pub after their Opera House set to join weekly Irish session musicians Roger Burridge and Dave Loney for a tune or two.  Indeed, a big night on the Green.

Wednesday: OK Go, Pearl Street – A few years back this power pop combo won an MTV Video Award, even though their inventive treadmill dance clip was entirely a MySpace phenomenon hardly shown on the former music channel.  They’re featured in the upcoming film “I Love You Man,” playing a wedding band with the classic name Tastes Like Chicken.  Wait, I was going to use that!

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