Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Friday, May 29, 2015

All types of music can inspire us

What I am doing at this moment can only be described as an act of human kindness, because I am doing a favor (I hope) for a friend.
I am preparing a care package. At least, it was known in the Big War as a care package. And by the way, be careful when you type that, because if you are a slipshod typist, as I tend to be from time to time, the words can come out “cafe package,” and that is not what I have in mind.
There is a big difference between care and cafe, and spell check on the computer doesn’t know the difference.
I am putting together a package of CDs to send to Don Miller of Eastlake. We are both music lovers and have exchanged jazz recordings many times.
The last one I sent him, by the McGill University Jazz Orchestra, he liked so much he said he had to play it twice, back-to-back, to really understand how good it is.
But we both love all kinds of music. And that includes pop and country music as well as jazz.
That is something of a mea culpa on my part, because there was a time, not many years ago, when I would have echoed the words of Buddy Rich, the greatest drummer the world has ever known.
He was receiving medical care, and was asked by a nurse: “Are you allergic to anything?”
He famously replied: “Yes. County music.”
I thought it was pretty funny at the time, and would have agreed with him — until I learned to listen to, really hear and appreciate country music.
My transformation came after my sister, Molly, her husband and their two sons, moved to Nashville more than 30 years ago and became involved in a style of music I have come to warm up to a lot.
Their whole family is immersed in country music in one way or another. Their older son, Colin, tours the country with a couple of very well-known, high-profile country bands. I have seen him twice at the House of Blues in Cleveland.
And Molly has worked for many years with Moraine Records, which has a lot of superstars under contract.
My four or five visits to Grand Ol’ Opry merely enhanced my appreciation of the art form.
Meanwhile, Don Miller sent me a couple of discs by Moe Bandy. This was country music at its best. Songs like, “She’s Not Really Cheatin’ (She’s Just Gettin’ Even).”
And, “Our Love Could Burn Atlanta Down Again.” And, “Hank and Lefty Raised My Country Soul.” They really hit the mark with me. Simply outstanding!
I called Molly and asked if she had heard of Moe Bandy, because I had not. Silly me. Of course she had. She knew everything there was to know about him. Naturally she would. Her knowledge of popular and country music is encyclopedic.
I recalled that she had once sent me a CD called “Moraine Country Gold.” It was a promotional CD, not for resale. I asked if she had another one I could send to Don Miller.
She replied with a mini-treasure trove of country music, plus a different volume of “Moraine Gold.”
There was also a CD by Tim Wilgers featuring five songs written by Mike Reid, who plays piano and was at one time one of the best defensive players in the National Football League with the Cincinnati Bengals.
There was a CD by an Irish artist, Gareth Dunlop, whom Moraine is working with.
Molly was kind enough to send me two copies of each CD, so I now have one to play in the car when the lady of the house and I are out for a ride, and one to send to Don.
He, by the way, is a retired business teacher at Willoughby South but is a graduate of the former Willoughby Union High, as I am.
I am still trying to determine if his sister, Patricia, knew Molly at either Union High or at Eastlake North, where Molly brought notoriety to the family when she became the first homecoming queen there.
That would have been the fall of 1957 – I think. But I digress.
There is some confusion in my mind about the two “Moraine Gold” recordings because one has two CDs and the other has one but both are called Volume 1.
Oh well, I am going to stop worrying about it and get on with my chore of assembling the care package.
If all goes well, Don may receive it before this piece appears in the paper. But I can’t guarantee he will get it before it is posted on the Internet, because I have no control over that.
Everywhere I go, people comment about something they read in this column three or four days before it was intended for publication on Sunday.
It is the age we live in, and is a sign of progress. And who can be against progress?
Certainly not I. I am a typist, not a philosopher.



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