Stringing It Together

 

His name was Nelson Carson.

I was a young, white kid. He was an older African-American gentleman. While the evening news was filled with stories of protests related to bussing and school integration, the two of us came together once every week. He to supplement his income, and me to learn from him.

It was the mid-1970s and Mr. Carson was my guitar teacher. He wasn’t my first musical instructor. Mike Hubrel took me as a student for a couple of years ...

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Doobie Brothers Still Rock

 

When I first picked up a guitar in 1970, my fingers didn’t make the sounds I wanted to hear. But I knew that if I kept trying, I could learn to play the songs I heard on the radio.

I was eight.

My teacher’s name was Mike and it was in his room in his parent’s home that I learned the foundations of what makes the guitar an amazing instrument.

At first, it was daunting. I was forming the chords with my left ...

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The Summer of ’76

There was almost no breeze. Record temperatures were being shattered in England, and the Southern US was also pretty darn hot.

But three teenage kids in Arkansas decided that it would be a great idea to live in my backyard for most of the summer of 1976.

My cousin Randy was up from Alvin, Texas. I honestly can’t remember why he stayed with us for so many weeks, but I do remember that my mom quickly reached the end of her rope ...

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Musical Freedom

As I plugged the Stratocaster into my Fender amp, the buzz of the quarter inch plug made contact with the amp’s input and let me know that the amp was ready when I was.

We live at the end of a dead end road in the middle of nowhere.

The location was strategic. It was a request I’d made years ago. I’d always wanted to live as far away from town as possible. Town was where the jobs were, but when I ...

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Thanks, Billy Joel

We got into my friend’s car and Billy Joel came on the satellite radio.

I began to sing along. It was an album cut. Not one that had been played much on the radio almost 40 years ago.

I knew all of the words. My friend pointed that out.

For Christmas in 1977, I wanted Billy Joel’s new album, “The Stranger”. Specifically, I wanted it on 8-track. I’d been driving for about a year, and no self-respecting teen left home without his or ...

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70s Music Is More Than A Feeling

Kids nowadays may have cooler toys, but my generation had the best bands.

The 1970s produced some of the best music this country has ever seen. The bands that carried myself and other teens through that great decade are still as solid sounding in an mp3 file now as they were from an LP then.

The Beatles broke up in 1970, but the influence they had on their musical descendants lasted at least 10 great years. My love of rock music began ...

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