Hubby has hooked our turntable and cassette player up to this laptop and is in the process of turning our LPs and cassette tapes into CDs....at least the ones we haven't already purchased as CDs. It's kind of a slow process, but he's having fun doing it. I've been sitting in a rocking chair nearby and reading while he's spread out here in the music room working on this project. He has headphones on while he does it, but every once in a while he sings along and I chuckle.
This weekend I found three tapes my brother made, one while he was in college and two when his sons were very young. On these tapes he sings some Loudon Wainwright, old John Prine, and several tunes he wrote himself. It's difficult to tell his songs from the others. Hubby kept asking, "Who wrote this one?" I felt really proud to say, "Al did." These gems were every bit as good as the excellent songs we hear at the Songwriters Woodshed every month or others we hear about town.
We decided to make a CD for Al's December birthday of his "greatest hits" from these tapes I had found and spent the afternoon doing just that.....including a rousing version of Old MacDonald Had a Farm with my nephews singing back-up. He'll love it. I even found an old photo of him with his long, hippie hair to put on the CD cover. (Don't worry about the secret being out.....he never reads this blog.....too busy following the sports world as he's the sports editor of a newspaper these days and my blog doesn't interest him.)
One original song of Al's, written about the lake we spent our summers splashing around in, made me cry, even though I've heard it often, though not in several years. As I listened to Al's songs, most written in the early 1970's, I could not help but wonder what path his life might have taken if he had not inherited all those "take responsibility seriously" genes. He has the voice, he knows his way around a guitar and can twist words into songs you'll want to hear again. Sports and music were his loves. I used to call him "Super Jock" and he's made a good, steady life for himself out of his love for sports. Sometimes I fear it's too steady.
Still, when I listened to these songs, particularly the one about Skaneateles Lake, and hear him sing "where I wrote all my early songs".....I had to wonder, might he have wanted to pursue a life in music, keep on writing his songs, playing his music? Does he have moments in his life now when he picks up his guitar and strums it and can't help but ask himself, "What if?"