Monday, October 20, 2008

My Mother's Music

My mother was a musical soul, having played the piano since she was a tot. Throughout my childhood, I recall flipping through her album collection. She was attracted to jazzy, upbeat tunes, and our records included Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Sergio Mendes and Brazil '66, and the Ramsey Lewis Trio.

But when she was in mellow moods, she preferred melodious male voices. We owned several albums by the likes of Andy Williams, Jack Jones, and other crooners of the 50s and 60s. (My father's taste mirrored hers, with favorites like Peggy Lee, Dusty Springfield, and Andy's homicidal wife, Claudine Longet).

A particular favorite of my mother's was a trio called The Lettermen, who gained some fame in the 60s and 70s, recording melodious covers of current popular songs. The album most embedded in my memory was a live recording of one of their concerts, filled with upbeat numbers sung in close harmony. The Lettermen closed this concert (I think they still close concerts this way) with an acappella song called "I Believe." We were not an overly-religious family, but I like to think that we were a spiritual one, though we did not show it often. This song reflects that spirituality, and was my mother's favorite song.

In the early pages of this blog, I wrote a letter to my mother, and followed it up with another a year later. Of course, those letters were mostly for me, as I try, a quarter of a century after the fact, to make sense of her death.

If my mother had lived, she would be turning 80 years old today. In her honor and in her memory, the entry below contains a short slide show of her younger years, and the years in which I remember her.

I Believe