I Dig Rock ’n’ Roll Music


Saturday night Marti and I attended a theater/concert event at our local playhouse entitled I Dig Rock ’n’ Roll Music: A Celebration of Folk-rock Then and Now. It was basically a musical guided tour through the years 1962 – 1975 — a time that embodied an incredible pop music explosion of creativity and social commentary.

The performance took place amidst an intriguing juxtaposition of generations. The audience was almost entirely made up of boomers. The performers were all in their twenties and thirties, which amounted to a group of “kids” young enough to be our own children (maybe in some cases, grandchildren) performing our own music back to us. It was an amazing testament to the power of music to capture the emotions of history and make them relevant to any age. They couldn’t possibly have grasped all that was in those songs, but they were capable of conveying that power to us through the magic of music. They were basically singing our youth back to us.

Our good friend and Catch member, Noel Paul Stookey, had a hand in developing this show, and he and Peter Yarrow, the surviving members of Peter, Paul and Mary, were instrumental in some of the song choices. One of Stookey’s newer songs, “Standing on the Shoulders (of giants)” was written for the show and captured beautifully the mentoring aspect of this relationship. The young musicians were obviously moved by what they received from spending some time with Stookey and Yarrow, and the metaphor of standing on the shoulders of another generation was a fitting one for this show, and indeed the experience we shared that evening. There was great love expressed in this mutual exchange.


The band

One of the performers passed on something that Peter had pointed out to them that these current days are manifesting what he called “a black hole of empathy” — an inability of people to stand in someone else’s shoes and care about their fellow man. According to him, music was a way of bringing back that love, concern and connection with others. Certainly this music was a step in the right direction. “Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now.” When is that ever out of date?

When it was over, we realized that these performers and creators of this show had created a love fest out of our music. No matter what the music was up to 50 years ago, the message and what it captured was timeless, and indeed, what we all need again right now.

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8 Responses to I Dig Rock ’n’ Roll Music

  1. drewdsnider says:

    The “black hole of empathy”. Doesn’t that sum up the current state of affairs?

  2. Carole Oglesbee says:

    I had a similar experience when I was at the hair dresser’s last week. Jim Croce, Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, and the Eagles songs played while I was there. I asked the (very) young lady at the register what she thought about the music from “my”generation and she enthusiastically replied she loved it. Until I pointed it out to her, she didn’t even realize it WAS music from 50 yrs ago. You know, as a kid myself, I don’t recall ever hearing Big Band music from my parents’ generation, unless Mom & Dad played it on our Hi-Fi at home (fortunately that was quite often – those of you not familiar with it, see if you can find some Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey, even some Doris Day tunes and give them a listen!). Seems the music from OUR generation has much more favorably stood the test of time. Not sure why that is. All I know is that I left the salon feeling light-hearted and a good 30 years younger! Perhaps love IS all we need after all.

  3. Even though raised Episcopalian. I was not overtly religious or professed any solid allegiance with Jesus Christ back in the day. But, I do recall how certain groups and musicians (labeled as secular and devil-inspired) were able to woo me – through Scripture-themed songs – and inspire me into thinking about the bigger issues of the times, and even the meaning of life itself.

    Amongst all the wonderful music from that era, a few that still hold a special place in my heart are:
    Judy Collins singing “Amazing Grace”
    The Byrds singing “Turn, Turn, Turn”
    Cat Stevens “Morning Has Broken”
    And, even, the wonderful orchestration and lyrics from “Jesus Christ Superstar”.

    In fact, as I review this list and remember the many other compositions from back then, I am overcome with tears of gratitude for both the impact of the music and the gifts of these talented artists regardless of which paths they followed later on in their lives.
    At least, to me, they served God’s purposes in some capacity by partially revealing to me and eventually solidifying a relationship with Him.
    God bless ’em all!

    “Jesus is just alright for me, Jesus is just alright oh yeah…”
    ~ The Doobie Brothers

  4. John A Fagliano says:

    Loved today’s Catch and all the comments. There’s so much I would like to add but I think I would write forever. I’ll just keep it to this:

    What do these songs have in common?

    Oh Happy Day – Edwin Harkins Singers
    Jesus is Just Alright – Doobie Brothers
    Put your hand in the Hand – Ocean
    Why Me- Kris Kristofferson
    Day By Day Godspell
    The Lord’s Prayer – Sister Janet Mead
    I Don’t Know How to Love Him- Helen Ready

    They all made the Top 40 ( several of them, the top 10) of the Billboard singles Charts. Yes, the “secular” charts.

    Now I’ll tell you what all these songs have in common:

    Get Together, Bridge over Troubled Water, He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother, United We Stand, I’d Like to Teach the world to sing, Top of the World, Teach Your Children, Tell it All Brother, Easy to be Hard, Let the Sunshine In, One Tin Soldier, Blowin’ in the Wind, If I had a Hammer, Day is Done, Everything is Beautiful, And You’ve Got a Friend.

    Of course they were also all Top 40 Hits AND I heard everyone of them sung by the folk choir in the Catholic Church I grew up in, along with the list above. Church Music and Pop music at the same time. I have such nostalgia for those days.

  5. Bob Hofferber says:

    Although I’m not a country music fan, for some reason or another, I’ve been listening to a lot of Kris Kristofferson the last few weeks. In doing so, I’ve become convinced that “Why Me Lord?” is a wildly underrated gospel song that contains the attitude about our salvation that we all should have. The song contains the essence of understanding that grace is unearned and goes on to remind us that the only way to “repay” receiving that grace is to tell others our story of how we found God.
    I ran across this as well:

    Why me Lord, what have I ever done
    To deserve even one
    Of the pleasures I’ve known
    Tell me Lord, what did I ever do
    That was worth loving you
    Or the kindness you’ve shown.
    Lord help me Jesus, I’ve wasted it so
    Help me Jesus I know what I am
    Now that I know that I’ve need you so
    Help me Jesus, my soul’s in your hand.
    Tell me Lord, if you think there’s a way
    I can try to repay
    All I’ve taken from you
    Maybe Lord, I can show someone else
    What I’ve been through myself
    On my way back to you.
    Lord help me Jesus, I’ve wasted it so
    Help me Jesus I know what I am
    Now that I know that I’ve need you so
    Help me Jesus, my soul’s in your hand.

    • John A Fagliano says:

      I agree it is a true gospel song in every sense of the word. If you haven’t already seen it, here is my favorite performance of that song from not too long ago. Like you, I am not a big Country music fan but I can spot a number of well known artists on stage.

  6. Pingback: Dig rock ’n’ roll or dig your own grave | John Fischer The Catch

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