News From Terre Haute, Indiana


July 7, 2014

MS. TAKES: Great music is made during all generations

TERRE HAUTE — Number Two son tells us that his 20-year-old son has been listening to “Big Band” music with apparent enjoyment. As if that wasn’t enough of a surprise, I was talking with a young girl, barely out of her teens and she told us that she really wasn’t into rap. She said, “It isn’t really music, it’s just talk.”

While I am overjoyed to find the occasional Artie Shaw or Bennie Goodman or Frank Sinatra doing the background music while I am shopping, I can only hope that the trend continues.

But I informed my young friend that today’s music isn’t all bad. In fact, Eric Clapton and Diana Krall and BB King are grinding out some pretty good stuff. And, while I personally am not a Bob Dylan fan, I can agree that he is making poetry.

What today’s young folks don’t know yet is that the music of my youth also produced quite a bit of sheer swill. A lot has passed from my memory, but I am often revisited by the nonsense song beginning “Mairzy Dotes and Dozie Dotes.” I can only hope it was because we needed a few laughs during the big war.

Dad could hardly wait to get to the volume dial on the old Atwater Kent when some of the stuff from “Your Hit Parade” aired on Saturday night. He particularly disliked Woody Herman, which he styled as “just noise.” Does that sound familiar to you kids?

On the other hand, Dad really liked Benny Goodman, who could produce everything from jazz to classics. He also admired Harry James. I remember Dad was impressed that Harry James had learned to play the trumpet in the circus band which his father directed. Dad particularly liked it that Harry James did not use a mute — ever. Dad believed that a brass instrument was meant to be heard.

When all is said and done, music is pretty much a matter of taste and, of course, it is also a sign of the times. I don’t remember that we had garage bands, but maybe Yorkville was simply too small to have enough musical kids to put a garage band together. I don’t remember any who played a guitar or a drum. If you doubt that drumming is an art, you need to dig out a Gene Krupa or Buddy Rich number from the iTunes catalog.

Number Two son is putting together a disc of some of my old favorites. My list has a few Cajun tunes, too. After all, today’s music isn’t all swill and our music wasn’t either.

Liz Ciancone is a retired

Tribune-Star reporter. Send email to


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