Up the Downstair

Being a weeklie podcaste from Madison, Wisconsin featuring several remarkable curiosities therein occurring being a compendium of live music from divers artistes

Broadening the Kid’s Musical Horizons

November 19th, 2010

Last weekend I made my semi-monthly trek out to some used bookstores. I found a couple books for myself and a handful of Rush albums – the remastered versions. As long as I was there, I thought that I’d try and find some music for my stepson. He’s 11 now and all he listens to is The Beatles. Don’t get me wrong, The Beatles are great but man cannot live on them alone. I figured that I’d try to find some more British Invasion. Keep him in the same ballpark yet mix things up a bit.

Of course my plan failed. The only Stones I could find were their last couple studio albums. And I didn’t see any Kinks or Who either. It was just odd. So I had to go with Plan B and Plan B ended with me buying these two albums:

thedoors 1stcover Broadening the Kids Musical Horizons

boc seecover Broadening the Kids Musical Horizons

A couple days later Miles tells me that he has been listening to The Doors when he’s going to sleep and that he likes it. I’m glad. I’m also glad that I have not been asked “What does he mean when he says that he eats more chicken than a man ever seen?” This makes me hopeful that he’s just waiting until he’s older to find out but part of me is fearful that it’s simply because he hasn’t managed to stay awake long enough for (what was then) side 2. We’ll see how much trouble “The End” causes but I am hoping to avoid an Oedipal issues.

“The killer awoke before dawn…”

Being a music geek, I struggled over whether to get the kid the 2-CD Doors best of or their first album. While I personally am not a big fan of best of compilations, I realize that they do have their place. And introducing a newbie to a band is surely one of them. After several minutes I ended my indecision by going with The Doors. My reasoning was purely old school. I wanted him to have the album. I wanted him to be able to see the cover and, generally speaking, see an artifact of the 1960s as it was introduced then instead of some revisionist repackaging. We can always buy more of their music.

Buying him the CDs is the closest thing I can manage now for him to have a similar experience to mine with regards to music growing up. Sometimes I miss vinyl. I miss having this big album cover staring me in the face and a gatefold sleeve to open and peruse. CDs can replicate the content but just aren’t the same. It’s like watching Star Wars on the big screen as opposed to a DVD on a 27″ TV.

I figure that, if he wants to, he can rip the CD, convert to MP3, and listen to the songs however he wants – a different order, with others in a playlist, or whatever. But I still think that he should start by having the album and listening to it straight through in order. There’s something to be said about the album as a package. It’s whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

As for the Blue Öyster Cult, I came home the other night and he had it playing in the living room. He had apparently already been familiar with “Don’t Fear (The Reaper)” and was happy that it was on there. “E.T.I.” and “Godzilla” should be easy enough for him to get into, although I don’t know what I’m going to say when he asks who this Balthazar cat they sing about is. The real test will be whether he enjoys “Astronomy” or not. We’ll see.

So what albums should I get him next? Do I build on these purchases and get him, say, Strange Days, or perhaps a Black Sabbath album as I was contemplating? I want to present him with a broad palette so I probably shouldn’t buy all classic rock. In fact, I shouldn’t get him all rock music for that matter. There’s lots of great music in all genres from all eras.

Related posts:

  1. The Musical Box @ The Riverside, 7 December 2007
  2. The Musical Box @ Pabst Theatre
  3. World's Oldest Musical Instrument Found
  4. Show #226: Other Voices – The Doors Post Jim Morrison

12 Responses to “Broadening the Kid’s Musical Horizons”

  1. Beastre says:

    was it the remastered version of “The Doors” or the original CD reissue? What are your thoughts on the differences between the two?

  2. Palmer says:

    It was the original CD issue. I’ve never heard the remaster so I don’t know the differences sonically. All I know is that the remasters have bonus tracks. A bunch of demos of “Moonlight Drive”, if memory serves, in this case.

  3. Beastre says:

    According to the remaster’s liner notes, due to technical issues, the original album (but not the singles of Light My Fire and Break On Through) wound up mastered almost a half-step flat. Generally I am not a fan of artists revisiting and ‘updating’ their past works (ex: G. Harrison redo of My Sweet Lord); let the originals stand on their own, warts and all, I say. However, I think Ray M and the original engineer have done something notable here. Sped up to the original intended pitch, the remaster of The Doors sounds bright and has a jump to it that I never noticed before. I’ll have to admit, after my initial teenage fascination with Jim Morrison & Co., I never really appreciated the band that much. That old album has gotten a new life with me; I think I like it more now than I did way back when. I’m curious to hear what Fripp has done with his reworkings of his catalogue…

  4. Palmer says:

    I didn’t know about that mastering issue. To me, I don’t have a problem with a band or a director going back and tweaking their work as long as the original artifact remains available.

    For more on the KC releases:


    • Beastre says:

      brings to mind george lucas. The touched up and reworked star wars was nice and all, but left me longing for the original film. My VHS copy is toast and doesn’t do it justice any more. (Oh what a life it would be if these were the most pressing problems I faced every day!)

      • Palmer says:

        Are there plans for the original versions of the Star Wars movies to come out on DVD or Blu-Ray? I liked the reworked versions but the originals should really be always be in print.

  5. Veg says:

    I drive my grandchildren (10 & 13) around a lot, so over the past couple of years they’ve been exposed to a large portion of my music collection. I’m frequently surprised by what they remember and respond to. They used to tune out when I was playing jazz or classical, but lately they’ve been developing a taste for some of it. And its turned out that they like a lot of stuff I thought they were just politely ignoring. Not neccessarily the same stuff I really like, unfortunately. My grandson’s really cute. Every time I play Pink Floyd he obviously enjoys it and wants to know who it is, but he never remembers that he’s heard it before. I think he’s going to be a candidate for electronic, but I haven’t really kept up with the genre. Any suggestions?

    Oddly, they both seem to like AC/DC, particularly “Big Balls.” Go figure!

    I guess I’d suggest working on expanding his horizons as much as possible, then focus when you find an area he really responds to.

    Of course, as their mother keeps reminding me, we must be mindful of their tender age… So I’ve made a solemn vow to wait until they’re at least 30 before I turn them on to Frank Zappa.

    • Palmer says:

      Electronic music? I don’t know much about it. I have heard a couple Portishead songs I liked and one or two by The Orb but I know next to nothing about the genre.

      It’s good to see you exposing your grandkids to a variety of music. My stepson gets exposed to a lot of different music at home. He liked Anglagard and “Goldfish and Clowns” by Fish but he’s heard The Goose Island Ramblers, some jazz, and some classical as well as rock music. Oh, and Jethro Tull too. I had “Hoedown” by ELP on in the car one time and he described it as electronic cowboy music or something like that.

  6. Dave Watts says:

    Keep up the good work. Without us kids will think music started with whatever was big when they were 7 or 8 and just getting cognizant of the music around them!!

    • Palmer says:

      Last night was more Doors. I am getting sick of hearing “Light My Fire” and am contemplating getting him Strange Days so I can get tired of hearing “Love Me Two Times”.

      He asked me and his mom yesterday why the guy in “The End” killed everyone. Last night I was told that I am not allowed to let him hear a live version of that song…

  7. when he’s thirteen he’ll be ready for London Calling….

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