Musical roots – A is for…

So, as a musician I often get asked how I “got into” music or what are my influences or inspirations. I find that really tough to quantify as I had so many different musical experiences growing up that it ulitmatley has to  be a mix of all of them. But I am going to talk here about my first memories of music and one particular group and song.

Those who know me may well be thinking “Aha, this should surely be choral music” and it’s true, I was brought up in a church family and attended weekly services with a good choral tradition going on. But I can’t recall that being immediately important to me, I remember the odd Hymn and there was one setting of the “Gloria” I remember enjoying, but I want to draw this blog’s attention to my first single.

It was 1976. I was four. My mum bought it for us ( I have a brother 3 yrs older) I guess because we had liked it, we watched Top of the Pops and sometimes the Radio 1 chart countdown on Sundays. I don’t know why she chose particular song, perhaps we had been singing it around the house, it was very catchy, or maybe she liked it also. My parents were not in the habit of buying music, they both had some Albums from their “Youth” and a small box full of singles, which my brother and I spent many happy hours going through with my dad’s very sophisticated, and portable, record player. It had valves and took a few minutes to warm up. It looked a bit like this – Old record player

You could stack up records as a “playlist” – great fun watching all the mechanical arms sorting it all out!

There were some great bits of music in there and I am sure I will come back to them in time, but this one was different. It was current, it was ours (though mostly mine….) it was….

Mama Mia – ABBA

YES! YOU KNOW IT! Well, everyone does don’t they? My kids seem to like it whenever it comes around. It is happy, simple, catchy and has that interesting Xylophone stuff. It really does still stand strong today which  says something about its production and of course the musical talent which were ABBA.

Incidentally, when we gat a bit more modern in the 80’s, and owned a Cassette player, my first album I was given was ABBA’s “Greatest Hits Vol 2” which I also played to death. It doesn’t have Mama Mia on it.

But, my gift to you today is not this marvellous song, as you already know it, but its very splendid and very little know B-Side called “Tropical Loveland”.

Kids today do not know about B Sides. Nowadays you mostly buy the album or download individual tracks but in those days, you could release something perhaps that didn’t make it to the album, or some random re-mix as a sort of prize for fans for buying the single. Having just looked it up, it was the third track from their third album entitled “ABBA”. It does not I believe ever feature on one of their later compilation albums.

It’s great. Obviously. It is sort of Reggae style with Xylophone just like Mama Mia and, now that I appreciate these kind of things, fantastic drumming.

This song takes me back to being a small chid again, I really hope you enjoy it!

Love as ever,

Chris K


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