Holy frijoles, my dad is 75 years old today. What kind of gift could I possibly give the man who gave me half his genes? It will come as no surprise that I decided to make him a mix.
This is a bunch of music that was either recorded in 1934, composed or published in that year, or has some sort of connection. For example, there’s the classic “Stars Fell on Alabama” as performed here by the inimitable Sun Ra. The song was written in 1934 by Frank Perkins and Mitchell Parish; Sun Ra’s version came out in 1989, I think, but his musical career began in 1934, so it all fits together.
It may seem silly to focus on the year of birth, since the person in question doesn’t tend to remember too many details of that time. For my part, I was born in 1967. Do I feel any deep resonance with the events of that year, the spirit of that time? Well… Actually, to tell the truth, heck yeah, I sure do. That was the Summer of Love, and even though I was technically born in the winter, still I’ve always considered myself an honorary member of the Age of Aquarius. (In fact I was born on the cusp of Aquarius, but I digress.) Numerous authenticated hippie-boomers have verified this for me.
So I think it’s entirely possible that understanding of ’34 might give me a little insight into the mysterious man who is my father. Let’s see… the rise of the Nazi Party… the Night of the Long Knives… John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, Bonnie and Clyde had their famous cross-country rampages and were all killed that year.
OK, so maybe I’m not learning much about Dad here after all.
But it was also the year that brought us Flash Gordon, the Apollo Theater, the Three Stooges, Lil’ Abner, the Soap Box Derby, and — of course — my father. That’s pretty impressive.
Happy birthday, Dad. Glad you’re in good health, and I hope you enjoy the mix. Oh, and that very last track? You may be wondering about the connection, but actually it’s the most germane of all. It features Rico Rodriguez on trumpet, and it’s his 75th birthday today as well. Hooray!