Last night while I was knitting and not really payin' attention to whatever was on TV, Mom yelled down the hallway "Get Channel Eleven!"
Ah, PBS, gotta love 'em!
I'd almost missed the first half of Austin City Limits (Still not used to the new schedule), and Ladysmith Black Mambazo was on. They're full-on vocal, no instruments at all, and they're good at it. They're fascinating -- musically and visually; from the blending of amazing voices to perfectly synchronized dance in totally identical clothing, right down to the matching red socks. Those guys put on a lot of moves to still be singin' smooth & easy; I'd be too outta breath to even talk.
The first time I saw 'em was when they were on Saturday Night Live with Paul Simon, and I went right out and bought "Graceland" as soon as I could. I had the cassette and the CD was one of those first five CD's I bought when I got my first Discman around Christmas of '92. I got to watch 'em do a couple songs that were on that album, and sittin' there with a clear view of the TV and the sliding glass door that leads to the back yard, I couldn't help but think I might have stumbled onto one of those "100 Ideas For Your Blog."
Before I had a driver's license, helpin' Dad cut the two-and-a-half acres of grass was one of my favorite things for two reasons. First, it's a chance to go outside and drive something, and second, that Kubota B-8200 Diesel Tractor is Schweet.
My "Flashback" incident came after I had a driver's license, because I vividly remember poppin' the "Graceland" cassette out of the truck stereo and into the walkman before I went out to get on the tractor. I'm sure it was sometime in highschool, because I don't think I've done any mowing since I started college and got way too busy to be at home enough for it... But anyway... I drive and I sing; I just about always have; only what happened that day has made me way more careful about it.
I loved the "Graceland" album for a long time; and I still enjoy it a little every now and then. I knew it all by heart, and I had a real problem about singin' along in the truck. There's one track on there that he does with Linda Ronstadt (Uhm, not sure if I spelled that right, sorry Linda), and through my singing in the truck and my mild bit of musical experience with Highschool Band, I'd figured out that it took a lot of air to accomplish the task, but I actually could hit the notes she hits in that song -- it just came out really loud with the way I had to force my voice for it.
That lovely summer afternoon, way back when I was confident enough to ride a tractor out in the open in my swimsuit, in the daylight even; I put the headphones on, climbed up, and nestled the walkman behind me in the tractor seat. I started makin' laps around the back yard and tryin' to listen, which, with a diesel tractor, involves crankin' the volume all the way up. A few laps into the task, here came that song. I could hear the music reasonably well, but I could barely hear myself.
I sang anyway. I sang, and sang, and sang, and it was fun!
I started to get that feeling, that strange eyebally feeling that something isn't right. As I made the turns to cover the square of the back yard, I noticed that one of the neighbors had stopped hangin' clothes on the line and she was just leanin' against the post. The neighbor on the other side had stopped his smaller non-diesel-powered tractor too. My Mom was on the back patio by the glass door just staring at me like I had a bird on my head.
The song went on, and I finished up the back yard; I didn't realize what I'd done until I shut off the tractor and went in the house.
It was a "Here's Your Sign" moment before Bill Engvall ever even thought of it.
My tip of the day is this; just because you can't hear yourself doesn't mean that other people (who are not astride a Kubota B-8200 Diesel Tractor) can't hear you. I learned the hard way that even if I do manage to force it, I really can't sing like Linda. Maybe that's part of why I fear Karaoke... And believe me, I think about it every time I put headphones on -- and every time I get all road-ragey in the convertible.
More later... _\,,/