The library’s music collection has been coming in handy lately as I’ve been taking quite a few solo road trips and the music available on the radio has become repetitive when I hear it for hours each week. I do try to find new stations to listen to as I drive and also rely on CBC for much of my in-car entertainment but some of their content can be a bit ‘unusual’ depending on the time of day. Anna Maria Tremonti can usually be a lock for at least 45 minutes of good listening but recently she was talking to people about the pros and cons of eating human placenta and the producers chose to include audiotape of how it could be prepared on a grill! I had to turn it off and use my carefully planned WPL road trip music collection instead.
Here is the beauty of using the WPL collection. It contains music for every one of my mercurial moods which can change so quickly depending on the weather – if it is sunny I sometimes feel like a deep dive into the music of my teen years and pull out a wonderful Greatest Hits collection we have from the Cure. If the 401 is rainy then I might feel like singing something a bit less bright but still from the same era and naturally gravitate to Morrissey and the thrill of “What difference does it make” from their self-titled album The Smiths. It’s just lovely stuff for a gloomy day. And I never have a problem with a bit of The Clash. The voice of Mick Jones is not weather dependent. I just grab the jewel case from my pile on the passenger seat, pop it in, and hit ‘play’.
Our music collection allows me to go back to the ‘80s, stock up on the ‘70s with classics that my oldest brother liked to sing, maybe a bit of Jim Croce’s “Time in a bottle” and “Bad, bad Leroy brown”, or even grab some CDs that remind me of the music my mother talks about when she reminisces about dating our father. She has a great story about going to see Bill Haley and His Comets when they came to play in Hamilton. I always imagine her wearing a lovely dress with a massive skirt and I know, because she has told me the story a few times, that our father and his friends were wearing their nicest suits and had their hair slicked back. Talk about a great memory. So, when I play a CD like Bill Haley’s, you know that it makes the car ride go more quickly and it doesn’t really matter what the weather or the traffic is like.
Another favourite section for me in the music collection is soundtracks because, occasionally, I am coming home from a long day in the later hours and I am not at my best and need a melodious boost. The only thing that can keep me energized on those days is great music and the offerings of CBC later in the evening tend to become fairly sedate and pop radio is absolutely disappointing. Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran are fabulous in the daylight but cannot help me at all once the sun goes down. I turn to Broadway musicals every time. West Side Story is enjoying it’s 60th anniversary this year and I think this adds an extra snap when I sing my favourite tunes from the driver’s seat of my little car. Or, sometimes I imagine that I am Gordon MacRae just singing my heart out in the middle of the fields of Oklahoma. I’m not really picky about what I sing and sometimes I’ll choose to play a great compilation album that we have on the shelves called Somewhere over the rainbow because it has all of the greatest voices – Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Betty Hutton, Louis Jourdan, Bing Crosby and Jane Powell – and you can just play it on shuffle and never hit a bad song. S’ wonderful.
And, we get new music every week here at the library so, if I am in the mood to play recently released music by the contemporaries of Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift I can take them on the road with me too. I’m pretty sure that I’ll still prefer Fred & Judy over Ed & Taylor but I’m glad that the WPL music collection gives me the choice.