Music in my life

Is a huge part of my life. 2 of my 3 sons are musicians*. I took violin lessons for 7 years, gave it up in high school because it didn’t seem cool. Didn’t play it for 50 years. A few years ago I was in a music store and asked to see a violin that was hanging up. To my surprise I could play like I’d never quit.Bought it for $200.  Lesley had no idea I could play. I took it home and she was baking a pie. I snuck the violin out and played “Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy.” Surprise and merriment.

*Will plays in the Brazilian band Sambada, from Santa Cruz:

Sirius Satellite Radio

I kid you not, Sirius has changed my life. The quality of music is just off the charts. My pre-selected stations are BB King’s Blusville; Outlaw Country (rockin’ country); The Joint (reggae); Bluegrass; the ’50s; a classical station Bach etc.); Raw Dog Comedy; I switch around a lot. Tuesday on the road: The Right Time by Otis Rush; Bumblebee by Memphis Minnie; Gregory Isaacs… reggae somehow goes with Mendocino county; I Have a Boyfriend by the Chiffons, made me think of all those great girl groups of the 50s with their intricate harmonies and witty backups. Doo ron-ron…As I write this I’m sitting in my round room at Louie’s listening to the Abyssinians singing Satta Mass Gana, “There is a life far, far away…”

Bass Madness: My new box bass is so great that I’ve been playing it a LOT. It’s wonderful to discover the world of bass playing. I never really heard the bass before. It’s like a different world, steady, the underlying current. Most people tune into only the melody.

My first musical love was the Mills Brothers, in the late 40s and 50s. The harmonies, the trumpets and trombone and bass done with the human voice. The much later, age 18, I walked into Sherm Welpton’s room at the Fiji house at Stanford and heard “Yes it’s me and I’m in love again” by Fats Domino (pic left). Ooo-wee! That led into the world of what was called rhythm and blues.. We started listening to KDIA, Lucky 13, in San Francisco, the black music station. We (ages 18-20) started going to R&B concerts in Santa Cruz and LA, with groups like the Clovers, Medallions, Robins, Drifters, Coasters…fantastic singing and dancing in unison…Earl Bostic on saxophone. Lieber and Stoller songs, what a couple of geniuses. Which all led me into blues and rock and roll.

This Tuesday, the Kahn family is backing up 91-year-old ragtime piano player Phoebe Babo at the Aegis Rest Home in Corte Madera. Brother Bob on banjo, son Will on drums, me on box bass. A sort of celebration of my mom’s life, for the residents. We’re going to film it. Here’s Phoebe a few weeks ago doing Bye Bye Blues:

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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