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The Villages
Thursday, December 2, 2021

Music doesn’t sound like it did in the good old days

Barry Evans
Barry Evans

Once upon a time, I found that I could not understand my wife. Some may consider that an asset, but actually most scientists will confirm that such a disability is not necessarily good from a health standpoint. Therefore, I went to a world-famous ear doctor – well she was in the phone book and she was recommended by my eye doctor. After the necessary testing, I was furnished with some hearing aids (at a not insignificant price). Lo and behold, I could then understand my wife.  I couldn’t hear much else but the wife clarity was there. Since then, I have secured other ear pieces – none of which satisfies all my requirements.

One aspect that irritates me significantly is that music does not sound the same to me.  Tunes that I used to like and could identify at the snap of a finger no long resonate. The Blonde in the house and I were at the Olde Time Radio Club the other night when they had a section on trying to identify who was singing and the name of the song.  The songs that night were from the Hit Parade in 1950.  I could not hear them with any precision and thus had a hard time identifying them.  This was just further proof of the fact that I like listening to old songs but can’t really. It is not like today’s songs which from a listening standpoint do not require a hearing aid at all. Rather they need something to deaden the sound. That is another story though.

In the old days prior to hearing aids, I used to listen to songs like “Big Bad John” and “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.” I would then theorize who would win in a fight.  John died a hero holding up a coal mine while Leroy was knifed by a jealous husband. I figured John would win and his next fight would be against the guy from “16 Tons”. Now, I do not want anyone to get the idea that I only listened to what some would consider the red-neck part of the musical world.  That is most certainly not the case.  For example, one of my favorite songs in 1951 was a violin solo entitled “The Hot Canary”.  Man, that was some zippy song.  It made your eyes bug out and your tummy say howdy – whoops that was another song.

I have a friend right here in The Villages who himself is one of the world’s great violinists.  I mentioned the “Hot Canary” to him the other day, and he claimed to have never heard of it.  He sort of implied that I was a little “off” the beaten path and asked if I weren’t wearing hearing aids way back then. Well, the violinist on that song was none other than Florian ZaBach.  Now with a name like that, you know that he had to be a classical type of guy. In fact, “Believe It or Not” once timed him on his recording of “Flight of the Bumblebee”.  It found that he played 12.8 notes per second.  I have no idea if that is a world record or anything, but if “Believe It or Not” took time to note it, it must be right up there at least.  (Don’t you miss the old “Believe It or Not” sections in the newspapers?).

I could reminisce about the old singers like Frankie Yankovic, Vaugh Monroe, Perry Como, Burl Ives, Eddie Arnold, Teresa Brewer, Mario Lanza etc. However, since I can’t appreciate music the way I used to, it would be difficult to show those, who still have some hearing after listening to today’s loud music, how good the old tunes were. I have thought about pitching my hearing aids and having my own singing concert in some nice ballroom here in The Villages. For some reason the Blond in the House is emphatic that I should just keep the hearing aids in and let the rest of the folks handle hearing music in their own way.

She is probably correct.  I never could remember all the words anyhow!

Villager Barry Evans is a columnist for Villages-News.com

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