TRYING to anticipate the favourite songs of a random group of music lovers who have come together as strangers to meet up and play the guitar is always a fun guessing game.
You know,as a tutor or workshop organiser, that each individual has a strong opinions on which songs evoke the kind of magical feelings which attracted them to the six strong glory of the instrument, the guitar, in the first place.
A tutor should be sensitive to the feelings and sensibilities of his group, their social needs – be it beer, a good laugh or a set of songs we all love.
The tutor could also be aware of the contemporary myth for suggesting that there is no way of second guessing a group interest or tastes of a group judging by age or class backgrounds – very much a taboo idea in the age of consumer lifestyle choices as the mainstream ideology – apparently we’re all free thinking, free choosing individuals who determine the outcome of our own lives independently of society.
Of course, as anybody working in advertising or marketing knows, that’s complete idealistic tosh. It’s entirely predictable and the entire industry is based on second guessing the tastes of large groups of so-called individuals even when calling them individuals as a group. I include myself in that, if you know my background and age you’d know what my music tastes are likely to be, or have been, or which phases I might have been through. You’d be right. I choose freely but you can predict lots of my passions.
Consequently over the years I can guarantee that the Eagles will be more popular among my male suburban clientele over 40 than younger people and women are often indifferent to their music. I’m sure there’ll be people willing to argue against this notion, like those who smoke and don’t have cancer saying smoking and cancer don’t have a correlation.
So a big upset then that guitarist Glenn Frey, the Eagles guitarist died this week, aged 67. Take It Easy is one of those songs with its fast paced open chords and Californian cowboy sensibilities that I always teach. It’s easier to pick up than many hits. Plus it has that free love 1960s/70s vibe and it mentions cars and picking up open minded women. Embarrassing but true, a depiction of days gone by. I won’t be popular for pointing it out!
Personally I’ve been learning song after song, day after day for the past eight years and my favourite cover was an acoustic version of Mathematics by Cherry Ghost which I picked up off You Tube. But once upon a time it would’ve been The Pogues, The Beatles, The Levellers, The Everly Brothers, The Doors, The Velvet Underground, Christy Moore in that 60s-80s world of rebellion, melody, art and poetry familiar to the northern offspring of Irish Catholics. Nowadays it’s anything I can find. Roll on.
Each to their own.