When you have something to say – please let me hear it

So I’m an old guy.  I remember music from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s.  What do I miss?


If I go to live music today, it’s often so loud, it’s painful.  Not only that, it’s so loud I can’t hear it.  I can’t tell one instrument from another, and usually can’t hear the bass or keyboard at all.  One or more of the band members might as well not be there.  Sometimes even the lead singer.

Loud noises make ears clench and shut down.  I know a very talented guy who plays great guitar and bass.  Sings good, too.  But when I heard him and his band live, it was so loud it literally wasn’t musically audible.

What’s up with that?

Take the Rolling Stones, the original bad boys.  Listen to the guitar lead-in to Satisfaction.  (OK, so maybe I don’t remember the title or all the words, but I remember not getting any.  It spoke to me.)  Every note is distinct.  Every word in the song is distinct.  Every instrument is distinct (at least in my memory).  There’s no doubt about what it says and how it says it.  Even Bob Dylan, who sometimes get imitators these days who mumble incomprehensibly, and may have had a better guitar than a voice, had no trouble getting “lay, lady lay” across.

But when I hear stuff today that’s loud and over-distorted – it just all runs together – and falls apart.  Even if it’s as important as Abe Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address, or Winston Churchill during the Battle of Britain, it’s like trying to hear one voice in a screaming football game.  Or trying to hear that killer guitar riff in an avalanche of screaming Skil saws.

I recently listened to tracks laid down by someone I knew had to be good, whom I like and want to be good.  But I couldn’t hear it for all the distortion and instruments smeared together.  So with all due respect to musicians who are many times more talented than my thumb-plunking on a guitar –

When you have something to say – please let me hear it.

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