Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Jeff's Jukebox: A-8
A-8: "White Bird," It's A Beautiful Day
This isn't the kind of song that I normally go for (it doesn't get more "trippy hippie" than this, does it?), but there's a story behind it. When I was growing up, my family always spent a week in July at South Lake Tahoe, spending the days doing things like swimming in the frigid water and playing minature golf. The nights were another story - the adults would head over to the casinos to make their contributions for a few hours, so my brothers and I would stay with Grandma, whose primary assignment was to make sure that we got to bed at the appointed time.
The cabin was nice, but not large, and it had no television. After a while we started bringing our own TV, but the reception was so lousy that it didn't really make a difference. But that first year, 1969, it was strictly radio time, and the only station that got decent reception was on the FM side of the dial. And one of the songs they played in heavy rotation that summer was "White Bird." At the time, I thought it was the most exotic thing I'd ever heard, but there was also something about it which filled me with a vague sense of dread. I was only 9, but it seemed to me that there was danger in the song, and something about it ingrained itself into my mind.
To this day, hearing the song pulls me back to that era, to the point where I can see every nook and cranny of that cabin - what it looked like, what it smelled like, and the sound of the pine trees, just outside, whistling in the wind.