I lost my father in the late 90’s in a dramatic, violent manner. But he wasn’t part of my life for many years before then. Yet, as many children of broken homes, I always loved my father dearly and wanted him to find the happiness he was often lacking in his life. To a son’s eyes, you look past the faults, to me often times he was a hero. Athletic, intelligent, attractive, charismatic, strong, creative, many of the traits I hope to emulate. He lived a hard life, often times brought on by bad choices, but he has had a profound effect on who I am today and I’m thankful for the memories. R.I.P. Ron Pease (dad) Here’s a TOP 5 list of music memories.
“SUSPICIOUS MINDS” ELVIS PRESLEY
Elvis in the black leather jumpsuit at the ’69 Comeback Special is my favorite incarnation of the King. Powerful vocals, that stage presence, he looks so comfortable telling stories and playing some of the greatest songs that defined his generation. “Suspicious Minds” was Elvis’s last #1 hit while alive. The lyrics of a dysfunctional relationship and the hope of making things work are still relevant today. #91 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s all-time greatest songs. This version is from a 2010 Elvis Remix CD, it’s a harder rock version but such an incredible video!
“COCAINE BLUES” JOHNNY CASH
First off, Johnny Cash’s look and style reminds me of my dad. His songs about prison, rebellion, and redemption only furthers the comparison in my mind. Johnny Cash at San Quentin Prison is one of the rawest, intense, live performances ever. Songs like “Folsum Prison Blues” about shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die and “Cocaine Blues” appealed to the public in general but I can only imagine how the prisoners loved seeing the “Man In Black” come to them and give such a special performance. Profanities were edited out of the record, but it wasn’t all “outlaw” themed, Johnny was a devout Christian and included some spiritual hopeful songs to his set.
“JUST TO SATISFY YOU” WAYLON & WILLIE
I can remember seeing the Waylon & Willie album in our house AND on 8-track in our family car. Outlaw country artists always appealed to me, they took something traditional like country music and roughed it up. Songs about guns, whiskey, partying, and rowdy friends were the equivalent of today’s gangsta rap music. The kings of outlaw country music were Waylon and Willie and when they teamed up for their CD’s, it was a highlight for both of their illustrious careers. This song was originally recorded by Waylon Jennings but his duet with Willie sounds better.
“THAT’S LIFE” FRANK SINATRA
Growing up in an Italian family, there’s no way you can’t love Sinatra! “The Voice”, “Ol’ Blue Eyes”, rumors of his Mafia connections, “the Pride of Hoboken New Jersey”, his life-long battle with depression, his Oscar nominated movies, the tilt of his iconic hat, he was a rock star before rock n’ roll was even around! Sinatra was as the cliche’ goes, “often imitated but never duplicated”. “That’s Life” is ballsy, vintage N.Y. attitude, and emphasizes that inner strength that even if you’re knocked down in life, you’re going to pick yourself up!
“THE BLUES MAN” HANK WILLIAMS JR.
Another cassette from my dad’s collection that was worn out from many late night drives. “The Blues Man” is sad yet hopeful. Alan Jackson did a great cover of this song but Hank Williams’ version feels more personal and rings true to his life. I can’t hear this song and not think about my dad. He even went for Hank’s beard look in his later years. “You wasted so much of your life running through the dark night, let me shine some love light on this blues man”.