The family that plays together stays together?

In Perfect Harmony.

When I was but a little lad
I believed my dear old Dad
Could turn his hand to anything
Except whistle, dance, play or sing.

When I'd been but a babe in arms
Dad had tried music's soothing charms
By crooning out a lullaby,
But all it caused was more hugh and cry.

One thing rang out crystal clear-
Song-wise, Dad could blow it out his rear,
My screaming revealed I was unhappy,
As did my steaming nappy.

Mother upraised me from the cot
Over which I'd done piddly squat,
My debut as Fathers music critic
Was luke-warm and rather acidic.

As a kid, helping out in his workshop
I learned a lot listening to my old Pop,
Father possessed in him, I fear
An adenoidal drawl and a tin ear.

Even in church his hymn-singing
Had the pastor's hands and ears wringing,
And so the pastor had a quiet word
And no more of hymn was heard.

Poor musically maligned Dad-
Being told he's Godawfully bad,
Meanwhile his kids and spouse
Raised the roof on Gods house.

For the choir Dad was not required,
Much less was his grate voice desired,
The choirmaster loved her and her boys,
Sadly Daddy was mere annoying noise.

So Dad would never rock the Hippodrome;
Poor Pa, even in the privacy of his home
If Mom spontaneously burst into song
Dad felt resigned to just hum along.

So Father bit held his tongue
As cheerily his wife and offspring sung,
But Dad continued to stay dumb
For sake of harmony and keeping mum.

At school some new teacher suggested
Music lessons for those so interested,
My brother yearned to play guitar-
Chet favoured Lennon, not Ringo Starr.

He thought we'd start up a band-
But I dismissed guitar out of hand,
I soon settled on a compromise,
The Ukulele was more me, size wise.

Friday Chet hurried down to the music store,
Bought the cheap-assed Yamaha you ever saw,
The clerk took pity on him and poor tag-along me,
Tossed in a Uke for free and a no strings guarantee.

Call it fate, call it coincidence
But when he saw our instruments
We saw Barca-lounger bound Dad sit up,
And the sad eyes he clapped on us lit up.

I soon gave up my lousy practice-
Indolence and bloody fingers two factors,
Chet played blissfully on and on and on
Unaware his accompanist had gone.

But Dad had seen the Light and the Way,
If he couldn't sing, surely he could play?
And so Dad brought home a Banjo Mandolin,
Plucked up courage to release the music within.

We already knew Dad could not sing a note,
As he 'tuned up' a lump rose in my throat,
All through that long atonal afternoon
Dad vainly chased some elusive tune.

Soon my bro was practicing next door,
He, me and Mom knew the score;
If Dad didn't hear Chet fretfully play
The Mandolin might stay tucked away.

Whenever Dad felt his muses call 
And reached for that thing strung on the wall
Mom would reach for the gin and lime,
Sup on the porch swing till twilight time.

My brother and I would slink outside,
Hop on the Schwinns, take a long long ride
And not return till silence reigned
With Mom insensible and the Gilbeys drained.

By the time I was set to fly the coop
Chet was off touring with some grungy group,
Dads piss-poor playing had not improved one whit
But Dad had Moms AA sponsor begging him to quit.

On my last night at home I lay, still concerned,
Their soon departing son tossed and turned,
Then, while Dad snored and Mom slept tight
Did anyone hear that bump in the night?

The morning found Dad in despair,
The Mandolin had fallen- into disrepair,
How had the nail on which it hung failed
When Dad hisself had had it six inch nailed?

So this is what the disquieting price of peace is;
The busted Banjo Mandolin, like Dad, lay in pieces,
The worst assault on a blunt instrument I'd ever seen-
Far worse than any Pete Townshend axe wielding scene.

Now I don't regret doing what had to be done,
And, yes, I still consider myself a father loving son,
Yes, Dads busted Banjo came as a hammer blow
With a three pound sledge- believe me, I know.



(If you got this far, there's a couple of song titles hidden in the mess mix.)


(Oh, you want a hint?- ok; one by The Band, one by Shawn Mullins.)

©Obbverse

10 thoughts on “The family that plays together stays together?

    1. Not heard the Cure one- I’ll look it up. The Band one is an old fave of mine, maybe too obscure. (‘Don’t leave me alone in the ……..’)
      As for the triangle- Dad could even mangle that! He had many gifts, musical expression was not one of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Another lovely odd to that which should and shouldn’t be….

    I got the Mullins reference (by the way, the whole “Soul’s Core” album is worth a listen) but I’m stumped by The Band, even with a second run. Now I’m feeling a bit guilty about my audacity of shoving 50 references into one post…. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, I had the ‘Souls Core’ CD before it went to that great hiding place in the Sky, the black hole that opens when one moves to a better locale. I’m sure a certain Removals Van driving man augmented his music collection10 years or so ago. The Band one is ‘Twilight’ or if you really want to trawl back to 1958, ‘Twilight Time’ by the Platters- I think.
      Don’t regret the musical references though- I (miss)appropriated the idea off you anyway!

      Liked by 1 person

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