Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Your Daddy's Music >>> #7 in a series on my music mentors

     Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey and Glen Miller.  I have big band leaders like these to thank for some of my earliest music memories.  And my dad for playing them.
Dancing with my dad to bands like this was a special occasion.
     My own son and daughter grew up, not only listening to the music we played, but joining in on creating it with us.  Thanks to their dad, we always had a recording studio, and he was always ready to record our original songs.  Thanks to him, Rick---husband, dad, musician/recording engineer---our family created our own cottage industry, and we continue to market our albums of music.

     In my childhood home, my dad, R.C., would borrow a reel-to-reel from the university science department where he worked for 25+ years as a microbiology professor.  He'd record the family warbling out holiday tunes: my mother singing, dad playing violin, big sis on piano, little brother on trumpet and me on guitar.  None of these takes were saved.  Dad must have captured some of my choral and duet singing from high school, too, but it seems the pleasure was in capturing the moment, not in preserving and storing it.
Mom and Dad on one of our many cabin/camping/day-trip outings
      Rufus Clay Hatfield, Jr. (he went by R.C. or Clay) hailed from Kentucky, and I've cherished those Bluegrass roots, sharing with my students fun, spirited songs like Black-eyed Susie, All Around the Kitchen, This Little Light of Mine, Little Wheel a-Turnin'..  But in my youth, the vibrant folk scene and the British music invasion of the 60s and 70s, whose influence flowed into my repetoires, seemed to waft by my dad as just an amusing fluke.

     It's those Big Band greats that always bring to mind the music of my father----those dynamic, dreamy, dance-able sounds from his weighty vinyl collection of 78s spinning on the family turntable.  And that is the sound he was listening to live, at a UCLA dance when he first met---and danced with---my mom, the French Major.
My dad, Dr. R.C. Hatfield
     I was with my dad at home when he died.  I was 21; my mom was there, too.  I'll always feel fortunate that I got his spirit of adventure, humor and lively tunes. Thanks to him, along with Mom and her world-travels, my siblings and I were given a rich musical heritage.

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