Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Small Towns: My Little Town

purchase [My Little Town]

There is a lot of comfort in a small town: you know everyone/everyone knows you. I speak with limited authority, 'cause I lived in more than one - but for short times. Hamden, CT back in the '60s was a (relatively) small town. Yeah, I only lived there a year or so but the cops knew me pretty soon: I was the kid who set the empty lot on fire and went about deflating all the tires in the golf course parking lot. Small town stuff.

Back at my main place of residence, a couple of 1000 miles away from Hamden and a year or so later, the community was still pretty small. Again, people knew me (and my methods). These were the 60's - no need for Neighborhood Watch or Homeland Security methods. Everything was Small Town. Heck, the world in general was Small Town.

As for music, among the first 33 1/3 albums I acquired was Simon and Garfunkel’s Parsley Sage .... In retrospect I think my parents were pretty OK with this: not rock (but folk protest /Lite). Lots of harmony - kind of like the (parentally -approved) Kingston Trio. Little did my parents realize that the next few albums were to lead down dark alley-ways. ..maybe kinda like soft addictions lead you to hard addictions. First came the early Stones' Between the Buttons, followed by Sargent Peppers, followed shortly thereafter by Are You Experienced. You see? ... an evil path of no return. Classic case of the effects of soft leading to hard.

However, I digress. It's small towns and Paul Simon.

There was (and still is) something re-assuring/comforting about Paul Simon. Like small towns. Yes, he was on the (limited) edge of protest (sort of like Pete Segar). Yes, he skirted 60's rock, but he stayed "family friendly" - home town/small town.... never a real threat. (Ah... for those days...)
<My Little Town> comes after Simon and Garfunkel had parted ways (early 70's). Perhaps in some ways the songs chronicles some of the duo's realities: apparently, Paul Simon wasn’t too keen on relating this to anything personal (..."happy to get out of ..." small town, with Art Garfunkel more inclined to account for and share his past and any autobiographical aspect of the song.
Psychologies aside, the song lyrics lead us (today/without background baggage encumbrances) to see that:
And after it rains
There's a rainbow
And all of the colors are black
It's not that the colors aren't there
It's just imagination they lack
Everything's the same

Good comfort for thems that seek routine. Then again, the lyrics include no real praise for small towns in the end. "Nothin' but the dead and dying in my home town". Funny. I always heard it as "Nothing but the dead of night in my home town" until I looked up the lyrics.
Big cities for me ...

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