Musical Expansion

Many years ago my dad and I drove out to my sister’s house in Pittsburgh for a visit. On the way out we talked some, but mostly listened to music. My dad’s musical tastes were fairly simple: classic rock like The Beatles and Stones, early rock like Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis, and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. For the majority of the 6+ hour drive we listened to that kind of music. I tried to get him to listen some of my newer music, but he really didn’t like much of it.

Then I put on one of my jazz compilation CDs. Again, he really wasn’t digging it, but he tolerated it for my sake. Until track 10 came on, that is.

Track 10 was a more than seven minute long song called St. Louis Blues by an artist named Johnny Lytle, who was known as one of the greatest vibraphone players in the world. It was (and still is) my personal favorite song on that album. When it ended, he actually asked me to play it again – I was thrilled. And then again. And again. I think during the ride out and the ride back we must have listened to that song at least 20 times.

Shortly after we returned from our trip, I bought him that CD so he could continue to enjoy the song.

It was like a little victory for me. All my life my dad introduced me to music that to this day I still love and listen to regularly, and for me to have a chance to do the same for him…well, it was an awesome feeling.

Now whenever I listen to that song it takes me back to that trip, spending all that time driving with him and enjoying our time together, the beautiful Pennsylvania scenery and some great music, and it makes me smile.

If only I had a chance to do that just one more time.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

To hear a 30-second sample of the song, click the play button next to “St. Louis Blues” here: (small word of warning – if you have iTunes on your computer, clicking this link will most likely open the program – at least that’s what it just did to me)

Also, if you don’t know what a vibraphone is you can find out here:


2 Responses to “Musical Expansion”

  1. I love this memory – i love that your favourite song struck such a note in your father, and that you both were moved to listen to it so many times. It’s a long drive to Pittsburgh, but in this particular case it sounds like that was a wonderful thing.

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