scott

MY LIFE IN MUSIC

Scott Sheppard

WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH THIS? YOU CAN'T SAY THAT THE FIRST RECORD I EVER BOUGHT A "TRUE" FRIEND MY FIRST CONCERT
Pepper
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
The Beatles
Imagine
Imagine (1971)
John Lennon
Laid back
Laid Back (1973)
Gregg Allman
AWATS
A Wizard, A True Star (1973)
Todd Rundgren
Tres
Tres Hombres (1973)
ZZ Top
My sister Patti had an all-in-one phonograph in her room. The turntable would unfold with speakers that opened up via hinges on the side. I would lay on the hardwood floor of our Donelon Drive home in Harahan, Louisiana and play this record over and over. Had The Beatles renamed themselves to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band? As an eight year old, I was confused. It was a concept album, dummy. Now all of my favorite albums are concept albums. One day I heard "Imagine" on the radio. The lines "Imagine no religion. It's easy if you try." caught my ear. Raised as a Roman Catholic, I thought to myself "Hey you can't say that." Not of driving age yet, I rode my bicycle to the local K&B drug store and paid $3.39 of my hard-earned money. In those days I only collected 25 cents for each mowed lawn. In the fall of 1973 I helped my sister paint her college apartment. Claude Goudeaux, the tenant across the hall, left his door open and allowed us to play his stereo (while he was gone) so we could hear some music while we painted. Nowadays this would never happen. People would worry that strangers, although about to move in across the hall, would steal their stuff. The album graphics caught my eye, so I played it. The overall sound initiated my appreciation for background vocals. Years later I would decipher the symbols on the cover to uncover messages "Be true to your words, and your words will be true to you. Be true to yourself and your work. I will be as true to you as I can." From this I realized "true" meant "loyal," not "real," and that motto has stuck with me ever since. This was my first concert. Although I had not purchased it yet, I had heard the album at boy-girl parties that I started to attend. The show was at City Park in New Orleans. I went to the show with my friend Jimmy whom I had known since I was five. The lineup included a little known Aerosmith, Jeff Beck, Fleetwood Mac, and ZZ Top. I bought the album the next day. The days where rock acts try to sell albums by touring may be returning.
NOT THE BEATLES A TOUCHING GIFT IT'S QUIET AND LOUD LOCAL BOYS MAKE GOOD THE NEW QUADROPHONIC?
Zep
Physical Graffiti (1975)
Led Zeppelin
Alive
Frampton Comes Alive (1976)
Peter Frampton
Gabriel
Security (1982)
Peter Gabriel
Zebra
Zebra (1983)
Zebra
Liars
Liars (2004)
Todd Rundgren
Physical Graffiti was the first Led Zeppelin record I ever bought. To me it was just so different from the Beatles. Later when I purchased the first four Led Zeppelin albums, I was amazed that they were from the same era. For example, compare the guitar work in "Whole Lotta Love" to "Octopus' Garden" which were both recorded in 1969. After school one day, I went to buy this record, but when I got to Mushroom Records, I discovered it was a double album. As a result, I didn't have enough money with me. Yikes! My plan was to return another day. Before I could, my girlfriend, Sheryl Price, gave me the record for Valentine's Day. Five years later she would become Sheryl Sheppard. This was one of my first CDs. I used to make cassette tapes of my albums to preserve the vinyl. When I grew tired of the running order, I would rerecord a new tape to mix it up. When I read in Stereo Review that CD players allowed the order of songs to be programmed (no shuffle play yet), I bought one the next day. To help these new fangled devices catch on, the player came with five free discs - one of which was Security. This was one of the first digital recordings. Security taught me about dynamic range which the compact disc format showcased very well. In 1983 I did worry that the CD would go the way of the 8-track or quadraphonic sound. The release of this album was an exciting time for all of New Orleans. A local band, Zebra, used to play at our high school dances. My roommate from my college days, Tim, was even an acquaintance of the band. This was the first album where I noticed that not all drummers were created equal. Guy Gelso of Zebra outplayed Ringo Starr by any measure. This was my first album in 5.1 Surround Sound. The concept for this album is the paucity of truth that exists in the world. The song "God Said" affirmed my tolerance for differing views on religion. John Lennon can say anything he wants. With regard to a higher power, to each his own. I long for the day when music in this format will be downloadable from iTunes.