Exploring new ways of seeing, new ways of being with an open heart and an open mind
Thursday, January 27, 2011
You Can't Always Get What You Want
When I was a child, the Odd Fellows Hall was a mysterious place where secret ceremonies took place and word had it there was a skeleton in their closet. Literally. This kept us going with enough mystery in our young lives for about two summers. I longed to be able to enter its hallowed halls and see what the hoopla was all about.
For much of the '90's I attended small concerts, very small, in what is known in folk music circles as Grass Roots concerts. They started out in living rooms and then expanded into venues like the Odd Fellows Hall. It created an intimate atmosphere: a dimly lit room with a few folding chairs on a hardwood floor, church pews circling the perimeter and a small makeshift stage at its center. I was fortunate to be introduced to some fine folk artists there who went on to become mainstays of the genre: Utah Phillips, Lucy Kaplansky, John Gorka, and Greg Brown, to name a few. They all had an easygoing style that was perfect in that small venue. They sang songs about life, interlaced with stories of their lives, each with a finely honed sense of humor. It was a really nice way to spend an evening. And, I had finally gained admittance. Music in the Odd Fellows Hall. Somehow it made perfect sense.
After a few years, the venue was too small for the crowd that showed up and it became necessary to move it. Unfortunately, the available space was in a nondescript building with very little soul and something, for me, became lost. But, not before a few more folks came through and found a way to overcome its sterility.
One night, we waited patiently for Greg Brown to show. An hour passed. A few folks started drifting away, most heading for The Pickle, a local watering hole, where we would often repair to after the show. When about half the crowd had given up, with the rest of us folk junkies holding firm and keeping the faith, Greg quietly came in and leaned against the doorway. When we realized he had arrived we became a slightly rowdy, happy crew. He took to the little stage, explaining that no one had told him about the new venue. He had gone to the Odd Fellows Hall and wondered where everybody was (this was in the day before cellphones became ubiquitous). Somehow, he discovered where we were waiting.
He relaxed, we relaxed, he played and sang for us few faithful far longer than normal. At the end of the night he jumped into a rousing version of the Rolling Stones, "You Can't Always Get What You Want." It was perfect. A whole lot of fun. And it has become a part of the soundtrack of my life.
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want,
You can't always get what you want,
But if you try sometimes you just might find,
You just might find,
You get what you need.
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So true about cell phones these days. Do people get more of what they want and need now?ReplyDelete
I too was intrigued with what went on in the Oddfellows clubs as a kid. The few members I met, were to say, a bit different.They had one for sale not too far away and I tried to think what I could do with it, it was a historical building.Small venues are unique and some larger performers often like to sneak in and play also.ReplyDelete
You have the most amazing memory for things past.ReplyDelete
You just might find, you get what you need. That happens so often, if I'm willing to settle down and wait without expectations.
This goes along with "Be careful what you wish for..." tho I don't think there's a song for that one! I read this post earlier and now I can't get that song off my mind since. Been singing it ever since. ha ha ha...ReplyDelete
What a great story about Greg Brown. I used to be a big fan; I'll have to put some of his CDs on my iPod. I never made it into an Odd Fellows Hall but assumed they were populated only by odd fellows. :-)ReplyDelete
I always wondered about Odd Fellows Halls too. Guess every little kid did. I hate to put the square peg in the round hole but I think you do get what you want but you get it at a time when the Universe is ready to give it to you and then often you no longer want it, so, like torquisemoon said, "be careful what you wish for." But it sounds good in a song!!ReplyDelete
Isn't that a new profile picture? You're showing a bigger smile. I like it.
I'm a little before your time as I remember hearing this song by the Rolling Stones in San Francisco at the cow palace, but I never liked the big concerts, so I tried to go to smaller clubs like the Fillmore West and Winterland to see The Band's Last Waltz and so many more and then there were the free concerts in the park with Grace Slick, then the blues with Muddy Waters, oh the memories, but yes usually it turns out I get what I need, not what I want.ReplyDelete
Thank you All for taking the time to read and leave a comment. I Love hearing from you.ReplyDelete
Greg Brown has been a mainstay here in these parts, too. Best heard in an open field under the sun on a warm summer day!ReplyDelete
Kate, Yes, there's nothing better than music in the great outdoors.ReplyDelete
Still one of my favorite songs and, like turquoisemoon, it has been playing on an endless track in my head since reading your post the first time. It is a wonderful recounting and great memory to have. I love it when the expected is replaced by magic. Perfect song to conclude an evening that began with miss-direction and ended with an intimate satisfied crowd. Seems the Odd Fellows produced a Good Fellow.ReplyDelete
I do miss attending concerts. Loved the grass-roots concerts. Brown wanted to sing and found a way to all of you. Jack of Sage to Meadow.ReplyDelete
Chris, "When the expected is replaced by magic." Exactly. What a lovely phrase. Thank You.ReplyDelete
Jack, That's a great thought, he wanted to play and found a way. It speaks of that impulse towards creativity and how we come to share it. Very nice. Thank You.
I really enjoyed this post! I like music...all genres but none in particular. Not sure why but it must have something to do with music not being a big part of my childhood. I think I'd have enjoyed that sort of casual gathering, though.ReplyDelete
Thank You, Cheryl. It's the casual gatherings that hold the warmest memories.ReplyDelete