I bought a digital piano a few years ago. My children had begun taking piano lessons. I thought a real sounding, yet digitally rendered with quasi-authentic real piano action, device would be better for them to practice on instead of the arrangement of white chalk and licorice sticks I had set up on the kitchen table. As it turns out, I could have stuck with the chalk and licorice. Actually, I did. It’s still on the kitchen table, but my kids never used it for piano practice. They hardly used the digital piano, either. My son quit piano after about a year to focus on the stand up dulcimer. My daughter stuck with the piano lessons, but only used my piano to store her music books between lessons. In her defense, she did try to practice, only she had time management issues, choosing to dedicate the majority of her time to practicing whining about having to practice piano. Luckily, her piano teacher died recently, so that saves me sixty-eight bucks a month, which I spend on torrid jaunts at Applebee’s.
Now the piano is just another piece of furniture, like my elliptical machine and the trapeze. I walk by it every day wishing the ghost of Liberace would haunt it. Once the ghost of Peter Allen stopped by, but I had to kick him out because he was just too razzmatazzical. The worst part is that I know who Peter Allen is.
I saw Jools Holland on the Chicago episode of his show Beat Route on the Ovation network. In it he presented the music of some of his boogie-woogie piano heroes from Chicago, like Albert Ammons and Jimmy Yancey. I happen to enjoy boogie-woogie piano music. If fact, you could go so far as to say I dig it. You dig? I dig and have dug. Watching this program gave me an idea. It’s about time I made a New Year’s resolution for 2008.
Why do people make New Year’s resolutions on the first day of the year? At that point nobody has any idea what is in store for the upcoming year. You may resolve to eat right and get in shape. How do you know there isn’t going to be widespread famine in June? It’ll be pretty tough to keep to that resolution when you are living on tree bark and the occasional rancid bag of Buddig meat found in the street (note: Buddig builds the rancidity right in – no need to prepare with weeks of exposure to sunlight). I say, find out how the year plays out before making any commitments. You don’t want to toss that pack of smokes away only to find out in October that some upstart grad student discovered that smoking cigarettes laced with strawberry Kool-Aid is the cure for cancer, AIDS and unwanted tattoos.
As you may have guessed by now, in light of my love for boogie-woogie piano music and my unused piano/dust collection shelf, I have resolved to get rid of my piano and replace it with giant ceramic jar of pickled beets. I’m pulling your leg. I already have a giant ceramic jar of pickled beets. Of course, I am going to attempt to learn to play boogie-woogie piano. I’ve already learned that much of it is played with the I-IV-V chords, say C-F-G, for example. How hard can it be? I already know how to count up to eight and a half by Roman numerals and most of the alphabet. The rest should be a stomp.
Take us home Albert and Pete.