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Paul Francis Mc Cann

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Books by Paul Francis Mc Cann
Music And Me
By Paul Francis Mc Cann
Sunday, August 02, 2009

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A personal story of the music that meant something to me in life.

Every era has a certain style of music that means something special to people who are living through that moment in time .

For me personally growing up with music from the 1960's and 70's made an enormous impact . It almost portrayed the image of the world around me .
I began to think about my own experiences and what music had said .

I remember going to primary school in Belfast and a song called Monday Monday by the Mamas The Papas that spoke personally to me about where I was at . Basically not wanting to go to school on a Monday morning .

This sixties scene created a fashion of the day with girls in platform shoes wearing mini or maxi skirts .

Fellas had long hair and they wore bell bottom jeans with denim jackets .

There were love songs with great lyrics and melodies .
Man landed on the moon .

The roads allowed traffic to flow freely .
There were cars in the sixties , so unique like the Mini , VW and Bubble Car.

Music had opened a window and a fresh breeze drifted in .

Not that I was there , but a part of me wanted to be there at those festivals and open air gigs . There was two in particular I recall . The first as in 1967 a festival called the Gathering Of The Tribes at the Golden Gate Park and in the summer of love in 1969 with the peace and music Woodstock festival .

Music had gone beyond where it had ever been before . Two of the songs that summed up that experience were San Francisco by Scott McKenzie and Stardust by Crosby Stills Nash and Young .

The civil rights movement in Northern Ireland began to get inspiration form what was going on in America between blacks and whites . Certain radio stations began to play protest songs . The times really were changing on the doorstep of my hometown .

There was I with my head in the clouds , California Dreaming and thinking of love and peace when my home town Belfast erupted into violence . Daily rioting and running battles between Catholics and protestants brought me back to earth very quickly . In my little village of Ardoyne in North Belfast people were being killed . Suddenly music for me hit a new level .

I took up a job delivering milk before school and still can see my first pay .

I held up this crisp new ten shilling note to see the watermarks come through against the bright summer sun . I proudly walked up to Raffertys Shop and with it I purchased a small transistor radio with an ear phone . I bought a nine volt battery and as I walked out of the shop . The first song I heard was Hey Jude and as I looked up I saw a small group of soldiers with their weapons drawn , sitting on top of Rafferty shop . The words take a sad song and make it better said a lot then to me .

Everything that happened after that moment was revolved around the troubles in Northern Ireland . One of the bands from Woodstock , Ten Years After came to my village and played on the roof of my school St Gabriels , It was there was of trying to bring a message of hope for the people of Northern Ireland . That day a massive crowd came for the concert .

Between bombs and bullets the music scene for me took on a new perspective . A big number then in Belfast was Children Of The Revolution by Marc Bolan and T-Rex . After the Beatles broke up Paul McCartney and Wings recorded a song called Give Ireland Back To The Irish , but it was banned from the airwaves in the OK . Other songs that were very popular then for us was In The Ghetto by Elvis Presley , Bits And Pieces with The Dave Clark Five , and Catch The Wind by Donavan .

In 1972 my the situation in Belfast was out of control and it was then my parenst decided to emigrate to Australia . With only two weeks to say goodbye to all my relations and friends a number of songs made in roads to where I was at . Two songs that said it all back then for me were , I Can't Live (If Living Is Without You )by Harry Nilson and Bye Bye by Gilbert O'Sullivan .

So to Australia we went my family and I . Just sixteen and very alone life had turned a corner for me and I was lost on a dead end street with no where to go . It was hard then for the my family . The seven of us In a strange country knowing nothing and no one. We moved into a hostel in Villawood and the first song I heard on Australian Radio was The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face . That for me was a powerful moment . Other big songs then were Heart Of Gold by Neil Young and American Pie by Don McLean . Even to this very day when I listen to those songs, I remember the first time I landed in Australia .

Within two weeks I found an apprenticeship and started to save my money buy a car . I bought a Holden Station Wagon and fitted it with an 8 track cassette system . Then for the first time in my life I could buy my own music and play them in my own car . It was brilliant .

The music I loved then was really propelled by the new found freedom of life in a new land without war or violence . It was an exciting time and my music tastes were without doubt wanting to sample everything that as out there .

Janis Joplin , Fleetwood Mac Pink Floyd , Led Zeppelin , Queen , America , Deep Purple , Thin Lizzy , Status Quo , EltonJon ,and The Bee Gees .

Some of my favourite songs and bands of that time were Stranglehold by Ted Nugent , Stairway To heaven by Led Zeppelin , Smoke On The Water , Child In Time and Fireball by Deep Purple , Time and Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd , Heart of Gold and Old Man by Neil Young , Killing Me softly With His Song by Roberta Flack and American Pie by Don McLean .

My personal favourite albums of this time were Tea For The Tillerman by Cart Stevens , Band On The Run by Paul McCartney and Wings and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton Jon .

During the hard times in my life music has played a big part .The Gift Of Music I believe is always there for us all . It inspires us and carries us .

During the seventies my mind was hi-jacked by hard drugs and I walked along strange roads listening to David Bowie , Craftwork , ELO , Supertramp , 10CC Split Enz and Genesis . For about thirteen years I was not on this planet really and consider myself lucky to still be here .

During a state of confused madness I found music to be my only real true friend . Thank God for people and their music along the way that helped me to get my life back together again . One album I do hold among the best of that era was Only Visiting This Planet by Larry Norman . I was inspired by artists like James Taylor and new bands emerging like Irish supergroup U2 .

In 1986 I wrote my first sing called Inside Out . My life was on another stage and music began to play a major role in getting out the things I felt .

I began to meet professional musicians and managers .

At this time heavy metal was on the scene and that sound reminds me of the hard place I was at then .

With all that dark period behind me I am now enjoying music in a wider perspective . For the past 13 years I have been producing and presenting a radio show here on community Radio in Australia .

My songwriting has continued and in 2008 I won first prize in the Billboard Song Contest with a song I wrote in collaboration with Robert and Wendy O'Hearn . The sing is called Lot Sons Of Erin from the album Sonicarious .

Music is still making a big impact in life and I can appreciate God's love for us and the world through music .

The End

By Paul McCann

       Web Site: Abc Tales

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