Norm Houseman: Songs of Auburn

My first full-time, permanent job after getting my MS in Education was for the State in Auburn, Indiana. Nobody was hiring English teachers. I had been through college and in the army, but my musical tastes were still pretty much stuck in the 1960’s. After moving to Auburn, I developed a new group of friends and they introduced me to a variety of new, to me, artists. My friend, John, loaned me albums by The Alan Parsons Project, Pink Floyd, Randy Newman, and Jerry Jeff Walker. I worked with Sandy and Bill. One evening after work we went for pizza and beer with another fellow employee, Jane. Bill started playing music on the jukebox. I knew most of the songs but then Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and the Eagle’s Tequila Sunrise  played. I had not heard them before. I listened as Sandy and Bill sang along to Queen and Jane decided to play footsie with me. It was all memorable.

Meanwhile I was exploring new artists on my own. I bought a few sampler albums and discovered Bonnie Raitt, Captain Beyond, and Jesse Winchester. On the radio I heard Jimmy Buffett, Delaney & Bonnie, and Dave Mason. I saw David Bromberg on television. One Saturday morning I dove to Ft. Wayne in order to go through the record bins at Karma Records. I found a David Bromberg album that I wanted, bought it, and took it home to play. When I open it I found an album with a Johnny Mathis label. I figured it was just the wrong label and was amused. I put it on to play and heard Johnny Mathis singing. I was not amused. So, I drove back to Ft. Wayne to return the album and get the correct one. Unfortunately, they had no other Bromberg album that I didn’t already own so they told me to pick anything I wanted. I took a chance on Ry Cooder. It was a great decision.

As part of my new mixtapes project, I have asked select friends to curate playlists for me. This mixtape is specially curated for us by Norm. He quickly became a true friend and confidant 7 years ago when I correctly recognised a floppy disk for what it was. Since then, he has seen me through all my ups and downs through perfectly timed memes, several postcards, lessons on the American presidency, and music, music, music. When not spreading positivity by sharing his song of the day on Twitter, you can find him blogging at Classical Gasbag.

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