p. eljaiek, Sly, 2014 watercolor paper towel remnants on wood panel, ink.
I don’t usually have long descriptions of why I choose a particular subject to reproduce, but this one has a rather long history attached. It’s interesting what actually inspires a portrait.
I was born in Barranquilla, Colombia and have lived in NY since I was three. My mom loved American musicals and screwball comedies from the 30’s and 40’s. Frank Capra’s America was my ideal.
The rest of my family and eventually my Cuban stepfather were more in touch with their roots. When I was little, my family would take a battery operated record player on our outings to the beach and the battle of the beach blanket bandstands would ensue. Did anyone else do that btw? Then, when I was old enough to go with my cousins, and later with my friends, we would take a radio and try desperately not to get sand in it, never worked.
At the beach, and at home WABC radio was my lifeline to the music I loved. American Bandstand, Shindig and Soul Train were staples and was where my musical instruction began. The Jackson 5, Chi-Lites, Stylistics as well as 60’s and 70’s top 40 pop hits have been committed to memory. I keep calling the fridge, the closet now, but I still know all the words to every version of “Heard it through the Grapevine”, no, they are not all the same 🙂
I’ve always had a soft spot for Sly Stone. The hair, the outfits, the band, he always looked like he was having a blast. The music ain’t too shabby either. A few years ago I read an interview where he talked about falling off a cliff, way before Keith fell out of a tree. Is it sad to see him reduced to a late night soul cd collection staple, and worse? Yes, but his music still makes me want to get up and dance…sing too, but no one needs to hear that. Those songs take me right back to being 13, at Rockaway, in the innocent years before Morrison and later the Ramones popped my musical cherry.
Now, WABC is gone and we have a thousand ways to listen to music. I miss the radio stations, but I’m still listening to the same songs thanks to the fabulous internet. So, today my Spotify playlist was filled with Sly and Stevie and it was a very soulful Sunday.