My mother was a very keen music fan. Even in my pre-school years I remember listening to her records with her on her tiny Hi-Fi set. She collected 45 RPM 7 inch singles. In those days the “singles” had picture sleeves which added to the fascination for me. Her favorites were Hank Williams (Senior, that is, not his less talented offspring) and The Everly Brothers.
I developed a sort of record buying fixation and I would convince her to purchase a new record every week. This was a big thrill to me. We would walk down to Red Owl each week and I would scour their small record rack. Red Owl was a grocery chain but the store two blocks from our house had magazines and records as well.
I got my first guitar at the age of six and this interest in recorded music only intensified.
I so wanted to make records that I would ask my mother to write my name on the label of a record (one I was less fond of) just to see what my name would look like on a recording.
My career choice was thus made at a very tender age. This is probably unadvisable but my passion was pretty intense and those embers still have some glow left.
I have since made and played on many records including 45s, LPs, cassettes, CDs and MP3’s.
(Written and performed by Reynold Philipsek)
Recently my 16 year old niece told me that her favorite song of mine was “Amber Dawn.” This surprised me on several levels. First of all, I am surprised that any of my nieces or nephews listen to my music, much less have a favorite piece. Secondly, “Amber Dawn” is a relatively obscure piece from an already somewhat obscure canon.
“Amber Dawn” was one of several pieces I have written and recorded in what I call a “film noir” style. The other music I have composed on this order are the songs “Philip Marlowe,” and “Hong Kong Harry.”
“Philip Marlowe” is an homage to Raymond Chandler’s famous detective of the same name. The character of Philip Marlowe was portrayed on film by Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, and also to surprisingly good effect by Dick Powell. “Hong Kong Harry” was a fabrication of my own and even uses the voice over narrative so typical of the genre in my recording of the piece in 1994.
For as long as I can remember I have been an ardent fan of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. These two American writers are, in my opinion, the inventors of the hard boiled detective film noir style.
Revisiting “Amber Dawn” set up the idea of this new piece called “Neon City.” The title derives from two of the most prevalent images I can think of when it comes to film noir, i.e., the neon signs for cheap hotels or dingy diners and the streets of the American city of the 1940’s and 1950’s.
It remains to be seen if my niece likes this music as well.
Click here to listen to this new piece: http://reynold.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Neon-City-mp3.mp3