Thursday, June 3, 2021

Kids and Music 7: Colt Clark and the Quarantine Kids [Born to Groove]

So far in this Kids and Music series I’ve mostly been looking at the music of gifted children. There’s nothing wrong with that, but, as my underlying conviction is that we’re all musical, we do need to look a music of ordinary children, ordinary only in the sense that they do not exhibit adult-like technical capacity at an early age. The kids in “Colt Clark and the Quarantine Kids” seem ordinary in that sense. Their skill is not intimidating. It is delightful.

Colt Clark is a professional musician living in Florida with his wife, Aubree, and their three children, Cash, eleven, Beckett, nine, and Bellamy. When the pandemic hit, lockdown deprived him of his gigs. So he decided to make videos with his children. Aubree filmed them. At first they circulated only among family and friend, but then they decided to show them to everyone. They posted their first video on April 10, 2020, and have been posting roughly every other day since then.

As you watch these videos ask yourself: What would the world be like if every family made music like this? Well, not every family, maybe every other family, or every third family. And in families without their own band, family members, adults and kids, would often perform with their friends and relatives. And not necessarily this music, either. This family does salsa, that family, bluegrass, those people over their, they’re into trad jazz, while these like polkas. Why not go all the way around the world, Korean, Chinese, Balkan? – as if those were single kinds of music rather than families and families of families of musical kinds. All that matters is that people are making their own music.

What would that world be like?

I Saw Her Standing There

Let’s start with a Beatles tune – they do a lot of Beatles tunes. This video has two versions of “I Saw Her Standing There.” The first was posted on June 2, 2021 and the second was posted on April 15, 2020.

On the first video, Bellamy fronts the band, as she does on all of the videos. Here she dances – her specialty – and does some back-up vocals. Pay attention to her various moves and how they fit with the music. That’s Cash on electric bass and Beckett on trap drums. Notice the mascot taped to the drumhead.

In the 2020 version Bellamy doesn’t have a mike stand, but some of her moves are in place. Cash is playing acoustic guitar rather than bass and Beckett is playing cajon (the box he’s sitting on) rather than traps.

Seventh Son, Johnny Rivers

This is from April 26, 2021.

Notice how Bellamy works the mike on the climatic “ahhh” with dad (c. 1:27). Cash has an electric guitar solo.

Do these kids know what the lyrics are about (c. 1:41)? Who wants to know?

Well I can talk these words, make ‘em sound so sweet, Even make you’re little heart, skip a beat Heal the sick, raise the dead, Make that little girl scream outa’ her head.

Kid's will do what literary critics do, just make something up that makes sense to them.

You may have figured out by now that Bellamy ends every video by running up to the camera shouting “Bye.” So they’ve got a routine, they’ve got shtick. What’s the book called, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life?

Pretty Woman, Roy Orbison

March 12, 2021.

Will daddy get those high notes like Roy? Probably not, but he does a decent vocal imitation. But he’s got that opening growl/purr. And the fast vibrato.

Watch Bellamy act out the lyrics. See how she shakes when Colt purrs/growls (0:12). Now some disco moves (0:15). Her Mick Jaeger pout and strut (0:19). And so forth. “Don’t make me cry” (2:07). She likes the chair jump (2:48).

Voodoo Chile, Jimi Hendrix

September 18, 2020. Uploaded on the 50th anniversary of Hendrix’s death.

This is ooolld music. Classic.

How old is that? Where were you when you first heard Jimi? Colt looks too young to have been alive when Hendrix was.

This features Cash on guitar, who opens doing a Jimi Hendrix imitation. Not bad.

What has America come to that singing about a voodoo chile is good family fun? Smells like progress to me.

‘Cause I’m a voodoo chile, Ohh noo I’m a voodoo chile.

Just what is a voodoo chile anyhow? Does anyone know?

King of the Road

May 16, 2021.

Roger Miller is a whole different world from Jimi Hendrix. But both good American musicians.

Bellamy ain’t got no cigarettes, c. 0:27. To the chair leap, c. 33. What’s she driving (c. 0:47) car or midnight train? Key change (c. 1:15). Now let’s snap our fingers all together, c. 1:57. Once again to the chair, 2:24.

Proud Mary

May 18, 2021.

I figure that, musically, this is somewhere between “Voodoo Chile” and “King of the Road.” Not as outrageous as “Voodoo”; working a gig doesn’t exist in that world. Not as prosaic as “King”, but working pick-up gigs isn’t like working on a stern-wheeler.

Notice Bellamy’s arm motions, and her “sinking in the water” moves, playing air guitar with the mike stand. And then we’ve got her end of the video moves at 2:16. But it’s not over! They kick into over-drive at 2:24 and slip into the Tina Turner version of the song.

* * * * *

What do you think? Could this be every family? Yes and No.

Colt is a skilled professional musician who obviously knows a wide range of material. Much of what we’ve heard here is from before he was born, which is a side issue, but interesting. And the pandemic has given them a lot of time to learn these tunes. So this isn’t currently within reach of most families.

But I’m not talking about now. I’m talking about a better world, one better suited to human thriving. Shouldn’t everyone know a Colt Clark or two. Shouldn’t every child have a chance to perform whatever music they like on a regular basis. I don’t see any limitation in human “nature” and “talent” that is in the way of this.

What’s in the way is culture, a huge hulking monster of ways, means and agreements we’ve wrapped around ourselves. We need to find a way out.

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