On the night move

Published 3:42 pm Thursday, May 5, 2016

When you’re younger, you feel it; when you’re older, you know it. Music is the soundtrack of our life.

When you’re young you think that the song is speaking only to you. When you get to my age, you know that what it speaks to is that part of all of us … fear … doubt … rage … joy … love.

It transcends every genre and probably every moment. Driving in your car and a song comes on that takes you home to Saturday night dancing alone across your bedroom floor — wearing socks, of course, so that you could slide.

When I hear “What a Fool Believes” by the Doobie Brothers, I always remember how someone would bring a tape and play it on the boom box on the bus ride home from high school. And when Michael McDonald sang, “She had a place in his life; he never made her think twice,” he spoke to the angst I — and every teenage boy — feels toward and over someone in high school.

So many spoke to me and for me — Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, the Brothers Johnson, and, of course, Prince.

It wasn’t angst I felt in my early 20s when I discovered Prince. If nothing else I liked the driving beat and the energy, the desire to do, try, be. Sure, other artists I’ve listen to have died, but not one I considered a contemporary.

Now I know how my mother felt when I called her to tell her that Marvin Gaye was dead. I was working at the Greensboro News & Record as an editorial assistant — a less than glorified gofer — when it came over the wire. I still remember the disbelief and hurt in her voice when I called to tell her.

The good thing is that the artist might die, but music never does; it never even falls away. We can only set it aside, and, so, it is always there to be picked up again and enjoyed.

I remember years ago, I was the van driver for a minority journalism convention. It was my job to transport the journalists from the airport to where the conference was being held. The Prince song “Kiss” came on the radio; and when he got to the part where he sang “act your age, not your shoe size,” they all sung along and exploded into laughter. I remember wondering what these old people knew about Prince? As I think about it, they were probably the age I am now.

Maybe that’s why I feel like the man in Bob Seger’s “Night Moves:”

I awoke last night to the sound of thunder

How far off I sat and wondered

Started humming a song from 1962

Ain’t it funny how the night moves …

Jamie Ruff is a staff reporter for The Kenbridge-Victoria Dispatch. His email is jamie.ruff@kvd.com.