by Daniel Brown 2 years ago in vintage

The Sound of Sam


From the first note on the French horn I find 30 years melting away and I am making toast on a summer morning at an eye level grill. I can smell the gas from the cooker and the warm bread changing colour while producing the amazing white bread toast aroma. The gas meter clicks noisily, hungry for coins. I see the sun picking its way slowly down the wall twenty feet from the kitchen window and know that I will be swimming in the sea later with my friends.

But it's 30 years later and I am in my car going to work again.

For those few moments Sam Cooke sent me on a journey with his silky smooth voice singing a song he had written for someone else. His producers had asked him to write a song about Cupid and he obligingly did so.

The following is an extract from and article in Psychology Today by Christopher Bergland in 2013.

"Petr Janata (associate professor of psychology at UC Davis' Center for Mind and Brain) concludes that.....autobiographical memories are linked to music........He said, "What's cool about this is that one of the main parts of the brain that's tracking the music is the same part of the brain that's responding overall to how autobiographically salient the music is."

"What seems to happen is that a piece of familiar music serves as a soundtrack for a mental movie that starts playing in our head. It calls back memories of a particular person or place, and you might all of a sudden see that person's face in your mind's eye," Janata said. "Now we can see the association between those two things—the music and the memories."

What I love about the strange organ that silently functions inside of our heads is the incredible complexity of its ability. We are still largely guessing how it works as we see areas light up in tests but when it stops working properly we soon know that there is a problem.

I remember a song by some ardent gospel singers claiming that "I wouldn't croon a toon that takes me back a mile to where I've already been." In one sense that is a correct way to think, as the Apostle Paul said, "forgetting what is behind we press towards the goal," as he looked forward to heaven. But I just love that we have within us the ability to travel in time.

They tell us that backward time travel couldn't happen, but what is the point then? I want to find an almanac, or buy swathes of Manhattan in its pre-development; or tell Sam Cooke not to go to that Motel! The truth is we don't have such a luxury, I (like you) am uniquely placed within history; I believe that we are all here exactly where we should be and the choices we make send us on this path of life but one way.

Bringing an eternal perspective into it all and involving God at the juncture where Sam Cooke and I first met did change the direction of my life forever. Standing in that kitchen I had no idea of the life that I now enjoy or the painful turns to get here. But would I go back and tell that boy any great truths which I now know? Would I leave him any hidden notes of things to avoid? I am really not sure he would listen anyway, but each of the experiences he has since walked through made have him me, and that's OK.

Maybe just tell him to CHILL out and stop being so intense!

Daniel Brown
Daniel Brown
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