Sunday, December 11, 2011

Engvick's song of Oakland and remembrance

The 1965 FRANK SINATRA masterpiece album, "SEPTEMBER OF MY YEARS," appears to be dominated by Ervin Drake's "IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR."
That's the song most casual listeners remember from the album packed with songs featuring the theme of aging.
My favorite song on the album appears three tracks later.
"That year in Oakland High, when I was 17; the grass from there to San Jose was high and cool and green," Sinatra sings on "I SEE IT NOW."
ALEC WILDER and WILLIAM ENGVICK'S song details a feeling of reminiscence and nostalgia -- a lamented taking for granted of a youthful time and place -- that is set in my native BAY AREA and strikes a resonant chord in me.
Wilder wrote the music and came from upstate New York.
Lyricist Engvick, however, is a true-blue Bay Area kid -- a graduate of both the Oakland High School referenced in the song and the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT BERKELEY.
Engvick still lives in the Lake Merritt area of OAKLAND -- my birthplace -- and his song always reminds me of the part of the country I'll always consider "home."