Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Music for Baby Boomers at Max's Music Place

The people who entertained you in the 1960s were born roughly between 1938 and 1944. Max was born right at the end of 1939. During the 60s he was busy starting his career, but now that it's behind him, he has returned to his first love, MUSIC! Instead of wallowing in nostalgia, bring back old memories with new music. Give him a look and a listen.

Who is Max Robinson?

"I'm old enough to know better and young enough to do something about it. I've been singing in public since I was eight years old, playing guitar since I was ten, and seriously writing songs since 1992. I don't swear except when I get one of those error messages resulting from the artificial stupidity we call software. I don't smoke and I don't drink. What do I do for fun? I get my jollies from writing songs and singing them for people. When an audience appreciates my work it gives me a high no mere chemical can approach."

"The kind of music I do can best be called folk. In addition to folk music I like Folk-rock, Classical, Bluegrass, Rock-n-roll prior to 1960 and country prior to 1975. I am married to Sue and we have no children. The way I get money to buy such nonessentials as food, clothing and shelter is to collect retirement from the state of Kentucky."

"I used to teach physics and electrical engineering at Western Kentucky University. I was also known as the Science College Electrical Engineer. Oh, by the way I am legally blind. I have about 2% of normal vision in only one eye. I have been this way all my life so I don't know what I'm missing."

"I was born on a farm in Iowa. The nearest little town was, and still is, Laurel. It's about halfway between Marshalltown and Newton. At about three months of age the local country doctor figured out that I had cataracts. No big deal today but in 1940 it was. Between the ages of 6 months and 18 months I had three operations, a process known as needling."

"At the age of five I was going blind again so my parents took me to Doctor Wolf in Marshalltown. five more operations scattered over the next six years left me with 20/400 in my right eye and 20/800 in the left."

"At age thirteen the retina in my right eye detached. There was no treatment. The laser if thought of was science fiction. It wouldn't be invented for another nine years."

"Iowa at that time was ranked forty-eighth among the states in services for the blind. Hawaii and Alaska were still foreign lands. My mother's family lived in Florida and It was ranked number two in services for the blind. A move had to be made."

"I attended public school and was home schooled, my mother was ahead of her time. I passed the GED or what ever it was called then. I entered the university of Florida in 1960 to study electrical engineering. I graduated in 1965 with a bachelor's degree and 1966 with a master's."

"I was employed by the University of Florida for 2 years and eventually moved to Western Kentucky University where I taught physics and electrical engineering for the next thirty-three years. I retired in 2001."

"So where did the music come from? Oh, yes. Rewind back to 1948 when I was eight years old. I sang all the time. I sang along with the radio or if I was outside playing I just sang. My mother entered me in an amateur contest in Marshalltown. It was held in a large auditorium that seated about twelve hundred people and broadcast over KFJB which still exists under that call sign. I still remember the songs I sang. It was a medley of I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover and Zip-a-Dee-Do-Da (phonetically spelled). I won first place. I can still sing those songs today."

"When I grew up enough to reach around the ancient guitar that had hung on the wall ever since my oldest brother had traded it for a shot gun, I started lessons. I was age ten."

"A year earlier I had gone on an airplane ride with a cousin who had his pilot's license. I was scared while I was up there but after we landed I wanted to go up again. I made up new words to the tune of Take Me Out to the Ball Game called Take Me Up In An Airplane. It was pretty bad but my mother thought it was the best thing since Beethoven's 9th symphony. Well, isn't that part of a mother's job description to think things like that?"

"I sang it on stage, the radio and even early TV. We were Iowa farm folk. What did we know, or care about copyrights?"

"That was the end of my songwriting for a very long time. For a time in my late teens it seemed I would have a career in music and my parents were supportive. Then, all about the same time, I bought an electric guitar, a tape recorder and past the test for a ham license. That led me into the world of tubes, resistors and capacitors."

"I showed strong aptitudes towards music and electronics but the advice I received at the time was I stood a better chance of having a regular income in electronics rather than music. It's the classic case of the road not taken. What might have happened if I had gone for music rather than electronics. I'll never know, unless such questions are answered in the life after life."

"I started writing songs again in 1992. Retirement was in sight by then and I started preparing for another career in music after I retired. There is no chance of a real career and there never was. It's just another expensive hobby, something to fill the retirement years. But I'm having fun doing it so I don't see any reason to quit."

Click this link to visit Max's Music Place: http://www.maxsmusicplace.com.

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