He then jumped from the sublime to the sixties: Donovan's "Catch the Wind."
When he noticed me look askance, he protested, "Donovan did some really good stuff, really."
He punched up "Mellow Yellow," and then admitted that perhaps it was not the best example.
"It sounded better when we were young."
I asked what music from our childhood actually held up well these days.
He scrolled down the list on his iPad and called up the Grateful Dead's 1969 song "Uncle John's Band."
He nodded along with the lyrics: "When life looks like Easy Street, there is danger at your door."
For a moment we were back at that tumultuous time when the mellowness of the sixties was ending in discord.
"Whoa, oh, what I want to know is, are you kind?"
Then he turned to Joni Mitchell.
"She had a kid she put up for adoption," he said. "This song is about her little girl."
He tapped on "Little Green," and we listened to the mournful melody and lyrics that describe the feelings of a mother who gives up a child.
"So you sign all the papers in the family name
You're sad and you're sorry, but you're not ashamed."
I asked whether he still often thought about being put up for adoption.
"No, not much," he said. "Not too often."