Saturday, February 14, 2015

On Planet Earth, I'll probably stay

"...Son, back in my daaaay, when we heard a song on the favorite local AM radio station (WTAC, "The Big 6"), we rode our bike to Cracker's Records in the Small Mall, or down the road to K-Mart on Dort Highway and bought the entire vinyl album with half-a-week's paper route profits. We would then rush home and play it, stacking our 2-foot speakers in the open bedroom window, cranked and facing out so that our neighborhood Lockhead street friends could also enjoy."

OK, maybe that was a little specific to me.

I bring this up because my 20-year son, Josh, recently "discovered" my Vinyl album collection. It's not THAT impressive of a collection, and the 120-ish albums I still have are only a fraction of what I once owned. Those things were hardly indestructible and would scratch beyond auditory tolerances, even for a teenager. They sometimes would warp so horribly, the needle would jump 3 inches off the turntable every revolution. Or sometimes a favorite album might disappear after it was lent to a friend back in 1980 and you haven't thought about it until just now... Bastard!

And I have no idea whatever happened to those large stacks of 45s, can I get an Amen!? Anyone else once have that gold one?

In any event, Josh asking about my album collection gave me a reason to revisit these and to suggest one or two for his listening pleasure. 

Feast your ears, son! No more music held hostage to a series of sterile digital 1's and 0's. It ain't music unless there is friction involved, along with the familiar vinyl groove produced dirty pop, crackle and hiss.

Numerous selections from multiple artists in no particular order include: Foreigner, Aerosmith, J Geils, Ted Nugent, REO, Cheap Trick, Alice Cooper, Eddie Money, Van Halen, Stones, Seger, The Cars, Talking Heads, Elvis Costello. OK, I won't cherry pick. I also have these... Please don't judge.

I'm very sory you had to see those.

Not that I actually play an album much any more. Maybe once or twice a year I will play a side of one that's one my mind, but usually I just do the YouTube thing for convenience while I'm web surfing or blogging.

When I have a hankerin' for the real thing, my component stereo shelf is wired, ready and willing to melt my face. Behind the glass door on individual stacked shelves is my vintage 35 year-old Technics SL-D3 turntable, a much "newer" Pioneer VSX-402 receiver, as well as a Pioneer CD player.

The wife long ago gave up trying to get me to "garage sale" or otherwise get rid of this techno-dinosaur setup with the accompanying brontosaurus-sized speakers. As an accommodation, the unit sits in a far corner of the lower level, the turntable's arm in the dock and clasped at the "wrist" like a shackle to prevent the prisoner from escaping while awaiting my next "interrogation".

Maybe the reason I have kept those albums and my component setup is for the memories they conjure. My turntable alone elicits a smile just sitting there. Frankly, I am amazed (but happy) it still works. Then again, if it were a similarly aged vintage automobile, it wouldn't yet have 100,000 miles on it, with most of those miles having been traveled in the 1980s.

Ahh, the 1980's, and maybe the real reason I hold on to these vinyl relics of a bygone era, for almost all of them were purchased in the 80s. Music purchased later was either in cassette tapes or compact discs.

The 1980s. For me, they were "the best of times and the worst of times". The decade was like the month of March. You know, "In like a lion and out like a lamb". I spent the 1980s from the tender and idealistic age of 19 through to the wiser realistic age of 29. The wheelhouse of life, as it were. The decade began with my meeting my "now wife", graduating from college and starting my career. Marriage to my sweetheart, then losing my baby brother to a drunk driver, and then losing my father a year later to cancer. Towards the end of the decade comes the birth of my first of my 3 sons. We named him "Adam". The first man. A new beginning.

All of these thoughts and memories are recalled from my browsing through my album collection. Nobody else would understand, for they belong to only me. I'm sure you have your own.

Come back next week for a full recap of the 1990s, and a full dissertation on my furniture pieces from that period. In the meantime, here is what's on my turntable at this moment.



  1. I love this post. My 24 year old daughter loves '80's music. Her smart phone's ringtone is "Take On Me."

    I won't judge your B-52's... we saw them live in a little dive in Tampa and a drink-throwing, ashtray tossing ruckus broke out. Part of my misspent youth ;) I have the vinyl, but also have the CD's so I can occasionally listen to them in my car. My girls, when they were younger, loved their sound.

    We, too, have a lot of vinyl, and one day, my husband came home with a used component stereo system with enormous speakers for that occasion when we would play them. It's been a while... maybe we'll dig some of those albums out and relive the old days.

  2. I'm not surprised you related to this one, cube, since I think of you as my "sister from another mister". You must have gotten a kick when the girls connected with something from your youth. I know I do with my boys. And I'm jealous you saw Devo live, and thankfully managed to avoid injury from the flying ash trays. The closest I got to them was a live local new wave band I would go to see (and pogo to) in the early 80s. They played the covers of all the weird bands I was in to then, The Talking Heads, B-52s, Elvis Costello, Devo, etc. Man that was fun! But if I had only saved all those quarters instead of feeding them to the corner Asteroids machine. But by all means, get the hubby to break out the vinyls!

  3. We finally did get rid of most of our vinyl but I think I have a box of albums somewhere...what I have kept is the very first singles I bought ...LISTEN TO THE RHYTHM OF THE FALLING RAIN, MY DAD, and WALK LIKE A MAN! :-)
    My taste has changed BIG TIME!
    Thank goodness!!

    My high school had THREE DOG NIGHT there, imagine!? And I saw The Birds and Buffalo Springfield when nobody'd heard of Buffalo Springfield. Of course, today,. nobody's really heard of them, either!

  4. Thanks for the compliment, my brother ;)

    Yes, I loved it when the girls connected with my 'old' music. I loved it when they connected to Star Trek, too, but, as they grew, the went to the dark side and preferred Star Wars *sigh*

    BTW I would've loved to have seen Devo, but it was the B-52's we saw live at the little dive. Fear not. I was never in any danger. My big husband kept my petite self safe from
    the flying debris and the fighting jerks.

    Asteroids! Lol. My husband wishes he had all his quarters back, too. He was a master player.

  5. The B-52's were playing with Kid Creole and the Coconuts at the little dive.

  6. I chucked all my vinyls too..could have made some $$$$$$$$$! but I didnt realize it dude...whaaaaaaaa!!! LOL

  7. Neat post. Most of my purchases were from the 70's and I didn't buy many.
    Kenwood amp, Sansui table, Sony double cassette, Bose speakers. The Turntable hasn't touched a record in a long time.
    These days, my entire play list is on an 8 gb flash drive smaller than my thumbnail that I plug into the dashboard. About 700 tunes form the entire last 50 years. I'm picky.
    Maybe in a couple hundred years this stuff and the records will be worth something.

  8. Z, I would say my tastes have... expanded. I can never really drop anything I used to love, even if it's no longer on the top 100 playlist. And I LOVE those songs and bands you mentioned. My brothers exposed me to a wide variety growing up.

    Angel, what was your top 3 favs you wish you'd kept?

    Kid, I had a double cassette also... used to record whole newly released albums premiered on the radio... complete with the DJ's silly intros and all. You're right, now everything is digital. Sounds like you kept the old equipment too though.