Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Old School Music

When I set up my new bookcases last week, the other thing I did was set up my record player. Or should I say, one of my record players. I actually have two. One I've had since the late 70's, I can remember having it with me at university, but it has been packed up in its box for several years now since last time I checked, I wasn't able to find a new needle for it and the one that's in there now also dates back to 30 years ago! The second one I got from someone who was getting rid of theirs and just happened to come with a supply of several extra needles. I've had it for a couple of years now, I even had it sitting out for a long time, I just hadn't ever hooked it up before. When I moved a year ago, I told myself I was finally going to hook up that turntable and start playing my record albums again. It only took me a year, but I've done it!

I have two plastic milk cartons full of albums. One appears to be a lot of soundtracks and classical music. If memory serves, I think someone left a lot of these albums in the laundry room of the building where I used to live and I brought them into my apartment, knowing they'd be good to have some day when I got that record player set up. There is quite a selection of what I would call the type of music your grandmother might enjoy, there's some Mario Lanza albums and an Englebert Humperdink and several piano and classical albums. They are also some real gems in there - "Porgy and Bess" with Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge, "My Fair Lady" with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews (the Broadway version), "High Society" with Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra. (Hmm, wonder if I should be hawking these on eBay?)

The second carton is all the albums I collected as a teenager and in my early 20's, back in the days before CD's, when they still made record albums. My very first record album I ever got was The Partridge Family Album. It was released in 1970 so I must have been about 9. I was SO excited to get that album, I think it was a Christmas present. My parents were probably sick to death of hearing it, I played it over and over again. I'd get together with my girlfriends and we'd sing along and pretend we were in a band, with an ironing board for a piano and (wooden) tennis racquets for guitars and a hairbrush for a microphone. Not to mention, I had such a huge crush on David Cassidy. Isn't it funny how you remember those things? I pulled out that album the other day and I could remember it all, just like it was yesterday.

The only record I was vaguely embarrassed to pull out of that box was The Captain and Tennille, "Song of Joy". That one came out in 1976 and I recall playing that one over and over again too. I would have been about 15, so perhaps I could be forgiven for my questionable taste. Luckily, I also had almost every Beatles album, including the White Album (I think Rubber Soul might be the only one I'm missing) and my parents had the Rolling Stones' "Goat's Head Soup", CCR and James Last to groove to, so it wasn't all teen pop for my musical influences growing up!

It's funny how looking through those old albums of mine can take me back to the exact time and place I first got them. Like the Bob Seger album ("Night Moves") that I won as a door prize at a school dance in grade 9, where Max Webster was the live band playing. I didn't even know who Max Webster or Bob Seger were back then! Or Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" which was the only album we had to play at summer camp one year and we nearly wore the grooves out of that one. Luckily, it was a double album! And Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall" album, which we always played at parties in the summer of 1980, long before MJ got himself a glove and a bad reputation.

Several of my old albums have since been duplicated in my collection on CD but I am really enjoying having the turntable going and that sound as the needle drops down on the record and the scratching noise that accompanies the songs as they play on the turntable. And especially the little click and whir as the needle comes to the end of the record, lifts itself up and glides back to its resting place. That's something that a CD or an MPG can't provide and I didn't realize how much I had missed those sounds until last week when I heard them again. Sometimes, going "old school" isn't a bad thing.


Anonymous said...

Love it!!!
The very first album I bought with my own money was a comedy album by Gilda Radner. Before that I spent absolutely hours listening to my sister's My Fair Lady that was actually pink in color. But, the one that I really wore the needles down on was the soundtrack to Grease! I saw the movie at least 12 times!!!

kate mckinnon said...


Cynthia of Cynful Creations said...

Yup, me too. And my Grease soundtrack album is similarly well played. :)