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Thursday, April 12, 2007

On The Record

We've been listening to records lately. Not CDs, but the old vinyl records we've both hauled around for more than 30 years. We have a turntable, and a good size collection of stuff we bought mostly in the 70's. With all our talk about downsizing and moving to a new town and a new tiny house, we're starting to have to decide what we want to keep, and what we can live without. At first we thought the records would be one of the easy things to part with. Now I'm not so sure...

There's something different, more personal, richer, better about those old black records, spinning, crackling, sometimes skipping along on the turntable. It's so wonderfully retro to sit and actually listen to half a record, holding the well-worn cover, seeing the art again with new eyes, reading the liner notes, singing along because we know them all so well, even after all this time. And when it finishes, and the arm hits center and then bounces up and out of the way, clicking itself off, someone gets the pleasure of saying something we haven't said since we were kids, a phrase our own kids don't even know the meaning of... "Flip it." And then the other person gets to slink off the couch and turn the record over, careful to touch only the edges, turning it sideways to scan for warps and scratches, and blowing the dust off before gently setting it on the turntable and pushing the button that starts it spinning again.

Last night we played Joni Mitchell's Hejira, one of Rick's old favorites, and fast becoming one of my new favorites.
Then I flipped through the stacks, enjoying the soft foop foop foop sound, and found Bonnie Raitt's Streetlights. I went all mushy inside. I played that record to bits, but it still sounds great. Two of my favorite Bonnie songs are on it. Angel From Mongomery, and That Song About The Midway. After all these years, I finally realized last night that Midway was written by Joni Mitchell.

And so we'll keep circling back and taking another look, another listen. Maybe we'll decide to buy CDs of our favorites at some point, but for now, the whole experience of sitting around and playing records is one worth holding on to. Tonight? Hmmm... maybe David Bowie, ELO, Stephen Stills...


Michelle (England) said...

Hi Kim, I like Bonnie Riatt's 'Nick of Time' track,
'A friend of mine she cries at night, and she
Calls me on the phone
Sees babies everywhere she goes and she
Wants one of her own.
She's waited long enough she says
And still she can't decide
Pretty soon she'll have to choose and it tears her up inside...

She's scared...scared she'll run out of time.

I see my folks, they're getting old, I watch their bodies change...
I know they see the same in me, and it makes us both feel strange...
No matter how you tell yourself, it's what we all go through...
Those eyes are pretty hard to take when they're staring back at you.
Scared you'll run out of time.'
~ I like the lyrics, don't you? Yes, like David Bowie's Life On Mars too !

Chris said...

Hi Kim,

As we've talked briefly about before, I'm kind of stuck in the 70's... ESPECIALLY the music (which my boyfriend and son can only take so much of). ELO is probably my absolute favorite group of all time, then Loggins & Messina (of course trailing over to Kenny Loggins).

My 18 year old son and I are in the process of packing up all of our belongings so we can move in with my boyfriend/future fiancee. Last night (while cleaning out my closet) my son ran across a dusty old brown box almost 9" square in size with a little plastic handle on it... it had all my old 45's in it. We went through them slowly, one by one... me of course remembering the old times... talking about the songs and Tyler wondering if they were worth anything. Hot Chocolate, Bee Gee's, The Monkees, Earth Wind & Fire, Bill Withers... the list goes on and on. I don't think I'll ever get rid of 'em. They are very valuable... to me. Yes, I too still have a turn table... just need to find a needle for it.

Oh such wonderful times!!!


Anonymous said...

Kim, there are now gizmos that will convert your vinyl directly to CD - some of them don't even require a computer interface, but will do it all by themselves. Our vinyl records survived Katrina, but they took a lot of washing up. All the covers were lost, but the records themselves still sound pretty good. And yes, I'm glad we saved them.