I love to recall the sensation of hanging out in the basement of my house when I was nine or ten years old. I would listen to records with my best friend. I can’t recall whether my first record was The Beatles Rubber Soul, or The Best of the Monkees. I know we played the heck out of them.
I discovered college radio when I was eleven and we moved to the Washington, D.C. area. I pulled the covers over my head at night, so no one could hear my transistor radio. I listened to WGTB, out of Georgetown University. I would hang out at the record store while my Mom did the grocery shopping. The record store guy (that’s what I called him) would help me decide which 45 record I would buy that week with my allowance.
I would listen to records with my parents too. I loved my Dad’s Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell records, which soon became my own. As my musical tastes became more diverse, my record collection grew. As a teenager, I would have preferred to spend all my time in my room listening to records.
Then came 8 Track tapes. Fast Forward to cassettes… pun intended. Wowsers! I could record stuff off the radio, and listen to it later. What a concept! I still listened to albums occasionally, but you can’t play an album in the car. To this day, I love to listen to music while I drive. A couple of years ago, I donated my cassette collection to Alexandros, because he’s one of the few people I know that has a cassette player. Also, because I knew he would appreciate them.
About the time I found myself single again, I bought a CD player. I was skeptical, but everyone raved about the sound quality. So, of course, I started a CD collection. I have about 300 of them downstairs in a cabinet that I bought especially to keep them in. I never listen to them.
I have Spotify now. I make playlists, and share them with friends and family. I especially love to make collaborative playlists. I have a portable speaker, a set of wireless headphones, and bluetooth in the car. I can listen to these never ending playlists everywhere. Gotta love technology!
I’ll tell you what else I have now. A record collection! With my husband’s collection and mine combined, we have an archive that stretches back into the mid sixties. One problem… He took care of his albums. Me, not so much! He has a “special” stylus to play my old albums on. I love to go to record store day, an annual event with exclusive releases. Rediscovering vinyl has been like seeing a best friend you haven’t seen in years.
Our collection has some Opera, Classical, Folk, Rock and Roll, and “Other”. He has a first pressing of Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother. I have my original Lou Reed Rock and Roll Animal album. I lost quite a few albums when my kids pilfered them as teenagers. That’s what I get for taking Dad’s. Talk about karma! My son, Travis, recently confessed, and made it up to me by replacing my Frank Zappa Overnight Sensation album with a brand new one.
How does vinyl sound so good? During our time apart, I forgot vinyl’s distinctive sound. Now, when we have some time to burn, I love to sit in my basement and listen to records with my best friend. It’s funny how that worked out.