Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Turntable Returns

There is a reason I haven't been around for a bit. Homercat has finally acquired a turntable and he has been rediscovering the vinyl age. So all those vinyl albums that have been sitting around forever finally got to have their moment in the sun again. The price was right too, as in free. We were at a friends house that has tons of vinyl and he showed me crates and crates of stuff that he was going to get rid of as they were all duplicates. See he buys vinyl by the boxful and ends up with a lot of duplicates. As the conversation turned around to me maybe taking them off his hand as I was finally thinking about getting that turntable he says hey I've got one that's still in the box that I got a long time ago with a bunch of stuff. Take home and see if it works. It does and it's a beaut. Now the adventure has begun and I'm scouring thrift stores and used record stores again looking for forgotten treasure.

As I slipped on that very first album it took me back to when vinyl was king. Holding that album and reading the liner notes while the record played was our closest connection to the artist. Some of us would actually use the cover to roll up a big doobie while we listened to Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother for the umpteenth time. We only had 2 TV stations, 3 on a good night, and they usually signed off at midnight. Remember that test pattern they'd run. If you were lucky one of the magazines like Rolling Stone, Circus, Hit Parader or Creem would have an article about your favorite artist. You never saw them on TV unless you allowed to stay up late on the weekend for the Midnight Special. So when you bought that new album you would cherish it. Nowadays you can take your music everywhere with you, but back then you had to wait till you got home to hear your favorite record as turntables weren't the most portable of devices. I do know that those of us who grew up listening to our favorite artists on the record player will never forget what it was like to buy that new album and that feeling you had when you held it while the music played.

Album art and packaging was an art form in itself and I feel that now album art is a lost art form. So many new releases now tend to be so uninspiring as to produce many yawns and a lackluster response in general. I couldn't begin to tell you how many albums I purchased based on the cover itself. Without even knowing who the heck they were or what they sounded like, if a cover caught my eye I would think,"That cover is so damn cool that it has to be good" and 80% of time it would be great. My most prized piece of vinyl back in the day was Alice Cooper's 1972 release, School's Out. The original album cover (designed by Craig Braun) had the sleeve opening in the manner of an old school desk. You could actually fold it out into a desk and you opened the lid and the vinyl record inside was wrapped in a pair of girl's panties. Priceless I tell you. When you removed the record, there was all manner of clutter in the desk that you could spend hours looking at. I can tell you it's a hard puppy to find now.

So I may be spending more time refining my ripping skills and getting some of my great rare and out of print stuff on the pc. In the meantime I have been enjoying the warm and friendly sounds of an old friend. Today I'm just going to put up a few gems from back when I got my very first record player. So somewhere down the road I should have some old goodies for you.

Green Eyed Lady by Sugarloaf
One Toke Over the Line by Brewer and Shipley
Afternoon Delight by Starland Vocal Band
Yo Yo by The Osmonds

Funny Toon