American Family Mall

Reflections of a Sonic Journey – Discovering Vinyl Records

I “caught” my young daughter eying the crates of vinyl stacked in my production office.

We began to share these old recordings and I was pleased to see she was digging the music.

martin-denny-quiet-villageIt reminded me of discovering a box of LPs and 45s when I was even younger than she is from my mom’s collection back in the late 1960s.

There was a copy of Martin Denny’s “Quiet Village”, an LP by The Kingston Trio and an assortment of other albums that are now lost to me in time and space.

But the stack of 45s had some really cool tunes. Mainly mid to late 50s songs by vocal groups. I learned to play the record player which was an old sears box with a built in speaker made of what seemed to be a type of plywood covered in a funky wallpaper covering.

I played the 45 of “The Book Of Love” over and over.

I learned the 45 rpm and 33 1/3 speed settings … but I wondered what the 78 setting was for – it made records sound like the Chipmunks !
old_45_records
I began to ask around when visiting relatives if they had any old records in a closet somewhere – they always had some collecting dust somewhere.

There was an aunt that had these funny sized discs

Smaller than an LP but larger than a 45 … they were thick. And the sleeves were all brown paper with small labels in the center – usually a solid color like red, purple, black or blue.

bugle-call-rag-benny-goodman-78She told me they probably wouldn’t work on my player because they were “78s” …

Wait a sec ! That is the number on the speed switch that goes really fast !

So she let me take them home to try to see if they would play.

I put one on the record player, set it to “78” and sat back to the scratchy introduction.

Suddenly horns shot out from the speaker and I was treated to a sound and beat that took me over like the first taste of candy to a baby !

I snatched the disc off the spindle when it was over and looked at the label to see just who it was. The name was Benny Goodman and the song was “Bugle Call Rag” … whoever this guy was – I wanted more !!!

jim_reeves_gentleman_jimMy paternal grandmother took me to a closet upon a visit to find a few albums she had – she like one particular crooner – she only had three LPs … they were all by Jim Reeves.

She pulled out a record player that was on a stand in a forgotten corner of her living room and put one of the discs on.

The man in a soupy groan sand about “putting sweet lips closer to the phone” ugh ! To me it sounded like playing a 45 at 33 1/3 …

But to her – well, I never saw her eyes look like that …

A few days later I was riding in the car with my mom on the way to town to do some errands …

Suddenly, I saw an old house with a sign above the door that read “Tip Top Record Shop” !

I let out a holler that made my mom jump and slam on the brakes … she thought we were about to hit something or I was having a spasm.
Hang-On-Sloopy-45-rpm
I was having a spasm …

“A RECORD SHOP !!!

A RECORD SHOP !!!

GO THERE !!!” I wailed.

My mom’s concerned turned to a humorous grin – and I apparently impressed her enough to pull into the parking lot and go in.

I could not believe my young eyes ! The walls were covered with displays of LP records – and there was a long table of 45s in neat rows. All 39 cents a piece !

I found a copy of “Hang On Sloopy” on 45 which I heard on the radio. The label was yellow and had an old image of a flintlock pistol on it with a cartoon balloon around the words “Bang Records”

comic_book_ufo_1968I had just enough comic book money on me from finding discarded bottles along the road to be able to buy it.

From that day on I had a new dilemma
in my young life –

Do I buy the latest comic book ? …

Or do I wait until the next time mom needed to run errands down town (usually going to JC Penny’s to look at the new dresses and then to the fabric store to get materials to make a new dress) to buy a 45?

I dream of returning to such decisions
I had back then.

Comic book or a 45 ?

Believe it or not –

I still have that 45 of “Hang On Sloopy” and
the LP of “Quiet Village” !

Filed Under: Tony Rollo Articles and EssaysTony Rollo Blog

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