ON MEMORY…AND VINYL | “When I think of vinyl, I think of childhood. I recall memories of our old house, the one me and my siblings grew up in. I remember all the ways it changed while living there, and where we would hang out...
ON MEMORY…AND VINYL | “When I think of vinyl, I think of childhood. I recall memories of our old house, the one me and my siblings grew up in. I remember all the ways it changed while living there, and where we would hang out for what reasons.”
“It was a bi-level house so there was a den on the first floor and then another kind of family room with a fireplace a bit below the kitchen, if that makes sense. That is where we would bring in wood to light a fire, and listen to records. Sometimes we would even roast marshmallows and my dad would let me sip his brandy at night while me or my older brother or sister would change records on the record player. And my mom would play old Greek folk songs to which she would sing along.
The point of all of this reverence for vinyl is that first and foremost, music is a visceral and divine experience. In certain myths, the sun sang the world into existence. Humans have always responded to ritual, and listening to music, much like the heyday of television, was a communal, ceremonial thing. Now it’s become the age of ADD and singles that you skip through with one click to get to the next song you might be excited about for five minutes.
There is no touching of electrons in the sonicsphere, but maybe we miss the way we used to be careful about placing a record in a record player, and making real decisions and commitments, is one step closer to the way we should still treat music.
The words “first date” make me conjure the first records that come to mind that really left an impression back then. The first five of those are:
A 45 of The Crystals’ “And Then He Kissed Me” which I would sing along to in whatever costume I had made up at the time. This was also a song my parents played at their wedding.
Harry Belafonte Live at Carnegie Hall contained a great version of “The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)” which is honestly, I think, medicine for the soul. I just listened to it for the first time in like 15 years. And when I looked it up on wikipedia I found out this is a mento song—a kind of Jamaican folk music that predates and heavily influenced ska and reggae.
Thriller by Michael Jackson was the one that probably ended up with the most scratches on it. And the video? Enough said.
Styx’s “Mr. Robato” from Kilroy Was Here totally creeped me out as a kid, and this era of the rock opera, the epic song about love and humanity with these insanely visual videos that we may now think of differently, were incredible. I love this song. I love this video. We used to dance around to this one in that old family room.
Bonnie Tyler, Faster Than The Speed of Night...I mean, come on “Total Eclipse of the Heart” as a kid blew me away. And the cover with her big blue eyes, I remember holding it and staring at it while we listened and all the records were strewn about the room.
Haroula Rose plays 4 east coast dates this weekend and will have a new LP on store shelves in 2014, Here The Blue River.
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