Friday, May 28, 2010

“Turntable Resurrection”

c. 2010 Rod Ice
All Rights reserved

When I moved to Thompson eight years ago, it was with the idea that life on the eastern border of Geauga would offer the kind of pastoral living long gone from more populated areas of our county.

This geographical shift of the Icehouse produced many positive changes. But as I reassembled my home office in its new location, one major difference resulted. With the advance of technology, and a need to preserve useful space, having a full stereo system on duty seemed less important than before.

Feeling regret, I surrendered to modernity and put my turntables and hi-fi hardware into mothballs.

But it was a choice made without conviction.

Though I missed the tactile bond with vintage vinyl, CDs and sound files on my computer sufficed for the moment. From my wife came an MP3 player that offered music portability with 21st Century convenience. Briefly, these new paths toward listening pleasure were satisfying enough. Yet they faded before long.

Meanwhile, my vintage vinyl collection was everywhere – spread throughout the house in shelved towers that bowed under the weight of Rock ‘n’ Roll history.

Audio clips chirped tunefully from my computer. But as the music played, I would sort through those round relics, lovingly pondering every square inch of cover space. Then, sliding a platter from its sleeve, I would peer into the etched canvas of black.

It represented a phantom connection with the music paradigm of old. Even without the spinning analog discs of yesteryear, this need for analog gratification remained.

Soon, I found myself logging in to YouTube on the Internet. Displayed there were video snippets that combined visual cues from the turntable with sound recordings from bygone days. This connection made me realize that I was not alone.

Generations of Rock fanatics seemed to share my affinity for these rotating rounders. It was a revelation of sorts. Through this high-tech website, I returned to the era of proud plastic pancakes, and 8-track tapes.

Finally, the longing became too much.

I had to go back!

After finding a Brazilian stereo cabinet at the Salvation Army in Mentor, I reassembled my system. At first, it looked somewhat out of place next to our laptop, DVD player, and other 21st-Century appliances. But then, this return to retro habits became a cause for celebration.

My turntable glowed from its position atop a stack of amplifier, tape deck, and CD components.

The first record I played was “Gospel Guitars” by Joe Maphis.

This penultimate plucker was known as ‘King of the Strings’ in his heyday. He performed with many popular artists of the era and helped advance the career of guitar builder Semie Moseley because of his use of a custom-built Mosrite doubleneck instrument.

Next in line was Jerry Lee Lewis with the LP ‘Another Place, Another Time.’ Featured on this twirling plateau of toneology was ‘What’s Made Milwaukee Famous Has Made A Loser Out Of Me.’ The alcoholic anthem seemed to fit my mood perfectly.

Next came ‘Wild Berrys’ by Chuck Berry. This artifact offered a period-correct glimpse of Rock as it was evolving from the primal scream of early pioneers into a durable art form worthy of recognition.

After that, I dropped ‘Muddy & The Wolf’ on my neo-antique player. It reverberated with blues power and undeniable longevity. Containing tracks from previous Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf releases, the album made me tingle with excitement.

Then, ‘The De-Fenders Play The Big Ones’ appeared on my stereo. With expressive riffs provided by Glen Campbell and Tommy Tedesco, this platter offered a tour of pop music as it was before Beatlemania.

Following that, ‘The Kingsmen, Volume 3’ took center stage. I listened attentively as classic tunes like ‘The Jolly Green Giant’ and ‘Shout’ echoed from the speakers, offering a historical detour from their noted version of ‘Louie, Louie.’

Junior Walker & The All Stars were next, with ‘A Gassss’ which included their quirky version of Neil Diamond's ‘Holly Holy.’

Then, The Ventures delivered ‘Wild Things’ with a plethora of hits from the period including ‘Hanky Panky’ and ‘Summer In The City.’

Eventually, I began to seek out vinyl albums once again. This made me visit yard sales, flea markets, and thrift stores in search of new vinyl conquests. It was a habit forgotten over years of career chasing. But I remembered the routine quickly.

One factor had changed though, since my original love affair with vinyl records. I was haunted by a sense that something had passed. Not just the prevalent use of a simple recording medium dispensing tuneful noise - but instead, the authentically youthful spirit I felt, before.

This point was demonstrated at the counter of a local Goodwill store. While placing an armload of items on the counter, I noted a sign that read:

‘Seniors 50 and over – Half Off Your Order.’

Before I could catch my breath, the clerk looked up from his cash register. “May I ask your age, sir?” he inquired. His look was not far from ‘Shaggy’ in the ‘Scooby Doo’ cartoon series. “We have a discount today for senior shoppers.”

I couldn’t answer. The idea of a fifty-year-old being authentically ‘senior’ in nature was difficult to process.

“Sir?” he repeated.

“Umm, forty-nine,” I replied at last.

He pondered my heap of vintage merchandise for a moment, and then began to ring up the purchase.

“Close enough!” he cheered.

I was dumbfounded that he’d asked such a personal question. But the fifty-percent discount was mine.

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Blogger Marty @ ohexpress Video & Music said...

Hey Rod, good to have you back with the turn table

Hear my Sunday Brunch 15 Min Coffee Break Jukebox Vinyl Records Show Oliver Good Morning Starshine Dean Martin Thats Amore MORE

Big Marty, Newbury

11:29 AM  

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