A Journey in Vinyl

I grew up in the age of vinyl.  My parents had 8 tracks and a player but I went straight for the vinyl.  I had my own little record player in my room.  I enjoyed listening to my Disney collection, Sesame Street Christmas, and 20 Power Hits albums.  My favorite songs off of the 20 Power Hits were Knock Three Times by Tony Orlando and Green Eyed Lady by Sugarloaf.  On my parent’s player downstairs, I listened to Creedence Clearwater Revival, Elton John and Wayne Newton.  I developed a crush on Wayne, as I listened to him and stared at his album cover.  This was before Bon Jovi came into the picture.

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I remember the first cassette I bought – Look What the Cat Dragged In by Poison.  I was fascinated because the cassette was clear.  My all time favorite cassette was Def Leppard’s Hysteria.  That was the first album I ever bought the day it came out.  I also bought it on vinyl and I still own it.  By the time CD’s entered the picture, I didn’t own a record player and honestly didn’t think much about vinyl.  They were never in the stores and the only time I ever saw them was at my parent’s house.  The first time my boys saw my parent’s records, they came upstairs exclaiming “Look Mom!  Giant CD’s!”

A few years ago, my husband bought me a Music Hall record player for Christmas.  He also surprised me with a few new vinyls to start out with.  I was ecstatic!

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A few weeks ago, a friend of my husband revealed that he had a large collection of vinyl and he wouldn’t mind lending me a few at a time to listen to.  He had worked in a record store when he was young and since vinyl could be bought for less than $5 during that time, he ended up with quite a collection.  These past few weeks have been a musical journey through time.

I will never forget listening to David Bowie’s Young Americans.  David Bowie’s voice filled every room in my house.  Among the albums I have been blessed to hear so far are The Fox by Elton John, Dire Straits, Face Value by Phil Collins, Flat as a Pancake by Head East, Loggins and Messina, Dr. Hook, Foghat, Foreigner, and my favorite so far – Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly.  He told me Donald Fagen was a huge part of Steely Dan but I didn’t recognize any of the songs.  As soon as the needle dropped, I was almost out of my seat as I.G.Y. started playing.  If you are scatching your head and wondering what song that is, I almost bet if you start playing it on You Tube or Spotify you’ll say “I have heard that song!”  I loved that album so much that I bought a used copy of it from Amazon.

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Nothing compares to the sound of vinyl.  There is a rawness and a richness that I don’t hear when I play songs from my iTunes library.  Sadly, new vinyl is expensive – some albums costing over $30, however it is more worth the cost when they come with a free digital download.

Even if vinyl is not available, it is well worth it to join other people on their musical journeys as they grew up.  You may be surprised to hear a song you loved growing up!

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Last August, my younger sister, Sherry, called me in a flurry of excitement.  Interpol was going to be playing in Denver September 27 at the Ogden Theatre!  I could hardly believe it and I also didn’t see how I could possibly pull this off.  With the boys’ needs I was lucky to go to the grocery store or run errands.  I had to fly.  This was a sticking point with me because I am not fond of flying and it would be for only one night.  I decided that I was not going.  My oldest son, Christian, kept encouraging me but I wouldn’t budge, especially since I would have to take Dramamine.  If you have taken it you are probably familiar with the drowsiness that accompanies the relief.  I kept going back and forth until Christian told me that if it was his favorite band he would go.  It breaks my heart that he never went to a concert.  We live in an area of the nation that does not get much action where music is concerned.  He enjoyed listening to Wiz Khalifa, Nas and his favorite musician was Kid Cudi.  After he said that I booked the tickets.

I was nervous and excited as I waited to board the plane.  I even had the song picked out that I would listen to as we took off – “Anywhere” off of the El Pintor album.  We landed safely less than 3 hours later and my sister and brother-in-law picked me up.  Before I knew it, we were in line.  They had a promotion for people who owned a Samsung phone and luckily, my sister had one.  We were able to go to the front of the line!  It was awesome!

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You see that Interpol poster behind us?  My sister, the ultimate haggler, talked one of the employees into letting us have two of them!  It was all meant to be!

The opening act, Rey Pila, was awesome.  They are out of New Mexico and they rocked.  The bass in the Ogden is so strong that it literally jars your insides.  I was so pumped to see my favorite band!  When Sam Fogarino, Daniel Kessler and Paul Banks took to the stage I was beside myself!  They sounded exactly how I imagined – AWESOME!  They played a lot of their new music along with my favorites off of their older albums.  Paul Banks sounded incredible, Sam had so much energy on the drums and Daniel Kessler rocked the house on his guitar!

IMG_0129My sister and I had the best time at the concert and we also visited the record store next door.  We had a ball. She found a vintage Pink Panther record and I found some flawless Dean Martin records among others.

IMG_0217The flight home was wonderful.  I listened to my El Pintor album and looked out the window the whole way.  The view was outstanding.

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I would have never gone to the concert if it wasn’t for my son.  He lost so much over his last years of life as he dealt with more pain.  I knew that I needed to overcome my fear of flying and just do it.  I had no idea, however, that Christian would pass away exactly a month later on October 27.  Now, whenever I have memories of the concert, I will remember that I did it for him.

The night before Christian passed, he asked me about one of my albums by Paul Banks, Skyscraper.  It was the last music Christian ever talked about with me and he loved so much different music.  When we had to plan his funeral, I included the Madrid Song and On the Esplanade off of the Skyscraper album.  Both songs are beautiful and I understand why Christian mentioned the album.  I made a slideshow and used these two songs and it was absolutely beautiful.

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Music is such a large part of our daily lives and it was everything to Christian.  We had to stay home a lot and it helped to brighten many days.  I am thankful to have come across such a wonderful band.  Thank you Paul, Daniel and Sam for expressing yourselves in your music and enriching our lives.