I hear music

Recent posts on the subject by mrsmartian prompted my thoughts and caused this to come out-

Earlier this week I received an email from my sister asking if I was interested in having her record album collection. She mentioned that her household now used Compact Discs exclusively. I suspect her two teenage kids are primarily responsible. Up until I reached my teen’s and was able to buy music for myself, the only records we had were my parent’s small collection of 45’s (Elvis, Everly Bros., Glenn Miller, Little Eva, Ink Spots, Jackie Wilson, The Coasters and a few others). I initially followed their example and bought a few singles but very quickly switched to LP albums. Summer jobs which gave me some cash to spend and membership in the now defunct ‘Record Club of America’ allowed me to shop via mail since no record store existed in the immediate vicinity and having a drivers license was only a dream. I still own every album purchased starting when I was 13. Most them in what is normally described by the used record business as VG+ condition. (pristine, as if they were brand new in many cases) Time for a confession. Yes, I was/am a vinyl addict. A “collector”if you will. From day one touching each album only on the edges or the center paper label. Never turning the paper sleeve ‘sideways’ in the cardboard cover so you could just tilt it and have the record roll into you hand. Only storing them ‘upright’. Learning through experience not to loan them to anyone. The instance I still remember most was loaning my copy of Uriah Heep’s ‘Look At Yourself’ to my best friend only to find the “mirrored” album insert sitting in his bedroom trashcan when I visited soon after. Reassembling and collecting what he had borrowed, I never said a word but just returned the albums to where they belonged on my bedroom shelf never to leave again. My collection rapidly expanded once I graduated from college and had a full time job. The combination of having disposable income and moving to a large college town(Tallahassee-FSU) with several used record stores where students would frequently cash-in their record collections for beer money was to me, heaven. My wife even tolerated my habit. She always commented when I returned home with an armload of albums- “I see you got your vinyl fix.” New albums were also purchased mainly from ‘sale’ or ‘cut-out’ bins when I found something I just absolutely wanted.(believe it or not I’m a fiscal conservative). If you saw the movie ‘Diner’ from years ago think back to the character who collected records and was, in my opinion, very anal with his ‘filing’ method. I’m not that bad(I hope). Based on quantity of albums alone, I’m far from being a big time collector such as the Rob Gordon character played by John Cusack in the movie ‘High Fidelity’. But I can still dream. One such collector, a person I have known from childhood, had a turn-around in his life when he “got religion” and decided to sell off most of his albums for next to nothing. Now living 400 miles apart, we still communicate, but we don’t seem to be able to talk as easily about music as we did so enthusiastically for years.

So where is this headed? Music is important to me but I’m not a Hi-Fi snob. The equipment I use to play music is secondary to the feeling and emotion I enjoy while listening to music. Over the recent years, an ever increasing number of Compact Disc have ended up in my collection. Once again, the technical argument about albums having a “warmer” sound as compared to the “brittle” sound of CDs was lost on me. Probably because I’ve pounded my ears for so long with massive amounts of Black Sabbath at high volume while wearing headphones that I couldn’t tell the difference if I tried. I associate many ‘events’ in my life with the music I was hearing at the time. Music as a soundtrack for my life is a reality. I can go to my collection, select an album and experience a little nostalgia.

Years ago my mother gave me several small boxes containing all those 45’s I mentioned earlier. They are on the table next to me as I type this.

Now my sister wants to give me the soundtrack to her life. She offered to wrap ribbons around it since my birthday was this week.

Without kids of my own, I’ve often wondered who will end up with my life’s soundtrack when I’m gone.

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About Marcus

Who me? Introverted, neurotic, self-absorbed, increasingly cynical observer of human nature and part time social critic in hiding. Most of my life spent avoiding growing up. The naive idealistic passions of youth have evolved into the eclectic eccentricities of adulthood. Northeast Florida small-town native, related to people I can't relate to. Simultaneously my own best friend and worst enemy. Politically and spiritually unaffiliated, my personal ideologies put me all over the map or off it completely.
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9 Responses to I hear music

  1. inner_linbo says:

    Soundtracks
    (referred here by ).
    Even having kids, I understand the feeling. I wonder if they will look at all my records and be at a complete loss as to what to do with them. But they certainly illustrate where I’ve been and what I’ve heard and there’s a great satisfaction in having someone refer to a song and being able to find it and put in on the stereo. I’ve carted my vinyl from one coast to the other, from the north of this country to the south and back again. I certainly couldn’t let it go now.
    However, it did become harder and harder for me to play it, so I’ve begun the massive project of digitizing it all, so that it’s at my fingertips. Of course, to do so I have to play every song. And with each new track I discover something different. And it makes me smile.
    So all I can suggest is revelling in being able to hold your soundtrack in your hands and hear any part of it you want, when you want, not trusting to luck to be able to find it somewhere.

    • marcsuttle says:

      Re: Soundtracks
      I was scanning your LiveJournal and noticed several posts related to music and vinyl. What software are you using to digitize? I tried a couple from ‘download.com’ a few years back but wasn’t satisfied. I was thinking the choice of PC soundcard could be crucial. I have a work provided IBM T40 laptop w/CD-RW DVD and was hoping it was sufficient. The albums I want to copy are the ones you can’t find normally on CD. Strangely enough my favorites from the 13 box-set Time-Life ‘Swing Era’ collections issued back in the early 70’s is the top item on my list. Even though they are recreations, they sound better(to me) than the originals plus any of the more recent covers by various big band ‘swing’ orchestras.

      • inner_linbo says:

        Re: Soundtracks
        The first thing I did was got an iMic, which takes input from RCA jacks and puts it to an USB port. That ran about $35. I used a double male cord from a Tape Out port on my stereo to the iMic and into my computer. The iMic does come with sample music recording/editing programs for both the Mac and IBM compatible. Since I have a Mac, I actually use Sound Studio, which came with my machine. TUCOWS looks to have a number of Windows based programs available. The recording works just like a cassette recorder, but because editing is much easier, I just press record and run through a number of records (memory becomes the limit here). Sound Studio saves recordings as a default AIFF file, which are quite large. I read them into iTunes and convert them to mp3s to save space. My initial issue was making certain that my computer understood that the “microphone” it was listening to was a stereo mic, not mono.
        The nice thing that I’ve found about the digital recording is that you can take out pops very easily.
        That’s how I go about it.

  2. cat_wrangler says:

    ‘listens to the music playing in her head’
    That soundtrack, that collection of events and feelings and impacts, will go where it needs to go. And you’re free to ask for the insight to get a clue as to where it might go. See, it’s never dull to end up friendly a loon. One of those ‘feelin’ existential’ types (lyrics courtesy Mojo Nixon).
    I envy you for being able to hold on to the vinyl. All my albums were burned by an angry husband when I wasn’t around. I’ve managed to rebuild a bit, but a lot of my collection was obtained at cut-out bins and at the used record section of music stores. Been fairly successful in gradually getting most of the music back in the form of CDs. But damn, I miss liner notes. And I miss the messages scrawled into the album at press on some of Joe Walsh’s albums from the 70s. Liner notes on CDs are t-tiny and I have to take off my glasses and hold the damn foldout up to my nose just to read any of it. “What a drag it is getting old…”

    • marcsuttle says:

      Re: ‘listens to the music playing in her head’
      I’ve read some of those notes etched into the inner edge of albums. I think Joe Walsh carried the tradition with him when he joined the Eagles. Something about ‘V.O.L.'(Victim of Love)being a five piece live recording on the Hotel California album. At least one Lynyrd Skynyrd album had messages in the inner edges also. Probably many more but I’m not bored enough to unsleeve every album I own to find out. Of course you are causing me to remember what a techno-geek I was back then. Remember the spectre of “backward-masking”? Those “satanic” hidden messages? (ELO comes to mind)I had several cassette decks and modified one so I could play songs I had recorded on a normal deck backwards and decode the ‘big’ secret. What a let down. Nothing more than artists playing with their own toys in the studio.
      I miss the complex, gimmicky, fold-out, multipart, album covers. The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers “zipper” didn’t do anything for me but those original Jethro Tull albums (Elton John, Alice Cooper and a few other) sure did! Also, the full sized posters carefully folded and packaged in albums. My favorite is the “black-light” group photo of the Guess Who that came with their greatest hits album. You got me started and I could continue like this for hours.
      As to the first part of your comment, I’m not sure what insight and clues I should be asking about, but I’ll ask anyway. (catch me on yahoo!messenger if you need to)

      • cat_wrangler says:

        Re: ‘listens to the music playing in her head’
        “As to the first part of your comment, I’m not sure what insight and clues I should be asking about, but I’ll ask anyway.”
        We never really need to worry about ‘what to do’—the universe always pokes us in the ribs (sometimes in the eye) when an opportunity comes along. Just set some time aside, shut your mind down a bit, and ask for a clue as to the issue of ‘who will get this stuff anyway???”.
        Oh, yeah….”si-tanic messages”. I’ve often wondered what the hell kind of time those folks—-the ones making the accusations–must have had on their hands. Ah, who knows, maybe they did hear something satanic; after all, you tend to find what you’re looking for when you are willing to suspend your belief in reality as we know it. (emits evil chuckle)
        When I was in junior high school my favorite poster (well, other than the one with the sand dunes and the full text of Ozymandias printed on the bottom half) was Hendrix’s ‘Axis: Bold as Love’ cover. My best friend, however, had a poster from a Bobby Sherman album over her bed. *sigh* How I miss the oblivion of my early, geeky teen years.

  3. lousy_timing says:

    Live Journal being the incredible network that it is,
    perhaps we can start a community of people with vinyl collections of all different genres and then we can build our own listening museum. That way, there would always be a place for those who don’t have vinyl of their own to go, and we’d have a place to leave our collections to without worrying about what our existing or non-existent children might do with them upon our demise. We could include the digital ones, as well, of course.

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