Tomorrow I'm going out to the suburbs for a record sale hosted some dude in his garage. He says that if you show him on your phone that you have shared the link to the add to someone else on Facebook, he will give you an ice cold Old Style tall boy. For my European readers (okay, reader, let's face it), Old Style is a cheap beer sold only in the midwest, and tall boy means a 16 ounce can. It seems this guy has way too many records and decided to take a couple days drinking beer in his garage and selling a bunch of vinyl. It's only a town or two over from my parents' place, I like beer, and I like records. How can I say no? The plan is to drop my very pregnant wife off at work and drive right out into the suburbs to thumb through stacks and stacks of vinyl while sipping on a cool one. What a great way to end the summer!
|No idea who this guy is, but is he more proud of his lady or the beer?|
And then back to vinyl again: Today's actual blog topic involves listening to the records that were on the turntable when I was a kid and recording my impressions now and memories then. My mom and dad were actually not that big on rock music. Their collection consists of a lot more jazz and classical. However, there were a handful of rock records that they would play, and my sister and I would spin those select few over-and-over.
1. Fleetwood Mac, "Rumors."
As a little kid, I'll be honest, the first thing that excited me about the record was the cover because Mick Fleetwood had a pair of balls dangling from strings like a nut sack. Balls were funny then, and they still are. And I like how Stevie Nicks gazes in the general direction of his dangling crawdads with a look of utmost sincerity. Within the lyric sheet insert there are a series of photographs, and in one there is a guy smoking a joint. I remember hearing at school how terrible and illegal drugs were, so I thought that by pressing this album, the police could go to that guy's house and arrest him for drug use. Isn't it weird how brainwashed and confused little Kenneth Noisewater was from public education?
There were two simultaneous break ups going on within Fleetwood Mac at the time they made "Rumours." Bass player John McVie and his wife, keyboard player and singer Christie McVie, were going through a divorce. Christie was seeing a new guy, and she wrote a song about her rejuvenated faith in love called "You Make Loving Fun." John had to play bass on a song about his wife being all excited about fucking someone new! This fueled his already heavy drinking. John would be one of the first guys into the studio to record his parts, and he would often be the first one done because he would pass out.
Lindsay Buckingham, singer and guitarist, was also splitting up with his girlfriend, singer and hippy-chick poet all-star, Stevie Nicks. Stevie was taking it really hard and wrote an amazing song called "Dreams" all about it. Not to be outdone, Lindsey wrote one too called "Go Your Own Way." So, four of the five members were having break-ups with each other, and that left drummer, Mick Fleetwood, who was in the midst of a failing marriage with his wife. The pain and heartache all five members were experiencing at the time could have spelt disaster, but it was instead channeled into a catharsis that became one of the best albums in rock history; certainly the best break up album. In fact, all five members are given writing credit for an extremely moving piece of music called "The Chain." That's one of those songs that even as a 7-year-old kid, nowhere near dating any chicks or having any breakups of my own, I knew that song was somehow important. It was just majestic.
2. My sister and I probably played Three Dog Night the most. I remember big sister and her friend made a dance routine to "One," of all songs, and would play it over-and-over again to rehearse their steps. My parents still talk about a trip we took to Pittsburgh where us two and the kids of our family friends were spontaneously singing "Joy To the World" during any downtime. I didn't know at the time, but Three Dog Night was a cover band. I loved "Try a Little Tenderness" as a youngster and had no idea that Otis Redding did it first. "Celebrate," and "Old Fashioned Love Song" we also liked. We thought "Eli's Coming" was about some sort of bad boogie man type coming to get everyone. Then up until recently I thought it was a song warning people against a cock block buddy of his. Allow me to explain.
What he's really saying:
"Eli's coming, hide your heart girl."
What I thought he was saying:
"Eli's coming, hide your hot girl."
Not at all about a cock block. My apologies.
3. My mom and dad had only one Rolling Stones album called "Gimme Shelter." One side, to my recollection, were recorded versions of "Gimme Shelter," "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Street Fighting Man," "Honkey Tonk Woman," and "Love In Vain." The other side was a collection of live songs, the only which I know for sure were "Satisfaction" and "Under My Thumb." My sister and I rarely gave that side a spin.
What I do remember is feeling so sad when I heard "Love In Vain." It's a Robert Johnson cover. He is the blues legend from the 1930's who was rumored to have sold his soul in exchange for a brief and wondrous career that would prove to be extraordinarily influential to blues and later rock music. There is only that one session of recordings and that one picture that we always see of the man. In any event, it wasn't just Jagger's pained vocals that struck a chord, so to speak, with me. Mick Taylor's slide guitar was wailing away in anguish in a way 7-year-old Ken just didn't hear on the 1980's radio stations that were playing Kajagoogoo around that time.
My parents threw out all their records some time in the early 2000's, but I have since tracked down my own copies of some of them. However, I don't have that same Stones record. What I have is "Let It Bleed," largely because of that "Love In Vain" cover is one there. In a case of tragic music-lover irony, the only song on either side that skips is none other than "Love In Vain."
It's all the more a sad song to hear Mick keeps saying
"I followed her to the station . . . With a suitcase in my hand (hic), in my hand (hic), in my hand (hic), in my hand (hic) . . ."