What’s Old is New Again

We are not early adopters of technology or new fads. We comfortably reside in things known, tried and true. Waiting in line for the new iPhone is totally out of our realm. We are the ones who get the iPhone 5 once the iPhone 6 comes out. We bought a 2012 Ford Fusion while they were unloading the truck of the 2013’s. Ask what we are watching on TV and it’s most likely in its third season before we jump onboard. So it should be no surprise that I bought my husband a record player for Christmas this year.

It looks right at home in our basement with its homage to 1970’s decor; a nod to a childhood of no seat belts, helmets or sunscreen. My husband has wanted one for a few years now – fifteen to be exact. No need to make a hasty purchase. It started with a Run DMC album given to us as a wedding present and was nudged with an Anne Murray Christmas album from a cousin a few years ago. These albums floated around in our basement without a means to be heard until this year.

The endeavor started with my parent’s old record player and ended with a new purchase from the local audio store. My parents added to our paltry selection, unloading some beauties of their own; The Beatles, Blood Sweat and Tears, Neil Diamond, Julio Iglesias. I can remember listening to these very albums as a kid pouring over the lyrics and studying the covers. Our first purchases were staples like Johnny Cash, Bob Marley and Robert Plant. It will take a while to build our collection.

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Going to record stores is an experience. They are tucked into tiny store fronts on the edges of the high rent district. They’ve either been there forever or they’re getting in on the ground floor before an Urban Outfitters moves in. The old stores are great. The floors slant, they smell terrible and there is a salty old clerk behind the register who might even still smoke cigarettes. The records we are buying are used and, like a box of chocolates, you never know quite what you’re getting. They may look okay in the store but be horribly scratched or warped when the needle hits the vinyl. At $3.82 it’s not risky, it’s adventurous.

This new purchase has made me really appreciate records albums as dimensional art. You hold them gingerly as you place in on the player. You examine their covers and read their lyrics. You listen to them in their entirety as the story unfolds through the stylus the way the artist intended. One complete narrative. Beautiful.

Yesterday I listened to Robert Plant’s “Now and Zen” while I folded laundry. It may be an old album but it’s new to me.

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