Uncle Warren’s Attic: No more days without music

LP collection

My somewhat substantial collection of LPs – long-playing (vinyl) records for you young’uns – spent much of the past eight years in boxes. Last fall I said to myself, “Self, this is ridiculous. I want to hear my music.”

I dug deep and bought an industrial-strength shelving unit, a state-of-the-art turntable, and a separate tone-arm shell, cartridge and stylus designed to play 78 rpm records. The records came out of the boxes, and I set up the turntable and an amplifier next to the computer desk where I spend most of my working hours.

With music thus restored to its rightful place in my life, I am a much happier soul.

Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Well, a great deal of my treasure has been invested in recordings of music, and a majority of those recordings were created using the dominant technology of most of the 20th century. I was a late convert; I only bought cassettes and CDs when I seemingly had no other choice.

A character in the audiobook I’m listening to said yesterday, “What’s the point of collecting things if you don’t use them?” Exactly.

I don’t understand why people collect things that were designed to be opened and enjoyed, seal them up, and never use them for the joyful intended purpose. Comic books, records, toys … One of my favorite movies is Toy Story 2 for that very message. Are you building a museum or gathering objects you love?

I don’t mind pops and crackles, although of course I have always treated my records with enough care to avoid that kind of wear as much as possible. You do want to preserve the music, after all.

I admit it may simply be because it’s what I knew first, but I vastly prefer listening to music on vinyl, perhaps holding the one-foot-square album cover and reading the lyrics or just enjoying the artwork as the musicians do their thing.

A day without music is … I have almost no words for a day without music. Just … indescribably sad. To have all this music at my fingertips again is indescribably sweet.

3 thoughts on “Uncle Warren’s Attic: No more days without music

  1. I sent this to my musician bro-in-law. We were talking close to the same thing, somehow. Although I cannot hear anymore you know, this blog post of yours is amazing. I used to have lots of vinyl too. Wish I kept a few, they would be worth big money now, including a demo of Def Leppard’s “High N Dry” that I bought from a pawn shop down by Fort Campbell for a dollar. Awe, the music…

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    1. Thanks! I feel for you. An old friend (I think you knew Otto) once told me the biggest thing he didn’t like about growing old was he couldn’t hear music the way he used to. At least you can still hear it in your memory, although I understand it’s not the same.

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  2. Most of my vinyl is obscured by CDs (now is that a great album name or not?) now stacked in front of them. My state-of-the-art turntable is from 1973 (and still works, too). The receiver it connects to also connects to my Mac computer, so I’ve digitized a lot of the more obscure and interesting stuff myself. A few years ago I had my mid-70s reel-to-reel restored since that collection of tapes in some cases almost rivals my LPs.

    I do recall one day playing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and grumbling a bit about the scratches and clicks (mind you, my LPs alway go back in their paper sleeves then into the cardboard covers). “I don’t know why that sounds so bad. I’ve only had this record for, for . . . uh . . . 25 years.” Hmmmm. And now it’s been over 25 years since THAT happened.

    The teenage son of a friend ran in one day, all excited about this great new band he just heard. “They’re called “Aerosmith!” he said excitedly as we heard “Sweet Emotion” bleeding from his earbuds. What goes around (like LPs) comes around.

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