So, as the only turntable to which I had access belonged to my parents, the chosen format for me as I discovered a love of music was the cassette. A couple of friends, with older siblings, understood the fidelity of vinyl, but I wasn’t that committed. I quickly moved to compact disc as soon as they became readily available.
There were a few albums that I acquired, simply because of their unavailability on disc, but it was no more than a handful.
Now, it’s almost exclusively mp3 files – much to the great consternation of Paloma, who grew up on vinyl. Compact discs, at least, gave her something tangible, but this new virtual world doesn’t sit well with her where music is concerned.
Out of the blue, we decided to begin acquiring vinyl. The idea was proffered over coffee and, within six hours, we had dropped a couple hundred dollars on LPs. That was the first day.
A second day rifling through record store bins nearly doubled our investment. We’ve now added to our crowded quarters one hundred and eight vinyl records in various states of wear and tear.
Paloma opted for works of classic acts – from Carpenters to The Stones and Lennon to Steely Dan – but she did go off the board a couple times, too – Peter Nero’s Pure Gold (The Great Songs Of Burt Bacharach And Hal David) anyone?
I seemed to be shopping for bargains using some kind of method that I kept a secret from myself which yielded the double-album soundtrack to FM and a copy of Christopher Cross’ debut for a quarter each. I also went heavy on early ‘80s stuff like Marshall Crenshaw’s debut, Men At Work’s Cargo, and The Police’s Synchronicity.
So, we stand poised to enter a new era and, personally, I’m curious to hear for myself if vinyl lives up to the hype. And to see if I can hear the “warmth” of the format, it’s appropriate that amongst our haul is a copy of Listen To The Warm by Rod McKuen.
Eye To Eye – Nice Girls
The only thing I knew from this duo was this song, their only hit. Nice Girls was all over the radio in the summer of ’82, so I was surprised to find that it only got to #37 on Billboard’s charts. There are a slew of name players on it – Jim Keltner, Abraham Laboriel, and Jeff Porcaro – and it’s produced by Gary Katz, who did a lot of Steely Dan’s stuff. Nice sophisticated pop.
Marshall Crenshaw – Someday, Someway
It pains me to admit it, but I’ve never heard Crenshaw’s debut in its entirety. When he arrived on the music scene, I was impervious to the considerable charm of Someday, Someway. The classic pop from which Crenshaw was influenced, and so wonderfully recreated, sounded “dated” alongside the New Wave stuff I was smitten with at the time.
Stevie Nicks – If Anyone Falls
I won’t be a party to any debate regarding the merits of Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie within the confines of Fleetwood Mac – they were both integral. As for Stevie, even though Bella Donna was her bigger album, I was far more partial to The Wild Heart and this song in particular. I seem to recall reading that Prince actually played on some of her demo versions of it.
Men At Work – Overkill
Why don’t these Aussies receive more respect? Quirky and engaging, Men At Work was inescapable as soon as Who Can It Be Now? hit radio in late summer of 1982. I still remember hearing it for the first time and being instantly charmed. Business As Usual is a far deeper album than simply Who Can It Be Now? and Down Under (yes, Be Good Johnny lost its appeal after the first couple listens, but I loved People Just Love To Play With Words and Paloma always requests Down By The Sea).
Anyhow, ‘83’s Cargo, like many a blockbuster follow-up, wasn’t quite as good, but it did contain their finest moment – Overkill. Quirky and engaging, it also was so wistful. For me, it always sounds like wet, empty streets , nothing but streetlights in the early morning when almost everyone is asleep. It always seemed to play on the radio that spring, as my friends and I – having gotten our driver’s licenses – would be out late, killing time.