Rainy Day / Late Night Music

11-1-10

Rainy Day / Late Night Music

Being in Southern California, I guess there weren’t so many ‘rainy days’ when I was young (it’s raining as I type this, in October, 2010).  But I distinctly remember coming home from school, drying my hair and listening to music, and working on my projects of collating and typing up label discographies.

I think the first label discography I ever typed up was Atco Records.  I got a few different inner-sleeves, all of which had either lists of Atco releases or even little b&w / color photos of album covers (with serial numbers).  It was from inner-sleeves like these that I found out about “Chickenman” and Tom Sankey “Sings Songs From The Golden Screw”.

But if I was sharpening my information gathering skills, I was also filling my head with listening to whole album of rock music of the day.  Before 1970, I had already heard at least 3 albums by Country Joe & The Fish, 5 or 6 albums by Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, lots of Fugs, Procol Harum, Rolling Stones etc.

A rainy afternoon was a good time to catch up on self-education of rock music.  How many records can I play after getting home from school and before dinner is ready?

After my music-packed rainy afternoons, I discovered late night listening.  There’s nothing else going on, why not play some more records?  I also discovered FM radio, notably KPFK-FM (90.7) in Los Angeles.  The “after midnight” guys played some cool stuff.  Sometimes, I would go to bed at 6:00pm, just so I could wake up and hear the 2:00am – 8:00am DJ!  (Special “Hi!” to Greg Stewart, who I still know, all these years down the road).

So, my ‘care free life’ as a youngster was spent thinking about music, reading about music and phonograph records; reading the Schwann catalog, Melody Maker, Billboard (when possible) etc.  And making lists.  Lists of label discographies, lists of records that I wanted etc.  I still make “Want Lists”!

Is it any wonder that I gravitated towards working in a record store?  I got lucky – I had a manager who understood what kind of person I was, and who took a chance on hiring me while still under-age (17, in 1976).  Seems odd, but there wasn’t anybody else as young as me, in my first record store job.  If I went back to work in a record store in 2010, I would likely be one of the oldest guys there (no, I am not plumping for a job at Amoeba Music in Hollywood).

But it’s raining outside, and I feel like listening to music.  Perhaps I’ll make a “Rainy Day” playlist tonight.  But right now, it feels like an Hermeto Pascoal kind of day.  I’d love to play LP’s or CD’s of “Slaves Mass” and “Cerebro Magnetico” right now!

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