9-20-12 On The Road Pt. 1
Jelly Roll Morton born 1885, guitarist Eric Gale born 1938; 9-20-80 XTC “Black Sea” LP charts at No. 16 in England; 9-20-80 Kate Bush “Never For Ever” LP was No. 1 in England.
When I was about 5 years old, my parents introduced me to recorded music / sound. My father had a reel-to-reel tape recorder, my mother had many vinyl LP’s. The 2 earliest LP’s I can remember are Harry Belafonte “Calypso” and Spike Jones “Dinner Music For Those Who Aren’t Very Hungry”. The 45’s in my home were usually owned by one of my siblings, stuff like Sheb Wooley “Purple People Eater”. Of course, there were records in the home obviously intended for children: “Jack in the Beanstalk” etc.
My older sister had Allan Sherman LP’s; I remember listening to those during the summer, when we didn’t go to school. My late older brother had LP’s by Bill Cosby – so I got to hear those ‘stores’ along with whatever I heard at school, or from my parents. At some point, I was given a box of 45’s to play with – I am not sure who owned them before me, but it was stuff like Sue Thompson “Norman”, The Coasters “Little Egypt” etc. Who’s were they? Probably my sisters!
I must’ve really pestered my parents, because they bought me several LP’s by Harry Belafonte, even double albums! I also asked for (and received) a 45 of The Tornados “Telstar” – I’d heard it on the AM radio!
45’s were least expensive (and consequently within my grasp) at the Singer Sewing Machine Store – 59 cents…until I discovered the box of 10 cent 45’s at Dooley’s Hardware, in North Long Beach. The Coasters “Run Red Run”! I could look at LP’s at The Cal Store, White Front, Zody’s, Akron…wherever my mom took me. The bigger stores had a problem with 45’s: Usually, they were in a wooden bin, with a steel rod pushed through the center (thus obliterating any picture sleeve; the system worked well for 45’s without picture sleeves, however).
I knew I didn’t own my brother or sisters’ records, and I developed the idea of “my records” at some point, somewhat obviously. I cannot remember when I moved the LP’s from the “family room” (the den) to my bedroom or exactly how many there were – it can’t have been all that many! And I think I motivated the purchase of The Beatles “Something New”, from a grocery store – a nice mono Capitol Records album.
My brother signed up for the US Air Force; it was either that – or get drafted, which I don’t think he was interested in. I watched as he carefully wrapped up his wooden crates of LP’s and stored them in the closet in the den with a woolen blanket. He wanted to make sure his LP’s were “secure” before he left on his US Air Force adventure.
I asked for a Sony reel-to-reel tape deck, and got one. My dad had an old amplifier, a heavyweight turntable and a pair of beat-up looking headphones that seemed to work.