Circa 1965-1968 When Music Came in Cardboard Covers
I had the record player on a table in my bedroom. Just a square boxy old thing, which had a latch on the front, and a handle on the other end. Portable record player they called it. It was a beige brown color and had one speaker across the front with this mesh looking stuff on the outside. You could stack about 5 of the 33’s on the spindle and you had to have a “converter” to play a goodly stack of 45’s.
There was nothing more exciting than bringing home a new record album. You went to the store…Redford’s 5 & 10 most of the time for me, and you would stand over the bin where the albums were stored and flip through them. Once, twice, three times. Only enough money for one, but which would it be? It was mid to late 60’s…perhaps 1967, and a cool cover of guys dressed in the Blue and Grey of the civil war caught my eye. It was a group called “The Buckinghams” and featured a song called Susan. I liked it, and bought it and took it back home. There was always a ritual of removing the clear cellophane and easing the white “dust jacket” out. Most of the time there were graphics and other photos on these too…and I always enjoyed just pouring over the pictures, looking at the names of all the songs, the credits, who wrote the songs. It took time, and if was fun.
I’d put it on the bottom of the stack and add a couple of my favorites on top…most of the time it was late afternoon in the Summer. The most gorgeous of times, with the sun coming in from my West facing window, and shining in filtered rays through the shafts of fine dust I had kicked up from my activity. I’d lay down on the rug in my room right next to the record player and for the next hour or two I would listen to the music, feel the music, and live the music. Right there in a three square foot space, I transcended the normality of the moment and exceeded any expectations I had for the future. Then the music stopped.
I got up and stretched and carefully took my albums off the portable record player, and carefully held them, carefully put them back in the dust jackets and stored them back in the cardboard covers. I put them in a box carefully and lovingly, knowing I would listen to them again in a day or two. Never longer than a day or two.
Those were tactile days. Days when music came in an enjoyable, holdable, seeable packages. Wonderful iconic images came from those days. Wonderful memorable music which I remember to this day and can still sing every word of every song.
Today, I mostly just pick a song off of iTunes and it’s downloaded on my phone. I don’t have time, or don’t take time to lay on the floor for an hour and listen to music. Mostly now, it plays in the background at night to soothe our sleep.
I really don’t get as much pleasure from new music as I used to…….and it’s hard for me to remember the words. Maybe because I’m in the late 60’s now, and the world has moved on to 2017 and left me behind.