R is for…

AlphaBytes
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You used to be my number one
But now your flip side ain’t much fun
At 45 you’re much too fast
(For me, for me, for me)
So slow it down to 33
You bruised me raw (???)
You broke my heart
You’re slipping
You’re sliding right up up a chart

The lyrics have no relation to the entry, really, I just needed a record-themed song and find the notion of using something by Little Nell more fun than a certain 80’s pop song.

Today we went through two boxes of old records, separating out the broken ones, and the empty sleeves. One box was a collection of 78’s so old they weren’t even vinyl, but the lacquer they used before vinyl became the norm. Most of these were classical recordings, boxed in fancy album covers, pressed in the 30’s and 40’s. Some were songs form old movies…Nelson Eddy, for example. I know we’ll only get a few cents per disc if we sell them, but I’m tired of carting around things we don’t need or can’t use. Still, there were moments of fond remembrance, seeing the notes my grandmother had pencilled in the covers, when an album was clearly purchased as a gift for my grandfather, or finding a sketch he did, drawing her as if she was in Godey’s Ladies Book , which predates them by several years, but my grandfather was a history buff as well as a music lover.

The second box of records was slightly more modern – if you consider “Sing along with Mitch Miller” modern. Some of the titles were funny, some just confused me. Then there was the collection of soundtracks – including three versions of “My Fair Lady” – one of the stage show, on 45’s, one of the stage show on LP’s and one of the movie. Ditto “Camelot,” though there were only two copies of that – one of the movie, one of the play (the play is much better, since it features Julie Andrews).

The plan is to take the LPs to Rasputin and sell them, even if it’s only a quarter a piece, just so that it’s one less box sitting dusty in the garage. I don’t think they’ll take the 78’s.

See you round like a record
Our romance is kinda checkered
See you round like a record
See you round

Check you out maybe later
Leave your name with the waiter
See you round like a record
See you round

I remember my first record player, a little table top thing with a speaker that wasn’t much better than the one on a transistor radio. (For that matter, I also remember my first transister radio, which was red and had a strap, and was about the same size as my palm pilot, but twice as thick.) The turntable was red, and the arm with the needle had to be lifted onto the record by hand, and the needle was pretty cheap.

My first record collection consisted of the Disney albums with the book and record of every one of their major movies – “Alice in Wonderland” is the only one I really remember (and “Winnie the Pooh”). But I also had collections of musical-ized fairy tales, like “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” A true child of the ’70’s I also had a copy of “Free to Be, You and Me,” which was put out by the Ms. Foundation and Marlo Thomas. Even as I type this I can hear Marlo and Alan Alda doing the story of Atalanta, in my head.

You are my desert island disc
A sure-fire hit without a miss
Your first, it really knocked me out
It sounded just like Twist And Shout
I’m gonna leave
Yeah, leave you cold
I just won’t
I just don’t
Dig your Rock and Roll

When I turned 11 and we moved to California, I got my first real stereo, with separate speakers. By today’s standards it was horribly retro, but in 1981 it was very cool. My first “grown up” record album was the cast recording of the movie “Grease,” (though that was long before the stereo)…I don’t remember what records I bought later, but I do remember saving money to buy Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” when I was twelve or thirteen.

About that time I also started having a greater affinity for the radio. When my mother worked late, or I just felt spooked, I’d play the radio into the night…I remember being nine or ten, and waking up at three am, with my book on my chest and Eddie Rabbit singing “I Love a Rainy Night,” on the radio. I’d fallen asleep reading.

See you round like a record
Our romance is kinda checkered
See you round like a record
See you round

Check you out maybe later
Leave your name with the waiter
See you round like a record
See you round

Today, I’d probably flee in the other direction if confronted by an Eddie Rabbit song, but I still love reading with the radio on low. And I still use the radio when I can’t sleep, because my over-active imagination has me convinced that the shadow over by the closet is the little girl from “The Ring” who’s crawled through the television to kill me.

I prefer talk radio, when I’m trying to sleep, because song lyrics distract me, and music when I’m reading. When I want to control my music, of course, like most people these days, it’s all on cd or mp3, but sometimes I miss the simplicity of switching on the turntable, and moving the arm over to the leading band of the glossy black disc, and basking in the crackling, hissing, and popping of a vinyl record.

See you round like a record
Our romance is kinda checkered
See you round like a record
See you round

Check you out maybe later
Leave your name with the waiter
See you round like a record
See you round

Note: “See You Round Like a Record” was written by Richard Hartley and Brian Thomson, and performed by Little Nell, who is more recognizable as Columbia in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 R is for… by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.