For the Love of Vinyl: Part Two

1 Nov

I’ve been spending time listening to my records, as I discussed in Tuesday’s post. It’s so nostalgic, hearing the imperfect playback. Not exactly relaxing, however, not when listening to 45’s that only last for about three minutes.

I had a few old 45’s that were my dad’s. That’s how I learned “Unchained Melody” sung by Les Baxter and accompanied by his orchestra, on a purple, “Capitol Records” label. My sister and I would sing it dramatically to each other, her from her loft in the bedroom we shared, and I on the swing that hung from the rafters in the center of our room. I wish I had a picture of that room; it was so cool.  (By the way, this version I’ve linked is the exact version I have! If you shut your eyes while you listen to it, you can imagine it’s on vinyl. :-))

We even had a National Geographic record. Remember those? They’d be inserted in the magazine and you could tear them out – they were floppy – and then you could listen to real “Sounds of the Space Age”.  Highly educational. I didn’t listen to that one too often.

We found this 45 of The Hobbit a few years ago at a flea market. Had to get it even though we still have the 33 1/3. It’s a perfect example of those Read Aloud records. And how about that National Geographic record? It’s slightly bent and I couldn’t get it to play correctly at all when I tried today!

On Tuesday I mentioned that my kids love to listen to The Rescuers and The Hobbit. Those were my first-ever 33 1/3’s. The Hobbit is “The Complete Original Soundtrack including dialogue, music and songs” from the Rankin/Bass movie production in 1977. And, of course, it has the “special edition book” with it. My husband is phenomenal at knowing lines from movies, but he can’t hold a candle to my ability to quote The Hobbit. (By the way, I have already written “Go see The Hobbit” on December 14th on my calendar. Can’t wait.)

As for The Rescuers, it’s also from 1977, and actually was the first movie I saw in a theater. My sister gave me the “Songs and Dialogue” album for Christmas that year and I loved it. My dad, sadly, did not realize how much I loved it and he got rid of it in one of their cross-the-country-or-world-moves and I was so sad, nevermind that I was in college by then. I told my husband that story years ago and he, bless his heart, went onto E-Bay and bought me the exact same album. How great is he? So, even though it’s not my original album, my kids – and I –can still enjoy it.

A small piece of my childhood.

Occasionally I’d raid Mom and Dad’s 33 1/3 collection of records, but not too often, because all they had was classical. Oh, but he had Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass, “Whipped Cream and Other Delights”. Oy, vey, that album cover!

I was a wee bit shocked when I found this in my parent’s record collection, many, many moons ago. Turns out, it was quite the phenomenon!

But my favorite records of my parents’ were The Smothers Brothers. “Curb you tongue, knave!”, “The Two Sides of the Smothers Brothers”, “think ethnic!”, and “…at the Purple Onion” – these are still the stars of my record collection. There weren’t a lot of times I saw my mom wiping her eyes from laughter, but listening to the Smothers Brothers would make her do that. “The Streets of Laredo”, “Chocolate” and “Black is the Colour (of my Love’s True Hair)” – those were probably our favorite cuts from the albums. They were part of our family vocabulary. And – I love this story – it is partly due to The Smothers Brothers that I decided my husband would be a worthy candidate to be my husband. Never, in all my life, had I met anyone who knew who I was talking about if the topic of the Smothers Brothers came up. Then along he came and he knew. It was meant to be.

These are so awesome!

A few years back I found a duplicate album of theirs and bought it because I was into making bowls out of records – you melt them in the oven and have a cute bowl! (Take a look at how to do it! It’s easy!) I thought it would be extra-fun to have a Smothers Brothers bowl to hold candy AND memories. My husband wouldn’t let me melt it. “It’s the Smothers Brothers! That would be sacrilege!” So we have two of that album. Two, nice and flat records.

I made my bowl from an old Amy Grant album. He didn’t care about that one so much.

A little piece of my teen years: made more useful, according to The Sailboat King. It would be perfect in a Rumpus Room. If only I had a Rumpus Room…

I heard the other day that someone was releasing their brand new album on compact disc AND on vinyl. I love that. There’s nothing like having a record on in the background to sooth your soul.

Here’s a sample of The Smothers Brothers from long ago.  Enjoy!


37 Responses to “For the Love of Vinyl: Part Two”

  1. treadlemusic November 2, 2012 at 6:55 am #

    Would that Amy Grant record be the “Wayward Wind” by chance???? I grew up listening to music of the “Big Band Era” which was my mom’s fave. I would sit on the living room floor leaning against the speaker of the big console cabinet record player/radio so I could ‘feel’ the sound vibrations from such songs as “Perfidia” and imagine the storm coming over the Grand Canyon when listening to Ferde Grofe’s “On the Trail”….those were good days.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 2, 2012 at 7:15 am #

      Oh, man, my parent’s had a HUGE cabinet/stereo/speakers, too. HUGE! It was bigger than our couch. My mom loved to turn up the sound for certain songs, too, so she could feel it. Fun memories! As for the Amy Grant…it was…”Straight Ahead”, I believe, circa 1984ish…give or take!

  2. Hotly Spiced November 2, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    I love the sound of your teenage bedroom. It sounds like quite an oasis. You had a great record collection. I don’t remember having so many. And I loved ‘Unchained Melody’ too. What a great song that was so wonderfully revived by that movie xx

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

      It was a great bedroom, yes! We had these huge cathedral ceilings and so Dad hung a swing from the cross-beams and built a loft above the closet…so very fun. The loft had hot pink carpet! That was fun, too!

  3. Minnesota Prairie Roots November 2, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    Ah, the Smothers Brothers. Such memories. And your husband is just so thoughtful to find that album for you.

    When I was growing up, we did not have a record player. But Grandpa did and we listened to Johnny Cash and the Chipmunks. Later, we got Grandpa’s record player, just in time for my teen years. My favs were The Carpenters, the Eagles, Chicago, John Denver, The Moody Blues…

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 9, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

      Yeah, it was so great that he found it! So nice. I know that my sisters had John Denver records – and I am pretty sure that one of my small 45’s has a Chipmunks song on it. “ALVIN!”

  4. November 3, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    I really love the artwork of full-length records too. Once I started buying CDs I pretty much stopped looking at the inside booklet. Or even knowing what most song titles were.

    I have a post about record covers here ->

    And I have a great book on record covers called Sleeveface (

    You should check them out…

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 3, 2012 at 10:26 am #

      Oh, fun, thanks! I’ll definitely check those out. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Phil Lengthorn November 3, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    I’m going to have a go at making a vinyl bowl! Love it…

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 3, 2012 at 10:58 am #

      I know, they’re so cool! And easy…and a little bit practical…. I think I’ll put my kid’s extra Halloween candy in mine…

  6. segmation November 3, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    Sad to see the days of these great vinyls fade away!! Not for me!

  7. A Londoner from Afar November 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    I just love that bowl. But, I wondered if you didn´t find it hard to convert an old vinyl.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 3, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      I suppose that if I were a collector…as opposed to a user (that sounds bad!) I’d care, but as it was one I never listened to any more, it didn’t hurt too badly! I go to antique/junk stores and buy inexpensive records and make them from those usually. People really get a kick out of them – it’s so fun to gift someone with a album bowl that just suits them perfectly!

  8. anewcatsworld November 3, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    I have most of the Righteous Brothers on vinyl and they are among my favourites.

    to treadlemusic, it was Gogi Grant who sang “Wayward Wind” another beautiful song.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

      Ah, that makes sense about “Gogi” vs. “Amy” Grant! I had thought, “Huh, I don’t recognize that title.” Thanks for the clarification. I bet that the Righteous Brothers would be perfect on vinyl! I will have to keep my eyes open for them…and I promise I will never make bowls out of their records!

      • anewcatsworld November 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

        Bill Medley (the deep-voiced Brother) also released a couple of solo albums which are also excellent. And that I knew about Gogi Grant just tells you how old I am. 🙂

        • Gretchen O'Donnell November 3, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

          🙂 I’ll have to check into those albums for sure!

  9. Carrie-Anne November 3, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    I love vinyl, and since getting my first record player in 2001, I’ve gotten more vinyl than CDs. I’ve even got some albums on vinyl that I already had on CD. It has such a deeper, richer sound, and I love the full-sized art and inserts.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 3, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

      Yeah, the big photos (and the read-along books for the kids!) are great – I’ve had my record player since college – 1990, I believe, is when I got it – and the CD player on it doesn’t work and the cassett player (dual!) is long-since broken, but I keep it for the turn-table! I’ve not bought a new record album since, probably 1990something, though, and I really must. Everyone’s comments have inspired me! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  10. biztravelexpert November 3, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    Thank you for giving me fuel for my brief trek back in time. I had a collection of almost 500 vinyl’s that I had to part with when I moved from Denmark to Canada about 22 years ago….I miss the crackling noice of the needle hitting the black vinyl before Al Jones took over….In my basement I have 1300 CD’s that were converted to MP3 a few years back, I remember having half a wall in our living room dedicated to a proud display of music. In my office I have an old solid black rotary phone which my 7 year old calls a “left over” from the “olden” days…..

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 4, 2012 at 8:11 am #

      Wow – you are a die-hard music fan! My dad had shelves of classical cassetts, which then became shelves of CD’s. He never had as many record albums, though. I can imagine that they would be heavy to move across the world, that’s for sure. My parents had a pink rotary phone that I wish I had today! Fun memories, yes…

  11. Matt Muecke November 3, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    I have been really enjoying, maybe even over-indulging in some John Denver on vinyl lately. It has some weird connection with the anniversary of Paul Wellstone’s death every year. I’m assuming my subconscious must connect the plane crash thing, but I’m not real sure. One of life’s weird dealings I guess. Great post, you’re like famous and stuff.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 4, 2012 at 8:13 am #

      Isn’t the sub-conscious a funny thing? I love it. And as for being famous…I won’t let it go to my head. Ha ha. Thanks for your comments, Matt! 🙂

  12. Misfit Drifters November 4, 2012 at 1:51 am #

    I just love the artwork on each vinyl, it’s so much fun to look at!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 4, 2012 at 8:14 am #

      I agree – so much more space for art, compared to a disc…or, if buying it entirely without a physical product at all! It’s a sad thing that we’re missing today.

  13. Notes To Ponder November 4, 2012 at 3:53 am #

    My parents had the same Tijuana Brass record. Thanks for the memory. The first album I bought was T-Rex, followed by Sgt. Pepper. Saturday was the day we went to the record store. Album art was amazing. My children scoff at my worn and loved crates of vinyl. I treasure, and play them still. Nothing like the crack, skip, and pop of a record.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 4, 2012 at 8:16 am #

      “Crack, skip, and pop” – yes! Better than Rice Crispies, it is. Your kids should realize how retro you are – and take a look at the new albums being released on vinyl! So fun – I haven’t actually heard a new vinyl record – not sure if they sound the same or not…

  14. chiclygreen November 6, 2012 at 7:33 am #

    This is brilliant! I love the idea of the vinyl candy bowl, and it does look easy. I think I’ll raid my local thrift store today to see if I can find one “worthy” of being turned into one!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 6, 2012 at 8:41 am #

      Excellent! I hope you find a worthy one! It’s so fun to be able to find the perfect fit for yourself or someone else – either that or totally silly ones…like a Bee Gee’s album bowl for a classical music fan. Fun times…Thank you so much for stopping by and being so friendly!

  15. L. Palmer November 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    I know who the Smothers Brothers are. Just wanted you to know. And they are awesome.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 7, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

      Yay! You’re the first person to mention them! I’m not sure that they stayed as funny as time went on, but back in the 60’s, they were terrific. I’m so glad you know how good they were!

  16. Gretchen O'Donnell November 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    I need to pull Ruthie out again – I’d forgotten that I meant to do that! Now the question is…where is she? Bother…


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