Being home for a week made me realize just how much I’ve missed my record player. I listen to a lot of music, but it seems like it’s always paired with something else – work, studying, talking on the phone or walking. Vinyl makes me take the time to just sit and listen, though.
My record player is a little isolated. It’s in the room without the big TV or fireplace. It got little use before the record player. But now, whenever we’re home, my brother and I will sit in there for hours listening to records. Between the two of us, we have an incredible collection. I just bought my 300th album when I was home – well, I actually bought four, so I’m a little over that. My brother didn’t start collecting until last summer, but he already has a really good start. It’s hard when we go shopping together. The stores we frequent aren’t really record stores, they’re antique stores. And they have a very random supply. The only records we can ever find more than one copy of are Get the Knack and Billy Joel’s The Stranger (only one of which I own. Care to guess?). Our tastes are a little distinct, but we like a lot of the same music. Usually it’s whoever finds it first, gets it, but sometimes we can persuade each other to give up a few. But he’s still in school this week, so I feel a little anti-social sitting alone listening to my records. I like not having to let anyone else pick the records, though.
I went to our usual stores to look at records. It was a little strange going by myself, but I found a double LP containing Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison and At San Quentin – which my brother would’ve snapped up in a heartbeat. I also found two Ray Charles albums, Sweet & Sour Tears and Ingredients in a Recipe for Soul. At another store, I found Hearts on the Line, an album by the Burrito Brothers – after they dropped the “Flying” from their name and a sealed copy of Brian Eno’s More Blank Than Frank. I’ve listened to them all today. It’s hard to pick a best of the bunch, but it would probably be Johnny Cash or Ray Charles. The most interesting was definitely Brian Eno, though. I was startled and concerned when I dropped the needle and heard vocals. More Blank Than Frank is a compilation of Eno’s earlier works, before he really dove into ambient music. You can hear him start to progress toward that style, though.
Now that I’m back at school, I find myself with a stack of unlistened CDs. I listen to my headphones while I’m working on my master’s thesis – an integrated marketing communications plan for WSBU – which also explains the lack of posting lately. It gives me a little time to listen to music, but I’ve been ignoring new albums by The Dodos, Billy Joel, R.E.M., Black Joe Lewis and John Vanderslice.
Working at the radio station lets me hear a few songs from these, but I need to make time to enjoy albums as a whole.