Its the darnedest thing really.. you wouldn’t think it would be imaginable, possible or much less actually happening… but here it is., the analogue renaissance. and its happened to me.. well, to be plainly honest, i knew it was a matter of when for me personally, but it making a comeback in general like a tide coming in.. heck, you’d get your toes wet before you knew you were standing in damp sand.
but here i am, at the shore of my youth where it all began for me 30 years along. i always knew id come back to it someday.. not for it to replace the current practical standard but as a memento of what was.. that little bit that defined me. Dolly Partons “Jolene” only ever sounded right on vinyl for some reason and along with the surface noise, the occasional pop and crackle, a nostalgic rush back to a 9 year old sitting on a bare tile floor oblivious to the fact the that Dolly Parton for most part looked like a tart. Ignorance at times is bliss. Man, she could sing though. Big Ben Sullivan lied his way through my childhood pretending to be some faceless Sitar pandit from the Indian subcontinent… i wish i never knew he wasnt. Every song, the lyrics and tunes built elaborate stories and grand castles in the clouds of my imagination. It was colorful and the pops and crackles filled in the empty spaces in between just as real life has chatter in the background even in our most profound moments. I never really understood what the Beatles were on about most of the time, in fact i still dont.. that may need a revisit.
Mom had a wonderful collection of vinyl that endeared countless afternoons. It was more about story telling then… it stays with you. Now its all presentation. mainstream is filled with substance-less tripe with gyrations and a lot less clothing on. its nice to watch though… it leaves very little to the imagination and in the end of the day just an empty hollow feeling which is why probably merchandising is such a hit to fill the void. oh well. im lucky that way. a lot of us were in that there was no reason to have a poster of some artist on the bedroom wall. i still dont see the point.
Theres no denying the signs though.. best buy has a catalog of some 10,000 LPs.. yeah, you could if you wanted to, dust of the old turntable and waltz down starry eyed to your local BB and relive the glory days. and its not only resiisues (which interest me) but new pressings that are being released. I cant say how long this revisit to the once premium medium of audio reproduction will last.. maybe just a a fleeting fancy, maybe a lingering jilted love pining by its grave for the long lost affection and adoration its destined to once again never have. more likely a curiosity that will never leave yet never truly come back.
Im laying stake to my share of it right now and right here.. although i do wish my revival with vinyl had come a little sooner before it got caught up in the commercial engine. it wasnt that long ago when the price of admission to nostalgic walks down memory lane and the ritual of spinning vinyl was to be had for very little.
There are some that belive it to be the ultimate medium, and i suppose it may well be true paired with the appropriate gear.. its audiophile nirvana. Vinyl has a particular sound thats inherently vinyl. warm and musical, it appeals to me a great deal. notes garnished with vinyl-ness are my window to my past, a monolith in the present thats a firm reminder from whence ive come and compliments the digital format thats the norm now. Never the twain shall meet except in between the source selector for an instant as the switch is thrown and the time machine is enganged. theres just something in watching a record go round and round…. and around and around and around. the experience is just so visceral. Its watching the music being brought to life, springing forth at the point of a needle. its simply amazing. the digital format in contrast seems detached and distant.
while its unlikely i’ll ever come across the exact turntable that we gave up on so easily in the mid 80s for the new shiny formats of the day, im glad mom had the presence of mind to cherish the LPs that she knew we would come back for one day. life comes back full circle. after acquiring the first of several turntables recently, ive had the pleasure of watching my 5 year old get wide eyed as i introduced him to an old friend of sorts. of course, to keep a 5 year old from breaking it, the first thing i did was instruct him on the use of a cue lever. He did remark that an LP was so much larger than a DVD and wondered how many episodes of sponge bob it would hold. he gets the idea now and will, i hope, continue in some small way the legacy of joy the humble record and turntable brought to me.
its about that time of day…. just right to put my feet up, accompanied by a tall cool one and once again for a while let my mind wander where the music takes me before the next tear drop falls.