2008.08.06 In the land of old vinyl

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

We live in a smoky neighborhood of back yard fires. That’s not always good when you cool your house with a window fan drawing in the cool night air.

If weather conditions are right, it’s easy to ignore. The live-and-let-live attitude prevails and you’re happy that your neighbors are having a good time.

On a still night when the wind isn’t taking it all away, it’s a different matter. Last night, for example, we were driven from our bedroom and went searching for better sleeping territory.

Colleen walked into the dark and ran into a vanity set bench that wasn’t there the night before. Maddie was packing for college earlier in the day and she moved some things around. Colleen responded loudly and painfully. Better watch out, neighbors.

I shined a flashlight beam her way and she tried what is still known as Rozee’s bedroom. No better.

She moved on to what’s known as Maddie’s high school room. Our old room. Maddie’s summer room? It’s where she’s been sleeping the last few weeks.

Colleen pronounced it the best of the three choices so off we moved. A little mini-vacation.

When I awoke in the morning, I saw the phonograph stand from my grandmother’s house. The turntable is still on top and there’s a collection of my old record albums underneath. I’d forgotten about them.

I wanted to pull a few out and look them over, but it was too dark in that little nook of a sleeping area. It’s underneath a loft that Ben made in college and rebuilt at home for his sisters. It also serves as a closet through some college ingenuity, and clothing blocked out the light.

I wasn’t about to interfere with Colleen’s sleep—that would be as bad as stubbing your toe on furniture in the dark—so I’m ending this column for now. I’ll be back.

It’s nearly 5 p.m. now and Colleen is up. Actually, she’s been up most of the day, but I’ve been hard at other tasks.

Harry Chapin (1972) is visible at the end and I assumed these were my albums, but after a second Chapin comes Annette Funicello’s “Beach Party” from 1963. This album belongs to my sister, Diane.

Now we’re drifting off even further from my collection. “I Hear America Singing” by the Morenci Elementary School fourth grade class of 1976. Introduction by Michelle Grieder. “Yankee Doodle Boy,” Wess Wolf, soloist. David Craig, Nellie Ford, Eric Emmons, Phil McCaskey, Dan Hoffman, Mike Gillen, etc. What a cast.

The next one in is “Virtuoso Recorder.” It’s mine, although I’ve never listened to it. When I returned to college to get a teaching degree, I learned to play the fipple flute, commonly known as the recorder. I bought this album at a very cheap price because I wanted to hear how the pros played fipple.

Next comes “Let It Bleed” by the Rolling Stones. I like this album, but it belongs to my brother Dan. Finally, another one of mine: Donovan Leitch’s “For Little Ones” (1967). A Scottish singer. I really liked that guy.

“I Can Really Write” and “I Can Really Count” from Scholastic Books. I wonder if these are owned by the retired second grade teacher, my mother.

Next comes a good collection of early Bob Dylan from the 1960s—those are mine—but then it’s Colleen’s stuff. Jackson Browne (1974). Lily Tomlin’s “And That’s the Truth.” Jethro Tull. There’s Elton John’s “Captain Fantastic” that actually belongs to her brother, Mark.

Digging in deeper is the Living String Orchestra presenting an album of elevator music. Who wants to claim this one?

There are more mysteries, such as “South Pacific” and “Oklahoma” combined on one 50¢ album, and a Johann Sebastian Bach double album.

Out comes “Lorca” by Tim Buckley. I saw him perform in Ann Arbor around the time of that album. He was booed by many people who didn’t like his new style. There’s a Greg Brown album from 1982 that was autographed for baby Ben Green at a Minneapolis coffee house.

At the back is a Tom Rush album (1972) that could be mine but isn’t. He’s singing Jackson Brown: “Jamaica say you will / Help me find a way to fill / These empty hours....”

I just might have to dust off the turntable.

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