April 27, 2007
Equipped with a little bit of software and the loan of a viable turntable, I am in the midst of re-recording all my old LPs onto my laptop. From there they'll go into CD's and some kind of miniature listening device. I'll be catapulted into the 21st Century!
It's been quite a trip. When in Second Life at the Organic School in 1949, our teacher Mrs. Gender reflected on the likelihood that we, her young charges, would live to see the turn of the Century. My nine-year-old mind grasped the concept, but shrugged it off as some kind of Utopian vision of a distant future I would hardly enjoy -- after all, by the year 2000 I would be sixty years old.
That milestone has come and gone, and, while like most geezers I wish things could be like they used to, I accept that there are better things in life than being saddled with a collection of rare and not-so-rare vinyl recordings. I have made the first move. I am going through the cabinets, record by record, and deciding which tunes I cannot live without.
The exercise has its compensations. It's difficult, sure, and time-consuming. And I'm sacrificing something in quality of sound by transferring music off the original and into the unknown. It's like going down underwater for the third time, hearing songs I hadn't thought about in years, and revisiting the times of my life that they reproduce. I had a pop period -- Frank Sinatra and Doris Day -- a folk period -- Crosby Stills & Nash, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Paxton, Bonnie Raitt -- a Broadway Musical period -- My Fair Lady, Gypsy, Company, and Barnum. I had a swing period -- Harry James, Count Basie, Glenn Miller. My jazz period spans early Duke Ellington (from the 20's and 30's) through to late Miles Davis. I have records of girl singers from Barbra Streisand to Kitty Kallen. I have boy singers from Dick Haymes to Rod Stewart. And to decide which tracks to keep, I have to listen to damned near all of them. I am revisiting my life; I am awash in nostalgia.
The good news is that I'm probably about one-quarter through my collection. I'll save a tiny portion of the albums -- so far I've set aside about 30 -- just to have and to hold. The rest I'll sell to another collector, either on eBay or to a record shop.
The paring down is good. I'll miss some of them, and undoubtably I may make some wrong decisions. But at this point I'm not worried about that. I'm just groovin' to the music.