My turn

Record Store Day takes music lovers back to the days of LPs and 45s

2014-04-06T00:00:00Z Record Store Day takes music lovers back to the days of LPs and 45sBy Bill Vargo Times Columnist
April 06, 2014 12:00 am  • 

I don’t watch a lot of television. My family can attest that to me at least, most of what passes for entertainment is pretty low brow.

I do, however, watch The Voice on NBC, or at least segments of it as often as I can. It is a show that covers one of my favorite subjects, music.

From the time that I was probably 10 up to this day, music has always been the way that I mark certain times in my life. You can harken back to when you were in high school and the hit song playing on the radio may have been sung by Peter Frampton or, for those of you a little older, The Beatles or Elvis Presley.

My father had all the original Elvis Presley LPs and 45s. For younger readers, an "LP" was a long-play record, with up to a dozen songs on two sides. The music was often scratchy, but it had its own feel to it. My father’s records were all in the cardboard album covers with plastic sleeves protecting them from oily fingerprints.

Album covers were often quite elaborate. There were  Frank Frazetta paintings on the covers of the Molly Hatchet albums back in the late 1970s. Frazetta was a science fiction artist and his paintings were quite detailed in a way that could never be accommodated on a small CD cover.

Then there were the liner notes. You almost looked forward to the double albums so that there would be a poster or a set of liner notes that could easily pass for a small magazine. The notes would cover the all  song lyrics as well as stories about the songs themselves complete with pictures of the band members.

All of this great material was available to the music aficionado by simply going to the local record store, finding your favorite artist and thumbing through the stacks. Albums even had their own high-fidelity smell and feel to them.

So it is kind of funny watching The Voice while the artists make their way through songs that many in the audience assume are new tracks.

A couple of years ago, Adam Levine managed almost single-handedly to resurrect Doby Gray and his wonderful song "Drift Away," which hit the charts in 1973, long before many of the singers on the show were even born. I sit there and hope that the judges dig a little deeper and pull out a Harry Nilsson or Marvin Gaye song.

In the meantime, some of our local radio stations are promoting something much more useful than my reminiscences. Coming up Saturday, April 19, music fans nationwide will be celebrating Record Store Day, when fans are encouraged to shop at a local record store that still sells LPs and 45s.

Thumb through the stacks again and find yourself, if you are old enough, thinking about what it was like to do that same thing in college or high school.

Among the stores participating in this year’s Record Store Day is Highland’s own S&J Stereo, 8620 Kennedy Ave. S&J sells albums, as well as CDs, so stop by April 19 for a trip back to when music was appreciated for its sound, before video killed the radio song.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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