Last year I was in Seattle, Wa. (USA) for a few weeks and caught up with two old friends who took me out to shop for vinyl in Tacoma Wa.
We went to a part of town that had several shops specialising in old LPs and 45s. We trawled through the collections of dusty old albums and in one shop, my friend Paul pulled out a copy of Iron Butterfly's classic record Ball. Released in 1969, it followed up the 1968 release of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida but had a different style and sound.
"Do you have this in your collection?" he asked and when I said no, he was determined that I should have it and promptly bought it for me. I returned to New Zealand with Ball safely packaged between pieces of cardboard, taped tightly together. Just this week I unwrapped Paul's gift to play it because I finally bought a new turntable.
It's very cool because now I can play all of my old records.
"What's the attraction for you, playing these old things?" a friend asked.
Well, I said, I grew up with LPs and 45s. When I was at high school it was a real treat to save up one's babysitting money, catch the bus downtown on a Saturday morning (back then, the shops were open in downtown Auckland on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, then everything closed up for the weekend - yes, that's right!) and to head up to Direction Records and buy an LP I'd been coveting for weeks. It might have been Carole King's Tapestry, or the latest Steely Dan or Jefferson Airplane. Then to come home and put it on the turntable and listen ,listen, listen was more than fabulous.
I also told her that some of my LPs hold special memories. My Mom and I loved jazz and blues. We'd listen to records for hours and I still have those same records in my collection. Playing them brings back such memories of Mom saying, 'Put on some music!' because we always had tunes playing in the background, whether we were cooking dinner or hanging out on the deck with a gin and tonic, and listening to music was something we enjoyed together. I miss those times and putting one of our favourites on the turntable brings them back, albeit tinged with a sad nostalgia as I miss her every day.
And now Ball brings back memories of a fabulous, fun day in Tacoma with Paul and Ed, enjoying a warm, fine summer day together, on the hunt for treasures to add to our collections. Wonderful day, great fun, thank you Ed and Paul.