Monday, September 17, 2007

TVD: Baby's First LP




Here it is folks, the first LP I ever purchased.
Sometime back at the start of this blog, I wrote about this Beatles reissue LP which also happened to be the first record I ever bought, way back in '76. It seems that once The Beatles contract with E.M.I. expired on February 6th 1976, E.M.I. had the rights to release any of The Beatles previously released recordings. This double set was the first album release where E.M.I. exerted that total control.

Researching this release over the weekend, I came across this commentary, "As with the "Red" and "Blue" albums, the presentation of this package was once again diabolical. The artwork was awful, no "special" tracks, no lyrics, no coloured bags, nothing. In fact, John had actually written to E.M.I. offering a design, and was not at all impressed with E.M.I.'s refusal and the finished product. The art direction was by Roy Kohara, and the amateurish drawings were by Ignacio Gomez."

Man, I couldn't disagree more. Perhaps it's just dewy-eyed nostalgia, but I think the art is quite wonderful and well rendered. The front cover likenesses are spot on (ok, Ringo looks a little dodgy) but otherwise a great package. I dig the hands holding the record too -- a design nuance that has lingered in my brain for all this time.

Most of all though, I vividly recall going to the aforementioned Two Guys in Neptune, New Jersey with my dad to buy this record. "Got to Get You into My Life" was the "new" single from this collection and I was enthralled -- I had mowed the lawn just enough to save the cash, and with the requisite hole burned clear through my pocket, we headed out to buy this thing. What a day. I literally can even recall what the new vinyl and the printed cover smelled like when the outer plastic was removed.

Seems some things you just never forget.

Which is why I had been recalling this trip to the Two Guys in 1976 over the past weekend. Dad passed away one year ago today. I find myself typing at the same desk where this day last year my cell rang to let me know dad had lost the month-long battle with pneumonia. Talk about going numb. The sensation was ten gazillion alarms going off in your head...a paralyzing disorientation. And loss.

Those alarms over the past year have seemingly popped off one by one. Time they say, at 33, 45 or 78 RPMs is a healer, and it's true. You move back into the routine, you're cracking jokes again and meeting the boys at the bar for drinks. But there's a deeper undercurrent to the memories that ultimately comprise just who the hell you are. Music, the old records on the shelf are imbued with a notch in the psyche, a clear bookmark of a place and time.

Which is frankly, why I thought to start this blog -- to recall mine and perhaps ignite those recollections for whoever cares to read and recall their own. And to give dad a shout-out for encouraging his kid to just be himself and follow his interests. He'd say, "Hey kid, it's your money" or when I cut my own hair in a Bono-like mullet, he said "It's your hair, kid. You wanna look that way, fine."

Forgive me if I think he was just the best dad a kid could have. For these things and so, so much more.

H. P. M.
21 March 1930 - 18 September 2006

The Beatles - In My Life (Mp3)

5 comments:

Davy H said...

Well I am sure he would be very proud of that.

My first real LP (nursery rhyme records aside)? 'The Beatles 1962-1966' ('Red'). And my friend Steven and I searched that cover for every nuance of its meaning, over and over again...

Melissa Marie said...

I have to agree that I like the artwork. This was a great post. A wonderful tribute to your father. Some of my most cherished memories of my dad revolve around our weekly visits to the Tommy Edwards' record store in Cleveland. Thanks for brining those back into focus.

jb said...

Sorry to be late getting to this . . . but this is a wonderful essay, and a lovely memorial to your father. (And to the enduring love many of us have for vinyl.)

Thanks for writing it.

THE VINYL DISTRICT said...

Thank you all for the kind words...

Ghazi said...

Champ-I couldn't agree more! Music and specific memories are forever linked. Your dad would be proud! Keep em coming...