Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Tower Records

Tower Records is back! Sort of...

The music-selling giant began in California in 1960. From 1970-90 it grew into the largest music retailer in the country and became a cultural icon. Then, during the Nineties, the company evervated, heading south. By 2006 the company was finally bankrupt: all stores were closed, all assets sold.

Over the past winter, Tower Records resurrected as an online website where it now sells vinyl records and CDs. Broad collection, reasonably priced. The yellow/red colors are there, along with its "Pulse" magazine (online).

Do you have any Tower Records memories?

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Cassettes

In the odd history of music technology, some devices emerged that became inexplicably popular -- and are now set for nostalgic re-boot. No, I'm not talking about vinyl records; I'm talking about cassettes.

When I read recently that enthusiasts are returning to cassettes, I couldn't understand the news. Cassette tapes are, by everyone's admission, vastly inferior to vinyl, CDs and streaming. Why resurrect a bad technology?

Well, there are reasons. One is their connection to the automobile. In the Sixties-Eighties, if you wanted to listen to tunes in your car, you were limited to the radio or cassettes. You couldn't play records in a jostling vehicle.

Second, mix-tapes. With cassettes, you can create your own mix of songs from any artist/album. A custom mix-tape is wonderful, giving you music you like without stuff you don't.

Third, they're cheap. In record-stores today, cassettes are the unwanted step-children being practically given away. For decades nobody wanted them so their market value was zilch. Today you can build an entire collection for the price of one newly-minted LP.

Did you ever listen to cassettes?

Friday, July 16, 2021

Dueling Banjos

Fifty years ago I saw a good, award-winning movie ("Deliverance"). Despite its quality, the film terrified me. I'm glad I saw it but I never want to see it again.

The movie contains a song that became hugely popular at the time ("Dueling Banjos"). It's a musical duel between a banjo and a guitar. The result is impressive and amusing. 

I thought since I have fond memory of the song I'd look for it at my local record-store. I found it for $3. Three bucks! Not only does the song hold up but the rest of the album has lively banjo-music guaranteed to make you smile. Come on over and I'll put it on the turntable. :)

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Harry Chapin

It's hard to believe but it was exactly forty years ago (July 1981) that Harry Chapin died. In a tragic, fiery accident on the Long Island Expressway.

He was 38 but had packed a lifetime into those years. Harry not only wrote and sang popular songs, he found meaning in life. He worked hard to feed LI's hungry, donated most of his earnings to charity and gave more benefit concerts than anyone else. In fact, he was on his way to one when his VW got hit by a tractor-trailer.

Harry's songs, like "Taxi" and "Cat's in the Cradle," were in the air of my youth. They tell poignant, poetic stories that resonate to our common experience. A new documentary about Harry has just been released; it's called "Harry Chapin: When in Doubt, Do Something."

Harry lived in my hometown (Huntington) and is buried here. Last year I visited his grave in the cemetery on New York Avenue. Here are some pics of it, with proof that Harry's fans still adore him.









Saturday, July 10, 2021

Getting Around

I own four vehicles (BMW touring motorcycle; BMW sport-bike; Mazda Miata; Fiat Abarth). Each is essential and performs a necessary function in my life. I wouldn't want to cope with fewer. Each gets used regularly and washed/maintained with care.

In the future I plan to add two more vehicles but, honestly, those will be frivolous (McLaren super-car; Janus Halcyon 450 motorcycle). I don't need those toys; I just want to enjoy them as rewards from a long, hard career.

When I was young I had no interest in motor vehicles. I was widely known for driving old pieces of crap I got as gifts or bought for less than $500. I cared nothing about what those cars looked like; I just used them for basic transportation. Then in 1997 I got my first motorcycle and discovered the pleasures of nice bikes and cars.

What do you drive/ride?

Thursday, July 1, 2021

2021 Mazda Miata

A woman in my office, admiring my new car today, said "You have the best toys!"

Why, yes. Yes, I do. :)