In which James Last almost makes me cry.

When I first got a record player, I imagined myself being very selective in which records I buy. That was before I discovered the glut of 25 cent records available at thrifts stores.  In fact, I haven’t yet spent more than 50 cents on a record.  It’s difficult to keep a music collection “pure”–I’ve tried many times (an the difficulty increases with the absorption of the music that comes with a marriage).

Most of what you find in thrift stores is kitschy: cheesy old gospel records with awkward pictures of the quartets on the front; self-titled albums by where-are-they-now artists with single names (Eva or perhaps Bridgette), the artist’s slightly fuzzy head-shot gracing the entirety of the record sleeve; records with grinning men holding accordions on the cover; and so on.  The truth is, I wanted to buy several of these records just for fun, but I did restrain myself at least that much.

Several months ago–before I even had a record player–I checked the records at the thrift store in a neighbouring town.  I bought The Band’s second, self-titled album for 25 cents, as well as Benny Goodman and his Orchestra Live in Brussels (that one was a bit of a risk, but it turned out well) and a children’s record with Winnie-the-Pooh songs on one side and “Peter and the Wolf” on the other (alas, the kids don’t seem to care for that one as much as I did when I was their age).

Last week, Dixie had a look at the same thrift store and bought several more: The Sound of Music soundtrack; the Obernkirchen Children’s Choir (that one was a miss); some kind of Mexican music (tentatively a miss); and Trapezoid’s Now & Then (a hit! click on the link to go to for sound samples).

Today I went to the thrift store in Steinbach and came back with several more: the original cast recording of Fiddler on the Roof (for Dixie); ABBA Greatest Hits (unexpectedly, given the title, I don’t recognize half the songs on it); and another kids’ Winnie-the-Pooh album.

I also bought two records for purely nostalgic reasons.  First, I bought Zamfir The Lonely Shepherd.  I have loved the title song since I was a young lad (if you’ve seen Kill Bill, you’ve heard it). I have no idea what the rest of the record will be like.  Actually, yes–yes I do.  Nostalgia!

As a joke, I also bought Christmas with James Last (sound bites at Amazon on the renamed album).  I thought I’d give it a quick listen to bother Dixie and then redesign the cover and use it to protect my sleeveless The Band album.  When I played it, however, it turned out to be a nostalgic treasure!  THIS ALBUM IS THE DEFINING SOUND OF THE CHRISTMASES OF MY CHILDHOOD!

Dixie is out with a friend tonight. I played a bit of Christmas with James Last for her before she left. She saw my giddy delight upon realizing just what it was I had purchased for a mere 25 cents.

“Great,” she said. “Now I’m going to spend the evening imagining you at home crying quietly to yourself.”

And the truth is, a bit of water did rise to my eyes at the jingly sound of James Last’s Christmas.

11 thoughts on “In which James Last almost makes me cry.

  1. Dixie

    And then tonight put on another purchase from today: The Chuck Wagon Gang “Sacred Songs” and I made him turn it off because I was almost crying. It reminded me so much of the way my Grandma and Grandpa Dynna used to sing.

  2. Kylee-Anne

    I’m glad you’re enjoying your record player so much. Nothing beats that scratchy, dusty sound I think.

    The Lonely Shepherd and Peter and the Wolf records were a big part of my childhood, too, but I don’t know James Last. I wonder if without the nostalgic connection I’d enjoy it.

  3. Toni

    It’s hardly surprising you don’t recognise half that ABBA album – you’re only 30, and they probably skipped a lot of the less commercial stuff for Mama Mia.

  4. Marc

    I’m nearly 33! But I take your point.

    That said, I find it interesting how different “Greatest Hits” packages define “greatest” and “hit” differently. ABBA Gold has a very different track listing.

  5. Joel

    I remember getting a record player for free from a garage sale. It was one of those giant cabinet units; the owners were pleased to give it away if I would only take it off their hands. So began the saga of discovering my parents’ record collection. (I didn’t know Second Chapter of Acts made so many albums.) But then I, similarly, found an old multi-volume children’s Christmas record that I remember listening to when I was young! It was surreal.

  6. Marc

    I’ve heard it said that 2nd Chapter of Acts’ album “Roar of Love” is one of the greatest Christian music albums of all time. Dixie would probably agree.

  7. Jeremy

    Sorry, this is unrelated to records, but I had to let you know how I arrived here today: googled “tour de force”, and your blog was the third listing after the wikipedia entry and a dictionary definition. Your blog *is* a tour de force (according to google, anyway).

  8. Pingback: The Vandersluys Christmas Music Canon | The Eagle & Child

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