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 Amazon.com 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.