Vinyl Flashback

My turntable still works. I have a small but provocative collection of LPs, some of which I’ve been carting around for more than 40 years. Amazingly, even after being boxed up at the back of a storage locker for the first few years of the new millenium, all of the discs I’ve tried are still in good condition. Eno, Gentle Giant, Pablo Casals — what an odd, eclectic bunch of stuff.

Just about the first pop LP I ever bought was Judy Collins’s In My Life. Listened to it tonight. What great songs! And of course Joshua Rifkin’s nearly classical arrangements added a lot.

I’m probably less enthralled by her singing than I was in 1966. She was pretty darn good, but that was long before Tori Amos and Laurie Anderson and a lot of other great vocalists who are also great stylists.

I don’t want to kvetch, though. I just want to celebrate the miracle that the vinyl still plays. And also, I suppose, the fact that even the songs I had entirely forgotten (Marat, Sunny Goodge Street, La Colombe), when the opening chords rang out, I knew every nuance, every line of the lyrics.

I pretty much played that record to death in 1966 and ’67. That was the year after I graduated from high school. It was not a happy time in my life, and Judy Collins helped to see me through.

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