The British Invasion and Return of the Turntable
I found myself waking up very early Saturday morning, so I brewed a pot of coffee and contemplated the day ahead.
It was 5 a.m.
The only item on my agenda was breakfast with a friend at 9:30 and a haircut followiing.
What the hell was I going to do in the meantime?
There were nothing but infomercials on television.
I glanced at my turntable and thought "Why not?"
Nobody else was home. I could play my stereo as loud as I wanted.
So, I opened the closet in my man cave, and began flipping through the hundreds of vinyl records in my collection.
For a turntable, I have a Hitachi HT-40s that I purchased in the early 1980s. I love it.
It's a unitorque, direct drive with a speed adjust and strobe.
I stopped thumbing through the albums when I came to the first record I ever bought.
The History of British Rock Vol.2.
I remember buying it at the local record store: Co-Op Tapes and Records.
It was the stereotypical record store of the late 1960s.
It was a dusty old storefront with a wooden floor.
There were rows and rows of bins filled with albums.
Wire racks hung from the walls featuring the latest releases.
The staff consisted of an assortment of long-haird hippies in bell-bottomed jeans and tie-dyed t-shirts.
They seemed to know everything there was to know about contemporary music and never failed to recommend their favorite albums.
They burned incense and played the latest releases on the store's stereo system.
If you were a steady customer, like me, you got to know their names.
It was like the sitcom Cheers, but they sold records.
I was a teenager infactuated with the British Invasion.
The Beatles were my idols.
I'd save the 50 cents my mother gave me every morning for a school lunch to by records.
Albums were selling for $3.50. As a result, I never had a weight problem.
Anyway, I pulled the album out of one of the half-dozen orange crates I have stacked in the closet.
I raised the turntable's lid, gently pulled the record out of its sleeve, and placed it on the platter.
I grabbed my Discwasher, also circa 1980s, applied the cleaning solution, set it on the record and spun the turntable a few times.
I removed the tonearm from its cradle and postioned it above the beginning of the record, closed the lid, and slid over the
mechanism that allows the tonearm to slowly descend upon the record.
I'd set the volume just loud enough to hear the unmistakable sound of the stylus settling into the opening groove of the record.
I love that sound, a distinctive moment of snap, crackle, and pop.
I dashed to the couch and dropped my butt onto the cushion.
I slowly raised the volume to extremely loud with the remote control.
The opening guitar licks of the Beatles backing Tony Sheridan on Ain't She Sweet brought the speakers of my Bose Acoustimass 10 Series IV surround sound system to life. At the time, the future Fab Four were billed as The Beat Brothers and the flip side of the single was My Bonnie.
I was a teenager all over again.
The double album is a who's who of the British Invasion, featuring 28 different artists.
The first side features the aforementioned Ain't She Sweet, followed by Bad To Me by Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, which was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, I Go To Pieces by Peter & Gordon, written by Del Shannon, You're My World by Cila Black, another Brian Epstein discovery, Bits & Pieces, by The Dave Clark Five, Love Potion #9 by The Searchers, and Ferry Cross the Mersey by Gerry & The Pacemakers.
I sat there on the couch and soaked it all in until it was time to flip the disc to side two.
It opens with All Day And All of The Night by the Kinks, followed by Colours by Donovan, Little Miss Understood by Rod Stewart, Girl Don't Come by Sandie Shaw, Bus Stop by the Hollies, A Summer Song by Chad and Jeremy, and The Mighty Quinn by Manfred Mann.
Side three features Silence is Golden by the Tremeloes, With A Girl Like You by the Troggs, Wishin' and Hopin' by Dusty Springfield, Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison, Sunshine of Your Love by Cream, Lazy Sunday by Small Faces, and Call Me Lightening by the Who.
And, as if that wasn't enough, side four has Come and Get It by Bad Finger, Massachusetts by the Bee Gees, Lady Samantha by Elton John, Hush by Deep Purple, This Wheel's On Fire by Julie Driscol with Brian Auger & The Trinity, Fire by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and, last but not least, Something In The Air by Thunderclap Newman.
I've always taken very good care of my records, so this one is still in pristine condition. I keep them all encased in plastic sleeves to protect the covers.
Needless to say, I've been very happy to witness the resurgence of vinyl records.
New and used record stores are popping up all over the place and they're beginning to buy and sell vintage stereo equipment. As a result, turntables are making a comback, too.
Manufacturers of amplifiers and receivers are also beginning to include phono jacks for turntables, again.
They were abandoned with the advent and eventual dominance of compact discs.
I had to purchase a pre-amp for my Yamaha receiver because the auxiliary port needed a boost to accomodate the turntable, which has re-assumed its rightful place as an intregal piece of stereo equipment.
Give it a Spin.