Monday, October 06, 2008

Show and Tell

Now, class, guess what this is?

Yes, indeed it is a vinyl 33-1/3 rpm long-playing record album. Not too long ago I was commenting on how I learned to handle them correctly way back when I was about 6 years old (never mind when that was).

Now, what you probably did not guess correctly is that I just bought it from an EBAY dealer. It's probably been at least 15 years since I last purchased a vinyl record. But, (to quote Sarah Palin) gosh-darn it they just will not release this particular album on CD. I ran across it doing some idle searches and the dealer promised it was in near-mint condition, so I bought this example of archaic music media. It arrived this afternoon and it was as promised. It played flawlessly and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing it.

I was a big Burt Reynolds fan back during his popular period. This was the soundtrack from one of his lesser-known films, W. W. & the Dixie Dancekings. Part of the appeal of this movie was that Burt's character took up with a band and they cast well-known country-western musicians as the band members and in the supporting cast: Don Williams, Conny Van Dyke, Mel Tillis, Ronnie Stoneman and Jerry Reed. I always loved Jerry Reed no matter what he was doing - picking and grinning on the Glen Campbell Good-Time Hour or in the Smoky & the Bandit movies. This was his first movie role and he nailed it.

Every time I've seen the movie, I'm always taken with the final musical number the band sings over the radio as Burt's character is leaving town. I was not surprised to discover that the song, "A Friend" was written by Jerry Reed. It has bounce and feeling and that unique Jerry Reed touch. Jerry Reed also wrote one of my favorite songs, "A Thing Called Love", which contains one of the best of his special guitar licks. Jerry Reed died a few weeks ago and the world lost one of the all-time great guitarists. A little piece of trivia - when Elvis set out to record Jerry's song "Guitar Man", he was frustrated that his musicians could not deliver the intricate guitar licks that Jerry's original version included. A call was placed and Jerry Reed brought his unique guitar style into the recording session and played the backup for Elvis' cover of his song. He was a unique talent.

I was listening to Satellite Radio in Big Red the other day, tuned into Laugh USA, and heard a comic describe his son's first encounter with a 33-1/3 vinyl record. The boy was non-plussed and asked his father what it was. The father explained that it was his generation's CD, with the sound recorded on the surface and requiring the same care in handling, being careful to only touch the edges. The boy seriously inquired, "did people have bigger hands then?".

I'm thinking that this year as my Christmas present to myself, I may just buy a turntable that will allow me to record some of my old albums and 45s onto CD. There's a lot of wonderful music tucked in the back of my closet that no one has seen fit to re-issue on CD. This little taste of long-unheard songs has whetted my appetite to rediscover the hidden jewels in my collection.


1 comment:

lkp said...

I do envy other people's possesions, but this is the exception. PLEASSSSSEEEE leave this album to me in your will. W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings has always been just about my favorite movie. In high school I use to drive my speech/debate teacher crazy by listing it as my #1 favorite and finishing out my top five with other Burt Reynolds movies. His idea and mine were a little different on what made a "classic".