Monday, September 10, 2012

Junk Love Monday: A Little Mood Music

We both come from musical families, and we have strong, sentimental connections to the music of our childhoods. We also love cool album art, so it makes sense that we have a pretty large record collection. This is a fairly organic collection of our merged tastes. We don't seek out certain ones. We don't even look at the vinyl selection at most of the thrift stores that we find. It just has to strike us in the moment, and then we're down in the floor, getting our knees filthy, sorting through the hundreds of Herb Alpert and Sing Along With Mitch albums to find the music that we love.

Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti


Anyone sorting through our record collection would think that a  lunatic lives in our house. We have Pink Floyd filed alongside Julie Andrews and Gladys Knight & the Pips. Bing Crosby lives among a random selection of Led Zeppelin, Broadway musical soundtracks, and guilty pleasures from the 80s. We have an extensive collection of the Beatles (hers) and Elvis (mine), and I probably own twenty different Frank Sinatra albums. I'm probably the only person in the country who compulsively buys Henry Mancini records. There is even a Gordon MacRae-covers-the-Beatles album that is so, so bad. (I can never take the song "Michelle" seriously ever again.) We also cannot resist cute cover art, so we have a very random selection of albums that we never listen to, but can never part with. And this doesn't begin to cover the ridiculously large collection of 45s, for that jukebox that we're going to find someday.

Men at Work

 I grew up in the era of cassettes, so I cannot resist the urge to purchase vinyl versions of my favorite hair bands. I also blame Ted Nugent. As a skillful plunderer, I long ago discovered my parents' secret stash of records. We had no record player for the majority of my childhood, but I used to pull them out and flip through them when nobody was around, and I was fascinated by the cover art. The one that was always on top of the stack was Ted Nugent's Cat Scratch Fever. He looked crazy, and if you flipped the album, there was a woman scratching his chest hard enough to draw blood. She had bright red fingernails. I will never know why, but that album haunted me. Why is she scratching him? Why is he bleeding? Why does he look so crazy? I finally got someone to tell me what "cat scratch fever" meant, and that is where I'm going to close this chapter of the conversation. I'll just say that I decided not to ask questions for a while after that.... Now I'm a sucker for Mid-Century album art.

Henry Mancini


Anyway, we love our records. We decorate the Christmas tree to the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack and Louis Armstrong ('Zat You, Santa Claus?). If I'm home alone on a rainy afternoon, I like to make some hot tea and read while Henry Mancini softly scratches away in the background (which could mean that I'm secretly an old lady). A bad day might put me on the couch, in the dark, listening to Julie London sing "Cry Me a River" over and over again (so, apparently I'm secretly a masochistic old lady). Time to clean the living room? Then we've got to put on some Queen. Baking cookies means Broadway. And there's nothing like a Gershwin mix to make you feel like you're in a Gene Kelly movie, which is never a bad thing.

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