Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Up to my ears in crates

On Saturday night around 11 p.m., 50 crates of records showed up at my house. Not mysteriously. Oh no, there was fanfare and anticipation. In fact, I screwed up and was expecting them the night before because I was a knucklehead who didn't read the email correctly until after I had sent my friends home, the ones who said they'd help unload them.

Anyhow, my wife's former boss brought them to me from Buffalo where they used to belong to her uncle. She said I could have them if I paid for the cost of hauling them and if I had at least three able-bodied people to help me unload them.

Before you go pounding on my door or sniffing around the yard, trying to detect what kind of albums there are, I'll tell ya this: there is a lot that I and you can't use. Not only polka albums but regional ones. There's some cache with stuff like that but when you've got all these crates sitting around you, the whole thing gets overwhelming and you just want what you know because I know I'm never going to have the party where I had the opportunity to say, "Hey, I know just what we should listen to," and whip out that polka album.

Although, now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure there was a copy of the Jimmy Sturr album they used to advertise on tv in the '70s, which had all the big polka classics, including "No Beer in Heaven," which I would like to hear. Once.

Along with the piles of records, there's something else that's permeating the house: the smell of must. I immediately threw out a crate Saturday night and three more the next night, when I saw records covered in black mold. There's very little reason for Bread or the Lettermen to be in this house anyway, and if they have mold on them - out the window they go. We had a really heavy rain last night too, so they got even soggier than they were when they got here.

There is a lot of classical music in the collection too. I'm hoping to find out if any of that has any resale value or if it's strictly Goodwill bound. Beyond that, there are a few intriguing soundtracks. And quite a bit of Jerry Vale. The Jack Jones album with "Wives and Lovers" on it is there too, but I think I prefer to just randomly hear that tasteless song on WJAS rather than have it in the collection.

The first - and so far only - thing that I pulled from the collection and threw on the turntable was something from my youth: Dino, Desi & Billy's I'm a Fool. This might've been one of those albums that my aunt Mary found for me at the Mary S. Brown church flea market when I was about 6 (along with Question Mark, Sam the Sham, Dave Clark 5, Tom Jones and others that escape me right now). It was my first exposure to the sound of a 12-string guitar, which I loved though at the time I didn't know what it was. I was too young to realize how hokey it was that these kids were singing "Like a Rolling Stone" or "Satisfaction" or that they're attempts at replicating Roger McGuinn was to sound really whiney. But I dug that line about "I can't GET no," and couldn't read the last word in that song title.

The song I really wanted to hear was "The Rebel Kind," which Lee Hazelwood wrote for them. It was really fuzzy and garagey and it's their anthem to being non-conformist. Yeah, right. You're the sons of Dean Martin and Desi Arnez, and Frank Sinatra signed you after hearing you practice at Dean's house, and you're trying to tell me you're rebels? Come onnnnn. Hell, that's probably not even Billy playing that fuzzy guitar. I'll bet it's Al Casey.

No comments: