My First Record: Nancy Apple

I miss the days of vinyl. I know, the hippest of the uber-cool bands with budgets might throw out a bone every now and then – new vinyl “product” – but it’s not like the olden days when there was no choice; all we had were records. Yup – records, those cold black round 45s, 33s and if you were lucky even a few rare old 78s! For those of you not in the know, a little needle on the vinyl makes the sound.

Vintage vinyl might skip or pop, but it always takes me back to a time and place where music was much simpler – raw – grittier – spontaneous. A day and time when studios were places of one takes and nice mistakes. And if it’s a record made in Memphis, chances are there is a little bit of grease left in the grooves – just a hint of stank.

At my house, there is an entire ritual of searching through the hundreds of albums that theoretically are in some sort of order, but I seem to always forget how it goes. Certainly not alphabetical, maybe categorically and then alphabetical but that really doesn’t matter anyway – the fun is in the hunt whether it be reading the tiny type on the edge of the cardboard sleeves or marveling with envy over the cover art. The same holds true of searching the dusty old bins at thrift stores and yard sales.

Something happens when a turntable and a record and a needle synch up – you either get it or you don’t. Respect it or not.

When I was a kid there wasn’t much TV in the house – many of my developmental years where spent overseas, where my dad served time in the military. Mom played the heck out the record player though: Fats Domino and Harry Belafonte – later getting in to Creedence, Santana and even early Moog synthesizer music. My favorites were always the records that came from “home”: Ace Cannon, Booker T and the MGs, Ruffus Thomas and such.

My big sister Sherry became quite a collector while the family was in San Diego. I snuck into her collection and discovered Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, the Rolling Stones and even Jimi Hendrix… all on my little red portable record player. She later became a DJ for Armed Forces Radio when we lived in the Philippines and would let me tag along with her to the radio station, where the collection was enormous!!

We were back in Memphis by the time I started earning my own money from babysitting. I used to have a Saturday morning routine: a walk to the library for a new Nancy Drew, and then on to the Ben Franklin Department store – where it was always a tough choice between blowing all my money on candy or records. I started gathering 45s to satisfy my own need for command performances of those songs I could not get enough of that I was hearing on the radio. Soon I had a bunch of 45s – stuff like Al Green “Let’s Stay Together”, America “Horse With No Name”, Neil Young “Heart of Gold” and Staple Singers “I’ll Take You There” – seems like there was a Johnny Cash and Betty Wright too. By that time, mom also had a couple of reel-to-reels and even an 8-track player in the house, but I was content with my little red portable record player.

After inheriting the old family console, with its skinny legs and sparkling blonde and gold speaker covers, I decided to splurge for my very first 33: A compilation of bands recorded live a few summers earlier, Woodstock.

-Nancy Apple

Nancy Apple is a longtime Memphis Musician, band leader, back up singer, songwriter, producer, record label head honcho, DJ for WEVL Memphis, actress and pet wrangler. She is pro-accordion and does not have much time for housework. Her newest record – SHINE – was recorded old school in four days at the historic Sun Studios in Memphis.

This entry was posted in TVD Memphis. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

  • Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text