“A novice vinyl hunter at age fifteen, when I found a copy for $6.95 at Atomic Records in Denver, good condition + all four photos, I flipped out. I was so excited I decorated the wrapping paper. Then I wore out side three. The photos ended up on Paul’s bedroom wall. The album remains one of the strongest touchstones for experimentation, for trying something new, in my musical life.
The last four shelves of our bookcase were for records—three classical, one popular. Through the bottom right shelf I discovered The Beatles, Cat Stevens, Tina Turner’s Private Dancer. And later Tim Buckley, whom I’d passed over, until I brought home Jeff Buckley’s Grace to play for our folks, and my mom guided me over to Goodbye and Hello, all eyebrows and “now listen to this.” And I heard the father of the son, clear as day.
Paul Simon’s Graceland came out right as we moved to Illinois from Pennsylvania. New to town, we spent a lot of nights in, having dance parties in the living room to that record, waiting to punch the air on the first massive drum hit of “Boy in the Bubble,” and nailing it 8 times out of 10. Here’s me, Paul, and Alex, jamming out to “Under African Skies” (I am on the Linda Rondstadt “oh”s):
The only Rolling Stones record I know really well is Sticky Fingers, pretty much because of a mild fascination with the album cover when I was eleven. I mean, woah. It was downright educational. Our mom was the Stones fan of the household—she wrote a six-page letter to them when she was seventeen, detailing her favorite things about each. And they actually wrote her back! I mean, it was pretty much just their names, but still.
All three of us have yet to build substantial vinyl collections, but we always play records when we go home. Alex has taken to recording them to CD. When we were touring the Southwest last summer, we drove through the sublime moonscape of western Arizona as Al’s recording of James Taylor’s self-titled debut played at sunset. Scratches on the surface. Goddamn perfect.
Alex’s future collection will have a ton of jazz, mine will lean towards old (and young) Americana, and Paul’s will spring for the present/future. Our own vinyl cover art came straight off the wall of our house in Colorado. It was on the wall in Illinois and Pennsylvania too. If it could talk, it would tell you how much music was (is) alive in that house. It’s our past in a picture, a picture moving forward. Take a look! Have a listen.”