Bohannons,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl records in our home were shelved high, above all the books, and usually in a random order. They were dusty, something that maybe one day my parents would get back to if they could just find the time.”

“I’d climb up pull them out, investigate. Herb Alpert, Tubular Bells, Carole King—fairly enjoyable but quite innocuous. I was mad at Elvis after he died and made all my aunts cry so I didn’t spend much time with it then. My brother and I loved Charlie Daniels but it got tossed after my mother heard us jumping the needle back to…”done told you once you son of a bitch, I’m the best there’s ever been.” Charlie’s still an asshole.

My absolute favorite was Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy.” I would listen to it 10, 20 times in a row. My dad had rhinestones in his Georgia Bulldogs belt buckle—I knew they were very important. This was also about the time Urban Cowboy and Electric Horseman were big, so I’d try to collect Xmas lights and rhinestones to hopefully make my own outfit if only to wear when I listened to Campbell’s masterpiece.

It would be some time before I’d see cool rock records. Even though I knew a lot of the tunes from rock radio I had yet to peer into liner notes, gatefold art, and the feel new records until my older brother entered his teens. As a tag along, I’d find my way to his friends’ houses and their vinyl collections. Black light posters, smoke, and occasionally a pretty girl all gathered around these incredible sounds.

DJ after neighborhood DJ, I was getting a pedigree in what rocked. Kiss, Loverboy, Toto—it was a strange time before metal took over and hair got higher and higher. The same time all this was happening we were inundated with Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Juice Newton—pop we didn’t think was cool but didn’t know it would have a lasting effect on us. Soon tapes, then CDs, but it would take a while before vinyl quit spinning.

Bring on adolescence and the ’90s. A good and dark time within a good and dark time. CDs were the preferred listening format, but they seemed quite disposable—one scratch from being out 10 or 15 bucks. Easy to lend out, hard to get back. How many times did I buy the same CD?

Tapes had a short life too—constantly stretched, eaten by cheap boom boxes. It seems in these transition years, the music librarians were the ones to go missing. Collectors, people who understood these were volumes of work, and only when the bookends were present could you complete the story.

I’d gone ten years without pulling a vinyl record out of a sleeve until hip hop DJs were starting to play rock clubs. Then new worlds started to unfold. How had I missed so much? Aside from the obvious, I’d missed the meat of funk, soul, R&B—all the foerbearers to punk and protest music. I had to start working backwards. I had to dig. And now I’m nowhere near done. I’ve shifted to making my own records which is pulling back every layer. Complexity of tone and mix is best studied on vinyl. Side A and side B are songs within themselves.

Luckily here in my hometown of Chattanooga, TN, there were a few people who cared enough about preserving the vinyl for the love of the medium instead of taking on a completely “what’s selling” business model. And for that I say THANK YOU Chad Bledsoe at Chad’s Records and Tapes. Thanks for letting us hang flyers and hang out.”
Marty Bohannon

Bohannons’ new LP Luminary Angels is in stores now—on vinyl.

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PHOTO: WILLIAM JOHNSON

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