At the top of the year I released Vol. I of my latest project "The 45 Series" to pay homage to the classic 7-inch record culture. I became acquainted with records at a very young age courtesy of my father's love affair with vinyl. There was something about music and the people who purchased vinyl and I wanted to understand the story behind it...so I decided to ask my favorite girl a few questions and discovered some things I didn't know...
I need your help. I have a few questions about people and playing records when you were growing up. I know that most of the homes in Cleveland had a bar setup in the basement (like at Grandad's and our house on Delrey) because people would often throw parties.
Here are some questions...
In what ways did groups of people get together and listen to records?
There was always music wherever you went. If there was a bbq in someone's backyard, someone played music. If there was a baby shower, someone played the music. If there was a backyard wedding, someone played the music. There was always music. If you got up on a Saturday morning to do your chores so that you could go skating by noon, someone played music. If you washed your car in your yard, you would knock on your neighbor's door and ask if they would mind if you played your music while you washed your car. If you threw a party at the house, upstairs, or downstairs near the bar, someone played music. Not only did the young play music, the adults did too. The record player was a piece of furniture. It was made of wood. It was like a chest made from a beautiful piece of wood. *Big Clint would play his music and sing or whistle. Mom would play her music. I remember Bill Doggett and the Honky Tonk being played and I was not school age yet. Big Clint thought he could sing better than Elvis Presley. He sang Elvis all the time.
*Big Clint is my grandfather.
Did one person play a record? Or was it a DJ? Or did people take turns?
No such thing as a DJ. The owner of the house, or whoever was giving the party controlled the music.
I feel like love and records went hand in hand...
Males did not talk a lot about their feelings, so the music served as a means of communication sometimes. Therefore, males chose their music carefully. But, you must remember, most of the music was about love and emotions back in the day. The music was about finding the right girl. There were a lot of male singers and therefore, you heard about their desire for a good love. There were few real heartache songs (that I gravitated to) so all of the songs seemed to be about the joy of love. There was always slow songs. That was when most people danced. The young men would ask you to dance to the slow song and it was a nice decent dance. So you would be waiting for a slow song to be asked to dance. The slow songs were always about love. Being young, sometimes, you did not know exactly what the song was actually about because you had not experienced it, but it was fun to dance to love songs.
Dad played records while you and him cooked together...
Of course. There was always music. Music was a gift also. It was the first present your father bought me. ( I was not one of those people looking for diamonds and furs.) My first gift was an album. (Friends & Strangers by Ronnie Laws).
What other situations can you think of where love was displayed and records were played?
Males did not have a lot of money. So, you would take long rides in the car. Music on your transitor radio, car radio, 8 track and later your CD was important. You would listen to the music as you rode. You didn't have to have a real destination. You and your boyfriend would go for a ride to the park, beach, waterfront or to downtown Cleveland. Gas was twenty five cents a gallon, so riding in the car was not expensive.
Sometimes, you and a date would just go for a walk. But, you would always have your transitor radio on you. If the talking was scarce, there was the music. In college, everyone had a record player. That way, you got to see the personal taste of the person. People brought their albums from home. When you had company in the rooms, there was always music. People wanted to see what music you had. When the date was at the home (mom nearby), music was played on the family record player. Music was discussed. People would alway ask if you heard the new song by...
During Christmas, music was played all day long. I cannot remember watching TV. When we went to visit Aunt Stein as little children, music was played. We would go to the record shop, Record Rendevous in downtown Cleveland, just to hang around and listen to the music. There were so many young folk going to record shops just to listen to the music and not purchase anything that one record shop on Kinsman had a sign in the window that said " Lookers and Waiters - Stay outside."
Just talked to Diane in Linden. She said, please have some hard copies of your music at the family reunion. The new song would definitely sell. But, old people do not download. (smile)
My mom's responses gave me so much insight on how different things were and how music and love went hand in hand. The content in the music of that time spoke a lot about love and I believe it influenced the culture of love which makes me question is the content in our music a key factor in how the perception of love has changed?
Does music and love still go hand and hand?
Is the content in today's music influencing today's culture of love?