The Music Blog: Prequel 3 From A to Z What the Hell is wrong With This Guy

So maybe you know, because maybe we are friends on facebook and you follow along. Many of you do; okay so its really like five of you but it could be true. Occasionally someone asks, occasionally a light bulb goes on in someone’s head and they make the observation. Once a person asked if I knew I was actually doing it. That was strange. I was once attacked and called pathetic and not a single person defended me. Most of the time I feel like I have only a few friends in the world and even then I sometimes just feel like I am being tolerated. I embarrass myself. I always have a story and I know not many people really care about me so maybe its true its just pathetic.  I have a couple of guarantees in life though, my dog loves me, you can see it in his eyes and in the eyes of any dog that has ever owned me. And I have music, my constant friend, therapist and the nurturer of my soul. I won’t get into God and you shouldn’t either with me. My feelings and thoughts are well expressed on other blog entries. Since no one reads my blog I can pretty much write anything I want.

It started when I was a kid really. I had severe asthma when I was young. I remember a lot of ER trips, being rocked by my mother until the wee hours of the morning while my father screamed down the hall to keep me quiet. It was not intentional. I wasn’t doing it on purpose really, honestly. I still have asthma and as I grew as a child my bouts were less and less but it was still there. So there were times if I had been sick when I was relegated to my room and there I would entertain myself. As music became more and more a part of my life music is how I passed the time. I pretended I was a disc jockey and I would cue up records and introduce them sometimes recording these shows on sixty or ninety minute cassettes that I could record over. Somehow this morphed into playing the first track on every album and then the second and then the third. I loved doing that and that is a lot of album changing and if you add 8 tracks or cassettes I could entertain myself for hours. I did these things all the way through high school including listening to all my albums alphabetically and that means by artist and when you get to an artist with multiple albums the albums are chronological. So I hope that makes sense.

As I entered adulthood and started working and buying more and more music mostly I listened to music the way anyone else listened to music. I played everything that I had new and played the albums that were new and what I liked. Then one day in my late 20’s I was going through my music and noticed two things. The first was that it was a mess; scattered disorganized and it was hard to find anything or even know what it was that I had. The second thing was just how much music I had that I loved but that I wasn’t listening to. I kept coming across albums and putting them aside saying oh I would love to hear that again and that stack just kept growing. So I decided to organize it alphabetically since that made the most sense and then I started at the first album and started to listen and enjoyed the wonderful surprises that I found.

I have listened to music this way ever since. In fact its rare to get me to deviate and I must have a good reason or be with someone I like to play something out of order. I just want to make sure that I hear everything I have. I bought the music for a reason. The surprising thing is that it always seems that the perfect album will come up at just the right time. Sure there are downsides too. I love Hank Williams but if you listen to Hank four days in a row with nothing else it can start to grate on you. Bessie Smith is the same way.  In the midst of all of that though you find real gems, songs that you forgot about and because nothing is overplayed bands that you were once tired of suddenly don’t sound so bad.

So that’s how I listen to my music. I am not suggesting everyone do this. Music should be enjoyed. I think of something in the letter S and I am on the letter C and I don’t let it tempt me. It takes me about 12 to 18 months to go A to Z. If you want to think that I am pathetic or a loser that’s ok. I have been bullied and made fun of all my life so what ever you think isn’t going to much matter to me. If you want to think I am just the weirdest dude on the planet. Okay, sure why not. I love how I listen to it. I do not think I am hurting a single soul including myself.

 

Now the next blog entry you get will be from the letter A. Please do not think I am going to blog on every single piece of music I have all 3500 entries. If I miss something you love I am sorry. If you want to comment or you disagree with something I said, comment away. If you are interested in reading other blog entries please do. I don’t write a singl eblog entry without putting  a whole lotta me in it.  So are you ready. Well hang on I am just now listening to Faron Young. I still have 24 other things to play.

The Music Blog: The Who, What Why of My Collection

I suppose there are people who collect music as a hobby, and they begin and end the process as a collector. They look for the best vinyl, they make it complicated. For me, until around 2006 I did not buy music with the idea of some sort of a collection. While they way I buy music since 2006 has changed slightly I buy few things with the goal of collection. I listen to everything I have and I take care of the music I have but preservation or keeping things pristine is not a goal. I am sure that it has some value and there are specific albums that I know have a little value.  I have spent a lot of money on my music but it is something I really love.

I am in my 50’s, recently had a birthday so if you feel the need to send me money so I can buy more music, or beer then that’s perfectly fine with me. I have loved music since I was a kid. I used to call in to the AM radio station that would take requests and try and think of something clever to say in the hopes they would play my request. The first album I bought or my parents bought was John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High and yes I still have the album. My parents had some high hopes for my musical tastes back then. The second album I bought was Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies. Thus ended those high hopes. I bought the music that I liked and that would be the pattern for most of my life.

I could not buy everything though. Even when I began work  and I would spend about  a third of my paycheck buying albums and then struggle to make ends meet I could not buy everything. I spent voraciously in the 80’s buying lots of heavy metal and buying lots of R&B records. I listened to very little popular rock and roll because I didn’t like it much. The arena rock of the 70’s had given way to something more commercial and cheap.

In the late 80’s I began listening to the music coming out of Seattle and the underground. Its the first time I really noticed there were wide gaps in my music collection. People talked about bands I didn’t even know. From the early 90’s I was a bit more serious about the music I bought. I did not buy mass quantities because someone recommended it or the cover looked interesting. I did not give things a chance. I bought what I knew I wanted.

Somewhere around 2006 I came across an article in Rolling Stone magazine about the 500 greatest albums of all time. I thought for sure that I would have over half of them but I remember the number; 127 only. I was really upset about this. So I printed off the list and began my first serious collection of music. It took me about three years to get all 500 and naturally I crowed about it. So a wise guy friend of mine asked have you seen that list of the top 100 albums of the 2000’s. Yea, no, what? I was off to the races again.

After that it was the top 100 blues albums, the top 100 jazz albums. I also began hitting the gaps I had in my music collection. What did I want, what did I need. I went back to artists I had previously neglected or stopped listening to. I loved Elton John and had several of his albums but I lost interest after the album Jump Up. Now I thought is a good time to get all of them. Bands that I loved that I didn’t have everything I went after. I would hear a song on the radio and think I don’t have enough of that artist. If this sounds a bit like an obsession a bit like a compulsion then I would not argue with you. There were a ton of one offs too. I always wanted Head East’s Flat as a Pancake and Nazareth’s Hair of the Dog. There are hundreds more. Recently I started buying vinyl again, old vinyl new vinyl. I am working on slowing down. Enough is enough right. How much is enough, how much is too much? Still working on James Taylor and the 50 greatest symphonies of all time and I want them on vinyl. I now have somewhere between 3500 and 4000 titles.

Some of the music I have I really love. Some of these albums have  tons of memories around and about them. Some of them I hate. I will never like the music of Frank Zappa or any associated acts which means no to Captain Beefheart. But I have them because somewhere they are on a list.

So as I sit here listening to the White Stripes with one more prequel blog to write I should let you know that I will be providing my opinion on the music I have. I have some well thought out ideas about much of the music I have and listen to and some of these opinions are contrary. I welcome comments as long as they are not personal attacks. I have no tolerance for that. But I love viewpoints. I love music.  I love stories. Itsthe writer in me. It matters to me, it means something to me.

So if you are sitting there wondering how I could possibly listen to nearly 4000 titles well you will have to wait for the next and final prequel blog. If you already know how I listen to all of this then the next entry will tell you why. I don’t expect you to understand. Always leave then wanting more.