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The Voices Within


My Wife Has Me Convinced I Should Seek Professional Help

whichever you prefer

The ravings of: Scott Faller
July, 2001

Well, for those of us that don't see the Southern Cross in the nightime sky, summer is in full swing. Everybody is outside having fun with their friends and family. Whilst everybody else is having fun I thought I'd take advantage of this evenings full moon and write a not-so-serious column this week. (run and hide Lucio, it just gets worse from here on)

As you guys know, I'm a chronic "junker". It only comes second to my audio affliction bestowed upon me by my mother. As much as my mom is to blame for this Audiophilia, my dad is the sole culprit responsible for my ability to bring home junk at least once or twice a week. I don't know if my wife can ever forgive my parents for that.

Fortunately for me (my wife really) I've been able curb those urges and focus them just on music and audio gear. This (I feel) should be a fairly tolerable hobby for her and the rest of my family. I'm mean Jeez, it's not like I'm dragging home refrigerators or old cars that litter my yard and the driveway. Other than the odd DIY speaker project, she can still use the garage most of the time, as my car has been exiled from there (permanently I might add). So what are a few pieces of vinyl or the odd dilapidated tube amp once in a while going to hurt? Can't be too bad, can it?

Well, according to my wife, this affliction is a little out of control, sort of. In my own defense, I've only got about six or seven hundred CD's and two or three ... thousand … pieces … of … vinyl.........

OK, so that is a little excessive, but it could be worse.

Imagine this, what if I (or you for that matter) decided to collect something different, say, vintage shoes. Don't kid yourself, there ARE people out there that collect them. Imagine several thousand of those smelly assed things laying around everywhere gathering dust and never ..… get..ting ….. played I mean worn …….....

OK, maybe I need to pick a better example. …..Uuuuuh…....

Well, you know what I mean, you've got the same affliction that I do, right?

Anyway, what we do is a pretty harmless hobby. I mean, other than the fact that the fearsome four legged vinyl beast was hunted into extinction, no harm has befallen any other creature. Besides, what we do educates, right ?. It makes us and those around us smrter smarter, right ? It expands our minds and our interests. It even makes babies in the womb smarter, children exposed to music at a young age score better on tests, plants grow better and faster, you can hypnotize a chicken with the edge of an LP, you know all the arguments, right ? Music is the ambrosia given by the Gods to us mere mortals to provide us a chance at immortality, right ? …..Well, it could have happened !!!

In all of our ventures to the flea market or local garage sales we come home with some pretty interesting music, don't we? I know I do. (notice I lumped you into that) The best part of it all, vinyl is cheap when you buy it this way. Heck, I usually don't pay more that a buck or two for a record, and most times it's only four bit's (that's $.50 for those of you, well, younger than me). On occasion I'll give a fin (that's five bucks) or maybe a sawbuck (that's ten bucks) for a really good one if the vendor won't come down on their price.

In the less-than-a-buck range I've brought home some great albums. One of the best ones was Music of the Swiss Alps (Mercury, MGI 206). Hey, this was an enlightening experience. My entire family is wiser from this choice pick. I mean, I didn't know people (or a person in this case) could do that with their voice. I tried to yodel once. I think I did some permanent damage. My personal favorite is "Wenn D'wyber Nut Meh Z'Chare Hei", roughly translated, "When Women Have Nothing Left to Complain About". It's a lofty, upbeat, Polka-like song with the traditional tuba and a pair of accordions. It just makes me want to get up and boogie German style.

Here's another, Father Abraham in Smurfland (Starland Music ARI 1028). You haven't lived until you've heard the Smurfs doing that classic made famous by The Glenn Miller Orchestra, In The Mood. I think my fav has got to be the song Smurfing Beer. It's made from honey and tea. Go figure.

Speaking of beer and education (they go together don't they?), another real gem that I found is Booze Is The Only Answer (Stereoddities Inc. Alb No. B-1). It even comes with a membership and news letter. 1960 was a good year. Times were prosperous, living was easy, but if I find out this is why I was conceived, I'm going to have a completely different outlook on life.

Sometimes when I'm junkin, an album cover just grabs my attention and screams Buy mE. It becomes almost hypnotic. With certain covers, I hear these little voices (though I'll never admit that in public). It must be the Gods tempting me with that damned ambrosia again. They tell me to do things. They say "Pick me up" (that's the album talking to me). So I do. By the time I slide the record out of it's sleeve, it's too late. The voices have already convinced me to take it home. Sometimes I get lucky and find a real gem, other times, well, lets just say I'm not ever going to be immortal, but neither will the guys who recorded it. Maybe it's best that way.

Take Bongo Date please!!! (that was a Henny Youngman joke for those of you who are, well, you know the routine)(Tampa Records TP30) for instance. With this one, I just had to shut the voices up. I could hear them screaming all the way from the other side of the flea market. The title should have given me enough warning to stay clear of it but nooooo, I had to bring it home.

[this IS hard to believe]
nope, I wasn't making this up, see

Then there was the ultimate. The one and only, The Baroque Beatles Book (Electra ELKS 7306) . Oh my God! I couldn't live with myself if I didn't own a copy of this. Especially when I read that Harold Breines was singing helpentenor on that fine Beatles classic Help or that Hold Me Tight was being done by Murray the Klavierkitzler. This timeless piece of vinyl can't even begin to be described, it can only be experienced, trust me.

I guess what I am ultimately getting at is, you never know what treasures you will find unless you look. First you have to get a turntable, if you don't already have one. It doesn't have to be the best, just a decent one. Spend, say $100 on a Dual. That's a decent table to start with, you can always upgrade later. Then pop for a decent cartridge. Spend maybe, $100. That should get you one so you can get a good feel for the analog sound. Maybe an Audio Technica or a Grado, they seem to work well on a Dual arm.

Then got out and buy vinyl, lots of it. Even if it's not "your" kind of music, buy it anyway. It's cheap, really cheap, especially at garage sales and flea markets. Who knows, maybe you'll be like the rest of us, you discover music styles that you end up loving. I mean, buy stuff that you never thought you'd ever listen to. If nothing else, you'll be giving yourself an education in music. And when your musical tastes change (as they always do), you'll be able to dig out those old records and give them a spin again. Maybe then you'll hear something you like.

Now "junkin" isn't something that has to be done alone, take the wife and kids along. Make it a family thing. Who knows, maybe the little woman will start collecting herself, like, curling irons or can openers or something. (Oh just save it, I'm only joking, I love my wife, barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. OK stop right there. No email bombs, I said I was only kidding)

Another nifty thing about collecting vinyl is, on occasion, you really do find some real treasures. There is literally tons of great music out there ripe for the pickin'. Besides the occasional really juicy Jazz or Swing album you will find, or you can fill in your Rock and Roll, Country or Classical collection without selling your first born. You don't feel so bad when you come home with the really rotten albums when you only pay a buck for them. Then, the ones you really do enjoy, you can always go out and pick up a nicer copy for a little more money at a used record store or you can go for the CD. It's a no loose proposition. You don't get that awful feeling you have when you spend $15 or $20 on a CD and only one or two songs are worth listening to. You know exactly what I'm talking about don't you?

[stick 'em up partner]
this just makes me all teary eyed

Not too long awful ago I was at one of my favorite junk stores and the vendor had some fresh vinyl in. I picked out a box full, gave him $20 and I was on my way home for an extended cleaning session with my Nitty Gritty. As I went through what I'd bought, I had picked up quite a few classical pieces on Deutsche Grammaphone, Angel, and a couple on a label I hadn't heard of before WALP (version of RCA). Just so happens, it was Furtwangler conducting several of Beethoven's symphonies. Out of curiosity, I looked them up on eBay. Much to my delight, these things were selling for well over $200 apiece. I paid all of maybe thirty cents each for them and they graded at M-/M+. I'll probably never sell them. Someday when my musical tastes change again, I'll be glad I kept them.

Wondering what got me hooked? Well here it is, in it's full Technicolor glory. My very first album that my Mom gave me. Songs of the West by Tex Johnson and his Six Shooters (Diplomat 5015). This is my original copy. I cherish this, in fact I still listen to it on occasion (like tonight as I'm typing). Funny, I think at the same time I got the record, I seem to remember getting that same cowboy outfit and pair of six shooters too. Thanks Mom, but be careful, I heard the little woman talking about letter bombs again.

Main System Used

  • Integrated Reciever, Turntable and 8 Track Player - Sound Design
  • Tweaks - Mr. Microphone "Hey good lookin' we'll be back to pick you up later!"

© Copyright 2001 Scott Faller - http://www.tnt-audio.com

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