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April 1, 2011

A good part of this project is about digging through the crates and unlocking forgotten musical gems that have have gathered cobwebs over time.

Hidden beneath the dust of memory are aural treasures propped up on dorm room cinderblocks, wedged into a car visor, locked in a Magnavox tape deck and, perhaps most influentially, balanced on the top of a bright blue plastic platter.

Dad’s stereo was a centerpiece in our living room, the scene of Monday night family dance parties. But, the axis of my musi-verse revolved around that first Fisher-Price turntable: Beige, mono and mine!

Back in the day ...

I probably got it for Christmas or an early birthday. It was truly a gift.

My favorite sounds in the living room were smuggled back to that little box for repeat listening. I can still picture the blue and pink sleeve that packaged the 45 of Paul Simon’s Graceland single, “You Can Call Me Al.”

I played it nonstop, bouncing incessantly to the African percussion, heaps of horns and flute solo(!).

Al was joined by George in those days. Harrison’s “Got My Mind Set on You” from Cloud Nine was another early favorite.

When I revisit these tunes, I sort of cringe at the 80s-ness of the production, but they still have horns and still move me.

I’m looking for those songs I so instantly adored and still cherish as my gift to my boy. He probably won’t have the opportunity to be mesmerized by the perpetual circle that accompanied my Fisher-Price sessions, but he might like to jam to them digitally on my stereo.

A note about the His First Mix project: I am creating a mix for my unborn son in an attempt to indoctrinate him with excellent musical taste prior to his arrival this July. The plan is simple enough: Plunder my memory vaults in search of the sounds that shaped my life, prune selections to suit my wife’s taste, and pray this pre-birth jukebox gives my better third a head start on a lifetime of musical exploration. I’ll chronicle the process on Post Rock and on the Twitter with the hashtag #hisfirstmix.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2011 1:25 pm

    My brother is seven years younger than me and just about a year old when “You Can Call Me Al” became popular. He would sit on the floor of our living room and “dance” to it! And I definitely had that George Harrison album on cassette as a kid!

    • April 6, 2011 7:50 am

      I’ve been listening to “You Can Call Me Al” quite a bit over the past week. It’s still contagious! I think those deep a capella rhythms really resonate with the youngsters — and the aforementioned flute solo!

      That’s a cool memory of your brother, Lori. Can’t wait to see how Kass reacts to it once he’s “out.” I’m thinking I’m going to be hearing both these songs quite a bit for the next few years … 😉

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