Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: Needles and Grooves

BENNINGTON -- I bought my first vinyl record in 1983, "Sports" by Huey Lewis and the News, and paid for it with scraps from my allowance and the rest from wallets of others. The album got quite a workout on our 10,000-pound stereo console that looked like this ...

Except our family console was black and sported different covers for the speakers. The right side of sound system was an AM/FM stereo -- Mighty 690, anyone? -- with '60s-era buttons, switches and dials. The left side was for a turntable and to the left of it a 6-inch slot for vinyl records. 33s and 45s but never 78s.

Few things in life more satisfying than slipping a 33 onto the turntable -- record label hole over the steel nipple -- and lifting the arm off its handle then pulling it over and delicately lowering it till the needle caught the outer edge of the record and slid into the grooves.

Then came that scratchy-scratchy noise.

And then the music played.

Tarantino understands the appeal of dropping a needle onto vinyl, which is why, even for a second, we see Jackie perform the function ...

So yeah, "Sports" by Huey Lewis and the News was the first album I bought in '83. I was 12. I liked the music. "Heart and Soul" and "I Want A New Drug" and "The Heart of Rock 'n' Roll" and "If This Is It" -- and when I wasn't listening to those songs blaring from the 10,000-pound console, volume way up, I was watching videos to those songs over and over and over because I was MTV and MTV was me, and that's how I rolled. I liked Huey Lewis and the News. I was 12. I also liked the The Stray Cats, Michael Jackson, The Vandals, Styx, Madonna, Journey, Spandau Ballet, Zappa and ZZ Top. I was music. Music was me. 

This week is the 30th anniversary of the release of "Sports" and the wiseasses from Funny Or Die used Huey Lewis and another '80s icon, Weird Al Yankovic, to spoof each other and the axe scene from "American Psycho" by Bennington College grad Bret Easton Ellis. 

The scene is based around protagonist Patrick Bateman and his observations about "Sports" and, well, society.

TODAY, A BOX ARRIVED at Fiddlehead at Four Corners, and the contents beneath the packing peanuts brought quite a smile to Art Gallery Dude's face: art in the form of recycled vinyl records, created by Jeff Davis of Germantown, Pennsylvania.

It's what made AGD think back to Huey Lewis. 

Fiddlehead's order was ... 

* A dozen old 33s -- The Doors, Buffalo Springfield, The Beatles, Jimi, Janis, Cream, Dylan, The Who, The Dead -- molded into large bowls. 

* Four 45s (with centerpiece attachments) -- Grateful Dead, The Doors, The Allman Brothers, The Beatles -- fashioned into desk clocks. 

* 12 6-packs of coasters made from 33 record labels. Wonderful haul from the recycled heart of Americana. AGD crowdsourced asking people to name the first vinyl album they bought:

Fiddlehead owner Joel Lentzner said the first album he bought was M (you know, "... New York, London, Paris, Munich, everybody talk about Pop Muzik!") or "Tusk" by Fleetwood Mac. 

A customer walked into Fiddlehead minutes after the package arrived. AGD said she was the first one to see the vinyl creations. She loved them. She walked around the gallery for a few minutes but returned to the counter and bought ...

AGD interviews Kim on video at the bottom

... The Beatles' "Day Tripper" desk clock because "Day Tripper" is her favorite song; John is her favorite Beatle; and AGD loves Ringo's drumming in "Strawberry Fields Forever" but the needle is skipping down the record now. 

The 12 sets of record label coasters are (and some of the pairings are amusing):

* Longines Symphonette Society (Ferrante & Teicher), Natalie Cole, Millie Jackson,Musical Tour Around the World ... And Beyond, Jerry Vale, Ken Berry 

* Fred Astaire, Dionne Warwick Story, David Naughton, My Fair Lady soundtrack, Everything But the Girl, Longines Symphonette Society (Melodies From Far Away Places) 

* Jim Edward Brown and Helen Cornelius, Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall, James Ian, Rita Coolidge, Eleanor Steber (from her 1/13/62 show in Trenton), Buck Owens and Susan Raye 

* The Glow of Love, Santa Esmeraldo and Leroy Gomez, Joan Baez, At Long Last Love, Doris Day, Bohannon 

* Herbie Mann, Patti LaBelle, Billy Crystal, Emotions, Peggy Lee, Galaxy of Golden Hits 

* Heavy Traffic starring "V", Gene Harris, John Travolta, Richard Marx, Jimmy Davis, Lou Rawls and Les McCann 

* Milt Jackson, Peg Stevens, Don Henley, Johnny Albino, My Lord What A Mornin', Dinah Shore 

* The Tramps, Motown #1 Hits, Grease soundtrack, Isley Brothers, Something For Everybody, Lainie Kazan 

* The O'Jays, Noel Pointer, Laurindo Almeida Quartet, Jennifer Holliday, Five Pennies, Gladys Knight  

* Teddy Pedergrass, Neil Diamond, The Graduate soundtrack, Neil Simon's California Suite, Bill Withers, George Carlin 

* David Sanborn, Boots Randolph, Connie Francis, Rufus with Chaka Khan, Deniece Williams, The 4 Seasons 

* Rufus with Chaka Khan, Petula Clark, Andy Gibb, Fame soundtrack, Everything But the Girl, Siboney 

Writing out 12 paragraphs of musical mish-mosh wasn't going to cut it, which is why AGD took a photo of all 72 coasters ($24). He also photographed every 33 bowl (priced at $33.33) and the 3 remaining 45 clocks ($38).


 And just because ... 30 years later it's still a great song.