Friday, April 28, 2017

The Real Skinnie

Wayne Shorter blasts out a solo on his saxaphone, while Herbie Hancock keeps a semblance of a rhythm along with Tony Williams on drums and Ron Carter on Bass. What’s missing is the long droll sound of Miles Davis’s trumpet. Yet, the crickets in my neighborhood seem to hear… no, they seem to feel the missing horn so they fill in for Miles. Chirping away where trumpet tones should be found.

It’s a good night to be alive. I just wish it was 1964.

Three years before I was born.

Yes, I am a jazz hound and for me there is no better music in the world than the second Miles Davis Quintet. One of the most stellar line up of musicians ever assembled. So much has been written about them that for me to even attempt to add my words to the encyclopedic volumes would do them a dishonor.

So all I will say is this; “They are by far the best proof of intelligent design and free will than any written word.”

Which brings me to todays blog… Music.

I love it.
As do you.

As do most people.

Music to me is associative. As it is most likely for you.

What? You don’t know what I mean by associative? Okay, Uncle Skip will explain that for you…

Associative is when you hear, smell, see, taste or touch something that brings back memories, good or bad, about something in your life. There, it’s that simple.

That is what my life seems to be about. Maybe yours as well. I don’t know, I’m not in your mind right now. *Or am I?”

So, where is this going? I know, I know, you want answers, not more questions.

Simple. Over the past five years or so I’ve been delving deeper into my music. You see, year and years ago when music switched from tapes to CD’s, I was not a proponent of it, but I succumbed. My vinyl and my cassettes went away. Well not all of them. It was easier for me to dispose of tapes than it was vinyl.

But five years ago I found a guy selling old albums at a flea market. For cheap. I mean like a buck or two per album. So I bought them… a lot of them. I bought so many that I had no where to keep them and I had no where to play them. So I went to a craft store and bought a bunch of record frames and hung them on a wall. Then one day a year or two ago, a good buddy of mine gave me an old record player.
It was broken.

Well, not broken broken. It just needed a new drive belt and needle cartridge. I spent six bucks on the internet and within a week I was spinning black vinyl and enjoying the tunes of records I hadn’t heard in years. Songs so full of resonance which had almost seemingly disappeared through technology filled my ears and body with joy.

Which brings me to last week.

A buddy of mine sent me a text message. It read “Are you going to record store day?”

A simple question. Yet a question I had no answer for. Hell, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as “Record Store Day”.

I told my pal as much. 

He said he was going to try to go and was there anything I wanted.
So, I did what anyone would do, I looked up the store he was going to, saw the product they were getting for this special day and told him what I wanted.

Easy Peasy.


My pal texted me, you know, like people do these days, and said he had what I wanted. Said there were only four of the items I wanted and he was lucky enough to get one. He then told me he got what he wanted. I was happy for him but I was more excited for myself. We have different musical tastes.

So, I went and picked up my platters. All three of them. I carefully sliced open the shrink wrapped cardboard and opened the archaic ear pleasing vinyl only to discover I had gotten a misprint.

You see, with a three vinyl set, you get Album one, sides one and two, Album two, sides three and four and Album three, sides five and six.

What I got was two album ones and one album three.

No album two.

I even took the vinyl back to my stereo and listen to what was supposed to by album two, but it was album one.

Disappointment abounded.

So, the next business day I called the record store. Told them my problem and the guy on the phone didn’t really promise anything but he did say he could handle the issue. I was elated.

I actually showed up at the store and the kid behind the counter and his hipster pal tried to give me the run-a-round. Hell, the little fuckers even tried to offer store credit. I told them “There is nothing in this store I want right now, other than what I’ve already paid for.”

Neither one of them like my answer, yet still one of them flipped a black vinyl over on the turntable and electronic dance music filled the store in quadrophonic sound. I with held the urge to punch them both in the face.

After fifteen minutes of frustrated conversation and musical appreciation, I left my name, address and phone number so that someone who had more authority could call me about my issue.

I went on a quest.

It was a simple quest.

I’d heard tales of an actual record store that had never been out of business for thirty years and was still readily accessible to the general public.

I hopped on Bernadette, my Harley Davidson motorcycle and hit the mean streets of Hampton Roads.

Within thirty minutes I’d focus the store. It was tucked away on an seldom used street in the heart of one of the historic districts. I parked my bike in the provided spot and went in only to be transferred back to my youth in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The store can only be best described as a “Head Shop”. Sure there was vinyl racked and stacked as far as the eye could see, but so were t-shirts, patches, pins, paraphernalia and all sorts of other things a person couldn’t wrap their minds around.

It… Was… Amazing!

Within minutes I was talking to the owner. Complaining about the abuse I’d received from other stores and he assured me that all he wanted was for me to find whatever it was I wanted and to purchase it.

I dug that. So much so that I made an offhand Ayn Rand comment.

He shrugged it off.

Two hours later, I was standing there with two album I’d paid for more that an hour ago and we were talking about bands we had seen live. The virtue of downloadable music versus music a person pays for and whether or not there is a future for any artist of any means.

It was a great conversation, but it was interrupted by two college students who seemed to find everything quaint and contrarian to their lifestyle.

I rolled my eyes, as did the owner.

Eventually I had to leave.

I felt bad for the owner, he was left in a room full of memories and life with two people who had no idea what the words “Memory” or “Life" meant.

I’m sure he’ll be okay.

Have a great week.

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