Friday, February 6, 2009

It's finally happened. Reunited at last. For the first time in my adult life, all my records are living in the same house.

It's been a long time coming. Ever since I moved away from California in the fall of 1990, off to grad school in North Carolina and never to look back, I had left a good chunk of my record collection at my parents' house. I didn't have room to store them or to cart them all around with me, especially since I spent the '90s moving about a lot and living in small apartments when I was settled. From a trailer (yes a trailer) in Chapel Hill to a small studio in Minneapolis to another small studio in Nashville to a decent sized room, but still just one room, in a big musty Victorian in Somerville to my own little two-bedroom rental house in Oxford, Ohio (but only for a year) - that was my 1990s, and packing up as often as I did I didn't want all my records to have to come along for the ride every time.

Many of the records I kept at my parents' house were records I could easily live without, although I'd never consider selling them. For me, my record collection is an archive of my shifting taste, mistakes and all. King Kobra, Rough Cutt, Sammy Hagar's crappy right wing VOA album - these are some of the dregs of my collection, but they remind me that my taste isn't inviolable, which is a good thing for a hipster snob like me to remember from time to time.

Then again, a lot of the records that shared my parents' home were pretty great records that I just never saw fit to transport back to wherever I was living. Much of my jazz collection was there, including lots of Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Archie Shepp, etc. I've missed these albums, but as long as I had a working stereo where my parents lived it was one of the things I looked forward to when going back to visit (see my last post for some of my feelings about my home town of Simi Valley; not my favorite place on earth).

A lot of my rock collection was there too, and I've missed many of these albums as well. I'm not embarassed to say it, but I think it's revealing of myself that when all my old albums arrived from California to my home in Massachusetts, the first one I listened to was...get ready...Ted Nugent's Free for All. "Dog Eat Dog" is one raging m-f-er of a rock and roll song, and the guitar solo is spot-on, and what's even better is that I can play it damn near note-for-note. And the song that follows it, "Writing on the Wall," is just as badass, one of Ted's hidden gems, an album track that never got much play but has walls of killer guitar. Ted's politics suck, no doubt about it, but the dude made some of the best straight-up kickass guitar saturated rock music of the 1970s, and fuck you if you disagree.

Why did I finally shift all my albums to my Massachusetts home, you might ask? Because my parents, at long last, are getting ready to move out of their home of 43 years and into a retirement community - and they're moving to Massachusetts to boot. Of course, all their friends think they're crazy for leaving that lovely warm weather, but hey, I'm here, and they want to spend their remaining years closer than 3000 miles away from their only child. So my records are here, and soon my parents will be near, which will be a reunion of a whole different kind.

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