Alphabet Soup: LPs to CDs

It seems that no matter how low I'm feeling, there is one thing that can instantly cheer me up, and that is music. I remember turning on the radio after leaving the hospital the night my father died, on the way to my brother's funeral, and other dark and difficult times in my life. Music would help me forget the pain in my post-surgical abdomen, make me feel better during the relocation my husband and I made from Florida to the Midwest, when he needed to get to his new job right away and I had to stay behind for nearly three months to pack up the house, (a monumental job after which I took half a year off).

Even today at work, when word drifts back to me that a "strange man" had been sighted in the break room who turned out to be a fellow who works on the other side of the building, a man appropriately dressed for our casual work environment but who happens to be a brother (if you're black, you're likely familiar with Overreacting White Woman Syndrome). Okay, so I did roll my eyes and mutter that if his pigment had been a dozen shades lighter he would not have seemed out of place to her, but after that I promptly put on my headphones and started listening to Michael Franks, forgetting about how quickly some people are ready to call Security on people they feel in their little narrow minds don't look like they belong. But that's a column for another day.

With the comfort I get from music it is no wonder, then, that I have cartons and cartons of LPs that I couldn't bear to throw out. But recently we made a purchase that puts me a little closer to labeling all those old vinyl records for the monster garage sale we will eventually hold.

I don't keep up with technology that much; I've long since decided it moves too damn fast for me. I don't have a Blackberry or an MP3 player. I don't even have a camera in my cell phone, at least I don't think I do. But when I saw that a local store was selling a CD recorder that works from both albums and cassettes, I told my husband and we sprung into action, buying one the very next day.

It's an old-fashioned-looking contraption that kind of looks like the one pictured. (I'm pretty sure it's not identical, since this one is advertised at $399 and we paid $169 for ours, less than half that sum). I am thrilled to have treasures like Hugh Masekela's Latest, originally recorded in 1967 (he does an absolutely beautiful rendition of the Lennon/McCartney tune Here, There, and Everywhere that still sounds current 41 years later) and Masekela, his famous South African protest album from 1968, on CD at last.

I've already made a deal with myself to keep things from getting out of hand: I can create one converted CD from albums for every three boxes I unpack!

Have you held on to your old LPs? Do you ever play them? Or have you already converted yours to CDs?


PatriciaW said...

I've been wanting to do this. I've got some albums I would love to put on CD or convert to MP3 format.

Lori said...

LOL! Bettye, I've been wanting one of those very same recorders ever since I first noticed them being advertised.

Not only do I like the contraption's old-fashioned appearance, but I have several cassette recordings of my grandmother (telling stories about her childhood and early years of marriage) that I've been hoping to transfer to cds one day. I trust the quality is good?

bettye griffin said...

Hey Patricia, Christmas is coming. Give hubby a hint!

Lori, the quality of the converted recording will be as good as the quality of the original, which means my Hugh Masekela CD has some scratchiness to it! I've also learned to break the tracks manually; the automatic break doesn't always work.

bettye griffin said...
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Sean D. Young said...

Music does help sooth the soul. What I found very interesting is after my father died, I was sitting at a stop light and Backstabbers by the O'Jays came on the radio and I literally almost threw up. See, that was one of my dad's favorites. I asked my sister if she'd been having the same reaction to music and she said that it makes her laugh. She immediately thinks about something daddy did or said. Wow, what a contrast. Since then, I've gotten better and it still makes me think of him.

When my father died we had a suitcase with over 500 45s in it. Literally. There were over 200 albums and my family was going crazy over that stuff. Anyway, I did get away with keeping this case that he had all his fav-o-rite 45s in and I still have that plus about 30 LPs.

I do have most of the oldies on either CDs or as mp3s. I purchased the enitre Body & Soul Collection.

bettye griffin said...

Sean, your reaction was understandable, and so was your sister's, since people handle memories differently. When we were brought in to see my father after he passed, he had a smile on his face. I like to tell myself that he was seeing his mother (who died of kidney failure back in 1925, when he was just 14 years old), for the first time in 74 years, escorted by my two deceased brothers.

That smile helped all of us cope with losing him, and I always feel good when I listen to his favorite artists, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Joe Williams, Frank Sinatra.

Thanks for posting!