I used to love to visit my eccentric uncle and serenely calm aunts’ home. My uncle was a little crazy, but more fun/interesting crazy than scary/unpredictable crazy like my father (his brother) — and their house was just so interesting to me. There never seemed to be any chaos there. Roles were defined and things were organized and clean. It always smelled nice. And, it retained that same sweet smell when I last visited in the 1990’s.

They had a living room which acted more as a sitting room. We only ever sat in there for special occasions. I remember being fascinated by the sofas in this room. They wrapped around the room as if a part of the walls. And, they had tasteful art sculpture things hanging on the walls. They had a den like a couple with which my parents were friendly. It felt so sophisticated to my 4 or 5 year old self. …and safe.

The only thing was — their home was too quiet. The TV was never on as far as I could tell and the huge stereo system was never opened. But, my cousin — along with my mom, was my official music connection to cool. To me, J was super cool and I could hardly wait to get to that house because of what it would mean!

A visit to my aunt and uncles’ meant that I would that J would invite me to venture into her bedroom where she would turn me on to a world of music that was too cool for even my mom! Sure my mother was young and played cool music but J was really tuned in to the moment. And, she had a more grown-up record player than me! It just sounded better and she could move it all around the room if she wanted! J is only about 10 years older than me, but when you’re 4 or 5 and a person is 14 or 15 that is a huge difference! And, she treated me like a doll with which she could play. I loved all the attention.

It was sitting on the floor by her cool box turntable while she would be doing homework or studying the clothes in her closet that I most loved. She would sit me down and advise me on some new cool song or band. The earliest bit of music to which she poured into my ears was Grand Funk. I had heard their cover of “Locomotion” and loved it. In fact, my mom used to turn up the radio when it came on. I believe, in one of my mom’s failed attempts to grab my attention away from the “My Name Is Barbra” LP she got me the 45 single to “Locomotion” …but, J, had the full record album and I LOVED it!!! My head swayed and my barefeet pounded with the beat. J would inquire as to why I never seemed to wear shoes. I was never sure if she thought it was cool I was always barefoot or stupid. I guess, maybe, I didn’t want to know.

She wasn’t into Barbra Streisand until A STAR IS BORN came out. And, by then she was in college and didn’t have so much time to hang with me. Tho, we did discuss the movie scene by scene one day when she had grown weary of sitting with our family! I was in heaven!

No, J loved James Taylor and I think she harbor’d a bit of jealousy toward Carly Simon at the time. I now love James Taylor but back then I didn’t quite get it. I pretended to, tho. She felt that “Sweet Baby James” was his best. And, it probably still is, but I was drawn to the art for this LP. It just seemed cooler to me than the others. But, when she put the needle down on this LP — it sort of changed my musical world view. This was a magical LP. It would take me a few years, but I would secure it for my own collection eventually.

Shortly after she started liking Barbra —- she stopped by our house one afternoon. I thought she was there to see my Grandmother, but she was actually there to see me. She wanted me to listen to a new album. She had it on 8-track tape and she loaned it to me. And, it would be this record from J’s collection that would have the biggest impact on me. My mom loved it as well. She already knew of it but didn’t have it. Within a week we had the LP and I played it a lot. Not as much as A STAR IS BORN, but it got a good deal of play. And, of course my discovery of Blondie, Patti Smith Group and Kate Bush would all be happening soon.

J’s record collection rock’d. I still hear from her to time to time. Her oldest son was just recently married and her other just finished college. I doubt her sons understand how cool their mom is. For, she is still pretty fucking cool.


September 11, 2007. Uncategorized.


  1. pakipoptart replied:


    What a wonderful post. I really admire nostolgic posts especially when the writer puts himself/herself into it. It really makes the music you are blogging about that much more interesting. Although the music you listed is music I am not very familiar with, I am very interested in learning more about it just by reading your post.



  2. ing replied:

    Ooooh, Pakipoptart is too young to know these albums!!

    Ummmm, so am I. . .

    Did you notice anything about Carole King’s shoes? Cool!

    I had an aunt who was ten years older than me, and she used to pass along her clothes. My first leather miniskirt, a brown buskskin wraparound. . . She just loved Elton John (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road) and Queen (Bohemian Rhapsody, over and over). She eventually moved into this “pad” with a guy who had low, cushiony brown leather furniture, a sunken living room, and an enormous photgraph covering one wall of an autumn scene.

    She had hair down to her waist. I always wished my hair would grow that long. . .

  3. ginab replied:

    and I remember my half-sis visiting one summer for her 18th birthday. She was exotic to me then, smelling of musk oil and being fourteen years ahead of me. She’d had her appendix taken out before coming to our house for the week-long visit, and I remember her removing her own stiches (she’d called them ‘sutures’!), and thelong secret of my mother hiding the Fleetwood Mac album from her and my loving them since the needle was placed down on the LP, to where my mother again snuck out but this time for me to a garage sale where she picked up their Penguin album (just for me!).


  4. Josh Williams replied:

    Sweet Baby James was one of my first albums, Grand Funk one of my first concerts Carole King and Rumors big memories…These were some of my first LP’s this is cool, I used to be able in my early twenties name every song and group that was played on popular radio. Despite the fact I listend to more obscure stuff that I thought was cool. Now it all is a blur…I am not sure it is my brain aging or just the fact that as you grow older the new music is not so new,the novelty has worn off so how can you be expected to remember the latest band that is reproducing the sound you heard before. Time pass’s faster as you age because the novelty is gone. We the people of a certain age require more novelty so we can live longer as youths.

  5. diamondfistwerny replied:

    Great flashback! And I miss record players. Especially the albums with their intricate artwork, and all the lyrics inside.

  6. matty03 replied:

    Pakipoptart! I forget how young you are! …and with so much you’ve carried on those shoulders! Will be glad when you’re home!!!! I think you’d love the Carole King, Fleetwood Mac and Sweet Baby James CD’s —- they still hold up. Not so sure about Grand Funk, tho. Or, that other James Taylor LP. Tho, his voice is soooo good! And, thank you!

  7. matty03 replied:

    Ing! I know! He is a mere babe in the wood, but a very smart cookie! …As you are only 28 I didn’t think you’d know of these classics. …what with your being the SF Britney Fan Club President and all!

    (I can almost feel your slap from here!)

    Yes! Bare feet are so 70’s cool! …I think. Or, was she wondering why I never wore shoes? Hmmmm… I guess I could ask her. LOL!

    Your aunt sounds most cool! But, your hair is perfect! Tho, I still think a weave might be quite interesting. Just sayin’. LOL!

    Gina! Wow! I can’t imagine removing my own stitches. Or, hiding Fleetwood Mac! I hadn’t thought of the Penguin album in years!

    Commander Josh! Yes, we need novelty! It is so important in keeping those dreaded lines away! I think your list of firsts is quite impressive. My first concert was to see Fleetwood Mac during their TUSK tour. I went with some older stoners. I was 12 or 13. Anyway, I don’t really remember it much at all. Except that Stevie had the coolest boots I’d ever seen and stooped down with her butt on the stage and bang’d her tamborine against the floor of the stage for what seemed like a really long time.

    …I remember whispering “Wow” — I think she was in the middle of performing Sisters of the Moon. …and, then, then, I think I got sort of sick.

    …Memories of a mis-spent youth.

  8. matty03 replied:

    Mr. Diamond! I miss them, too! My pal, A, has a kick ass turntable system and an ever-growing LP collection. It was so neat to just lay back and listen to Brian Eno on vinyl!

    …there is something we miss with the digital sound.

    Hard to explain.

    …when we get to Oakland I intend on getting a record player. Every Friday night will be disco night!

  9. pakipoptart replied:


    Hi there. I just wanted to say that you are not that much older than me. The difference is that I came to the US as an immigrant and my parents/relatives pretty much only listened to Pakistani music. I believe that is why I value your post so much because I didn’t have such influences growing up. Thank you for the post again, and for your support. Two and half weeks and i’ll be back in Chicago.


  10. Daniel replied:

    Tapestry was a big album for me for years. I’m thinking I might see if I can “Amazon” it.
    GFR was pretty big too, but the biggest of the head bands for me was the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
    It was like they were the harbingers of God.

  11. matty03 replied:

    Pakipoptart! Oh! Well, when you get back I will have to make you a mix CD!

  12. matty03 replied:

    Daniel! Oh, get the re-master’d CD!!!! It sounds amazing! I should check out the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band — I’ve always heard of them but I don’t know that I’ve ever actually heard them. …sort of like Badfinger. I think I’ve only ever heard one Badfinger song! …this seems wrong to me!

  13. ing replied:

    Ooooh, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band! They were so very awesome!!

    My father used to listen to “Will The Circle Be Unbroken”; brings back tons of memories of my parents, drunk. They had really great parties, back in the day. . .

  14. Kudos to my Blogroll « Defying Despondency replied:

    […] Nostalgic over 45’s & LP’s? […]

  15. matty03 replied:

    Yes! I am!!!! I want a record player!!!

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