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Thursday, April 03, 2008

From Analog to Digital

Every time my wife and I have moved house over the last nearly 20 years of our marriage, we’ve schlepped with us a huge stack of vinyl LPs.  Having long since switched over to CDs (though not yet to MP3s), we hardly ever listen to them.  Still, the idea of getting rid of these physical remnants of our youth has been too painful to contemplate.  Now that we are about to move again (this time from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Montclair, New Jersey), we are once more confronted with the question of what to do with all that old vinyl. 

Those of you who are more techno-savvy than I will probably be able to guess the solution: we recently bought a USB turntable that allows you to turn old LPs into digital MP3 files suitable for playing on an iPod or burnable to a CD.  And so I’ve been spending the last couple of weekends playing old records I haven’t listened to in many years (though they once were embedded into my teenage and 20-something brain), and trying to decide which ones are worth converting. 

I was delighted to discover many pop albums I hadn’t listened to or thought about in years, but which still seemed to me fresh and interesting: by Joe Jackson, Van Morrison, John Renbourn and Pentangle, and Richard Digance, to name a few.  I was also struck by how other music that I cherished in my teens and twenties now seemed to me, in my own personal and subjective way, dated (no doubt many will protest): music by Elvis Costello; Crosby, Stills, Nash (though, less so, Young); Steve Forbert; Jackson Browne; and the Byrds.  Mind you, I’m talking about the music these folks produced prior to 1990 or so, and which happened to make it into my modest and not particularly adventuresome record collection.  For all I know, their music has continued to mature and change in the years since (though I doubt it). 

My younger son, 14-year old Jonathan, who has his own giant collection of iTunes, has been helping me with the somewhat tedious task of conversion.   And what does he get out of it?  Well, it always amazes me that he and his siblings and friends actually like so much of the same music that my wife and I like.    Certainly, when I was Jonathan’s age I wouldn’t have been caught dead listening to my parents’ music.   But somehow, in ways that still puzzle me, the music that we listened to in the 70s and 80s has become “classic” to our kids.

Posted by Stuart Green on April 3, 2008 at 10:36 AM in Music | Permalink


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