Friday, October 30, 2015

This Record Belongs..... and a Free Halloween Tune

I learned an interesting thing about Golden Books a few years ago, when my younger son started attending "story time" at a local library. Although we had seen myriad titles in other children's libraries over the past decade, this particular one did not stock any. When we inquired as to why, the librarian sniffed, "They're generally a lower class type of book, and they don't hold up well in repeated borrowing."  In one way an insult, but in another, a tremendous compliment about the versatility of the format – and how kids clamored for the selections.

Another vestige from my childhood is vinyl. As digital technology (CDs and then MP3s) became ubitquitous, turntables became more specialized. Now vinyl has made a minor resurgence. But our turntable, escounced in a cabinet and covered with children's music CDs, is practically a non-factor. And our vinyl? A floor away in the basement, minimized next to a pair of CD towers. My wife's old portable turntable is in the attic, but has not been opened in decades. So we have the resources, but just don't have the motivation to put the pieces together.

Two companies, Seattle's Light In The Attic Records & Third Man Records (founded in Detroit by Jack White), have banded to produce THIS RECORD BELONGS TO ______. It's a throwback package to the 1970s, with a playlist of songs available on CD and digitally, but also on vinyl. There's also an illustrated book (by Jess Rotter) that tells a story of animals finding a vinyl record and trying to figure out what it is and what to do with it. And finally, there's a portable Jensen turntable, complete with USB input.

Most of the music in the collection dates back more than 25-30 years, such as Harry Nilsson's "Me and My Arrow" and Carole King's "One Was Johnny," a Maurice Sendak tale from her celebrated CD. Nothing from the compilation was composed specifically for its release (intriguing since it took two record labels of artists to mount this project). To that end, you may have heard the majority of these songs elsewhere, such as Kermit the Frog's "Rainbow Connection." However, where else can you find Vashti Bunyan's "Diamond Day"?

As with any well-intentioned project, you wonder if this is a first installment or a one-off. You can buy the compilation separately, but it appears they really want kids to appreciate the uniqueness of vinyl, which would indicate future volumes at some point. THIS RECORD BELONGS TO _____ is a quirky curio with a number of revelations and a warm, nostalgic feel. Oh, did I mention that the bundle with the turntable is $95? As in those Saturday morning ads, I hasten to add, "Also sold separately."

THIS RECORD BELONGS TO _________ is available from Third Man Records and Amazon.

Mr. Whirly (aka Keith Wasserman) has released his new Halloween single "Bumps in the Night." If you sign up for his every-now-and-then newsletter, you can get it as a free download! How great is this? Music for nothing more than an email address! What are you waiting for? Come on, click through. I'll wait. Well no I won't, the kids have trick or treating to do. And I've got to be vigilant to make sure everything is safe for them to eat, or pass along to eat. You know what I mean, parents.
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