Friday, September 09, 2016


Jim Croce didn't even bother to clip his nostril hairs for the cover photo of his LP. That's what I thought as I held up album number one from (fifty pound) box number one. I was tired, I was sweating like a pig, I was outta beer, and I was looking at Jim Croce.

If aliens came down to clarify their understanding of certain human concepts and, upon landing, asked me the meaning of the word "mediocre". I'd hold up the Croce LP. Ah, but I would have rather dealt with bad Leroy Brown then venture further into the contents of the veritable Pandora's Box at my feet. But let me backtrack...

My father's millionaire girlfriend called me one day and informed me that she had answered an ad from someone selling one hundred LPs for a hundred bucks.

"What are these LPs?"

"The ad said 'from Aerosmith to Zeppelin.'"

"Uh huh. And what kind of condition are they in?"

"I didn't see them but he says they're good."

No way they are I think. A used record store would give him a little more if it's stuff they could move.

"So I know you like music so I'm shipping you two fifty pound boxes (imagine the cost! Then imagine the time drug-sniffing dogs spend flaring their nostrils around these boxes...) and you should have them Thursday."

"Well...I don't know what to say...(say "DON'T SEND THEM!"). thanks."

The appointed day arrived and I returned home from work at eight PM exhausted. I was hoping against hope that someone would have stolen both boxes. Hey, you see it on the news all the time at Christmas, thieves boldly running up and snatching a package off someone's front steps. Maybe someone figured the hernia in this instance may be worth it.

Rounding the corner I saw them. They sat by the mailbox taunting me. Maybe someone had tried to take them but gave up. The thieves in my town are of the lazy variety, specializing in taking cigarettes and loose change from unlocked cars.

As tired as I was, I now had to hump these boxes up the steps to my porch. It was 88 degrees and the humidity was like a vice tightening around my windpipe .Still, some faint flicker of hope fluttered within me. I imagined an original first Velvet Underground album, banana sticker intact. I dreamed of pulling out a mono copy of the first Pink Floyd LP. Unnervingly however, the soundtrack to these dreams was "More Than a Feeling" by Boston. An ill portent indeed.

I will spare you the list of obscenities I spouted as I climbed the stairs. Collapsing into a chair, I used my house key to slit the adhesive tape on box number one.

Aerosmith to Zeppelin. Most people would figure that they were getting an abbreviated classic rock schlock collection but no, this was more along the lines of the hustler who flashes an impressives wad of bills that is comprised of a fifty on the outside and a whole lot of ones tucked underneath.

Jim Croce. John Denver. Bob Welch. Ambrosia. Seals and Crofts. Simon and Garfunkel. Barry Manilow. Four (FOUR!) copies of Fleetwood Mac's RUMOURS. Three Aerosmith albums and Led Zep II. The kicker was that things I would have kept, like Black Sabbath's WE SOLD OUR SOULS FOR ROCK N' ROLL was so full of skips it was unplayable.The first Madonna album looked fresh from the factory however.

Sitting there flipping through the damned and the dreadful, I thought about how if I expired in my sleep that night relatives going through my belongings would imagine I led some strange double life. What to make of someone who had Stooges bootlegs and Supertramp? Multiple personality disorder?

What I kept:

A Buddy Holly greatest hits comp.

The Carly Simon LP where her high beams are on (sleeve only).

Klaatu, because I remember Capitol's brilliant "Are they the Beatles?" publicity campaign on the radio when I was a teen. No they weren't the Beatles and no, they weren't very good but...

Laura Nyro and Labelle. Nyro plays piano and Labelle sing old hits like "Jimmy Mack". Go ahead, turn your nose up. Believe me, it sounds better when it's sandwiched between the Doobie Brothers and Lionel Ritchie.

On garbage day I trudged back down the steps with the remaining records and deposited them at the curb. Using a threadbare broom, and old golf club, a bag of rubbish and a Sean Cassidy LP cover for the head I fashioned a crude scarecrow. The finishing touch was positioning a Joan Baez Vanguard LP with her mug prominently displayed so it looked like she was kissing Sean. Turning to do, I caught sight of the LP on top of the pile. Jackson Browne. What an ignominious end. At what - sixteen? - he was sleeping with Nico. Now here he was next to a broken toaster over and some cat litter.

If my fathers' squeeze ever answers another ad I'll tell her sorry, I just don't have any more room for more records. Will there be the box with the Chocolate Watchband on Tower in it? No doubt brother, no doubt.

1 comment:

Head Company AB said...

It's Shawn,and you know it.