By Joe Darby
Some readers may recall that I wrote a couple of months back that I was thinking about trading in my 2005 PT Cruiser convertible.
Well, I’m still driving Petey, as we call him, and one of the reasons — although admittedly a small reason — is that the car has a cassette tape player. It’s probably impossible to find a new car with that accessory these days.
And that feature of Petey is important to me because I have a huge stash of cassette tapes, some going back to the 1970s, probably. They range from classical to old country and western to cool jazz and Civil War music. And I enjoy listening to them just as much today as I did when they were new.
I do have an aging radio and cassette player in my study, but it’s cool to be able to listen to my old music on the road, too.
Mary and I also have a portable record player from the 1950s or ’60s, which we purchased from an antique store on Front Street. At this point, I have only about a couple of dozen long-playing 33 1/3 albums from the old days, a small part of my original collection. (To learn what 33 1/3 means, keep reading.)
But my records are pretty cool too. They include a nice selection of classic Louisiana Cajun music, some recorded in the 1930s and I expect that those albums would be quite hard to find now. And who remembers Santo and Johnny? Or Mickey and Sylvia? Yep, those duos are in my rather varied collection also.
Mary has a really nice collection of 45 records — if only we could find them.
Here’s a quick tutorial for younger readers on old records. The numbers 33 1/3 and 45 refer to the revolutions per minute, or rpm, that the records would make on the turn table.
The “long-playing” 33 1/3 albums had five or six songs on each side and didn’t really play for that long. The 45 records, called singles, contained only one song per side, were cheap and so were popular with teenagers. There was an even older record version that did 77 rpm. They, too, only had one song per side and seemed to spin madly around the turn table. I remember dropping bits of wadded up paper on Mother’s 77 records as they played and watching the paper fly off into the room.
But Mary and I are part of the modern age, too. Well, the modern age as it was perhaps 15 or so years ago. We have CD players, both in the house and in the cars, and like to listen to them. Again, the range is wide — classical, jazz, Cajun. By now you no doubt know our musical tastes.
However, CDs are as modern as we get. We’ve never had an MP3 and I don’t know how to download music — or particularly want to know. I must admit that there’s very little music being produced today that I want to hear, unless it would be something along the lines of a great new rendition of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto.
So, this old curmudgeon and my curmudgeonette are content to hear our old fashioned music the old fashioned way. As we like to say, if it ain’t Baroque, don’t fix it.