Mama raised her head from her potter’s wheel and hollered into the house, “Turn that shit off, will ya?” Lee Ann quickly lowered the volume on the record player. John and Paul were belting out I Want to Hold Your Hand. I say “belting out” but honestly, looking back, it was more like crooning. Rock and Roll was pretty tame in those days but Mama still thought it was “noise”.
I went over and stopped the record player, turned my attention to the stack of albums leaning next to it, and started thumbing through them. The record player was an auto-changer. This was pretty high-tech in the day, and meant you could stack up to six albums on the spindle and the machine would drop them one at a time, playing whichever side you had selected. You selected a side by placing it up. “You wanna listen to The Beatles?” I asked Lee Ann.
Her pageboy hair cut barely moved when she nodded her head, it was so heavily sprayed.
“You gotta mix it in with some of her music then.” I said. “What else do you want?”
She held out her new Herman’s Hermits LP along with a Bobby Sherman. I shook my head but I took them from her. From Mama’s stack I pulled out a Tommy Dorsey album, a Glenn Miller, and an Artie Shaw. Mama was a “Big Bands” fan.
I stacked the albums up. Glenn Miller was on the bottom, so it would play first, then Herman, followed by Tommy Dorsey, The Beatles, Artie Shaw, and Bobby Sherman. I placed them on the spindle and lowered the arm that would hold them there until they dropped. I moved the lever to automatic, watched the first album drop and saw the needle move into position. Kheww, Kheww, Kheww scratched from the speakers as the needle moved towards the beginning of the first song. Moonlight Serenade began to play and you could hear the rhythm of Mama’s feet on her kick wheel change. In time with the music.
“Go get started on your homework,” I said to Lee Ann. “You got about 20 minutes till Herman’s Hermits kick in.” She grabbed her blue notebook filled with loose leaf paper and some text books wrapped with used brown paper grocery bags and spread out to work on the dining table. She and Mama alternated music until dinner time. Mama got her greenware made and Lee Ann got her homework done.
Layer the music. It broadens your horizons and enhances your appreciation of it all.
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