Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Grandfather's Record Collection

Note: this was originally supposed to be a one-shot post, but while I was writing this I discovered in my memory world of information about my grandfather's record collection that I previously forgotten about.

Also note: this entire post was first written on my laptop using my DNS software, and as such I was able to unplug my computer and set it up on a tray in front of my collection, so as to get better prompts for writing this post, before writing it as a blog post.


It's been quite a while since I last talked about music. As a matter of fact, it's been about two months since I talked about something music related, and about five months since I talk about my record collection, so I think it's about high time that I actually talk about my record collection.

My grandfather listened to what would be called today "classic country". For those of you who don't know what classic country is, it's basically any music that came out during the heyday of the Grand Old Opry (of which I have a double disc set best of in my collection). I mean he really was what we would call in today's parlance "old-school".

By the time he passed away in 1989, he had a rather large collection of albums. I would say about 75% was classic country with the remaining 25% were split among other types of genres. Today's post will not only cover the classic country part of this collection, but will dabble in the remaining 25%, because the remaining 25% is as interesting as all get out.

Like I said my grandfather was very much old-school with his country music. Among the many artists that I found his collection were some that I had the unfortunate experience of listening to while growing up. And of course there were others that I listen to rule growing up that I still listen to to this very day, and there are others that I wouldn't even touch with a ten foot pole... or rather a ten foot toner.

For example, he used to listen to artists like: Lynn Anderson, Sonny James, the Statler Brothers, Patsy Cline, and even Slim Whitman, of which I found quite a few examples of. I also found, in addition to the original releases for some of these and many other artists, were a slew of re-issues done on a label called Pickwick Records.

Now being the inquisitive sort I am, when I started going through his record collection some six years later and after finding a slew of records throughout by the same artist on two different labels, one being Pickwick and the other being RCA Victor, I decided to do a little search and destroy on the Internet.

What I found at the time was some very interesting information on this label. It seems that this particular label specialized in doing decent quality re-issues and interesting compilations featuring well-known songs being re-recorded by studio musicians. What I also found out much later was that this particular label specialized in doing out of print titles for RCA Victor including all kinds of Elvis Presley compilations. More can be read about this label on Wikipedia.

Now, my grandfather didn't just only acquire a hodgepodge of country music but also acquired other types of music as well. The main reason he required some strange music was that my grandfather like to spend money on frivolous things.

For example, he picked up a bunch of mid to late 80's rock music. From what I was able to figure out long after he passed away was that most of these albums are what you would call "promos". That is, a record label would send out new releases to various radio stations in order to try to get them to play the music. The odd thing about these record albums was that they were all from one record label: MCA.

In addition to these various types of rock music, I also found boxed set compilations put out by Reader's Digest. Some of it was pop, some of it was big band music, and some of it would be considered old-school country. You name it, my grandfather bought it.

One of the more unusual albums that I found while doing an inventory of this collection was one that was put out by young girl (about the age of ten) by the name of Lena Zavaroni, that was released on the Stax record label back in 1974. Intrigued, I used my favorite search engine (hint, hint) and discovered a rather tragic story about this girl. Click here for that story.

This concludes part one of my Grandfather's Record Collection. Part two will cover the more interesting tidbits about the types of music my grandfather listened to.

21 comments:

  1. Your grandfather left records. Mine left drawers of locks, keys, and doorknobs. And no he wasn't a locksmith.

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  2. Mine left things like that as well. He was a former railroad man and former gunner during WWI, and built his own house from the scrap lumber at the railroad yard.

    He also left a phenomanal book collection as well. But we really won't go there just yet.

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  3. This post reminds me of how my brother and I found a bunch of my dad's old Kingston Trio and Chad Mitchell Trio records when we were kids... we used to listen to them all the time. We must've been the only kids in the 80s who knew all the words to "The John Birch Society" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" and "The Unfortunate Man" (one of my favorites :)). Of course, at the time, we didn't really realize that half of these songs were left-leaning hippie songs. (I swear my dad was not a left-leaning hippie... just liked their music, I guess. :))

    Music collections can be so interesting!

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  4. I grew up listening to the Kingston Trio, Peter Paul & Mary and other folk singers, and I still like them to this day.

    This one is especially interesting, simply due to all of the old time country music I found in it (and some mid to late 80's as well).

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  5. information is invaluable,
    lucky for you.

    lovely dog you have there in the photo, cheers, :)

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  6. Jingle: Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

    And thanks for the compliment about my dog. I figure I needed something to lighten the mood whenver I visit any Wordpress blogs.

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  7. I barely know a thing about country music. I haven't been exposed to it very much. But I like what I've heard, especially the bluesy side of it.

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  8. How wonderful, G, to have things from your grandfather. My mother considered herself a "gyspy" and therefor could not be bothered keeping anything that belonged to anybody else. When you move every year you keep it simple.
    I only remember my great grandfather singing, I've been working on the railroad, to me. I always associate that song with beer breath! :)Bea

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  9. S.R.: I'm not even sure what kind of country music you got plaing up your way. All I can say is if you've managed to find some country tinged with the blues, then I'm jealous.

    Most of the country music that's played out here is more pop oriented. For the hardcore stuff and the various offshoots, you really have to listen to college radio. The variety they have is second to none.

    Bea: Thanks. Fortunate for me, my grandfather basically lived in two towns while I was growing up, so it made it easier to acquire the things once he passed away.

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  10. That is an interesting kind of collection - the country music some of my relatives listen to is the hick kind, as opposed to the classic kind.

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  11. Hick is actually pretty decent. My main beef with country is what's being called country today is actually pop flavored with country.

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  12. This brought back memories of my parent's eclectic album collection. The Kingston Trio - I always loved them!

    There's something so revealing in the music people choose to listen to. It's neat that you have that history with your Grandfather.

    It's so sad that the girl died so young of anorexia. Truly tragic.

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  13. Thanks.

    And yes, it is sad to see someone die from something that with the proper help and treatment could have been cured, or at the very least controlled.

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  14. I lieks both kinds-- kuntree and westren.

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  15. Kewl beens, BB, kewl beens...

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  16. Did he like George Jones? I was dragged to one of his concerts once and found that I liked his music very much.

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  17. I'm pretty sure he did. He was really into most kinds of old timey country music, and I believe George Jones fell into that category.

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  18. I know ths sounds nuts but I was a BIG Lena Zavaroni fan. I loved her voice, and followed her career. Her death was tragic. My father was going to a Labour conference being held in Brighton, and Lena was at the stage entrance trying to get in but they wouldn't let her through because no one recognised her. :(

    I talked about her and showed a video back in 2008 on my Joe Tube blog.

    http://llcooljoetube.blogspot.com/search?q=Lena

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  19. Joe: I thought the album was pretty decent for someone her age. I just thought it was very weird that my grandfather had this in his record collection. And I thought it was even more wierd that it was on label (Stax) that was more primarily knownd for soul and R&B.

    I will check out the video link, thanks.

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  20. These vinyl posts do fascinate me, especially with the label research! I have a pile of aged country like Marty Robbins, Buck Owens, Patsy, Cash ect from a friend's uncle who lost his house n couldn't take it.

    Thanks for that link.
    Also thanks Joe for that vid clip!

    I have a younger cousin in Maine alive today because of loving treatment given for Annorexia Nervosa after she almost died several times n was hospitalized for over a year- a tough disease to deal with!

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  21. I acquired some Buck Owens too. Great stuff.

    I will always enjoy doing the vinyl posts because vinyl is what makes my world go 'round.

    As for Anorexia Nervosa, that is something I'll have to watch out for in my daughter.

    She's only 9, but does figure skating and dancing, and the last thing I want is for her to go through this simply because some dumb ass coach told her she was fat or something.

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