Girl Put Your Records On

       One of the few things I miss about work is that the daily commute guaranteed me an hour of music every day, half an hour in the morning to rev up and half an hour after to wind down.   As I drove along a rural highway with no stop signs I could set the car to auto-pilot and zone out.  Now the only dose of music I get is my on my I-Pod if and when I walk – not a good track record so far this year although I enjoy it if I do.   My playlist might be classical, big band, oldies but goodies, 60/70/80’s, country,  or musicals but that small dose of music always lifts my spirits.   If I’m in the car running errands I don’t even turn the radio on as I don’t like much of what’s played.   I have an older model Honda, so no Apple Car Play or Sirius, nor do I Spotify, stream or bark instructions to Alexa at home.   I guess I’ve gotten out of the habit of listening to music. 

While cleaning out the basement this past winter I came across a stack of old records, which I searched through recently for a copy of Tapestry by Carole King – there was a tribute show at the theater which had sold out.  Every teenage girl in the 70’s owned this record, but it must have belonged to my sister with whom I shared a room growing up (although there was a line dividing said room), as no copy was to be found.  

Included in this treasure trove of oldies but goodies are three albums dating from the fifties which belonged to my mother.    When I say albums, this is what I mean,

leather bound books with sleeves containing individual 78’s.   For those of you unfamiliar, 78’s were the old thick breakable records which only held one song.   There was an A side and a less popular B side.   Looking through them, I remember a few of the songs, but I have no idea if they are worth anything now or even what to do with them.

78’s were eventually replaced by 45’s (smaller versions with one song and a plastic thing which fit the hole in the middle), and 33 LP’s which were the extended play albums with many songs which the boomers may remember growing up.   While I’ve been on a few Is-Your-Record-Worth-Anything sites, they all want you to register and list and describe your gems which must be in pristine condition.    My memory of these is that they were  worn and scratchy even then – they certainly look well-used.   

I thought I might listen to a few for old times sake, as I still have one of those Sears Record/Tape/CD combo units in the basement somewhere, but apparently you can ruin the stylus on a 33 record player by playing an old 78.  I’m also somewhat ashamed to admit that my Pioneer turntable and speakers from university is down there too.   My parents bought it for me in second year as they had bought one for my older sister, but I had 32 hours of classes and labs and was hardly ever in my room other than to sleep and study.   The Pioneer set-up cost a pretty penny back then, roughly the same price as tuition I recall.   Some years ago I had some interest in it from a younger colleague whose hobby was frequenting record-stores – in retrospect I should have sold it to him, as there it sits in the original boxes taking up space, large speakers and all.  

I promised JP, a fellow blogger (link to JP’s blog) that I would report on my basement findings, so here goes.   Now I should mention that JP is a jazz/music expert, as well as being a lawyer and a contrarian (his words).   The Button Up Your Overcoat song on my recent coat blog, served as the muse for his post on the many recordings of that song from 1929 to the present day.  Although I’m not much of a jazz person, I particularly enjoy JP’s dry sense of humor.   His posts Dear Queen Elizabeth,  in which he writes a letter to the Queen suggesting that he and his Mrs. change places with Harry and Megan, No Fair, in which he once again fails to attend his state fair despite living a few miles away, and the brilliantly written Quitting the Newspaper, a step by step guide to cancelling a subscription, are among the funniest I’ve ever read.   As we all need more humor and music in this time of COVID craziness, be sure to check out his blog. 

No pressure, JP – I don’t think any of these ancient relics are jazz – except maybe Baubles, Bangles and Beads (Side A) and Somebody Bad Stole Da Wedding Bell (Side B).   

records old - Baubles Bangles and Beads

Although I’ve never heard of Georgia Gibbs, I vaguely remember this song, so it must have been one of the ones we played a lot, plus it looks quite beat up.

There’s some Gene Autry – Have I Told You Lately That I Love You/Someday You’ll Want Me to Want you, and of course Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer/If It Doesn’t Snow on Christmas.    These were so popular, they can hardly be worth anything, kind of like Michael Jackson’s Thriller – everyone had them.   Many copies means less money, honey. 

Then there’s old Bing.    Silver Bells/That Christmas Feeling, Silent Night/Adeste Fideles/Oh Come All Ye Faithful, and Dear Hearts and Gentle People/Mule Train, from a movie soundtrack, Chattanoogie Shoeshine Boy/Bibbidi-Bobbii-Bo – was that from Cinderella?

records old - Rosemary Clooney

And of course, Bing reminds me of Rosemary Clooney.    I always loved her in White Christmas, but the best we can do is This Ole House – something which would have come in handy when I was renovating.   Hey There is on the flip side.

records old   Tennessee Waltz

Tennessee Waltz, but alas not by the popular Patti Page, but by Jimmie and Leon Short.   Long Gone Daddy is on the B side. 

Burl Ives – Blue Tail Fly and I’m Going Down the Road and other side Big Rock Candy Mountain, again from a musical Sing Out Sweet Land.  I only know Burl Ives from his Christmas classics.   

records old - coconut song

I do remember I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts, (Fred Heatherton), but my version was from a seedy bar, The Brunswick, which we would occasionally frequent near campus.   Beer was 50 cents in the more upscale upstairs and the downstairs entertainment by one of the regular patrons dressed in a long grass skirt, was well – best not described but you can imagine from the lyrics, and this was long before the days of karaoke.   

records old  Perry Como

Here’s another one I remember, the alphabet song, A – Your Adorable – Perry Como, When is Sometime on B side.    

That’s it for what I recognize.    The rest are: Old Shep/My Queen of Prairies,  The Life and Death of John Dillinger/Awaiting the Chair (both Wilf Carter), The Cry of the Wild Goose/The Donkey Serenade (Tennessee Ernie),  Riders in the Sky/Single Saddle (Vaughn Monroes), Soldiers Joy/Flowers of Edinburg (Don Messier), Anniversary Song (Larry Douglas), Peg of My Heart (Floyd Sherman),  Deck of Cards/Somebody Else Not me (Phil Harris), Bouquet of Roses/Texarkana Baby (Eddy Arnold), Cruising Down the River/Sunflower (Russ Morgan).   There’s A Bluebird on your Windowsill (Elizabeth Clark).   Blue Skirtz Waltz/Charlie was a Boxer (Frankie Yankoose and his Yanks).    Many of these are backed by orchestras, and others sound like country and western, but I don’t remember my parents listening to much C&W, well not until Kenny Rogers.   My mother has no recollection of any of these.  They didn’t have much money in their early married years, so perhaps these were bargain bin finds or one hit wonders.   She does remember watching Hit Parade on Saturdays nights, and there is one record that just says Popular Hit Parade – Go On With the Wedding/Lullaby of Birdland and Why Do Fools Fall in Love/Chain Gang, with no singer’s name.   I find it odd that none of the records are dated, although many of them were minted in Canada, often Montreal, and certainly there are no album covers to provide clues as they are stored in individual sleeves.    

I do remember most of the children’s music, probably because I was not yet in school but in charge of keeping my younger brother entertained.   I have a  vague memory of these being played on a small portable record player which even a young child could operate.   Later when in the 60’s we had a tabletop record player with built-in speakers, and later still one of those big wooden stereo cabinets with an 8 track player. 

records old Horace the Horse

Horace the Horse was always fun, as it’s all about perspective folks.   Poor Horace was sad that he was the last horse on the merry-go-round, but when he turned around, he saw he was actually the first!   (link to song)

records old childrens

Pete Petersen’s House, was also a favorite – I remember it as a fast-paced tune.    Did You ever See a Lassie, On Top of Old Smokey, Oh Susanna, Clementine – the names alone bring back a flood of memories. 

records old - musicals

Cue forward to the 60’s and the first album I bought with my own money – Oliver – I wore that record out.    Music musicals were big that decade.   

records 45's sixties hits

We bought 45’s as they were cheaper, and you didn’t get stuck with a bunch of filler songs you didn’t like.     Black Velvet Band – Irish Rovers.  This Guy’s in Love – Herb Albert.   Harper Valley PTA (the lyrics were considered scandalous).  Pleasant Valley Sunday – the Monkees.   Abraham, Martin and John (my grade 8 teacher was a hippy and music was her poetry).

old records albums 60's

My parents listened to adult contemporary:   

records old - Christmas

And who can forget the old Christmas albums, Andy Williams and Sing along with Mitch which came on Saturday nights. 

Then came the 70’s and the Cadillac of Stereo Systems which was the envy of all my dorm-mates.  On Friday nights if we stayed in we might break out any of these, but more likely they were played during the getting-ready-to-go-out part of the evening.

records old albums 70's

The 70’s decade started with Rod Stewart and ended with disco.

records old albums 70's Thriller was probably the last album I bought.  

old records albums - 70's and 80's

I know these are worth anything, as visit any record store and there are tons of them.   We’ll have to wait another 100 years, I guess. 

By the mid-80’s tapes and Sony Walkmans were in and yes, they’re still down there too, along with a box of CD’s.   The question is what do I do with all this old stuff that nobody wants?   I know I could advertise them online but I try to avoid those Kijiji-like sites ever since that poor man got murdered here trying to sell his truck, and now with social distancing and all.   So back down to the basement they all go.   In the meantime, this post has reminded me that I need to have more music in my life – “Girl put your records on, tell me your favorite song….”

Corinne Bailey Rae – Put Your Records On. 

36 thoughts on “Girl Put Your Records On

    • Joni says:

      You are way too young to remember any of these Debbie. I had stuff set aside for a yard sale in May/June but have been slowly regifting it to whoever wants it.
      I’m donating a bunch of garden pots and stuff to the horiticultural sale (so far cancelled). Kitchen stuff can go to the women’s interval home. I’m thinking it will be six months before the virus threat is gone, if ever? Our first five local cases here, all in hospital, so I’m thinking that’s the only patients they are testing now. It makes it hit home. I worry about you guys on the front lines.


  1. Jo Shafer says:

    Oh, my goodness, Joni! “Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy” and “Bauble, Bangles, and Beads”! Not to mention Gene Autrey and Perry Como. I was always going to grow up and marry Perry Como and listen to him croon me to sleep . . .

    Well, back to reality. I do turn on the car radio because it’s set to NPR — that is, Northwest Public Radio out of Pullman, Washington — just like the house radio and my computer. Always the classics. But were they to play Como, I’d probably simply swoon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it Jo. I’m going to listen to the Chattanogga song on youtube if it’s there. There were so many songs I didn’t have time to look them all up, but lots of time now.


  2. Ally Bean says:

    I remember records like these. All of the ones you featured. We had 78s and 45s and 33s. I remember Burl Ives singing Big Rock Candy Mountain, but I didn’t listen to Horace the Horse. I had The Partridge Family Album and the Sound of Music soundtrack, whose lyrics are permanently programmed into my brain. What a wonderful post. Thanks for a trip down memory lane via your basement.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      I’m happy it brought back some memories for you Ally! Funny I don’t remember that Burl Ives tune, but I’ll check it out on youtube. Horace the Horse was my favorite when it listened to it all the lyrics came back instantly 60 years later!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. J P says:

    First, thank you so much for the multiple compliments and generous praise. It is always a thrill when the author of a high-quality blog recognizes my own efforts.

    And wow – this subject today is like crack cocaine to me. I have always had an unnatural attraction to old records of all kinds, and you brought me back to those dives I used to go on at the thrift stores in the 1970s when everyone was clearing their homes of unwanted old junk. Those old 78 rpm discs were stacked high and I would go through them regularly. I eventually figured out what you know – that they were all basically worthless (because of being common and because of iffy condition) but they were a cheap way to sample old bands and groups I had never heard.

    I was given a batch of old 78s to play when I was a kid – I think they came from either my dad or his sister. And of course Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer was there – didn’t everyone own that at one time? This was the version that put that song on the map.

    I recognize several of the titles. I think Vaughan Monroe’s Riders In The Sky was the top hit record of 1948 or 49. And did you note that the singer on Freddy Martin’s I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts is the very same Merv Griffin who was quite famous as a talk show host in the 1960s-70s?

    Several of these are from the 50s as the 78 rpm era was winding down. The LP and the 45 were out by 1948-50 and took over quickly, but not everyone went out and replaced their equipment right away. I think the last 78 rpm record was made in 1957, at least in the US.

    I must stop, or I could go on this topic all day. One last thing, I loved the Monkees 45. They recorded on the Colgems label in the US. I know this because More Of The Monkees was my own very first album purchase with my own money when I was in the second or third grade.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thanks for the compliment JP….and I hope the “crack cocaine” doesn’t interfere with your lawyerly duties today! I didn’t notice that about Merv Griffin – I guess I didn’t read down far enough on the label and noted the wrong artist as there were three names? I may take some time and explore some of the songs on youtube this weekend and maybe they will come back to me. My parents were married in 1952, so some of these probably belonged to my mother before her marriage and hence would date from the late 40’s. I was too young for the (early) Beatles but remember the Monkees quite well. Now get back to work! (If you are indeed still working? – we are in lockdown here, including most courts, other than essential services)

      Liked by 1 person

      • J P says:

        Well yes, I was working (at lunch actually). That 1949-53-ish era was a dead zone for jazz as popular music. Your mother’s musical tastes were much like my mother’s (a 1951 high school grad). It is an interesting window into a musical period I have a hard time working up enthusiasm over, but there was some good stuff there (as there always is).

        I did not mention Phil Harris before. You would know him as the voice of Baloo the bear in Disney’s 1968 version of The Jungle Book. He was an Indiana native who was a fixture on the Jack Benny radio show into the early 1950s, playing a bandleader (of course) who was a hipster on the edge of being a scam artist. He was more entertainer than musician, but I always found him fun.

        I have a few old kids’ records too, that were probably my fathers. I used to listen to those a lot. Those might actually be worth something if they are in decent condition (mine are not) because so few of them survived their first customers.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        You know when I was compiling the list, the name Phil Harris seemed familiar for some reason, so that must be it. I was never a big fan of The Jungle Book, having seen it twice, 30 years apart when it was re-released. My little brother loved that movie, and I think I might still have the book somewhere. Good point re many of the kids records not surviving their owners! If you still have them, you might blog about them sometime? I seem to have stirred up memories with some of mine.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Dave says:

    Well that was a nostalgic little journey through yesteryear, Joni. I have a collection of laserdiscs in my basement (the precursor to the DVD). The last one I bought was in the early 1990’s. Like your records I don’t think they have any value, but maybe I’ll blog through them like you did. Some of your tunes bring back fond memories. Harper Valley PTA… oh my.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thanks Dave…..I’ve never heard of the laserdiscs? Only VHS tapes. I remember my dad being mad at us for buying the Harper Valley PTA song – as the lyrics were tres shocking!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. annieasksyou says:

    This was a lot of work, Joni! And some of it brought back memories. I do remember .”Her Nibs, Miss Georgia Gibbs,”
    and so many others.

    But I didn’t know Corinne Rae. What a nice video introduction and pleasant ending to your post.

    I wish you were here to rummage through my basement, but you wouldn’t find any gems like these!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thanks Annie. I think that song was out in 2006 or 2008 and she won a Grammy for it, but I don’t know any of her other work. I don’t know anything about Georgina Gibbs so I’ll have to look her up. I’d love to rummage through your basement! Someone else’s junk is someone else’s treasure!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Linda Schaub says:

    Wow Joni – I think you covered soup to nuts in the recording industry as this was a smorgasbord of music.

    I don’t have any more of my albums as I got rid of the stereo equipment when I got the computer hutch set-up downstairs and that was right after Y2K. I waited to buy my computer until I knew it was “safe”. My parents had the stereo on every Sunday – my father put it on when he got up Sunday a.m., stacked all the records on the spindle and pretty much the same LPs played all day long, every Sunday, and he flipped them over for the other side of the album. The reason I believe they were stacked is he would be reading the Sunday paper most of the day and I don’t recall him going downstairs to change albums. Since it was downstairs, it reverberated through the house. They also had some of the the 78 RPM records – I remember seeing them as a kid. And my records as a kid (the 45s) were Christmas music like “Frosty”, “Rudolph” and “I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” – I can remember the 45s were various colors, like blue for “Frosty”, red for “Rudolph”. I saw some albums here my parents had like “Sing Along With Mitch” and the Andy Williams and Patsy Cline albums. I would know all these by heart, even today. They liked the easy listening (Jim Reeves was big – they had all of his albums) and also the old-time country crooners, like Hank Snow, Hank Williams, Sr. and Patsy Cline too.

    Their stereo was Danish-style furniture and I kept it after he left and I had a small system upstairs in my room, but had to listen on headphones – my parents did not share my taste in music. I had “Tapesty” and several Chicago and when I cleaned out the basement after the insulation job/mess, I decided to get rid of the suitcase-style carrier that contained all my 45s – I contacted an oldies radio station and asked if they would like them maybe as decor for the station and never got an answer. What a shame – all those Bobby Sherman songs, Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man” that I’m surprised still had grooves as I played it so much, and “Snoopy the Red Baron” to name a few. Thank you for the nice trip down memory lane – I can tell you put a lot of work into this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      What did you do with your old records then Linda? Garbage or thrift shop? Ah…Bobby Sherman – I had forgotten about him. I’ll try and gmail you tomorrow – am way behind in Reader and want to watch the National tonight so I can scare myself with COVID statistics before bed. Hope you are surviving your work week.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I threw them out Joni as I read something somewhere if you have not used an item for 5 years, time for it to go. Clothes are exempt though (for me). The records were in a vertical carrying case which was divided into two sides, about fifty 45s in their jackets on each side. What a shame! Yes Bobby Sherman – ah indeed. And he and his brothers in “Here Come the Brides” … he went on to be a police officer after his years of fame. At least he did not end up like David Cassidy, another teenage heartthrob. I wrote you a little bit ago to say it was a difficult week work wise and like you I am listening to the news too much and it is causing angst the more I hear. The stats are overwhelming and scary. I never thought I’d be happy to sequester myself in the house to listen to music and do housework. Go ahead and feel my forehead.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I am listening now and it is 10:00 p.m. – birds of a feather are we. But I have a need to want to know the latest like you, although I did push away today and put on more music … they have just cancelled the Auto Show in Detroit. This is the first year they were going to have it in a warm month, usually it’s in January. So it was to be June 7th to 20th. We finally got FEMA help, just today, and FEMA is going to use the venue as a field hospital and also said not good to move the auto show anywhere else as too much danger of close crowds with the C-virus. Scary as it is three months from now. We are in for some volatile weather overnight – just watched the tornado in Jonesboro, Arkansas on Accuweather’s website. We had rain most of the day and it’s been thundering a good part of the evening so I just got here a short time ago.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Thank you Joni – I have saved this link and will go back and try some of the things they suggested – I appreciate you sending it to me. I am behind in Reader, didn’t finish last night and not been there today yet. I like that it looks like you can do the justification more quickly (at the same time you create a new paragraph). I like the justified right margin, but you have to go and justify each paragraph separately. With a long post, it takes a while to do this. Soon it will be a year since I went to the “dark side” believing I’d get it over with before I had to learn Windows 10 and the new accounting system at work. I could have spared myself a year of frustration!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. ruthsoaper says:

    Five years ago when my husbands mother passed away he inherited her album collection. I’m guessing there are around 40 records from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. My husband told my daughter, who is a musician, that she could have them but he would like to listen to them first. Since we neither we nor she had a turntable she bought one last year and gave it to us so we could listen to them. We were able to hook it up to our Bose stereo and we did listen to some of them. About a 6 weeks ago we gave her back the turntable and she said she is saving (or was when she was still working) to get some speakers because it would be a real treat for her to listen to those old vinyl albums.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      I find a lot of young people, esp. musicians seem to like the old vinyl records….they consider it vintage! Going to bed, I’m tired and scared from listening to the evening news….both Michigan and Ontario seem hard hit, being border towns. It’s scary out there. Keep safe.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ruthsoaper says:

        I’ve been intentionally limiting my news time. I keep aware of what is going on but too much listening stresses me out. If I want to stay sane I have to turn it off. Listening to music a lot. Take care – I hope you slept well.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s