Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Friday, 25 April 2014

A Record of the Past

The picture of my brother is from c1962, judging by the record albums on display. My brother is eight years older than me and at that time was a big fan of Buddy Holly, Elvis and Don Gibson, so I grew up with that music.

By the time I was a teenager myself I was moving from Tamla Motown, to heavy rock, and then folk as I discovered the delights of the record player. This may explain why my taste in music is somewhat eclectic to this day.

This would have been taken by my father, and probably specifically to capture my brother’s music hobby and range of albums. Thank goodness he did, because the picture is full of detail of our family Living Room that would otherwise be rather shadowy memories.

The corner unit was made by Dad to house the ‘entertainment’ section of the room. As well as TV, there was a bright red reel-to-reel tape recorder with which we had hours of fun. It was used to record a 1970 Christmas message to my great uncle in Australia and I later transferred it, via c90 tape and CD, to digital. When I play it now I can hear my own grandfather talking to his brother and my newly born niece murmuring in her cot. There too are my youthful-sounding parents and a teenage me, all recorded in that very room.

The record player belonged to my brother; he gave it to me when he left home and it went to college with me in 1970, only being superseded by my pride and joy in1973, a Fidelity UA3 Radio Master which was of course stereo! Yes, those albums my brother is playing would all have been mono recordings and we were yet to discover the exciting stereo sound. On the shelf below is a rack of singles; the albums were on a separate unit. On the armchair is Buddy Holly’s final album, ‘That’ll Be The Day’ and my brother is holding Elvis Presley’s '50,000,000 Million Elvis Fans Can’t be Wrong’. Between the television and the record player is Elvis's 'Blue Hawaii'. I remember seeing the film at the local cinema and I believe I can still sing most of the songs. That’s a Hank Williams EP in front of the books, 'Sing me a Blue Song’, but I can’t identify the album beneath Buddy Holly.

In January last year we had some fun on my blog trying to identify the title of the album  I am holding in this 1974-5 photograph. The mystery was eventually solved, as one or two of my readers will remember. I used it to illustrate a poem I’d written, Just For the Record.

We no longer own any vinyl albums, except for one, my husband’s copy of The Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road', but we’ve nothing to play it on and I think it would be full of clicks and clunks.

Join us this week on Sepia Saturday, where you can see what other contributors made of the musical prompt below. Time for a 'Jukebox Saturday Night’.


  1. Nice. I don't have any record player or vinyl either. I gave away the last to my sister who still has a working stereo.

  2. Gosh you guys - I still have a stack of 45s, and LPs of everything from "The Doodletown Pipers" to "Bob Crewe" to "101 Strings" & more AND a turntable to play them on. I also have a stack of reel-to-reel tapes I need to find someway to put on CDs. Not willing to leave all of the past behind, I guess.

  3. Hello:

    This is certainly a trip down memory lane which does, as you may imagine, revive memories for us too. We were, in our teens, both great friends of Buddy Holly [did he die in some aeroplane or motor car crash?] and remember very clearly 45s and LPs.

    But how fascinating that you have a recording of your grandfather speaking to his brother after all of these years.

  4. Vinyl sales are increasing, a lot of new albums are also released on vinyl nowadays. If you want to own only one LP then Abbey Road is an excellent choice, if you cannot play it then you can still enjoy the famous cover!

  5. Great photo! It inspired me to do a bit of Googling. The Elvis album is - as you said - "Elvis' Golden Records volume 2", aka "50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong", released in November 1959. Looks like the "Red Spot" release…
    Image here.

    The Hank Willams single is "Sing Me A Blue Song", from 1957.

    And… that's a 7" 3M reel of Scotch 150 polyester tape underneath :)

    It's funny to think this photo was taken just before The Beatles formed.

  6. Fun post! I am sorry I gave away all our vinyl to a neighbour who was a DJ in the mid 90s.

  7. I sold my record player and gave away my records when I moved twenty years ago. I have just been trying to decide whether I should throw away my cassettes. I do have something to play them on, but I haven't played them for many years.

  8. A super back-story for a photo. If you had not pointed out the television I would have missed it. A similar photo from today would show a boy wearing earbuds and holding a smartphone. I still have hundreds of records albums and can remember their distinctive covers and music. But sadly my record player gets little use as most music in the house gets streamed over the our home WiFi network.

  9. What a diverse group of people we are, all with different memories of the fifties. An interesting post.

  10. I saved only a few albums but I never play them. Our stereo has a turntable that was a source of curiosity for my daughters. They wanted to play an album once and had no idea how to place the needle on the record. Crash -- screeech. Oh yeah, record players were before their time.

  11. My husband got a record player like that for his 21st birthday. These posts are bringing back so many memories

  12. I still have my old records, and we bought a cheap record player not long ago to play them on, complete with USB port to transfer them into digital files, but haven't got around to listening to many yet. Too many things to do, too little time ...

  13. My second job (at 20 yrs. old) was at a record company. They actually made the records right there including pouring the hot wax! I worked in the art dept. and got to design a few covers- only one of which I still have. The offices were upstairs from the factory. This was in Los Angeles (Watts- where the riots would occur several years later). Loved your post- as you can see it took me back. You look so familiar in that photo.