My family was so authentic 1970’s. We had the GMC camper in varying shades of green, successfully raised a collection of hermit crabs and were fond of all things Anne Murray on 8-track.

As much of my musical upbringing was monitored by my Baptist mother’s attempt to leave me unblemished and my father’s ability to choose his battles wisely, I admitted defeat and became a big fan of whatever it was that they were listening to at the time. ABBA, of course, was huge in our house as I believe the sexual innuendo was mild enough so as not to pose a threat to my chastity. Christopher Cross, Sailing? Press repeat, please. And one could never get enough of Roger Whittaker, master whistler extraordinaire, whom I have officially invited to my 40th birthday party.

Once the vinyl records and 8-tracks were replaced with tapes and cd’s with digital downloads, I lost track of my roots and started listening to music that was a little less supper club and a little more age appropriate. I would occasionally browse on Ebay, thinking I might find a used copy of Juice Newtons’ Greatest Hits as “Playing With The Queen of Hearts” was my personal anthem throughout third grade. But hearing it once would be enough and so the respite continued until…..

One day, while looking for some books at The Brown Elephant, I walk by their shelves of records, and  I spot this:

Chicago Commercial Photographer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I could recognize that smile, those glasses anywhere. Oh, what delight. We had this same record growing up and now I could claim this as my own for the incredibly, guilt-free, low price of 50 cents. Once I got home and listened to both sides, I had to go from Side A to B, again and again. It was incredible in a Kevin Costner, can’t stop watching Waterworld every time it’s on TNT, kind of way.

So, to feed my new new obsession, I immediately returned to the thrift store in search of more records that would help me recuperate my musical past. And for this, I have to thank bad album cover art.

I cannot lie, I have searched for my favorites and am now the proud owner of “The Original Songs of Burt Bacharach” on vinyl but I have also done a bit of expanding as well. The key is that all purchases must meet a certain level of cover art entertainment value and thus far I have pretty much nailed it.

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Oh, ABBA. Jazz hands were not acceptable back then nor are they now. However, you are all forgiven as you have gifted us with “Dancing Queen” which can make even the least coordinated of dancers feel as though there might be hope.

I was under the impression that the late Lou Rawls’ talents were limited to hosting telethons and a steady stream of top 40 hits through the late 70’s. Wrong again. This dude can sing with so much class that when he tells me “You’ll never find another love like mine,” I believe him though I’d never even met the man.

Dionne Warwick? A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Yes, the pre “That’s What Friends Are For” Dionne is now a personal favorite. Her version of “Hey Jude” can tear you up and have you doing Bridget Jones style air drums in a matter of 2 minutes and 34 seconds. Note, the first of the three photos of Ms. Dionne. Is this not the same pose we see displayed by all teenage girls on the Facebook machine? Umm, move over Paris Hilton, you are no innovator.

But really, it all comes back to Anne Murray. My parents were fond of her because she sang about the familiar in a gentle way and unlike some of the present pop music, never sprinkled in the f-bomb for shock value. Personally, I am a big fan of mixing feathered hair and acoustic harmonies since you simply can’t go wrong with this combination. But mostly, I think that like my parents, I am fond of the familiar and have a pretty good eye for music.