Big Star – #1 Record (1972)
It’s been said before I’m sure, but one of the great things about owning a record player is how it slows down the speed of life. It’s a bit like driving an old car; the vinyl bench seat across the front and the column shift on the wheel, the motor must warm up properly before the journey begins. Driving this kind of vehicle takes time, patience and care. There’s a certain mood that comes with this, a calmness. It is the same with a record player. It’s not an inconvenience to sort through the vinyl albums displayed on my lounge room shelf and then carefully extricate the blackened wax from the sleeve, it’s a prayer.
There’s something about the movement too. My record player sits on an altar where an open fire might sit and it serves a similar purpose. It’s an energy source yes, but it’s something about the repetitive movement. The circling wobble that just keeps going round and round. Different to the radio or the iPod, with a record on, I can turn the whole house off and stare into the wobble for hours like you can do with an open flame. Then it’s up to the music to take you somewhere else.
I recently came across the Big Star ‘#1 Record’. It was a gift from a friend of mine. I knew of the album, but had never heard it before, but as soon as I put it on I knew it was my kind of album. I felt right at home. Released in 1972, this record does that most rare and wonderful thing where it takes you straight back to that time and place- in your imagination at least. The songs are great, the musicality wondrous and the singing is far out, man. It also has the song “The Ballad of El Goodo” which may be one of the greatest pop songs ever written. It’s an album I have only played through the prayer of my record player; once the engine warms I roll out of the garage and head down the highway at a steady speed. Destination anywhere.