Monday, 11 October 2010

Those were the days when L.P. vinyl records ruled the roost

A couple of days back, while browsing through the shelves in Reliance Times Out in Gurgaon, I came across two C.D. packs titled: “40 Evergreen Super Oldies”, and , “ The Greatest Super Oldies”. What caught my eyes were the tracks, Mona Lisa by Nat King Cole, Jamaica Farewell by Cliff Richards, Those Were The Days by Mary Hopkins, and More Than I can say by Bobby Vee. These besides many more used to be my favourite numbers when I was a child, and I remember how we used to hum these songs. When I brought these C.Ds. home and played them, everyone began to hum and sing along. My children were surprised that we knew the wordings to the oldies! My parents were transported to another world when they heard these classics, and my Dad waxed sentimental because he had the best collection of the numbers of the oldies, which were not so old in the seventies!

Yes, I remember that my Dad had what was called a spool tape recorder. It was a Sony and there were these huge spools that had to be threaded properly. While one spool contained the tape, the second spool was the empty spool on to which the tape would be wound. The sound quality of the spool tape recorder was superb. Then there was a Philips record changer. It was a record player which could play eight vinyl records in succession! I remember that we had a wonderful collection of records of The Beatles, Rolling Stones, James Last, Mary Hopkins…and many others! What I liked about the record player was that static hiss which is so distinct to the sound of vinyl records! The cassette recorder was not a great priority  with us, but nevertheless we had a Sanyo Cassette recorder and a large number of cassettes. Unfortunately, when my parents returned to India from Ethiopia after retirement, they had to leave behind their music collection as the equipment weighed a lot and there was a limit to the amount they could carry by plane.

Today, whenever I visit Planet M, or Landmark, or Reliance Times Out, I try looking for the oldies that formed part of my parents’ music collection. Often I come across some C.Ds. with a few number that set me humming, and I grab them. Yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised to see a collection of Vinyl records on sale in Reliance Times Out. It seems as though Vinyl might after all be making a return, after all who can forget that distinct static hiss of a vinyl record? Unfortunately I don’t have a record player today. The record player’s place has been taken by the numerous C.D. / D.V.D. players that I have, whether  in my Lap top or Desktop, or Music system. To make matters more confusing is that I have my own I Pod, and my children too have theirs! This explosion of a variety of music systems has left one very confused!

Yes, those were definitely were the days when listening to music became a very exclusive moment. You didn’t have portable devices, so you had to enjoy music at home.  In those days, you had wall mounted speakers, or speakers that were placed on the floor, and the speakers had a good wooden cabinet which enhanced the acoustics! The Cassette tapes were Sony, Sanyo, Phillips and TDK. The Spool tapes were TDK or BASF or Philips, the vinyl records were HMV,and Polydor . His Master’s Voice and High Fidelity were common captions. Today, HDACD means High Definition Audio C.D. and Mp3 means that you can have about two hundred songs on a single C.D. but the compression means that you lose sound quality! So, what will it be for you, C.D. or a Vinyl Record, well unfortunately, you probably won’t get to hear a Vinyl Record, so the C.D. or the D.V.D. will do for now, or perhaps the Blue Ray….?

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