Saturday Single No. 22

Originally posted July 21, 2007

It’s been a little more than seven years since we met, the Texas Gal and I. And it’s been a little more than six years since we merged our two households into one, on the first day of June in 2001.

We were both in our forties by the time we met, and when we put our stuff together in our first apartment in the Twin Cities, there was, as one might expect, a lot of duplication. Over a period of a few months, we sorted stuff, winnowing out the duplicated, the damaged and the ugly (the latter most notably in the mélange of furniture I’d collected over the years).

Not all of the stuff we sorted out as unnecessary was thrown out, of course. Our local thrift shop got lots of surplus towels and sheets, as well as some housewares. We left lots of stuff in boxes marked “free” in the laundry room of our apartment building; nearly all of it was gone in a couple of days. And to this day, there are boxes in the garage filled with things that one or the other of us once used almost every day. Someday, we keep saying, we’ll pull those boxes out and sort through them.

The one area, however, where we had not sorted out the duplicates was our records. I don’t think that was due to any misgivings in either of us about the durability of our partnership; we are bonded to each other. But early on, we just filed the Texas Gal’s records – about twenty had survived from the times before she switched to cassettes – into the stacks and forgot about them. Until yesterday.

I spent about an hour looking through the LP log, finding the duplicates, pulling them from the shelves and then assessing which record and which jacket were in better shape. The lesser copy, we had decided earlier in the day, we would sell at the only local shop that buys used records. I ended up with a stack of twenty-six records to offer.

As I sorted through the duplicates, I was pretty sure that there were some that the shop wouldn’t buy: There were none that I saw with real gouges, but there were surface scrapes enough to make more than half of the records, I guessed, less than desirable. But I put them in the stack anyway.

The results were pretty much what I thought they would be. We had duplicates of some Doobie Brothers, Three Dog Night, Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks and the Bee Gees. But I also pulled out some duplicates that I had bought on my own: a copy of the reggae soundtrack The Harder They Come, a copy of Shawn Phillips’ Second Contribution, and three extra copies of Laura Nyro’s Christmas and the Beads of Sweat (I evidently kept forgetting I had already bought it and grabbed it every time I saw it).

So out the door I went, heading to the local emporium, taking along a few surplus DVDs as well. My suspicions were justified. The clerk there took a pass on more than half of the records. We didn’t get a lot of money.

That wasn’t really the point, the money. The point was that by pulling the duplicates we brought along with us six years ago, my records and her records are now our records (the same thing happened long ago with the CDs). By this time, neither one of us doubts the permanency of our life together, so clearing out the duplicate records is a small point, I guess, but there it is.

And in that spirit, having gone back and listened to some of the tunes we’d duplicated, I’ve decided to share “Sunlight,” one of Three Dog Night’s prettiest love songs, as this week’s Saturday Single.

Three Dog Night – “Sunlight” [1970]


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