Saturday Single No. 143

Originally posted August 1, 2009

As it happened, I never found a Saturday during July to explore the record log, to see what LPs have made their ways to my shelves in Julys past. There was a perfectly good reason for that: There were more immediate, and perhaps more interesting, things to write about on Saturdays in July. So we’ll celebrate August’s start with a look at July records. (Long-term readers with good memories may recall that I once shared a First Friday post on a Saturday, so this type of temporal dislocation is nothing new. We’re all lost in time, anyway.)

My first July records came in 1972, when I picked up a copy of The Beatles’ Second Album and an album titled A Special Path, recorded and released by Becky Severson, a high school classmate of mine. The Beatles album was the next-to-last step in my quest to own all of the Fab Four’s Capitol and Apple albums; all that remained was A Hard Day’s Night. (I misremembered; I had yet to pick up Beatles VI as well. Note added February 21, 2019.) The Becky Severson album was a simple, folkish work, testifying to her Christian faith. Its title song surfaced years later, a tale that I told here in 2007.

It was another three years before July found a new record on my shelves. I’ve told the story before about how Paul William’s Just An Old Fashioned Love Song came to my attention in 1975. And I’ve also told – obliquely – the story about a friend giving me Roberta Flack’s Killing Me Softly in July of 1976. (I often wonder how many tales about music I have left to tell; if I have one for every four of the albums on my shelves, I’m good for a few years yet.) And in July of 1977, as I was finishing up my time at St. Cloud State, KVSC was giving away promotional albums the staff had decided against: I got the Bee Gees’ Children of the World and Neil Diamond’s Beautiful Noise.

I moved to Monticello, and in July of 1978, my fiancée of the time gave me Jackson Browne’s Late For The Sky (a superlative album, and I wonder as I type its name why I’ve never written about it).  The next July albums came in 1982, flea market captures of America’s Homecoming and Carly Simon’s No Secrets. A year later, I received as a gift a big band anthology, Big Band Collector’s Guild Premiere Showcase, which I enjoyed a fair amount.

I went to Missouri to go to grad school. I bought no records during the one July I was there, and I went back to Monticello and bought no records during the two Julys I was there that second time. I moved, for the summer of 1987, to St. Cloud. It was there that the Bob Dylan project started, with a lady friend of mine and I determined to get all of Dylan’s existing work on vinyl before CD’s overtook the world. In July of that year, we picked up Infidels and Another Side of Bob Dylan. They went with me to Minot in August of 1987.

In Minot during July of 1988, I bought five LPs. The best of those was likely Paul Simon’s Graceland and the most interesting was probably Suzanne Vega’s Solitude Standing. Elton John, Creedence Clearwater Revival and the New Riders of the Purple Sage rounded things out.

By the time the spring of 1989 came sneaking into the northern plains, new LPs were becoming very difficult to find in Minot, as I’ve mentioned before. CDs had taken over, and I was forced to find my vinyl at garage sales and at the one pawnshop in town. So when I moved back to Minnesota in July 1989, living on the northern edge of the Twin Cities metro area, I celebrated by picking up thirty-four albums in that first month.

The log shows some very nice records: Shoot Out The Lights by Richard and Linda Thompson, as well as their I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight; the Indigo Girls’ self-titled album; Fairport Convention’s Unhalfbricking and Full House as well as the anthology, Fairport Chronicles; Maria McKee’s self-titled album; four Van Morrison albums as well as an anthology of Them, his early band; What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye; Joy of Cooking’s self-titled debut; and albums by Mott the Hoople, Kate and Anna McGarrigle and on and on. It was a great month, except that I kept pulling books off the big shelves to make room for LPs. And I had nowhere else to put the books.

I learned that month that I love Joy of Cooking’s work; despite that, the group has shown up here sparingly. So here’s the opening track from that debut album, today’s Saturday Single.

“Hush” by Joy of Cooking from Joy of Cooking [1970]

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