Tomorrow, the third Saturday of April, is 'Record Store Day'. A self-promoting event dreamed up a few years ago by record store owners, it nonetheless evokes memories of many an afternoon spent flipping through albums as a kid.
I am old enough to remember when department stores had record departments. Even as malls became 'the thing' and record stores became stand-alone ventures, there were still great independent shops that did nothing but sell music, and dole out opinions from the shop workers on what the next great band or record release was going to be.
I have always loved music. I miss albums. I love the cover art and the liner notes. I always kept my albums in alphabetical order, but, even if I hadn't, I could identify most of the titles from across the room, just by the look of the spine. I kept my albums in a wooden fruit crate and would sit for hours, reading, listening, tracing album art.
My children are just as fascinated by the albums as I was. Most of them I own on a more current medium, but my kids like to hold the albums, open the double record set covers, look at the pictures.
My allowance as a kid was spent, primarily, on two things - music and roller skating. And I can't help but think that I wouldn't have spent much time at the roller rink if they hadn't played such awesome music.
I don't know that I will take part in any official sort of Record Day activity. There is a lengthily list of special releases to celebrate the occasion, covering music of all types, old and new. None of it really inspires me to get in my car and drive to our local record store - though the list did stir a desire to add a few new songs to my iTunes library.
Hey, I love records, but what I really love is the music, and the clarity and portability of digital files just can't be beat.