The Store On Desolation Row

Like a lot of music fans I’ve spent time listening to my favorite artists and trying to make personal connections to what they are trying to convey. Of course a lot of artists I admire such as John Lennon and Bob Dylan say its a pointless pursuit and stop asking them what the lyrics mean. Point taken. One of my favorite artists was never a lyric writer anyway. Brian Wilson, master of melody, did a Q&A on Facebook and I was annoyed I forgot to log in and ask a question during the scheduled time but then I saw the thousands (literally) of queries and comments he did get and decided it was just as well I was busy doing something else. I got to meet him in person once so I can’t complain. I was amazed he actually wanted to interact with anybody, given his well documented back story. Most of my time listening has been either in my car or over headphones while I’m winding down. I’m not sure if I’m thinking about meaning or lyrics or life or anything in particular. The nuances are there with each listen, depending on the weather, time of day, mood or many other factors. I’m over 40 and have a fairly young family to raise so my perspective has changed dramatically since I first started collecting every Led Zeppelin cassette I could find.

As soon as I could drive and held employment I began making almost daily trips to the only real record store in town. Threshold Audio was in a small plaza off the beaten path, I think the other stores there were auto parts or car repair related, they might have been the only retailer in the facility. It had a narrow hallway that led to another door that was always open and the first thing on the left was a used record bin for and beside that was where I lived, the used cassette rack. Every day was like Christmas going through that thing since I was just learning what and who I liked. I rarely if ever asked the guys that worked there about anything, too shy mostly so there was a lot of trial and error. The majority of things I bought were typical top 40 stuff of the time and a lot of it wasn’t even that memorable but it was a start. Then these things called compact discs started to get their own section with the long cardboard, not environmentally friendly at all packages and I eventually bought my first portable CD boombox using layaway at a Hart’s Store. Never went for vinyl, even though I loved the artwork (it was on it s way out as a format back then). Sadly neither Threshold or Hart’s even exists. Actually the two places I worked at growing up don’t exist either, not even the buildings. So no matter what music I’m listening to from that time period I think about those places and small adventures in audio discovery and I guess I don’t pay attention to the lyrics. Maybe Lennon and Dylan were right.

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