Songs From The Wood

Is it weird that I want to buy a turntable?

2 years ago

Latest Post The First Doctor by Sean Johnson public

Is it weird that I sort of want to buy a turntable? I mean, I have zero need for such a thing, and no place to put it. To top it off I have a totally psychotic idea of finding one with a USB interface so I can plug it into an iMac and broadcast it over AirPlay. Earthquakes don’t happen very often in Kentucky, which is where I lived most of my life ( yeah, sorry for the Mitch McConnell thing … and the Rand Paul thing 😬 … but we make great booze, which is ironic since Kentucky is a bible belt state where alkey-hall is supposed to be a bad thing … oh, and it has the perfect clime for devil grass, and gambling is illegal, unless you’re a horse … and also sorry for electing a UK (oh, and also sorry for everyone in the state thinking UK means University of Kentucky, not United Kingdom, ’cause … well … oh, and also sorry that we produced Steve Bannon) basketball player to the House of Representatives that brought a bill to the US Congress that said it was illegal for “gambling websites” to “be in” Kentucky. Thankfully somebody eventually took away said Congressman’s nap carpet long enough to explain that the internet is a “series of tubes”, and the bill went nowhere. ). Sorry (not sorry), I got distracted by the Kentucky Blues … or Reds, as you do.

Anyhoo (hoo is a dialectical variant of who, but we use it like it's a variant of way which really doesn't make any sense 🧐), Kentucky is relatively inert in a geological sense. Ironically there is a major fault line that runs underneath the Clays Ferry Bridge that would effectively shut down I-75 in the event of a “geological burp”. So, while Kentuckians aren’t prepared for earthquakes since they are things that only exist in the “might happen … and by might I mean will, but not now, hey my bourbon glass is empty!” sense, they do still occasionally happen. When I was in high school (circa 1988 give or take a year or two … yeah, I’m old … FiteMe!), there was one of those earthquakes that made people think “oh noes! is this the big one?!? if only we had done something other than ignore the risks for all these years …. oh, wait … it’s over, and Clays Ferry bridge didn’t fall down! Yee haw! YOLO! Crack open the Coors Light!“. I remember it because I had purchased Jethro Tull’s Songs From The Wood album the previous day from a local record shop named “RecordSmith”. The cool thing about RecordSmith was it was run by an old white haired fella named Rick that would order anything you wanted, but kept the bins filled with albums that were interesting. Sadly by the year 2000 (insert Conan sketch here) the flaws in that business model were unavoidable and RecordSmith shut down to be replaced by a light bulb store. I mean, it was a location that was geologically infused with “idea energy … 💡”, so I suppose it made a weird kind of sense.


Anyhoo (could it be a Dr. Seuss dialectical reference corruption?), I had recently taken a shine to all things Jethro Tull since among my dad’s records that I had rifled through as a kid there was this one called Aqualung that was the most amazing thing I had ever heard. I had an orange suitcase record player thing that was really for 45s, but could also play 33 1/3s. So yeah, one of my first experiences with “rock & roll .. :🤘” was sneaking out the album that had the Solomon Grundy looking fella on the cover to my room and playing it through a single 5" speaker. Flash forward (no, not that kind of flash forward … sit down Damon .. we call him Damon #MerlinHasTheBestBits) to 1988 where I had a real phonograph and had just picked up Songs From The Wood, which Rick from RecordSmith said was the best album Jethro Tull had ever made. Since it was 1988, the sleeve was plastic, not paper like my dad’s copy of Aqualung (the phrase on the back of that album is something I still think about occasionally … Man created God, and God created Aqualung ... I remember asking one of my teachers about that one day, and was schooled in the truth that people don’t really dislike there being an elite .. they just have problems with who they are ... oh, and to add context I was still attending a Catholic school at the time, and had already been issued my red letter because I quite innocently had asked why the money plate was passed around before the eucharist was delivered because that seemed to be orthogonal (I had no idea what that word was at the time, but if I had a TARDIS I’d go slip a note to “grade school Sean” and say “use this word, it’ll fuck up their shit even more than the totally reasonable question you are wrestling with right now”) to all the other stuff that the Nuns and Priests kept going on about.

Anyhoo (Rob Zombie should make an album titled Musings Of A 1000 Anyhoos .. he won’t though, and that’s for the best ... though a cover album of Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde titled Corpse on Corpse would be all kinds of hilarious ... in a Zombie kind of hilarious, of course), anxious to listen to the “best album Jethro Tull had ever made”, I had slid the plastic sleeve out of its cardboard sleeve (for the youngins in the audience, find an “old” and ask them how vinyl albums worked). From that plastic sleeve, I’d slid out the vinyl album, and was holding it aloft with a single hand, thumb on the edge, forefinger on the hole (as you do). Before play, I always liked holding it at an angle to observe the wiggly and squiggly grooves that were about to be transmogrified into air sculptures of the most exquisite vintages. As I held Songs From The Wood above my bulky phonograph, the Clays Ferry Fault delivered unto us a fart of seismic magnitude. The rumble in the bumble was something that caught me off guard, and I … dropped … Songs From The Wood. I still remember the 12" disc (time is a flat circle, indeed) falling through the air, and striking the edge of the phonograph. There was a visible gash, but I didn’t know what track had been damaged, or how badly. As it turns out, there was a “tick tock, tick tock, tick tock” scratch sound in the middle of “Hunting Girl”, but that was it. This was my first lesson in resiliency. It’s better to be able to recover from accidents than try to prevent them. Because guess what, you never know when Clays Ferry fault will make a geological fart and put a new rhythm back beat on your Hunting Girl.

Okay, this thing is way longer than I intended, but here ya do. #SeansBeerSundayRambles And I’m still wondering if it’s crazy that I want to buy a turntable. 🧐

Sean Johnson

Published 2 years ago