My dad was into hi-fi. Whenever he moved upward he'd hand me down his old stuff. I know I mentioned this in a long-ago post, but I watched him solder together a trio of Heathkit separates on the kitchen table -- components that included a tubed AM tuner. I went with him to hi-fi stores and, when stereo came out, stereo and then quad dealers. He took me to a couple hi-fi shows at the Ambassador Hotel in downtown L.A. It didn't hurt that he knew early on that I preferred classical music.
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My experience was very similar to yours. I got a Sylvania transistor radio when I was around 12 years old, @1958, and sleeping in a room that was detached from the rest of the house so my listening was completely unsupervised. We lived on the South Plains of Texas, 3000 ft. elevation, cloudless skies and very few radio stations close by. I could get AM stations from all over the country, depending on atmospheric conditions, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Nashville, Chicago, the border-blaster stations from along the Mexican border and others. So it was a mix of country, rockabilly, rock, blues and gospel, along with the 'put your hands on the radio' evangelists. It gave me an deep appreciation for all kinds of music, though any experience with classical came along considerably later.
There was always music, or an instrument, or someone singing in my mothers home... Just alway was... She played a mouth harp loved to dance and play, all my family would join in, washboard, spoons, tom toms, piano, guitar, the usual. We would gather around JBL Metrogons 1959-69, YUP... Mac and Thoren. Quite good... Dance, Dance, Dance.
When my father was home from the local WARS, he would join in..
I never new there was anything better than Mac for years... Still not a lot.. IMO
iI suppose it was my favorite aunt's RCA red seal recording of Jose Iturbi playing the Chopan Heroique Polonaise that first got my attention. But it really was a neighbor's JBL C34 rear-loaded corner horn, Gerard changer, and amp with a separate power supply he designed and built that sent me off to the several shops in the west LA area. IIRC, that was the early or perhaps mid-50's, and I was either a senior in high school or a freshman in college. Hot stuff was Fisher, Macintosh, Concert Grands, and Patricians. Of course I couldn't afford to buy anything, but I did modify my Fender guitar amp to work with my little RCA 45 player. Then came Heathkits and home built speaker cabinets.
Floating weightless, fascinating lights dancing, bending, sparkling. The most wonderful feeling in the world, beyond words. Literally.
Until some few years later I heard my dad telling someone how Charlie (he always for some reason called me Charlie) was such a good swimmer because we took him to the pool when he was only a few days old. By this time I was old enough to understand the lights I had seen were the lights above the pool seen as my dad let me float and submerge.
So that was the beginning, or as far back as I can recall anyway. Soundwise, already said it was the Seattle Symphony violinist in grade school, so no point repeating that one again.
glupson What year and what brand/model turntable was it? Do you remember what the first record you played on it was.
I am an esoteric jerk, so Jazz and Classical dominate my collection, but the first recorded "software" I ever had was a 45 rpm record my grandparents bought for me while on a trip to see friends...and it was ..............Tab Hunter......Damn that is hard to admit.
The first records I remember were Congratulations by Cliff Richard and Delilah by Tom Jones which were not brand new releases at the time. Come to think of it, I have no idea why my parents, who did not speak English anyway, picked them. I remember a few more, and still own some of them, but I believe that those two were the first.
I will try to find a picture of the "turntable" somewhere, but it was really a record player with a speaker that doubled as a cover. When it would skip, I would put a coin on the needle area and it would not skip anymore. I guess I was a tweaker before I knew anything.
The Band and Supersession albums got me started really listening. Traffic in LA got me into Mozart, perfect for calming the nerves. Driving through the North Cascade Mtns. in a sports car, woke up Beethoven for me. Imagine by John Lennon saved my ass in VN. Hunter Thompson and Pink Floyd got me through the post Nixon years as well as the Trump debauchery. It's been a long strange trip.
My family always had classical music playing on a Grundig console radio in the living room and we never forgot it. I got a crystal detector radio set consisting of a mounted crystal with a metal whisker that pressed down on it attached to a bunch of wires running the length of the attic - no power supply but a headphone - got some great local stations.
After that it was a small Ford Philco radio with tubes (so I could groove on Buddy Holly) that eventually started melting. In high school I received a Sears Silvertone portable with a ceramic cartridge. Small beginnings.
Now when listening to certain passages of music it is like certain smells or textures that bring back memories with amazing intensity, My father-in-law could never listen to the stereo we got him because it made him so sentimental and teary. I’m not quite that bad but I do get carried away. when listening. Powerful stuff.