PUBLISHER: Playing my cassette tapes again, reliving my youth
By Brian Whitmore
Back before digital downloads there were compact disks and before that there were cassette tapes.
In my home office sit more than 60 cassette albums, mostly classic country music. But I couldn’t play them because I no longer had a cassette player. Now you can’t just walk into the electronics store and buy a cassette player anymore, but my wife found a new one online and gave it to me as a birthday present.
It’s a Studebacker AM/FM Cassette Player and I’ve enjoyed it immensely.
Some may say, ‘Why not convert those cassettes to digital?’ But I’m old school and nostalgic, and like them just the way they are.
The first album I listened to was Ricky Skaggs, Super Hits. Recently inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and a Bluegrass legend, he’s one of my favorites. Best song, hard to pick, but I’ll go with “Country Boy.”
“I'm just a country boy,
Country boy at heart.”
The second album I rewound and listened to was Vern Gosdin’s 10 Years of Greatest Hits. “The Voice” soothes the soul. Countless classics. One of my favorites – “Is it Raining at Your House.”
“Does it thunder and lightnin' even when the sun shines
Is it raining at your house like it's raining at mine”
The next cassette played was Conway Twitty: Greatest Hits, Volume III. Conway was a smooth operator. Every song is exceptional. One of my favorites and one of country’s best cheating songs — “She’s Got a Single Thing in Mind.”
“So watch her untie the ties that binds
She's got a single thing in mind”
Looking at the rest of these cassettes, I found that I had four albums each of John Anderson, George Jones, George Straight, Doug Stone and Garth Brooks.
Anderson’s “I Wish I Could Have Been There” is similar in meaning to “Cats in the Cradle” and reminds fathers why being there is important.
Jones’ “The Grand Tour” is one of the saddest leaving songs in country music history.
Straight’s “Amarillo by Morning” is a rodeo anthem that speaks to everyone, cowboy or not.
Stone’s “Too Busy Being in Love” is one of my all-time favorite love songs. It speaks to me as a writer and is the song I would have written for my wife.
“Brand new phrases appear every time you are near
All these words you inspire after all these years”
Brooks’ “The Dance” was by-far his best song. We all would like to miss the pain of life, but then we’d miss out on life.
Digging further in my collection, I found multiple albums by Diamond Rio, Travis Tritt, Marty Stuart, Alabama and Charlie Daniels. No collection would be complete without Alan Jackson and hey, there’s Juice Newton. And the first album I ever purchased was Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “State of the Heart” in 1989.
My music tastes do vary.
On the rock side, albums included Genesis, ZZ Top, Jimmy Buffett, The Beatles, Roxette and Belinda Carlisle. Then there were two Christian albums by Amy Grant, back when Christian Contemporary was just getting its legs.
I also had 30 cassette singles. For the children out there, this is how old-timers purchased one song back in the day.
Some oddities here: Cotton Eyed Joe, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Tarzan Boy and Rocky Top. Best of the single’s bunch – “King of Wishful Thinking” by Go West and “Hook” by Blues Traveler.
Thanks for taking this walk down memory lane with me. That’s what music does; it transports us through time to good memories.
Brian Whitmore is the publisher of The Clinton Chronicle. After all this time, he’s still just a country boy at heart.