Back in the day, the size of someone's record collection defined their level as a "music aficionado". The more albums you had in your collection (probably stored in milk or fruit crates), the more musically-oriented you were considered. In fact, it was a matter of pride. Having more albums, or having albums no one else had, made you "The Man". I was one of those people.
There was something special about buying an album, ripping off the plastic when you got home, and playing it for the first time while reading the liner notes. I learned a lot during this time. I grew to recognize various musicians by their ‘sound’. The process grew my album collection and introduced me to great music I never would have heard on the radio and I still listen to today.
By the early 1980's I had over 1000 albums, mostly jazz, and many albums most people had ever heard before. I spent hours at the record store, sorting through the albums and reading the album cover backs to see who the musicians were. I bought many albums on the strength of the session musicians or, I must admit, on the album art.
I used to enjoy playing an obscure album by a known artist and telling listeners "if you can tell me who this is, I'll give you a $1000!" My two favorite albums for this challenge were "Daddy Bug and Friends (1969)" by Roy Ayers and "Kool & The Gang (1969)" which was Kool & The Gang's debut album.
I have never lost that bet.
In 1981, my college roommate was a party DJ and I was a radio station DJ. Between the two of us, we had enough albums to stock a small record store. Over the school year, we spent hours listening to music and introducing each other to artists or albums the other hadn’t heard. On the surface, we were trying to “one up” each other, but ultimately, it was a journey of discovery and sharing that we both enjoyed.
As technology evolved, I acquired over 2000 CDs, in addition to my vinyl album collection. Many of these CDs were titles that I had the vinyl versions of as well. I could point to my music collection and it was clear, I was a music fan. I was PROUD!!!
But in today's world, with online access to a tremendous library of music, what does it mean to be a "Music Fan"? A person no longer needs to "own" anything. Having a subscription to Rhapsody, Pandora, or many other sites, gives one access to an almost endless library of music. We now have the ability to create and listen to music playlists of songs we may or may not own. Depending on the music streaming service we subscribe to, we hear artists (such as Morpheus B!) that we haven’t heard before along with our favorite artists.
So how does someone claim the title of “The Man” (or “The Woman”) today: a true music fan? Is it the number of paid subscriptions to music sites that you have? Or is it the size of the hard drive you store your MP3s on? All I know is that I’ve got a 1.5 terabyte drive filled with music, several subscriptions to music sites, PLUS my vinyl album and CD collection. I’m old school and, by any definition, I know I am “The Man”.
I just watched the full interview between Anderson Cooper and Antoinette Tuff (the hero in the recent Georgia school shootout) on CNN. I was enthralled. Antoinette is a true hero. Simply by being herself and a child of God, she was able to diffuse a potentially horrific situation. Many, many people could have been killed, mostly children. Her composure, her groundedness, her compassion, allowed this situation to be resolved without ANYBODY injured or killed. How awesome is that!?! I'm both teary-eyed and elated. She is, and should be, a role-model for ALL of us.
Antoinette... I salute you!
Morpheus B (Brian K. Saunders)