The Musical Wallpaper of my Life, Part I

Despite some of the crap that went on in my early life, I was raised with some great and diverse music. Because my dad was a jazz drummer, I was exposed to some of the best music of the era, and our home was always full of interesting, talented people. When Dad died, he left me all of his and Mom's record albums of the 30s, 40s, 50s and early 60s. There were thousands of them! Unfortunately, they all were lost in "The Big Dump of 2001", a collection that also counted my own records of the 60s, 70s and 80s. It's not a story I wish to go into, because it always makes me physically ill. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the album covers that are the "musical wallpaper of my life". (Click to embigiate the images.)

This is one of the albums that I loved especially as an adult. I may have to put it on my Wishlist. I have to say here that I am and have always been madly in love with Sammy Davis, Jr., and I miss him terribly. You want inspiration? Read Sammy's autobiography, Yes I Can. Entertainers today are wussies.

Smoky and sexy, a little polished, but hot, hot, hot.

This was my mom's album. I didn't really like it, but I heard a lot of it when she played it on our hi-fi while cleaning house.

Dad was madly in love with Doris Day. Judging from this cover, I can't say I blame him. She had a great voice, too.

Ah, Ella. Even as a child I loved when my dad put on this one. And Gershwin: too lowbrow for the highbrows and too highbrow for the lowbrows. Ella sang him perfectly. Pure class.

When I was a kid I thought the title song was fun, but it wasn't something I liked listening to. I think my grandmother gave this to Dad as a Christmas gift. He never liked it either.

Louis Armstrong was so present in my family that he might as well have been an uncle. We all loved him and my parents owned tons of his records, both 78s and 33s. His teaming up with the Duke was almost too good to be true.

I discovered Leadbelly on my own one afternoon when I opened a heavy, metal, 78 rpm record storage can. Also inside were 78 rpm picture records that I suspect would be worth a lot of money today. Aw man... why did I have to go there...

This was a comedy album that was wildly popular during the "Camelot" years in Washington D.C. My uncle, especially, loved this album and played it all the time. Come to think of it, my uncle kind of looked like JFK.

Nellie Lutcher is not a name that many people know or remember, but I do. Another album that I played for well over 30 years. What a soulful, profound voice and musical expression.

I remember this album mostly because I thought the cover was funny. My dad liked Louis Prima and my mom liked Keely Smith. I guess this was one of those pairings that made it easy for them to agree on music. I still can't look at this cover without laughing.

I have to admit that I preferred Keely. So much so that I now have this one on CD, as well as another of her LPs.

I never really liked Tommy Dorsey (I preferred Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman), but I did like this cover.

And of course, Nat King Cole. He was a staple in our home. Nettl and I own a number of his albums on CD.

Oh my God, this album was my absolute favorite from the age of five. I used to use the cover as a solid base beneath my coloring books and I thought the McGuire Sisters were the most beautiful women in the world. I can't tell you how many times I tried to draw this cover. Those faces, those necks, those blue satin gowns trimmed with mink... bigoldsigh! But best of all was their tight three-part harmonies. I remember my favorite song on this album was "Delilah Jones". I had no idea what it was about, but I loved it. Yeah, this has definitely made it to my Wishlist. Christmas is coming... Well, crap. Now I have to choose between Sammy Davis Jr. and a manage-a-quatre. Life can be so cruel...


  1. Lovely collection. It fits nicely with the book I am reading (The Time of our Singing by Richard Powers).

  2. Nice post and photos.

    Yes - the 'great' record purges inflicted upon us. They are legion. Angry or irked or vengeful wives, husbands, parents.

    Worst stories are guys getting home from the war or armed services to find that their collection has been given away.

  3. wow...that truly was a collection. I love music. thank God for the iPod!

  4. OMG!! What a fabulous LP collection! Great legacy handed down by your dad. So much fun to see these album covers.

    Fab profile pic!!!! ;^)

  5. I wish you a very generous Santa Claus, who would search far and wide to get as many of these covers as he possibly can get through your chimney!

  6. Spacedlaw: Haven't heard of that; I'm going to have to check it out.

    Royce: My purge cleaned out not only all of those wonderful LPs, but also my musical instruments, our family pictures, and all of the 300+ pieces of music that I'd written over the course of my life. There was much more, but those are the important things. I blame it on my a-hole brother and sister-in-law.

    Blog Queen: Oh, to have some of this music on my MP3 player!

    Willow: Although CDs are more convenient, they kind of killed the cover art that went along with music in the days of vinyl. It was an art form in and of itself.

    Merisi: (Hoping the "right" people pick up on the hint!)

  7. P.S. Merisi: My "new" profile picture was shot at Cafe Frauenhuber...

  8. Brings back a lot of memories for my life as well. The Nat "King" Cole album reminds me of an evening when my family was going to have dinner at the home of my band instructor. On the way, it was announced on the radio that Cole had died that day. At the instructor's house, I was given the job of going through the albums and selecting music for the evening. I do believe I played that very album that you listed.


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