It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to vinyl. I’m old enough that I actually grew up with the occasional record, especially at Christmas, but those days ended some time around 1989. By the time I was a teenager, I only had eyes for CDs, although some of my choices were pretty embarrassing back then.
While I’ve been visiting my family’s home in New Brunswick for the past few days though, I’ve had a chance to dig up a few gems from the record vaults, and so far the best has been Johnny Cash’s All Aboard the Blue Train from 1962.
Up until I put on that record, it’s probably been over a decade or more since I’ve listened to vinyl, and that made the experience that much more profoundly moving.
I’ve been listening to people talk about their love of vinyl for a while, but I haven’t really had a chance to experience it much. Listening to Cash sing though, even on our old record player, really surprised me. “Blue Train”, his cover of “I Heard That Lonesome Whistle”, and “Give My Love to Rose” just leap out of the speakers, but the entire album is just mesmerizing.
Through the old record player Cash’s voice reaches out to you like he’s wired in from the recording studio right next door. It was perfect and almost eerie, but of course, most of all mournful. Accompanied by the thrumming guitar, it felt a little like having a private concert with Cash himself.
Sadly, I haven’t been able to find any other records by Johnny Cash in the house, but I’m hoping that in the not-too-distant future I can get myself a record player and pick up a few old albums of my own.
The best way I could imagine finishing this off was with a little sample of Cash from the album. It’s not the same experience, but here’s his unforgettable cover of “Rock Island Line”. This isn’t his best song on the album, but I wanted to share it for the sheer pace of the track. Cash goes from slow to fevered in just under a minute, and it’s one of those moments I wish I could have seen in person.