Voices from the past

My son received a record player with all the bells and whistles for his 15th birthday this past weekend. It was a gift from us (his parents) and his grandparents (my parents).

It is a record player that also plays CDs, utilizes Bluetooth (so you can send music off your phone to it), and has an AM/FM radio. The record we ordered him hadn’t arrived yet but he wanted to try the sound out, so he plugged it in and sent a few songs to it from his phone.

In the meantime, my dad drug out a few old records he’d had stored away, and we decided we’d try those.

In the next couple of hours, me and my parents had more fun with that record player than my son did, although later he did say he was actually enjoying our delight. My dad found a couple of records that a cousin of his grandfather’s had recorded in the 60s in Nashville. He and my mom hadn’t heard these songs probably since the 70s or 80s, they weren’t sure when. They had record players over the years but don’t have one now and haven’t since I was a kid probably.

They also had records from a family friend who recorded some gospel songs and enjoyed listening to those too. And then I found an LP of With or Without You by U2, which my brother owned and we put that on for a listen too.

I ended up using my phone to record the songs by my dad’s cousin for my dad to share on Facebook. The player does have the capability of transferring from vinyl to mp3 but we have to install the software to a computer first so we decided to record a video on my phone instead.

The image isn’t steady because I’m dealing with vertigo again and it was really bad while I was trying to record it, but the music was recorded and that was what mattered.

The interesting thing was that my aunt called to wish my son a happy birthday and when I told her about listening to the music, she said she had actually found one of the records in a pile of papers earlier that day. We thought she might like to hear it as well, so we put the phone on speaker and she was able to listen in as well, hearing the music for the first time in probably 30 or 40 years. She turned 89 the next day so it was an early birthday present for her.

It was really a joy for me to see the joy the record player gave to my parents and aunt but also to those on Facebook who are related to the man who was singing and was also delighted to hear the songs.

The singer’s name was Bub Robinson. I wish I knew more about him and the songs. What I do know is that he did not hit the big time, though I wish he had because his voice was better than many of the artists out there today, but he did continue to perform locally, including with his son and I think occasionally with my grandfather, who was also a singer.

Now if we could find the records that feature my grandfather singing, I would be over the moon. He died when I was two and I’m sure I’ve heard recordings of him before because I can hear his voice in my mind somehow. He was sick with cancer when I was a baby and my mom said I was afraid of him because of his deep voice but that right before he died (in a bed at the home my parents now live in), I leaned over and kissed his cheek. She said he was delighted.

My dad has the records somewhere of Grandpa singing, he thinks, and he also has reel-to-reel home movies from the 60s of my grandparents which I really hope to see before the year is out.

If anyone knows where an old projector can be purchased, let me know in the comments. It would her nice to have another afternoon of delving into the past but this time we won’t steal my kid’s birthday gift to do it.