That First Move, Again

We’re dropping back to July 1976 today, back to the month when I moved out of the folks’ house and not only had to begin to cook for myself every day, but I had to buy groceries, figuring out for myself – as I once wrote – what type of tuna, toothpaste and coffee – along with everything else – I should buy, now that the consumer decisions were up to me. (As I wrote before, I went with Del Monte grated tuna, Colgate toothpaste, and Butter Nut coffee.)

But did I buy much music during the nine months I lived on the North Side, roasting in summer and freezing in winter? Hardly any. Evidently, the need to set aside money for such things as rent, groceries and my shares of the electric, phone, and fuel oil bills tightened my grip on my dollars. (Had I not been a smoker at the time, I imagine I might have used the money I spent on my daily pack – probably $3.50 to $5 a week – for LPs. Or more tuna.)

It turns out that I acquired only four albums during my nine months on the North Side:

Killing Me Softly by Roberta Flack
Pretzel Logic by Steely Dan
The Lonely Things by Glenn Yarbrough
The Three Degrees

The Roberta Flack album was a gift from a friend; the others I paid for. The Steely Dan I bought new because I found it in a clearance bin; the others were used. With the Yarbrough, I was continuing my long quest to replicate the collection of albums my sister took with her from Kilian Boulevard when she left for adult life in the summer of 1972, and the Three Degrees album came home with me because it contained their hit, “When Will I See You Again.” (I was dating the young woman who would, in a few years, become the Other Half, and that was “our” song.)

But I wasn’t without a fair variety of music. One of the guys owned a stellar stereo system that held place in the living room, and there was an assortment of fairly current LPs on a shelf. And I always had my radio in my room. And there were a number of current hits on the radio that, as I wrote here eight years ago, remind me of that move and that summer. First, there was the record that was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 at the time, “Afternoon Delight” by the Starland Vocal Band. And then, as I wrote in 2013:

Beyond that, there were these: “Moonlight Feels Right” by Starbuck (sitting at No. 13 during the first full week of July 1976); “I’m Easy” by Keith Carradine (No. 26); “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine” by Lou Rawls (No. 37); “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight” by England Dan & John Ford Coley (No. 40); “This Masquerade” by George Benson (No. 44); and “Lowdown” by Boz Scaggs (No. 70).

The titles alone bring back memories of sharing a kitchen with three others guys (and introducing one of them to the joys of creamed tuna on toast), of greeting my girlfriend on her first visit, of setting up the necessary items and supplies for my first cat, and of taking mass communications workshops and courses in information media at St. Cloud State as I tried to figure out how I was going to make a living.

All of those records, too, are in my iTunes/iPod and are thus still part of my day-to-day listening.

When I last wrote about that first week on the North Side, I offered the Lou Rawls record as definitive of the time. But they all were, and without digging around for an hour in the archives, I’d guess I’ve written about all of them several times. If I had to guess which one I’ve written about the least, I’d land on either the Keith Carradine single or the George Benson single. And I’m in the mood for it today, so here, from the movie Nashville, is “I’m Easy.”

Tags:

Leave a Reply