I remember at some point when my brother and I were pretty young being given access to an autochanger. For those of you who are saying “Whut? Wassa autochanger?!”, this is an autochanger:
Thanks to Currybet for stealing their image
Essentially, it’s a record deck with an ingenius mechanism for playing records in sequence, one after another. I think the one we had may well have been a wedding present to my parents. I’ll try and find out, but it was from the 70s and was pretty clever. It could tell whether the record was a 7″ or a 12″ and would set the tone arm appropriately.
Any way, my brother and I were given access to this to play with upstairs at the weekends, out of the way while my mother was cleaning. We were also given my mother’s single collection. Now, I need to get hold of this again, despite being quite modest, there are some amazing records in there. Mostly from the 60s and very early 70s. I’ll have to get the story off my mom but most of the records were sold from somewhere after they had been reclaimed from jukeboxes when they went out of the chart. Like I say, I’ll have to get hold of it and look through, but I remember lots of early Beatles, off the top of my head:
Please, Please Me
Love Me Do
A Hard Days Night
Eight Days a Week
Ticket to Ride
I am the Walrus
Some of these could well have not been singles I can’t remember, I’d have to search them out. I became pretty fascinated by the Beatles and the Kinks. My mom used to listen to them all the time. She always used to quip about my grandad referring to everything written after about 1950 as “bloody Beatle music”. In fact, he continued to do so until his death a few years ago.
My brother and I used to sit for hours at the top of the stairs (our favourite playing place except for the garden) fascinated by the music and the way the record player knew when the record was finished and to drop another one from the stack. I’m sure I was tempted more than once to dismantle it and see how it worked.
Two records from that collection really stick out in my mind. One of which has sadly been bastardised for no apparent reason and is played in football stadiums across the country. That is “The Liquidator” by the Harry J Allstars, an instrumental Reggae track, you’ll probably recognise it:
It’s a pretty bangin’ track even now. I’d love to cut it up and do some kind of dirty dubstep thing with it. However, the stigma of football is now hanging over it and I’d probably be accused of being a Chelsea fan. Damn you football for ruining my childhood!
The second track was called “Pepperbox” the Peppers. This would be the first time I’d fall in love with the sounds created by Bob Moog’s wonderful machines. The main thing I remember about it was being hypnotised by the label, that flash of yellow and blue spinning round at 45 RPM while the disco madness ensued… Here it is:
We had a lot of fun with just a record player and a box of 45’s. Even with such a limited collection (which I will get my hands on), we spent hours and hours… Sometimes I wonder if the sheer amount of music we can readily get our hands on nowadays, stops us from appreciating it as much.