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And Have Since...

...I was 3, when I discovered Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Moody Blues. I was at my youngest aunt's wedding (I have 6 that are blood relatives, 4 are still living), and instead of playing with my cousins, I was sitting in front of the stereo, eyes glued to it as if it were a television. My uncle (my aunt's younger brother, not her new husband) noticed this when he flipped the second album over and asked me why I wasn't playing. He knew I was an only child and was always delighted to play with my cousins, but had totally eschewed doing so this time. When he asked me if my cousins didn't want to play with me, I told him no, I that I wanted to listen to the music more than play with them. Since he was shipping out to Vietnam within the month (I didn't know that at the time), he gave my mother the records after the reception was over, explaining that they were for me, and that she could keep them for me until I learned to take care of them myself. I listened to those 6 albums almost every day until they were completely worn out.

I remember a day when I was 4, I was in my room listening to the 3 new albums that my mother had bought for me for $1.99 each at Sears ($6.27 including the sales tax, no small amount in 1969, especially for a typical working class family) on the old suitcase stereo that my grandmother gave me from my Great Aunt Cordy's estate (all of her kids and grand-kids had newer, Hi-Fi stereos), and as the last track on the third album ended (a self-titled, one-shot-album "The Legend"), I was wondering why I liked my records so much. They weren't cool toys to play with or candy to eat, but they were fun! I also had an AM radio that I listened to every night as I went to sleep.

In kindergarten, my favorite day was Thursday - "Music Day". Many of the "children's" songs that they played, I already knew from the 78's that my grandmother and older aunts and uncles (who had children as old and older than my mother) had given me, which were originally Folk standards and Jazz songs from the early part of the twentieth century. But I also found out just how important music was to me. On all other school days, the first thing I did when I got home was head to my room to listen to my favorite records. By then I had a fairly large and eclectic collection of albums, 45's, and 78's from my relatives: Jazz, Blues, and Swing from my maternal grandmother and older aunts and uncles, Mariachi and polkas from my paternal grandparents, and plenty of 50's and 60's Pop and Rock 'n' Roll from my maternal cousins and paternal aunts and uncles. I also started getting a 50¢ a week allowance. Since the average 45 (single) cost 79¢ - 99¢, I had to save my allowance to buy them. Albums were Birthday and Christmas presents from that year on. I listened to the radio more than I watched TV then, and that trend has only increased through the years

Now I listen to commercial free internet radio, but mostly I listen to CD's my friends and family bring me to find new music. If I like what I hear, the search is on for more from that artist. Mostly, I listen to my iPod Classic, which has my entire music collection on it. People see this large rectangle strapped to my forearm, and when I'm not wearing headphones (I despise ear-buds, they always make my ear canals hurt, and sometimes bleed), many people ask me what it is. Most assume that it's some type of medical monitor because I walk with a cane and have a limp. When I tell them, they ask why I don't have a newer, smaller player. I tell them that it's only just over a year old, and that the this is the only type that has enough gigs of storage for my entire music collection.

I have over 800 CD's in my collection, including:
Folk music from 17 different regions / countries (so far)
Classical from Baroque to Romantic, with the most emphasis on the "Classical" period
Indian and Chinese Classical music
Jazz (90% Fuzion)
Country & Western (and the IS a difference between the two), especially 70's Country Pop and the new Alternative Country
Folk (American) including both modern and traditional
Blues from the 1930's to present
Lounge, House, & Trance
New Age
A smattering of Easy Listening, Reggae, Big Band, and Soul / R&B
And of course Rock & Pop, especially Progressive Album Rock from the 60's - 80's

I have a large collection of vinyl including: special edition shaped, colored, and picture discs, or albums that have unusual dust jackets like the original versions of The Alan Parson's Project's "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" and Santana's "Lotus". The vast majority of my vinyl collection is 219 78's (mostly Jazz from the 10's - 30's, Blues from the 30's & 40's, and pop from the 30's - 50's) and 184 albums (mostly Jazz Fuzion, Progressive Rock from the 60's - 80's, New Age, and local Pop and Rock bands) that will probably never be produced as CD's, although occasionally one does become available as a download on iTunes or eMusic. I also have 362 cassettes and 81 8-track tapes of the never-to-be-reproduced variety. Additionally, I own several hundred albums worth of mp3's.

In order from most to fewest, these are the artists that I have at least 5 albums of their music:
Rush - 24
Pink Floyd - 16
Santana - 14
Mike Oldfield - 13
Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields - 11
John Denver - 11
The Beatles - 10
Kate Wolf - 9
Al DiMeola - 8
Creedence Clearwater Revival - 8
The London Symphony Orchestra - 8
Lucinda Williams - 8
The Marshall Tucker Band - 8
Robin Trower - 8
Styx - 8
Jann Arden - 7
Niel Young - 7
The Alan Parsons Project - 6
The Electric Light Orchestra - 6
Gordon Lightfoot - 6
Hawkwind - 6
Jethro Tull - 6
Michael Hedges - 6
The Moody Blues - 6
The New Rrders of the Purple Sage - 6
Spyro Gyra - 6
Sue Foley - 6
Ana Popovic - 5
Buckethead - 5
Celine Dion - 5
Cowboy Junkies - 5
Enya - 5
Etta James - 5
Fleetwood Mac - 5
The Grateful Dead - 5
Heart - 5
The John Renbourn Group / Pentangle - 5
Joi - 5
The Kennedy's - 5
Northsound - 5
Shadowfax - 5
Sugarland - 5
Therion - 5
Yes - 5
FlorDeLuna FlorDeLuna 46-50, M May 30, 2012

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