I write about country music. Mostly.

A Father’s Day Rediscovering the Family Vinyl

For Father’s Day I usually plan a special dinner or scour through a Cabela’s catalog to find just the right gift for my dad. Not this year. There were no big gatherings planned and I didn’t quite know what to buy him. Instead, I made a quick trip from Iowa to Wisconsin to go fishing with him.

That’s what we are going to do later this morning. But right now I want to tell you about the unexpected fun exploring a family treasure trove.

After I arrived last evening Dad made us a couple of hamburgers and then he announced,  “I found something I think you’ll be interested in.”  And with that he led me to big box full of the vinyl record albums our family collected when I was growing up.


I found Perry Como, Jerry Vail, Frank Sinatra, Andy William, Johnny Mathis, Jack Jones, The Carpenters and a Big Band collection — all of Dad and Mom’s favorites were there. There was even a Jane Fonda workout album Mom bought when the exercise craze first hit.

Then I saw a bunch with the letters K.A. scrawled across the top. I couldn’t believe Dad still had them – those were the albums I bought with babysitting money and I forgot all about them. Some were slightly warped and they were all super dusty.

But what fun to find all the old records – Marshall Tucker Band, Steely Dan, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Willie Nelson, Barry Manilow, Air Supply, Stones, Judy Collins, Emmylou Harris, and more including Chicago’s favorite son Steve Goodman.

Steve Goodman wrote the classic City of New Orleans (for which, according to Wikipedia, he was given posthumously a Grammy Award for best country song in 1985). With his buddy John Prine he wrote a chart hit and spoof of classic country heartbreak lyrics called You Never Even Called Me by My Name.  The song garnered pretty big success for David Allan Coe in 1974.

Steve had a loyal following for his lively folk performances that sometimes leaned country-bluegrass and even included a big orchestra for one concert series. I talked Dad and Mom into taking me to see him when I was in high school at a Chicago suburban concert venue not far from our home called Harry Hope’s. Steve brought along bluegrass mandolin player Jethro Burns, a sort of famous player earlier at Chicago’s answer to the Grand Ole Opry called National Barn Dance. Our family became huge Steve Goodman fans as evidenced by the three records in the album collection. My brother Tim even once met him at a concert in Denver I think. Sadly, Steve died of leukemia in 1984. I remember the exact day as I was living in the city then.

What prompted Dad to pull out the record box in the first place was finding a turntable-radio combination at a garage sale last week. “I really wanted the radio, ” he said. But we’d just been to a Glenn Miller concert and he was in the mood to listen to some old tunes.

He discovered the turntable worked perfectly and for an hour or so last evening I played DJ. “Be careful, use the lever to lift the needle…don’t force it,” Dad instructed. I’d almost forgotten how easy it was to drop the needle and scratch records.

Our impromptu listening session included the Marshall Tucker Band’s 1975 Searching for a Rainbow and Fire on the Mountain; David Bowie’s 1976 Changes; Eurythmics’ 1983 Here Comes the Rain Again; Emmylou Harris’ 1980 Roses in the Snow and Steve Goodman’s 1977 Is It True What they Say about Dixie and Daly’s Gone and more.

What an unexpected gift to me.

What are the favorite vinyl records from your collection? Give me a comment below. And if you like this post, consider tapping the Follow button on this site or like Karen Loves Country on Facebook or follow @fanmama1 at Twitter.  Thanks for reading!

6 Responses to “A Father’s Day Rediscovering the Family Vinyl”

  1. Carol

    I loved Steve Goodman-Lincoln park pirates and more of his songset. I saw him in concert a few times.

    I gave my son’s friend all of my vinyl albums wished I hadn’t!



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