In ode to the car radio…

So I can blame being this nuts about the music that I like on a number of sources: My grandmother’s large vinyl collection, being the youngest of all my cousins on my fathers side of the family and therefore always getting “schooled” on the “classics”, or just generally being spongelike and extremely sensitive to the tactile details of my past, from food, pictures, cars… and music…

But one major contributor was the Delco AM/FM stereos (although this isn’t a Delco)


Which in the cases of The Cutlass and the Camaro, had a companion device for those long treks through the central valley which was dominated with more Country & Western than my mom could tolerate: The detachable Eight Track deck (That would inevitably melt tapes in the 110 degree heat).


Due to these two devices my childhood was filled with memories of artists as diverse as Peabo Bryson, Barbara Streisand, Sheena Easton, Randi Crawford, Grover Washington, Mille Jackson, Anita O’Day… things that pop up on long trips and distorted signals when you hit “signal seek”

Years before cassette decks were reliable…. long before CDs were common…

Long before you had absolute choice over what you listened to to those tedious hours in commutes in the back seat with your parents, or long stints on arrow straight interstates to relatives houses for the holidays…

Staring out of an Opera window of a 1970s vintage General Motors car, on a virtually silent trip down the 5, you start thinking the person singing… even if it’s to your unfamiliar 6 year old ears… is talking to you… be it Tammy Wynette going over the details of “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” or Hall & Oates warning of “Maneaters”

Sometimes I think, if I were to get a older car… I’d try to get one of the old factory radios too. Then I remember the result of our own personalization of our musicial tastes… normal broadcast radio kinda. really. sucks these days.

Maybe it’s one more great thing lost to the realities of nostolgia…


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