Fragments from the archives

It’s surely true that stuff heard at early ages can influence life’s trajectory. Today I’ve been digitizing some vinyl, and I find myself dipping back into a slough of memories and associations that I’ve not visited in a long time. I found two LPs from my parents’ record collection that were part of my life since they first got them, in (!!) 1949: Pleasure Dome [Columbia ML4259], a record of poets (Eliot, cummings, Moore, Ogden Nash…) reading their own work, and Edith Sitwell’s Façade [Columbia ML2047]. On the former, it was Ogden Nash that I fastened upon at an early age, and these two were especially formative:
The Outcome of Mr. McLeod’s Gratitude [1:11] and
So, Penseroso [1:52](see the text, complete with the parallel to Milton).

I listened to the Edith Sitwell record so many times that I memorized all of the pieces, and it was a great pleasure to discover (as I listened to the record while digitizing) that those bits are still in wetware. Two particularly choice fragments:
from “En Famille” [0:47] and
When Sir Beelzebub [0:48].

Come to think of it, without these I surely wouldn’t be or have become myself…

Another bit, from much later in my personal development, is a wonderful Andy Statman mandolin break [0:54], from Wretched Refuse String Band’s 1978 recording of “Those Wheels of Karma”. My (vain) attempt to find (and so not have to transcribe…) the lyrics to the tune led me to a story from NPR on Citizen Kafka (All Things Considered, April 17, 2001). The Citizen (Richard Shulberg) is co-host of WMFU’s Secret Museum of the Air, one of my most favoritist archives/podcasts.