On a recent trip to Madison, Wisconsin I had the great pleasure of meeting 400 Saturdays: An Anthology of Vinyl Folklore author Kim Johnson-Bair. We talked about the book over old-fashioned milk shakes and burgers. Kim’s love of vinyl began in childhood when she would watch the muted Saturday morning cartoons flash across the television screen to the soundtrack of Motown 45s she and her brother would take turns playing on the family’s old stereo console.
This anthology of vinyl folklore is told through the interviews and anecdotes of fellow vinyl enthusiasts from Madison, the Midwest and beyond.
L.P. Crawford was born in Portage, Wisconsin. The first record she ever purchased was “That Old Black Magic” by Vaughn Monroe in 1941. “I was working at the time and I bought a record nearly every week.”
Pradip Sen was born in Calcutta in 1926. He was introduced to live performance around 1950 when Count Base toured India.
Sybil Augustine turned her mom onto the Beatles. She bought her first 45, “Come Together” for ninety-nine cents at Kresge’s or Hudsons in Downtown Detroit, her mom bought “Something.”
Madison’s db pedersen bought his first LP, Yes’ Close to the Edge, in Chapalitas in Guadalajara, Mexico. He was 12 and had just been transplanted from the familiar comfort of California and didn’t have a record player. According to db “I couldn’t even play it…I could just look at the art on the album cover…it was my tool to escape where I was.”
Bair’s book conjures the significant touchstones of vinyl’s history through the alchemy of our listening experience. Each story related in 400 Saturdays is like the carefully selected and arranged songs on a great LP. Rock on and thanks for the memories vinyl.