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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Fiddlers Green


How many record collections have you had? Not genre, not artist. Material!

When I was in college, some of us had record players. Turntables. Friday night, Saturday, Sunday we’d wrap our arms around a record player and our newest album and meet. Student union. Some off-campus housing. We’d play all the records we brought, sitting around, singing along, doing some homework, and things.

Then life put us in cars, driving to work. No radio station knew my eclectic music list! Some Cash. Some Baez. Dylan. CCR. Blood, Sweat and Tears. I spent hours re-recording everything to eight track tapes. Then cassettes. I had kids by then, and remember them rewinding tapes with a Bic pen, or number 2 pencil, to save on their batteries.

Cassetts were my weaving music. I spent hours with a good beat in my ears and a shuttle flying. Perhaps that accounted for how fast I drove my van, too. It certainly contributed to my hearing aids these days. I used a good deal of volume in a van with no air conditioning and the windows down.

Compact discs. Then I retired from weaving and pretty much lost interest. I sold everything on E-Bay, in lots, some singly. Dr. Hook, “I got stoned and I missed it…” Remember that really obscure favorite of my brother, Mel? It went for an outrageous sum of money. And, I quit listening to music.

I switched to FM, listened to news, commentary, pledge drives.

For some reason this last year, a song comes to me, and comes out. To Laura’s dismay. “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a color TV?” My Irish folk repertoire. Ballad of St. Anne’s Reel.  It’s one of those heart ringers. Like Fiddler’s Green. “Happy wars, sad love songs,” Sheridan said. Especially now that I have nothing to do and all day to do it, I’ve turned over replacing my collection.

What an expense that would be, and I have so many other things to spend money on. Netflix, for instance. Then John posted a picture of a little grey stone on his kitchen windowsill, and said he simply told it what to play. I looked all over Amazon for the little grey stone, and couldn’t find it. I asked John, and he said a Mini something. I looked some more, and then it came to me. It’s a Google Mini something. Buy it from Google. I did. Fifty dollars. No kidding.

We plugged it in last night. We by-passed music lists for 9.99, and went straight to the action. I am so pleased. I gave it half a dozen suggestions this morning, and because it has no list, it bounces around genres and artists, playing songs it hopes suit. I don’t know what I’ve heard because the Mini whatever is filling the other room with song after song I remember and like.

In the inimitable Google fashion, it has gone picking and choosing from what it knows so far. At this moment it is playing Woodie Guthrie, Roll on Columbia, Roll on. I need to remember to throw another artist at it every time I go by.



25 comments:

  1. You are a 21st century woman, Joanne. You put me to shame! Okay, Google...

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  2. Wow! We have Alexa, but you have to buy into their music store thing before it will play any music. Alexa will sing The Star Spangled Banner for you though. Hmmm... Your Google Mini sounds like such fun!

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  3. Ooooh. I love your taste in music. Joplin: Oh Lord Won't You Buy Me a Mercedes Benz; CCR: my favorite is It Came Out Of The Sky but they never did a bad song; Fiddler's Green is a truly heart-wrenching and yet hopeful song. My daughter-in-law's niece was the only one who would listen to my protest songs with me. I owned hundreds of records, several 8Tracks, and I have bought and made hundreds of CD's. Now mp3's are what I have the most of. What comes next?

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  4. That's what a google mini does?? I thought it was like a wikipedia/google thing spouting knowledge and news. I should look into this more. I like the idea. I don't listen to my music as much as I used to and have noticed that when I go without for long enough I get really down, almost miserable and wondering what the heck is wrong with me. As soon as I start listening again, my whole world is happier.

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    Replies
    1. It says what we think. Along with the rest of my life, I lost all my lyrics, which I know as well as the melodies. They're not sticking with me yet, but I know them when I hear them.
      I don't know what else the Mini might do. I only wanted the music, and it plays it well. More than decent.

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    2. The words will come back eventually. I could not sing after my accident. Not that I sing well but you know what I mean. The words simply would not come out. It was so frustrating. Give it some time and keep trying once in a while.

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  5. Hari OM
    Yikes, you've gone all mod-tech on us!!! I just don't want anything that can talk back to me... but I can also appreciate how it is making your life easier. All together now... "Blu-oo mooooon..." YAM xx

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    Replies
    1. It really doesn't talk back. It simply says it cannot locate whatever I asked for, so it will play xyz instead. Impertinent.

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  6. I've been dithering about getting one...was it hard to set up? Expensive? Are there monthly fees? Do I want one? I think so. Tell me about it please.

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    Replies
    1. 1. Download Google Home on PC or tablet. = go to something.com and download.
      2. Plug it in. They "synch", which means the rock and the tablet meet up. There are some questions to answer on the tablet or PC.
      3. It was 49 + tax from Google, which is the only place you can buy the Google mini. Free shipping. That's all.
      4. There are more fees to build your own library. I am completely blown away and satisfied with what it provides.
      5. Say OK, Google, play blablabla and off it goes.

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    2. PS-If you get stuck, hand it to a grandchild.. ha ha

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    3. So if you say play a Beatles selection or a Walt Whitman selection or whatever...it just does it....no fee. Fantastic. I gotta get me one of those.

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  7. I've had an LP record collection, then cassettes, then CDs (still currently). I opted out of eight-tracks altogether and, being a Luddite, have not yet made the switch to MP3 and streaming. But look at you! Embracing a Google Mini! You put me to shame!

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  8. still have all our LPs and have a turntable that I hook up to my desktop. got rid of all cassettes as there is nothing to play them on. switched to CDs and have quite a large selection but all different music than the LPs. oddly, I quit listening to music too. quit the radio when I finally tired of the DJs thinking they were why people tuned in. I don't mind silence. might have to get one of those little rocks though.

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  9. I think it's a sign of an open mind to embrace the new technology when something good comes along. My mother in law is like you - always learning, always figuring out how to make something work. My mom is less inclined :)

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  10. I rely on Spotify, and my whole record collection is on some 'cloud' somewhere. Anyway, it works, it's free, and it has absolutely ALL my favourite records (mostly Ska).

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  11. I used to love putting a record on the turntable but had a lot of fun with my first cassette recorder and friends.

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  12. I'm most impressed by your derring do and just tend to hang on to what's still working.
    I've already got the CD player and enough CDs to singalong with LOUDLY... and BADLY while I'm cleaning or painting.
    I'm not sure the gadget would pick just the right awful heartbreaking Cuban songs required.

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  13. St Anne's Reel is a local favourite amongst the fiddlers. I tried to play it a few times -- the less spoken about the better, I think.

    We actually have a Fiddler's Green in the county, which is not famous, but I have heard of it. A miserable groups of discouraged settlers trekking into the Canadian Wilds from Lake Ontario sat downhearted and discouraged. Someone took out his fiddle to cheer everyone up.

    I don't know if there was a tune called Fiddlers Green in our playbook when I tried to play, but if there was, I don't think it was popular.

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  14. What a wonderful idea. I miss my music. The only place I get good stereo is in my truck with it's good radio.

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  15. I wondered what that thing was for. I think i would like one...so now to work out how to go about buying one without having it get stuck in customs and having to pay an outrageous fee to retrieve it.

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  16. We have a combined LP collection but it's not that big and often we can't remember who had which record. I've "burned" many CD mixes which are great for road trips. I've notice some new cars have dropped the CD player. Times are always a changin.
    For music we got a Sonos a few Christmases ago. It can be controlled by smartphone, Ipad, or laptop. I enjoy my free version of Pandora on it.

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  17. I never heard of such a thing. Wow.

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