Shag Carpet Listening Session, Nineteen Seventy-Something

In a recent column, I half-joked that my “happy place” was at a local watering hole/western-themed family restaurant, chasing a snakebite with a cold draft beer. True, so true. ‘Twas not always the case, of course. Before I was of legal drinking age, my “happy place” was sitting in my bedroom, on either my bed or the floor next to my stereo, with a stack of records and the turntable spinning close by. I spent untold hours with those sounds, picking a track or two off each LP, changing them often, after the song or songs I wanted to hear were done. Over the years, I’ve recreated such sessions with CDs and electronic files—in my college dorm, in my home office—but it’s just not the same.

I recently went through a brief period (a few days, really—less than a week) during which I loaded my iPod with a ton of ’70s rock records, thinking what it might have been like to have been, say, in college in 1976 or ’77, or perhaps in my own apartment, with my own odd lighting and shag carpet, spending an evening with some adult beverages, playing some old favorites on Ye Olde Hi-Fi. Perhaps some friends would have come over, and a bottle would have been brought out and passed around, with each person taking a turn playing a song or two. There’d have been lively conversation between sips, and much laughter. The evening’s soundtrack might have sounded something like this:

Peter Frampton — Nowhere’s Too Far (for My Baby) from Frampton (1975)
Blondie Chaplin — Bye Bye Babe from Blondie Chaplin (1977)
Leon Russell — Roll Away the Stone from Leon Russell (1970)
Average White Band — I Just Can’t Give You Up from AWB (1974)
Bobby “Blue” Bland — If Loving You is Wrong (I Don’t Want to Be Right) from His California Album (1973)
Jefferson Starship — Play on Love from Red Octopus (1975)
Maggie Bell — Hold On from Suicide Sal (1975)
Frankie Miller — I Can’t Change It from Once in a Blue Moon (1972)
Bob Seger System — Big River from Mongrel (1970)
Jesse Winchester — Brand New Tennessee Waltz from Jesse Winchester (1970)
Joe Cocker — Jamaica Say You Will from Jamaica Say You Will (1975)
Paul Simon — Some Folks’ Lives Roll Easy from Still Crazy After All These Years (1975)
John Lennon — Bless You from Walls and Bridges (1974)
Spirit — Nature’s Way from Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus (1970)
The Strawbs — Lay Down from Bursting at the Seams (1973)
Thunderclap Newman — Open the Door Homer from Hollywood Dream (1969)
The Who — Blue, Red, and Grey from The Who by Numbers (1975)
Graham Nash — Better Days from Songs for Beginners (1971)
Tom Waits — I Hope That I Don’t Fall in Love with You from Closing Time (1973)
Bill Withers — Let Me In Your Life from Still Bill (1972)

About the Author

Rob Smith

Rob Smith is a writer, teacher, wage earner, and all-around evil genius who spends most of his time holed up in his cluttered compound in central PA. His favorite color is ultramarine blue. His imaginary band Mr. Vertigo tours every summer. You can follow Rob on Twitter, if you desire.

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