Music and the lack thereof as a child

Growing up super poor was beneficial to me in a lot of ways. It taught me how to deal with little to no food, how to push off the lights getting shut off or being evicted and how to minimize my belongings. The one thing it didn’t help was owning my own music during childhood.

We did have some music, my parents would buy some of it (or usually get it from friends) but it was never under control of me or my siblings (at least until I hit teenage years and got my own job. What that meant was we had to make do with our own ways of capturing music. In this case, it was with one of those old, large cassette recorders placed next to the tv as a song was playing.

looked sort of like this

The two different songs I remember most recording that way were vastly different. The first was a song from one of my favorite movies as a child, “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon”.

I am fairly sure this is the scene

My siblings and I played it for more than a year, a horrible tv version with just enough static from the rabbit ears to give it its own unique sound. I think I liked it so much because I would watch John Wayne with my grandparents, and my grandmother passed away around the time we recorded it. Sadly I don’t think we even had the whole song, it was just the song as it appeared in the movie.

The second song I remember the most is Eddy Grant’s version of “Romancing the Stone”. That was a really popular movie at our house, my parents had rented it for a weekend (with about 20 other movies in our traditional movie spree once a month) and we had recorded it as well. I just remember the faint tv static playing along with the song as we had recorded it.

 I wish I had considered recording the video but we didn’t have mtv. 

I think I still like both of these songs today because as a kid they were just two of a very very small number of songs we had available until I was a teenager (just a year or so after Romancing the Stone came out). Then we started getting music, a lot of music that we listened to between evictions. That is also when we lost the casette recorder but got a big box casette player (aka a boom box or ghetto blaster which at the time I didn’t realize was a racist connotation).

To be honest, I don’t recall why things had changed, our life had become a lot less stable when I was a teenager, you would think maybe it would be harder to get music. Or maybe that is when my parents stopped trying to budget and just gave up on it. Hmm… something for me to ponder on.

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