Every year there’s a list of the hottest Christmas gifts from toys to the latest tech gadgets. And it didn’t surprise me seeing items like Marvel action figures and the Bluey Playhouse, to Google smart speakers/displays and iPads. But one product that I saw on quite a few lists this year, took me by surprise. Well, sorta surprising. Because now that I think about it, I could easily see this on several of my friend’s Christmas list. Heck, I wouldn’t mind unwrapping one of these on Christmas morning. 

It’s a good old fashion record player! We’re not talking some top notch turntable that plugs into a $2000 sound system that’s heard on some high quality 5.0 surround sound speakers. We’re talking portable carrying case record players, often in a novelty retro style that you would have bought a kid back in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. Some of these record players are built into a wooden case that’s in the style of an old radio tuner….that actually works!

When I looked them up on Amazon, these record players brought back memories as a little kid putting the needle on the ol 33 1/3 long playing vinyl album, and listening to all the songs on side one, then flipping it over to hear the rest of the album. And this was before albums were remastered in digital stereo. Besides, it didn’t matter because we only had that one speaker on the record player, so everything was heard in glorious mono anyway. But this got me thinking about another Christmas gift for them, once they get the record player. An actual album to drop the needle on. What would be a great vinyl album to listen to on a record player such as these? 

I used to work at the Sam Goody record store in the Del Amo Mall in Torrance, California as kid. I got the job because I was also working at 93.5 KFOX and my knowledge of all types of music. I had so much fun talking records with customers. My uncle John would take me to Tower Records on Sunset Blvd and educate me on classic Jazz albums. So when my own daughter, who just purchased a Victrola record player, asked me about great vinyl albums she should buy to listen to, I had a long list. lol. My top 3 were, Pet Sounds -The Beach Boys. Time Out -The Dave Brubeck Quartet. Breakfast in America -Supertramp. Aja -Steely Dan. Sorry. I’m bad at math. 

I had a conversation with our own Townsquare Media music specialist Uncle Dave from The Quake 102.1, about great vinyl albums that are must listen to, we came up with quite a few live albums. Frampton Comes Alive -Peter Frampton. Live Bullet -Bob Seger. An Evening With John Denver -John Denver. And then, if you can get them on vinyl, there’s the series of MTV Unplugged albums from Nirvana, Alanis Morrisette, and Tony Bennett. One of Uncle Dave’s favorites to drop a needle on and just kick back to listen to is the Running on Empty Live album by Jackson Browne. Sadly, if you were to buy a record player for someone on your Christmas list, there are no record stores in Wenatchee. We asked around. You’ll have to travel to Ellensburg and check out Old Skool’s. Or in Seattle, where there are plenty of record stores. Which one would expect. After all. It’s Seattle. I was recently at the Sea-Tac Airport where they have a Sub-Pop record store. I spend some time in there before my connecting flight. Perhaps on your next flight out of Pangborn Airport into Seattle, and you have the time, stop in. Or simply order an album online. Maybe with the popularity of record players, someone will open up a record shop in Wenatchee. Hummmm. Note to self….

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