First Music: Electric Light Orchestra + Jerry Jeff Walker

What was the first music you ever bought with your own money?

Jerry Jeff Walker’s A Man Must Carry On, AND the Electric Light Orchestra’s Out of the Blue (a double LP).

Both? That’s an interesting (a word which sounds better than wacko) combination.

I don’t know if you could buy two more dissimilar albums, but my taste has always been a bit scattered.

The Jerry Jeff thing was the result of these really cool kids I hung out with at Hopkins South Junior High.  A couple of them had older brothers who had introduced their younger siblings to Jerry Jeff.

Where did you buy them?

Third Stone Music in Hopkins, Minnesota, just across the street from Mr. Donut, where I had earned the money to buy them. My friend Dan and I actually bought the Jerry Jeff Walker album together:  I paid 2/3rds and kept the album; he paid 1/3rd and made a cassette tape on its first play.  The first side has a country dance song, a song about getting out of L.A., and one with a chorus that begins, “Up against the wall, Redneck Mother!”        

I bought the E.L.O. album on my own, however.  I hear some of the songs from that album on the radio today.

Any favorites?

My favorite track never got any airplay.  It’s called “Sweet is the Night,” (on side four) and each time I hear it, I think about this girl I had a huge crush on.  I actually fell for her the night before I bought the album.  I was at a school dance; it was the last night of third quarter sophomore year, and I was slow dancing with a girl I had been friends with since junior high.

I looked over and saw this other girl (who was way out of my league but still friendly to me).  She was dancing with a really, really cool Junior.  For the first time in my life, I fell in love in a moment.  I can still remember exactly what she was wearing.  I bought the albums the next morning, played them after work, and that one song hit me and I fell for it–sweetly–just like I had fallen for the girl.  Both of them still hold a certain power over me, to tell you the truth.

(John Zdrazil, Elbow Lake, Minnesota)