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Conquer Death with Vinyl


Every record collection has to start somewhere. Mine was born from death. When my aunt Tanya died in her 40s, it hit me like a freight train. Nobody close to me had ever passed away before. Cancer was a new term I had to learn, defined by suffering. My aunt never had children and never got married. She was the free spirit in my family, which was reflected by her taste in music. Postmortem, Tanya introduced me to masterpieces like Carole King’s Tapestry and Simon and Garfunkel’s Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. Stories poeticized in melody, comprised of simple phrases and unfettered truths. I had grown up listening to alternative rock and 90s rap where everything seemed I don’t know, complicated.

This music was incredibly complex but radically simple. Love, truth, pain. Concepts impossible to comprehend captured in singularity. Even now, music transgresses time and generations, but it’s different when you can hold media once held by a deceased loved one, especially the anthems of their youth. There’s an intimacy to it; something you can literally feel. Whenever I listen to “You’ve Got a Friend”, I always smile and remember my beloved aunt. It warms my heart. We sing it together. That’s what vinyl does. That’s what it’s supposed to do. It connects us with friends and family whose albums we inherit. It binds strangers in perpetuity as we leaf through each other’s memories with each record store visit. Digital platforms just don’t do it; love versus Love. Seemingly the same but different.

“When you’re down and troubled And you need some love and care And nothing, nothing is going right Close your eyes and think of me And soon I will be there To brighten up even your darkest night”

-You’ve Got a Friend-

Recommended Albums & Pairings:

Album: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Recorded in October 1966 by Columbia Records
Produced by Bob Johnston
Cover Photo by Bob Cato

Fun facts:

  • So what does the album’s title song even mean? Well, the song’s lyrics are about a man trying to attain his true love and the herbal references date back to Medieval times when each herb represented related virtues—parsley was comfort, sage was strength, rosemary was love, and thyme was courage.
  • Recording the album cost a whopping $30,000 (which was an unusually high cost) due to the duo taking 3 months in studio and 4 months in total to record the album.

Beer Pairing: Dogfish Head, Stone Brewing Co. and Victory Brewing Company Collaboration, Saison Du BUFF

It only makes sense to pair the classic musical duo, Simon and Garfunkel, and their first masterpiece, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme with a collaboration of brewers. The idea for this beer germinated way back in 2003 when three guys from each brewery formed the BUFF alliance (Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor) intended to highlight a shared passion and camaraderie of the American craft brew movement. The BUFF didn’t take off until 2010 when the breweries finally got together and brewed this saison first at Stone, which was then replicated it at Dogfish and Victory with each beer having different release dates.

This light, crisp beer has brilliant clarity (like the album!) and is golden in color (like Garfunkel’s hair?) and oh yeah, it’s made with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Duh!

Here Are Photos Of The Beer Paired with Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme

beer paired with Parsley"
beer paired with Parsley"

Album: Tapestry

Recorded in February 1971 @ A&M Recording Studios, Studio B
Produced by Lou Adler
Cover Photo by Jim McCrary

Fun facts:

  • Tapestry still holds the record for most consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 by a female solo artist.
  • During the album’s cover photo shoot, Carole King’s cat, Telemachus was moved from across the room and into frame on the last shot of the session. McCrary believed the final photo and use of the cat helped draw the viewer in.
  • On the reverse side of the album’s cover are the song titles and lyrics, printed with a softened brown ink that looks like parchment. This was believed to be a statement of permanence, significance and independence.
  • In addition to it being #1 hit, "I Feel the Earth Move" appears to have tectonic power behind it. On February 9th 1971, one day before the song was released, a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck Los Angeles, CA, which also happened to be King’s 29th birthday.

Beer Pairing: New Belgium Brewing, Piano Keys

This imperial stout blends seven malts, Ugandan vanilla beans and Nicaraguan cocoa nibs from Atlanta-based Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate company to inspire any palate and nasal passage with rich aromas, initial sweetness, mild bitterness and a full bodied finish.

Carole King first learned to play piano from her mother at age three. If New Belgium’s Piano Keys existed back in the early 40s, King’s mother probably would have rubbed this satiable imperial stout on her baby girl’s gums when teething. Coming in at 10%, Piano Keys is the perfect pairing for the celebrated American singer-songwriter and when listening to the 10/10 Tapestry.

Here is a photo of the beer paired with Tapestry


1 thought on “Conquer Death with Vinyl”

  1. This is nothing short of amazing!
    Here’s some food for thought. With music downloads and the like today CDs are also becoming a thing of the past. I have thousands of CDs that I have stored and moved and stored and moved . What is their fate?


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