Around ten years ago, I regularly hung out in the local record stores blowing entire minimum wage paychecks on music. There was one store on Franklin Street, that I thought was the coolest. The manager, Brett, was so nice and we totally clicked musically. We clicked on a old school level that no straight man had ever clicked with me before. He'd order things for the store with me in mind, especially western swing, vintage country and 1950s pop vocalists. When someone came in selling an old R&B CD or doo wop or some old vocalist CD, he'd save it for me. There was always a little Charlotte pile waiting for me each week.
And the music that he introduced me to was just mind-blowing to me: the harmonies of the Everly Brothers pop hits, the craziness of Billy Stewart's scat, and the cowboy tunes of Tex Ritter. He helped me get beyond the cheesiness of 1950s pop, too, which was no small feat.
And then the mix tapes started. These were all cassettes of course. We traded like mad. And to this day, no one has made a better mix tape than Brett. There was one that contained the most heavenly selection of music that I had ever heard. I loved that tape. I listened to it constantly. Each 45-minute side was perfectly dreamy and pretty. And he made the tape just for ME! I swooned over him. I painstakingly tried to uncover hidden meanings in his song choices and song placement hoping to discover that Brett was in love with me. He wasn't. But we did have a small handful of dates, one of which ended with me dancing in his arms to "Since I Don't Have You" by the Skyliners. Ah...
After that date, things fizzled for Brett. We still traded mixes, but it wasn't the same. Soon the record store closed and Brett moved away. I have no idea what happened to him, but I will never forget him or that mix tape. To this day, it is my favorite mix tape ever.
His song selections included:
Night and Day - Fred Astaire
It's All In the Game - Tommy Edwards
You Belong To Me - Jo Stafford
Indian Love Call - Slim Whitman
Memories Are Made Of This - Dean Martin
Five Minutes More - Tex Beneke
Give Me More More More of Your Kisses - Lefty Frizzell
Wish You Were Here - Eddie Fisher
Book Of Love - Monotones
I'm A Little Mixed Up - Betty James
Tears on My Pillow - Little Anthony and the Imperials
Love Letters - Ketty Lester
Summer Place - Percy Faith
The tape is old now and very, very played. I am scared to listen to it because I don't want it to break. One day, I'll transfer it off the cassette and onto my laptop. Is there a USB cassette deck on the market yet?