Summertime is coming and this time of year is all about relaxation. It epitomizes the ability to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and to find a small amount of peace in the things we love.
Music is a staple of this time of year. Classic songs play a huge role in our summer life whether it be while hanging out in the backyard, relaxing on the beach or taking a trip on the open road.
Perhaps the most important thing next to the perfect tune, is finding the perfect book. Now there is a new book that marries those two things together.
Author Michael Morsch brings us ‘The Vinyl Dialogues,’ just in time for the summer. Morsch’s book focuses on some of the iconic artists of the 70’s and the albums that they made that helped to characterize that time period.
The book not only tells the story of the music of the time, it draws a connection between the music of the time and how it connected to what was going on in the world. Morsch developed the book through interviews with a number of artists including Hall & Oates, The Doobie Brothers, KC & The Sunshine Band, David Cassidy, Peaches and Herb and so many more.
Morsch took some time to talk with WOGL.com about his new book and some of the highlights of his experience writing it.
One of the most interesting groups featured in the book was Hall & Oates. The duo and Morsch have a long-standing connection. The origin of the book in fact begins with Hall & Oates.
Morsch had the opportunity to cover Daryl Hall and John Oates, natives of the Pottstown and North Wales areas in Montgomery County, Pa. Morsch’s history with the duo gave him an interesting and overall pleasant perception of them both.
“They are both everything that you would hope that your musical heroes are,” Morsch said of the pair. “They bend over backwards to answer your questions and give you the information you’re looking for.”
Morsch’s product was also inspired out of a curiosity and longing for vinyl. “I grew up with my parents’ vinyl collection in the sixties,” Morsch said. “By the time we got to the 70’s, I was in high school and college and we were into eight-track and cassettes so I never had a vinyl collection.”
A few years ago, Morsch’s wife bought him a record player and he was determined to hear his favorite artists in their purest form. His quest led him to a North Wales record shop where he found “Abandoned Luncheonette,” Hall & Oates second album from 1973.
“I bought it, took it home and played it and it was wonderful,” Morsch said. While enjoying the tunes, Morsch realized it was 40 years ago when the album was released which spurred him to seek out Hall & Oates for an interview.
Morsch’s article on the duo appeared in the local paper and turned out so well that he wondered whether other artists would be interested in speaking about memorable albums they produced in the 1970’s.
The issue that Morsch realized was that all these veterans of the industry have done so many interviews that there was really nothing new that you could approach them with to spark their interest. However, Morsch had a breakthrough.
“When I started researching specific albums and tailored my questions to specific albums, man they perked right up,” Morsch said. “I started getting some really good stuff and I thought ‘I might be on to something here’.”
One of the strengths in the book is that it highlights the years before some of your favorite artists hit their peak in terms of popularity. Artists like Hall & Oates were immensely talented in the early 70’s even though they may not have reached their highest point of fame until later in the decade and into the 80’s. ‘The Vinyl Dialogues,’ gives you a look at the parts of the journey to stardom for many artists that you may have forgotten.
‘The Vinyl Dialogues,’ also takes a look at how the music of the period mirrored the country at the time. The 70’s were the period of transition coming out of a tumultuous decade in the 1960’s.
“The music became a snapshot of what was going on in the country at the time,” Morsch said. “The early 70’s albums still had that heavy 60’s influences of the peace, love and rock and roll era.”
In addition to Hall & Oates, other big name groups were really finding themselves in the early 1970’s. Morsch pointed to Crosby, Stills & Nash as another prime example of this.
“[Crosby, Stills & Nash] were all in relatively successful bands in the 60’s and they happened upon each other and created this super group.”
Morsch also pointed to how the music and the culture of the time seemed to move in unison. Several of the stories told in the book, serve as prime examples of this.
The stories in ‘The Vinyl Dialogues,’ open a window to an era that helped to define the time and set the tone for artists to follow. Whether it was folk music, rock, soul, the classic Jersey Shore sound, or disco, this book provides some amazing insights into albums that helped to make that time what it was. Morsch characterized the decade as the last great era of music in his lifetime to this point.
Morsch clearly enjoyed the experience and readers of this book will do the same. “It became a real history lesson of the 70’s,” Morsch said. “I lived it as a kid, but the odd thing about it was that I learned a whole lot and hearing these songs 35-40 years later was like hearing them for the first time. I can’t tell you how fun this project was.”
The book is on sale now. You can visit the official website today to find out more about the book, read a sample of it, or find out where to purchase a copy for yourself.
It is clear that Morsch had quite a great experience taking a trip down memory lane to create this work. You now have the opportunity to enjoy the journey for yourself.
– Ray Boyd, WOGL.com