Spinning Vinyl: THEY ONLY COME OUT AT NIGHT by Edgar Winter Group

I get sad when I think about “the younger generation” (yeah, I’m old) and music. In some ways, the Internet has made it infinitely easier for us to find new bands. But these kids will never experience a trip to a music store, where they’re surrounded by bins of albums and immersed in sounds, along with a lot of like-minded music lovers out to discover a new album to add to their collections. These were so much more than stores; they were hangouts.

And what about vinyl? Too many young adults have never heard those rich tones and, yes, the crackle of a vinyl album.

Today I’m going to take you on a journey back to one of my favorite teenage memories. The album I’m talking about is They Only Come Out At Night by Edgar Winter Group.

The album came out in 1972, but I discovered the band and bought this album in 1977. The best known song on this album, and perhaps Edgar Winter’s most popular song of all, is Slow Ride. But the song that held me enthralled was Frankenstein. I remember the time well, because I blew my brother’s monster speakers twice on that song.

Frankenstein has no lyrics, which was in itself a new musical experience for me. I was, and mostly still am, attracted to music first by the lyrics. But this band gave me a song with no story, aside from whatever that music made me feel. And Edgar Winter could rock! Up until that time, guitars were the driving musical attraction for me. Not with this band. I mean, the guy had a keyboard strapped around his neck! And the sounds he made with that keyboard were like nothing I’d ever heard. Then, about a third into the song, out comes a saxophone. And then the electric guitar comes full force. And dueling drums! And a crazy synthesizer! (Which is the spot where I blew the speakers – twice.) I was immediately, totally, addicted to this song.

Edgar Winter was truly an innovative genius. This stuff wasn’t being done in 1972. I think the song holds up well as a bit of rock history. Seeing the video is a fun experience, particularly since back then, in the dark ages, we didn’t have YouTube or MTV. (Does MTV even play music videos anymore?) While it’s cool to see the band play this song, and the digital sound is good, to truly experience this song the way it was meant to be heard, you need to drop a needle on the vinyl and give it a spin.

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