Album cover courtesy of iTunes

Previously, I wrote about seeing Isaac Hayes in concert after acquiring his album “Hot Buttered Soul” and the profound impact this innovative music had on me as a young man.

I would like to share with you my first encounter with the experience of stereo. In 1961, at 7 years old, I heard a stereo demonstration LP on my dad’s system. The most memorable segment was “The Train,” which sticks with me to this day. It starts with a faint whistle way off to the right and gets louder as the train approaches. Soon I was hearing the rumbling sound of the locomotive quickly approaching and passing right in front of me, followed by the cars and caboose.

He played it loud enough that if I was blindfolded, I could have sworn that I was standing in front of the train track when it passed by. I not only heard it, I felt it! And to this day, I believe that it was so loud that a deaf person would have also felt the vibration. Then I heard the faint sound of the train and whistle as it diminished to the far left.

Dad had a subscription to Stereo Review magazine, and he shared with me the proper way to listen to, and demonstrate the properties of, stereo. For those of you who own a stereophonic system with stand-alone or detachable speakers, the diagram below shows the proper positioning for a true stereophonic experience:

Illustration by Conrad Cheek, Jr.

I’m sure that most of you are familiar with this configuration, but to this day I have friends who don’t utilize it properly.

I shared the experience of “The Train” with a neighbor of mine, who was my age, back in the early ’70s. He was extremely impressed. Later in our lives, he upgraded to quadraphonic, 4-way, speakers with the subwoofers, extra low-level bass speakers, for his stereo component system. Wow, that sure sounded good!

When I brought home the Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon” LP, my dad said that it was recommended by his trusted Stereo Review magazine as a good way to test a stereophonic system. When I was moving out of the house, he said he would have to get his own Pink Floyd LP.

In the future, I will share with you the properties of that album that earned this recommendation.

(to be continued)