The City of New Orleans

Malia one night mentioned she’d love to get a “modern record player” for Christmas. That made us chuckle. So we got her a simple Victrola, and Nick, her godfather, sent a handful of new LPs (Foster the People, Walk the Moon, Chvrches, Taylor Swift).

Now, for her birthday, we’ve just given her the Hamilton musical 4-LP soundtrack. Malia’s godmother, Mary, is an Alexander Hamilton expert — she worked at the Massachusetts Historical Society on the Adams Papers — so we’ve paid attention to the Hamilton phenomenon for the last year. And on our trips to St. Croix the last few years, we visited the Christiansted fort where Hamilton’s mother was imprisoned, and we strolled the streets where Hamilton would have walked and worked. So we’re fans. Not surprisingly, as we drove home from seeing the Carolina Ballet perform The Nutcracker last month, Malia, Anna and Oliver impressed us with their flawless Hamilton singing.

Anna has her driver’s permit, and just before Christmas I had her drive me to Mebane, where we visited the outlet mall, then went for coffee at the newish Filament Coffee & Tea. A few doors down is Quirks, a fun “outpost of the odd” where I discovered a corner stack of old LPs. I bought Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town, and The Wild, the Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle. We listened to those on Christmas morning, as the skillingsboller were rising and Oliver was putting together another LEGO set.

And last week, in Cleveland, at the Loop coffee and record shop, Malia bought me Arlo Guthrie’s Hobo’s Lullaby, for 50 cents. On that vinyl disc is one of my all-time favorite songs, The City of New Orleans.

I like this modern record playing. All that’s old is new again.



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