Sunday was one of those glorious autumn days in Wisconsin — blue skies, mild weather and lots of fall color. It was a pleasant day spent pleasantly in the past.
When I saw late Saturday night that former Packers player Max McGee had died, I knew my Sunday morning would start at work. I’m the unofficial keeper of our paper’s Packers photo archives, so I went in and uploaded a gallery of old photos of McGee to our web site.
For those of us who are Packers fans, Max McGee has been part of the family for much of our lives. Older folks remember Max as a player. His last season was 1967, when I was 10. The vast majority of us remember him as one of the radio voices for the Packers for 20 years, from 1979 to 1998. You spent part of every Sunday afternoon with Max.
That done, I headed down to Milwaukee for a record show.
Last time I went to a record show, six months ago, I found lots of swell stuff but was on a limited budget. This time, I’d set aside some extra money … and, of course, as it turned out, I didn’t find much. So it goes.
Then I headed across town to the corner of Locust and Oakland, not far from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus on the northeast side of town.
The first stop was at Atomic Records, a small indie record store with a nice, if modest, selection of new and used vinyl.
Before I even got into the store, I went through the $1 vinyl bins on the sidewalk in front. Inside the store, I had to decide: Did I want “100 Days, 100 Nights,” the fine new album by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, on CD or vinyl? Oh, yeah. Vinyl, baby.
Then, another easy decision.
We used to think Parthenon Gyros on State Street in Madison, Wisconsin, was the best place for gyros. That is, until the late ’80s, when we discovered Oakland Gyros, at the corner of Oakland and Locust.
One piece of pita bread is not enough for all the sliced gyros meat piled on top. Either they’ve increased the portions, or my appetite is not what it used to be. I can’t recall struggling to finish a gyros sandwich as I did Sunday.
So, I got a gyros sandwich to go (Janet likes them, too) and headed home.
That trip home was one last trip back in time. Milwaukee radio station WTMJ — per its tradition on the Packers’ bye weekend — was replaying a memorable Packers game.
This one was from September 1992, with Max McGee on the color commentary. It was when Brett Favre had his first big game, stepping in for an injured Don Majkowski and rallying the Packers to a 24-23 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. He’s started every game since.
We remember that game well. It was another glorious fall day.
We were there.
But you don’t really care about that, do you? Didn’t think so.
The oldies that came home from Sunday’s crate-digging expedition included a couple of Tom Jones albums, each with only one or two decent cuts, and neither as good as the last two TJ albums I found. Also got one by the Dennis Coffey Band, but it’s more disco than funk and thus a little disappointing.
And this, from the $1 bins on the sidewalk outside Atomic Records.
It’s “Two Sides to Every Woman,” the second album from Carlene Carter, long one of my favorites. This ever-so-slightly country-tinged pop-rock was recorded in New York in 1979.
John McFee of the Doobie Brothers provided much of the support on this album, playing lead guitar on every cut and the occasional pedal steel guitar. It was the same year he joined the Doobies. (Did you know Carter, McFee and Keith Knudsen co-wrote “One Step Closer” for the Doobies’ album of the same name in 1980?)
Carter wrote or co-wrote seven of the nine cuts on this album. She co-wrote one with Nick Lowe, then married him and moved to England.
This album isn’t as good as the one that followed — “Musical Shapes,” which Carter did in 1980 with Rockpile — Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Billy Bremner and Terry Williams — as her backing band. Still, it has its moments, including:
“Gold-Hearted Lady” and “Two Sides to Every Woman,” Carlene Carter, from “Two Sides to Every Woman,” 1979. This album and “Musical Shapes” were released on the same CD in 2005.