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Sunday, August 26, 2007

FOR THE RECORD

When I first started buying records, in 1976, your average LP went for about five bucks, at least at the PX they did, and my weekly allowance was also five bucks. It was a tidy arrangement.

As my lust for vinyl grew, as it very quickly did, I found employment to cover the cost of my habit.

In the early eighties Fred introduced me to the institution known as the used record store via Nuggets in Boston.

Nuggets was heaven for me, but it was in Boston, and I didn't live there, so nearly all of the records I bought until I went to college in 1984 were purchased new at records stores, most of which were located in malls.

For all the wrong reasons I chose to attend the University of Maryland at College Park. It's fairly accurate to say that my affiliation with U of M was disastrous, but there was one definite positive thing about the time I spent there, a used record store on Route 1 in College Park.

I bought most of my Stones collection there as well as hundreds of other LPs.

From that point until this day, the used record store has been my main source of recorded music.

A few years after that the Compact Disc arrived on the scene, and a great many of you sold off your vinyl.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

By 1990 retail record stores no longer stocked vinyl, it's value dropped - with the exception of 'original copies' and rarities.

I never put too much stock into the 'original copy' line of collector thought. I don't care when it was made, I want the music first and foremost, and as long as the jacket has all the original artwork and such, then shit man, what's the big deal. My copy of 'Revolver' was bought new in 1976, and it's fine with me, the record is still mindblowing.

At any rate the CD revolution ushered in the boon years of used vinyl. The past seventeen years has been great, and my collection has soared to over 1,200 volumes.

For a good while I could go into a used record store and haul in a big score of twenty or so LPs for under a hundred bucks.

After a while, as I mentioned in my recent related post, it got more difficult to land the big score. As far as Metal goes, I have it all - with the exception of the elusive Angelwitch record. I have all the Nazareth, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, and Blue Oyster Cult. I have all the Sabbath, Alice Cooper, and Nugent.

I diversified. Eagles, Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, U2, Ramones......

I've got toe holds in Country (Willie, Johnny, Glenn Campbell), R&B/Soul (Marvin, Diana, Teddy Pendergrass, Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes), Gospel (Staples Singers), Jazz (Miles, Charlie Parker), Classical (the big names), Reggae (Bob, Peter, Jimmy), and all those categories need further exploration along with early Hip Hop and, of course, Funk.

To that end, I'm happy to report that there are plenty of used vinyl stores for me to visit, and deplete, not only here in NYC, but in Albany, Rockville, Atlanta, and Austin.

Another sea change in the story of vinyl is currently under way.

There are a number of small companies who are licensing and re-releasing classic records on 180 gram vinyl, with all the original artwork. Often, these records are actually better than the 'original'.

So the used record bins are now sharing their space with an increasing amount of new vinyl.

The days of finding the big score, or the great deal may be ending, but the interest in vinyl has survived drought, and is on the rise.

Good thing I got my 'Blond on Blond' when it was going for six bucks.

So, my friends, I have this to say to you all:

Get rid of your vinyl. You don't need it, and I do. You don't use it, and I will. Your significant other wants you to dispose of it, so haul it all down to the used record store cash it in, and buy the new iPod.

It's the best thing, really.

Comments:
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
Do you have all of the 70's Ramones on vinyl?
 
Certainly - everything up till an including 'Too Tough to Die'
 
Our new listening room will feature all of Mrs. Alva and my vinyl and I can't wait to set it up. Will be hitting a used record store Sunday at the Decatur Book Festival when Peter Case does an in store apprearance. OH HELLS YEAH!

I'll be off CD/vinyl moratorium too!

BTW, Brian Caldwell called me this weekend on his way to the Blues Traveler show in PTC and was riding in a golfcart with some recently made friends. The women of the married couple was a studied opera singer with a masters in composition from LaGrange college. When Brian asked if she knew Mitch Turner she said, "OH YES! He was so critical of one of my pieces he brought me to tears!". Brian did the spit reflex with his beer and had to apologize mulitple times for laughing out loud. The women said that she did well in his classes, but he was the toughest professor she'd ever had.
 
She must have ment Bizzarro Mitch Turner at Bizzarro LaGrange College.
 
She must not have know her didactic pitch tunings well enough.
 
I remember my childhood allowance was used to purchase records as well. Ah those were the days...

What a great feeling it was to hold this awesome record sleeve and read the liner notes while rocking out.

lets not forget the raisin bran!
 
I wish I still had my vinyl to give, for to you it would go Mr. Wilson.

As a recording professional, I love the vinyl medium for its far superior sonic quality and the fact that to farm this sound you must drag a diamond through curvy grooves. How awesome is that.

But, as caretaker of my collection I could never keep it together. Dozens of naked albums would lay for weeks on my cement floor in my basement room waiting for Caesar (dog of long nails) to clack over as he came and went. Sleeves would tear and eventually if I could at least slip the vinyl into the correct naked cardboard outer cover I felt accomplished.

CD's faired much worse in my hands.

It is, alas, the soul-stripped, orphaned MP3 that actually works for me. Weird that I spend the better part of my time insuring the highest possible quality recording and mixing.

And I usually enjoy irony.

I do still own a turntable.
 
My biggest dilema is how to re-arrange my office. Just bought another 800+ vinyl albums. (scored an amazing deal on craigslist). The other 1,200 are all cataloged and all the shelves are full. Great problem to have. Long live vinyl.
 
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