Friday, September 20, 2013

Record Regrets

If you have read any of my previous postings you will know that I originally thought about collecting vinyl when I was a senior on high school. Sadly I let years of collecting vinyl pass me by, but I still collected some great music.

One of my favorite albums from my youth is Garbage's first album from all the way back in 95'. I didn't actually get the CD until late 1996 though. I listened to this album whenever I could, and by late 97' I was eagerly awaiting their second album, and begging to look into a possible release date. It was at this time that I was first exposed to something called Back the Amazon was still fairly primitive, and they also did auctions too. But typing Garbage in I became aware if special CD singles, remixes of current songs, and the first album on LP. 

As I spotted it I was stunned. My classmate was right new music was being put out on vinyl. Here was my chance to get into vinyl. But for $20, I didn't know, after all I had the album on CD so why bother. I logged off of Amazon and thought about it, no wish lists on Amazon back then so I would have to specifically look it up when I came back later. I got up and went to work the next day, and maybe class too, but I just remember being at work and at one point saying to myself "when I get home I'm going to buy it!". 

I remember finally getting home and sitting down and front of the computer going on to Amazon, and well changing my mind and not buying it. I though about it a few more times after that but just let it go after time.  

Flash forward to last week. I look the album up on Amazon and its $139, plus I can't even find the first album on eBay. All I can say is damn! I could have gotten it for $20, back in the day. Oh well! Guess that's a record regret!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Return of the Record Collector: The Interesting Find

Ok, I'm back after a frustrating last few weeks. But I have managed to pick up a few more records and even found an interesting piece of audio history. 

I stopped by Goodwill a few weeks back dodging the rain. I found some nicer finds there before, and unlike some other stores they don't have two foot tall stacks on a bottom shelf to sort through. But on this day I found something really interesting.

This is a Juliette multi-function audio system. On the top a three speed record player, and a recordable cassette deck. On the front an 8-track player, and AM/FM stereo with all the extras. 

So I bet your asking, did you buy it? No! The reason being is that Goodwill wanted $125 for this system. For a piece of equipment from I'm guessing the late 70's, from a company I never heard of that is a bit too high. Although they would have found a buyer in me at $40. 

As for the company, Juliette I never heard of them. It occurred to me that it may be an old in-house Montgomery-Ward brand, but as I looked into it that is not the was not the case. 

What I found most interesting about this system is that its an interesting piece of transitional technology. Seeing both 8-track and cassette on the same system is kind of unique, especially considering cassette replaced 8-track as a portable audio media. As you look at this system it seems as if the 8-track and record player are the stars of the show, but it's interesting to think that a system like this would have allowed a user to create mixer tapes or just straight out copies of records and 8-tracks. So that tape player hidden on the record deck would as time went by, become the true star of the show or that is until CDs. 

As you know from my previous posts I do have an interest in old audio technologies, and this system peaked my interest in 8-track. To be honest it was ever so slightly before my time, and I had known it more as the butt of many jokes. I had to wonder though what did 8- track sound like? Luckily my brother in law came to the rescue, with some fairly fond memories of 8-track and of having 8-track and cassette at the same time. From what I understand 8-track audio was was actually superior to cassette, since 8-track was a descendent of 2-track a.k.a. Reel to Reel tape. 2-track was actually considered to have the highest fidelity, and was and in some cases still is, used by the recording industry to make the masters that everything from vinyl to nowadays electronic formats are based on. It was explained to me once how the "tracks" work, I forgot a lot of it but most of what I do remember is very technical and a bit more then I want to add here. 

To say the least I will continue on record shopping for now, and leave 8- track for another time. But I still have to admit this system was an interesting find.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Record Wozzy's

My son and I headed down to the basement to play some video games while my wife went to visit next door. I wanted that real video gaming atmosphere, and popped open the my Targus 320 CD case, and flipping through the binder like 4x4 pages finally found something to listen to. 

So I realize I have 320 cd's, and probably 20+ albums in electronic form, and hundreds of miscellaneous single songs here and there electronic form. Then I suddenly realized that I had this huge buzzing in my head about my need to collect vinyl records. 

You see I just have kind of been aimlessly picking up records here and there just to hear that vinyl sound. But I'm not giving myself any direction, which is leading me to the record wozzy's this kind of dizzy feeling about collecting. 

So I have been trying to sort it out mentally. Do I continue to just collect? Do I pick and artist? A genera? An era? I mean don't get me wrong I enjoy the hunt but knee deep in a pile of records at a resale shop or amongst bins at the record store there is this feeling of being overwhelmed, and often times totally forgetting what I'm looking for. 

Anyone else feel this way when they started?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Rainy Weekend Record Finds

A rained out weekend brings new records to the collection

The Weekend of September 7th, 2013

Saturday was a mess so I found myself heading out that Sunday. The only issue was that it was raining on and off all day. My original goal was to hit a local grocery store, but one of the thrift shops was nearby so I just had to drop in. Considering I had only been in there a week or so before not much was new. I did however spot the Juliette audio system mentioned in a previous blog


I did pick up a Steve Lawrence record I had passed on previously. I'm not a huge fan but the album had some decent songs of his. I my opinion Lawrence isn't half the singer his wife Eddy Gourmet is, but he's also not bad. 

Monday September 9th:

Today I'm out of my comfort zone shopping for records on a Monday. But I guess that put me in a mood that made me think outside the box on what I bought too. Cause today I would add my first comedy and classical albums to my collection. 

Bill Cosby is a Very Funny Fellow is a nice album I have heard bits off of before. It had Cosby's famous Noah bits on it, and a few of his other early comedy acts. When I put this album on it blew my sons mind. I don't think he knew comedy albums even existed let alone on vinyl a medium still be to him. To say the least he loved it and it was nice to get a few laughs in without having to worry about covering his ears. To say the least I'm going to see what else is out there comedy wise on vinyl because its a nice change. 

Also new to me and my collection is classical. OK, I knew if your a collector who hits the thrift stores like me your no stranger to classical, also for the most part you never find any of the more well known classical artist anyway, or any Opera either at least I never have. But I found two nice albums and for $0.68 I though what the heck. 

I really like this one it's Tchaikovsky on one side and Schubert on the other. 


I call it the dinner album because it makes great background music. Real nice find.

Finally, the last find is Strauss. I always wanted a Strauss album but just was never will to pay full price on CD or iTunes or what have you. It's a great mix of Strauss works, but by no means a complete collection. Either way it's a nice add. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Where are all the 45's?

Where are all the 45's? I mean I can find LP's like crazy, but whats up with the 45's?

I mean I get it 45's are the singles and all the really good songs are on them. Being from the pre-electronic music CD, era I know about singles, I have a couple of CD singles in my personal collection, and my sister has single tapes in hers. There weren't as many of either of these in our day, but 45's are a different story. 45's where huge in the day, and whole albums in some cases where only released based upon single 45 sales. 45's where used in juke boxes, given out by DJs in contests, sold by bands at concerts, and so on. Yet there are barely any to be found. 

At my weekend record store visit I found some 45's in a bin next to the larger LP record bins. Yet none of them where good. Like a single from Ray "Ghost Busters" Parker Jr, you didn't know he made any other songs? Well he did and I found the 45's. Trust me the bin was full of those. 

So any hopes of finding Elvis, or Richie Valens, or any others doesn't seem to be a reality outside of E-bay.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Vinyl Bad Penny's

On the hunt for vinyl records in the bowels of thrift shops you come across a lot of *ah-hum "Interesting" records. Notice I said interesting because for all I know you may enjoy Leonard Nimoy's The Way I Feel, or The Best Movie Scores of 1966 by 101 Strings, or many other selections that I personally don't feel the need to add to my collection. 

But in my search I have noticed some artist whose albums just continually turn up almost by the wheel barrel full in every place I look. My particular question is, why? I can tell you that I'm not a fan because its just not my kind of music. But I'll let you give me some reasons why you think they may not be popular, and or tell me what artist and albums you run across regularly. 

At number 1, in my hunt is Kenny Rodgers. Old Kenny "The Gambler" Rodgers just can't get no love from vinyl collectors. No matter what resale shop I look in there is his stuff, not just one album but usually multiple ones. I remember he was big in the early 80's with the whole cross-over country easy listening crowd. I even remember watching the famous Kenny Rodgers & Dolly Parton special on TV remember that? 

At number 2 Crystal Gayle. Just like Kenny, Crystal can't get no love. As a matter of fact in my hunts she is almost neck and neck with old Kenny. I have a vague recollection of one song she sang, but can't remember what it was.

At number 3 Mitch Miller. Ok, from what I heard of this guy he is a Colonel Sanders look-alike, who originated the whole sing along with the bouncing ball thing on TV. Apparently he had a TV show in which a group of singers all Colonel Sanders clones as well, would pull some really old songs out of antiquity, to sing to a Rock and Roll-phobic audience. From what I hear Miller was a very anti-rock person, I guess he felt the fad would go away. Guess that's why there are so few rock albums in the stores yet a ton of Mitch Miller

So what dogs do you run across on your searches? Comment back and let me know, I'd love to hear.