Saturday, August 31, 2013

Searching High and Low

August 31, 2013

So since I started collecting records I have heard nothing other than "check the resale shops and thrift shops there are records galore there!". Well that is true there is a ton of vinyl in the resale shops, but not much of it is the really awesome stuff.  Today, I had the opportunity to check three thrift shops, one resale shop, and the record store for selections. 

It was a little before 10 AM when I pulled up to the record store, but they where closed and didn't have hours listed. I called their number and didn't even get a answering machine. I know they are open on Saturdays, so I would have to come back later.

Next stop Goodwill, which is next to Hobby Lobby and I had to go to the later anyway for ideas on my man cave/record rec room. My sons and I scoured Goodwill finally finding the records hidden in the book section. The pile there was small and manageable and didn't look as if it was bothered often. All records here are a $1 and I found four records worth buying well three out of four at least.

The Original Broadway Cast: Flower Drum Song  and Linda Rondstadt's Lush Life. Both phenomenal records, not what I set out to look for but both good selections.

Carly Simon's Hotcakes, I bought this for my wife a huge Carly Simon fan, especially the song Mockingbird, with James Taylor. This is one of the songs on the album. 

The soundtrack from Cocktail, OK, for this one I'm glad I'm ONLY out a $1 on. Looking at it in the store it looked like it had a few good songs on it, but many of them are remakes. Plus there's all that 80's movie soundtrack stuff on there, yuk. After the third song I was done, perhaps I'll be in an 80's mood one day a listen to it all the way through and not stop at the third song in.

After Goodwill we ended up at a resale shop (antique store), they had 8-tracks, cassettes, reel to reel, and a ton of unorganized records all overpriced. Some records priced at $15, I even saw in Goodwill for 10 minutes earlier, one of which was Lush Life

I skipped one thrift shop in town today had to go elsewhere today, have to hit them some other day. 

The next place I ended up was a national chain thrift shop new to the area named "Savers", it was in the next town over where we had to go anyway for a few special groceries. But they had a minor record selection, mostly garbage. 

So back to the record store in my home town. It was now almost 4 PM and I had less then a half hour in the store before they closed. Today's big target was the Eagles Hotel California, but I had no luck with that, they had sold the last copy an hour before I got there. But I did find their iconic Greatest Hits album which would satisfy my need to listen to the Eagles on LP, until I could get a copy of Hotel California. I also found a great Beach Boys album, which had some of the songs I set out to look for a few weeks earlier its not Pet Sounds, but its way better then the In Concert album I picked up a few weeks earlier. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

To Old Tech, or Not To Old Tech

The thing about studying and collecting vinyl records that I've noticed about myself is that it has made me a bit philosophical. I mean I'm sitting here wishing I had just grabbed my grandmothers records rather then letting them be given away, or that I had stopped my dad from giving away his records. I am saddened in a way that I just dismissed them all as old technology, replaced at that time by CD's. 

As we fly swiftly into the era of electronically disseminated music, CD's are now becoming the endangered species. That's something that I have now had to stop and think about. I mean sure about 90% of the CDs I own I can listen to on my iPhone whenever I want, there all there thousand of songs, non-stop days worth in the palm of my hand. But the CDs many with their jewel cases gone now, and are stacked in a huge CD case in my home office. I personally have no intention of throwing them away, but at the same time it seems ashamed to let them just sit there. 

Believe it or not, even though they are CDs they still have memories attached to some of them. The music of my era on the recording media of my era. Memories of CD's given to me as gifts, eagerly buying new CD that came out, CDs bought with me on vacation, played on dates, or evenings out with friends, just the memories that some times come attached to the physically tangible portion of the music, on what ever media it may have been at the time. So in a way CD's becoming endangered is a bit sad for me at least.

So late in the evening a couple of nights ago, I got a little bored with the movie I was watching and decided to head on to E-bay to look at a few things. Whatever it was I started looking at changed and I soon found myself checking out 100+ disk CD changers, and even a duel tape deck. As I was adding these items to my watch list and wishing I could buy them right then and there I had to stop myself. "What the heck was I doing?", I asked myself. I wanted to start out collecting vinyl records now all of a sudden I was going to give a home to all outmoded music media? 

The big question is, to really appreciate music should one be willing to try to adopt all medias of it! Should I not necessarily collect CD's, or even cassette tapes but at least give them a way of being appreciated, rather then wasting away in a box or case? It's a long hard question to ask? But I will let you guys know where I take this later.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Baby-Boomer Podcast Gives Great Tips on Vinyl to Younger Collectors.

The last thirty years have been an interesting time in recorded music. We have jumped from vinyl, to tape, to CD, to MP3/iPod. For music lovers there has been a bit of a frustration in this constant changing of media forms in such a short period of time. Yet at the same time though this constant change in a short time has been a great benefit to the vinyl revival we are now seeing. 

You see with the cyclical nature of vinyl re-emerging, and recorded music technology jumping from media form to media form so quickly there is a tremendous opportunity. And what is that opportunity? It's the opportunity to return to an old technology while having a huge portion of the population aware of the technology and its benefits and downfalls, and familiar with both older technology's and the newest technologies simultaneously.  One of the largest groups in the United States that fit this profile is the Baby-Boomers. 

In my quest to discover more about collecting vinyl records I stumbled across a Baby-Boomer Generation focused podcast called Galaxy Moonbeam Night Site. The podcast focuses on good memories in past pop culture that many Baby-Boomer, and even Gen-Xer’s have, and is a light and fun show to listen to overall. But I was particularly happy with the show when they produced an episode in July of 2013 on “The Return Popularity of Vinyl Records”. Here we see how the quick jump in recording technologies combined with a generation that watched it all happen have come together, the Podcast (a technology of the iPod era), talking about the resurgence of vinyl from a generation that used it. Here we see the cycle of things unfold in a way.

But the episode is fantastic, and a great and informative listen for anyone looking to make the jump back to vinyl. The hosts Mike and Smitty give a fantastic crash course into vinyl record basics with insight on buying record players, and records, and how to care for both. The two talk about the subject not only as members of a generation that’s been there, but with a real love for the subject matter. Even as a Gen-Xer who remembers vinyl as part of a not to distant past there where things I even learned from the podcast. 

I definitely suggest listening if you are making the jump back to vinyl too, especially if you don’t have much experience with vinyl. This podcast would be great for a teenager, or 20-something you know of looking to get into vinyl as well since the show provides a lot of really key information that a novice collector could really use. 

Check out the link below to download the podcast via iTunes:

This link brings you to their site:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Record Rec Room Dilemma

You've probably seen one in the movies, or TV, or perhaps you or someone you know has one. It is the record rec room, and in most cases it isn't much more then a small area with a record player, some records and maybe something that can be called seating. 

In high school the father of a friend had converted the small loft space above his garage into an area like this. This of course was to the disapproval of my friend, who with his 9 siblings had made this place a kind of treehouse over the years. 

Dad on the other hand, had finally saved enough money to buy a 5 CD carousel, which back then was big money and on the cusp of technological advancement. He and Mom then decided the old Hi-Fi system had to go to make room for the new technology. But the portable record player and the records where saved by Mom, since the record player was a wedding gift, and many of the records had sentimental associations as well. 

So the narrow loft space above the garage became their home, initially meant as an area of solitude for Mom, Dad, and old memories, old habits die hard and the kids many of them teenagers took over. For my friend his parents albums, many of which where from the late 60's and 70's, always captivated him. As a big fan of The Doors in particular he would often take the ladder made of 2x4's up to the loft after school as much as possible to listen to them, as well as the Eagles, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, and Lead Zeppilin to name a few. 

The room consisted of nothing more the a rug on the floor, the portable record player, and the record rack. There was no setting except for a uncomfortable metal folding chair, which no one ever used. I remember visiting the spot once and sharing a few cold Cokes, and cookies with him as a few of his younger siblings while listening to a Queen album, and played Go Fish (I meant literal younger siblings). I can just remember the sound that old Zenith portable record player got. 

When I decided to finally begin collecting vinyl I thought it would be cool to have a space like that. Then I began to get a headache over buying a portable record player, I was certain I would have to get an old one off E-bay, and then came the thoughts about whether it would work or not, or need a new needle, and how much a good one mint or near mint would cost me. Then one night while looking at vinyl record collecting online I came across the Amazon Vinyl Store, yes it's there google it if you want to get right to it. The store not only has a great listing of albums, but there where new portable record players right there. Many of them go for less then $100, but one compliant from feedback that seems to be common for all of them is that the speakers aren't very powerful. Not exactly what I remember from my friends Zenith or whatever brand of portable I had as a kid. But some of the reviews do seem to disagree leading me to believe sound is in the ear of the beholder. 

Until then and until I expand my record collection a bit more, I guess I will continue to dream of an old school record rec room. But I will keep you posted. 

Do you have a record rec room? Let me know respond to this post, and/or e-mail me photos I know I, and probably my readers would love to see your chill space.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Record Revelation

So you may be asking yourself why I or anyone would get into collecting vinyl in an era of iPods, and MP3's. My story about collecting vinyl actually starts in 1996. If you remember back to 96' it was an era of Compact Disks, with cassette tapes slowly but surely disappearing, and MP3's on the horizon  but not yet in a transportable format. 
I was in my senior year of high school and part of our English 4 class was giving our "Senior Speech". We all got through our speeches based on a subject of our choice, being 17 and 18 year olds you can imagine it was nothing all that deep. Then one guy gave a speech that has captured my attention ever since. Ben, I think his name was gave a speech about why music on vinyl sounded better.

His reasoning was clear and his speech eye opening. "Vinyl, (and keep in mind I'm completely paraphrasing) sounded better, it was truer to the artist voice, and to the sound. CD's lost a lot of that due to digitalization and post-production, in an attempt to give a clean recording they lost the human elements. Those little mistakes and out of tone idiosyncrasy's indicative of live music are produced out. Oh, and you could get new stuff on vinyl too!". 
After that I gave collecting records a lot of thought, but just never got into it. Especially in a world of CD's and iPods coming to us quickly. 

Now, I was (and am) not a novice to the world of records. By parents had a collection with some good records including a 40's set that I loved, and as a small child I had a portable 45' record player and a stack of kids records (in a yellow Saturday Night Fever box) both are long gone. So I have an understanding of the world of vinyl and the delicacy of records, needles, grooves, and speeds. But what I don't know much about is collectibility, or even what sounds the best. Or to put it another way what records are essential to a record collector, what are those mind blowing records that really make you go "Wow, this what it SHOULD sound like!". 

So here I am 17 years after that speech, and starting to delve into the world of vinyl records.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Reuniting with a Record Recollections

August 14, 2013

Well today a text came into me on the way home from work "A package came for you. What's in it?". What was it it was my first record purchase off eBay, and a long lost record set. I finally had gotten the entire set my grandparents had given me that, had been given away with my Fathers records. 

In a previous posting I mentioned that I had record 6 from this collection, as my sole survivor patiently waiting in the record player when I found it. Well now I have two of those, plus record 2 which was missing from my grandparents set. 

To say the least I must have played three of the records right away. It drove my family a little nuts, but man was it good to hear those records again.

Record Resurrection

Welcome to my blog on amateur vinyl record collecting! I started this blog because I just got into this hobby (sort of) and I didn't see any other blogs out there like it to help inspire me, and direct me.
Basically I started this blog for people like me. Those of us who are new to the experience, who are looking to collect, but also open to the opportunity to feel and comprehend music in a way we have forgotten to.

I want vinyl record collectors new or old to be able to connect with this blog and share their perspectives and joy. I want to hear about your grandparents Glenn Miller collection, the Eagles or Lead Zeppelin albums your bought new and forgot about, or that Nick Waterhouse album you just bought off Amazon.

So please follow along my journey with me, and feel free to let me know how it's going on your end.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Rummaging through Resale for Records

August 10, 2013

Earlier in the week my eldest son and I ran in and out of a local thrift shop in search of records, and we where in luck. Four stacks about two feet high of vinyl, but hard to tell what was in them. One record I did dig out was a Louis Jordan album, it had a lot of good songs on it, but pressed for time again I put it back and we left just as quickly as we had arrived. 

Finally today on a Saturday with nothing to do we got back there. My eldest son was there mainly because he wanted to get out of the house. But he was helpful in sorting through the pile that had now become six stacks. But my goal of grabbing that Louis Jordan record was dashed, either someone bought it of it was moved in the creation of more piles. 

Being a late Saturday morning the store was crowded making it hard to look at the records, especially since they where stacked horizontally in such tall piles on a shelf closest to the floor. Feeling my wife's annoyance about going there I put a cap on myself to spend no more then $5. 

Sons of the Pioneers although an odd choice for me I figured would have a unique sound on vinyl. I kind of always dug the old timey Cowboy Music they sang and figured on vinyl something would be added. On vinyl it actual does sound unique, but this release can from the group as they where older, probably in the late 1950's early 60's. So although its all the classic songs of theirs, that element of Sons of the Pioneers in their prime ala the late 30's into the 40's is lost. 

I also grabbed the original Broadway cast recording of My Fair Lady. One of the reasons I grabbed it was because it was one of the records my parents had on their collection (perhaps this is that very same record????). I remember my sister loved this record and would put in on many a Saturday morning while doing housework. The other reason is that it is a great album and Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison are phenomenal in this, I must admit though I do prefer Audrey Hepburn as Eliza though. 


Lastly, I found some record sets towards the bottom of the piles. One of the ones I pulled out was a 6 LP, Dean Martin set. Ok, I will admit the cover looks very sappy early 60's, but there are a lot of great songs on the set.