Monday, December 30, 2013

The Record Record: Ending the Year I Started collecting

Happy New Years! Well, close to it today's the 30th, so two days more. 

This being a New Years themed posting I wish I had a Guy Lombardo record to talk about with a recording of Auld Lang Syne on it. It's funny back during the summer when I was hitting the thrift shops for vinyl I must have come across a hundred Guy Lombardo records. Being summer though who thinks about New Years Eve, or that prime Nat King Cole Christmas album I passed up. Sorry for digressing! 

My journey this year starts off with me pulling my old Sony record player out of a box in the basement back during the Spring, with one 33 and a small collection on 45's, then having to hunt down an adaptor to connect it to my receiver. Now here I am at the end of the year with a small and growing collection of records including two new releases, and a new record player. 

When I started collecting I wanted to do it casually, picking up a record here and there and really getting to know that record and what separated it from the CD and/or electronic versions. For the most part that has been something I have been able to do, yet at the same time even on a casual basis vinyl collecting has been overwhelming. There are so many good records out there from so many genres waiting to be experienced in their true form.  So in a way I feel over my head, yet I am enjoying all the potential. 

As this year draws to a close I'm happy to have had the chance to get into vinyl records, as well as having the chance up write this blog, and experience some of the passion that comes with vinyl record collecting. So with that being said I would like to thank all of you who read this blog, and for the likes and the comments. I wish you all a Happy New Year, and I hope you watch for some of the new posts I will be adding next year.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Very Vinyl Christmas

I was going to write a blog about Christmas memories with regards to getting records but what I got for Christmas this year really change my mind about doing that. I have to say that I had a very vinyl Christmas.

We will start off with the items in the picture above. This is $110 worth of gift certificates to a local record store which I have mentioned in this blog once before. The last time I spent $25 there alone I came home with a small stack of records so I would hate to imagine how many records I could pick up $110. Upon discussion of what to do with $110 with my wife seems to be eyeing up some rare Beatles albums with it. But we'll see how that all works out once we hit the record store this weekend I'm hoping to come home with a stack full of records including some real prime ones.

Of course the next gift that I need to mention is the brand-new record player, this is a Pyle belt driven record player that plays 45's, 33's, and 78's and is portable on top of that. It also has a AM/FM radio built into it, and of course speakers. This allows me to expand my collection a little bit since my current Sony record player only plays 45's and 33's. I hope to open it this weekend and maybe to take it somewhere else in the house where we can listen to it and have some fun. Overall I'm very excited just to have these two gifts alone and I will obviously be putting both of them to some very good use.

Okay, as you can see in the photo above I also got two records that I wanted to get for very long time. The first one is Babel by Mumford & Sons. This is a phenomenal album and I'd really suggest adding it to your vinyl collection if you don't have it already. This band is excellent to hear on the radio or on satellite radio or even on CD but on vinyl they are perfection. The album itself is a great one to have no matter what and I believe it won a couple of Grammies,  that just goes to show you how good music is to begin with. One of my favorite songs on the albums B-side and is called Lovers Eyes

The next album is another one I have been dying to get on vinyl for a very long time. Norah Jones Broken Little Hearts was an album I had originally bought on CD after it first came out in 2012. When I began my adventures in vinyl record collecting this was one the albums that went to the top of my list to get. The 12 songs of the album are broken up into two separate records each one containing three songs per side. Not only that but adding to this albums uniqueness, the records are made of white vinyl and the album also comes with a poster of the album cover which also makes the album unique by giving it the classical feel of an album from the 70s or 80s that also would feature a poster. Like the Mumford & Sons album this one also has some phenomenal sound especially in comparison to the CD which I also own. And let's be honest Norah Jones looks pretty goddamn good on the cover as well. 

I know some of you reading this blog are probably vinyl traditionalists and perhaps having Mumford & Sons and Norah Jones in your collection doesn't appeal to you. But I think having a nice mix of modern artists in with a collection of vinyl helps to keep one's collection relevant by readily embracing new music as well as that of old music. I also need to mention that these new albums are fantastically well built the 180 gram vinyl weight makes these records very strong and you really feel like you're holding something substantial when you touch one of these things.

Overall that's my very vinyl Christmas. I hope that you guys where able to expand your vinyl collections a little bit over Christmas as well and that you got some great gifts to help you expand your collection. If you want to comment to this blog and let us know about what you got for Christmas that you think is a phenomenal addition your collection go ahead and do so, we would be happy to hear from you. So with that said a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

First eBay Buy Yields Delight

I have always been a bit leery about buying used vinyl records off eBay. After all not all eBay sellers are on the up and up and often hide behind the fine print. But at the same time I gave up looking for miracles in the thrift shop, and my local record store doesn't always have the selections I am looking for. 

So off to eBay I often go to look but with caution and incredulity. There are a number of items I have been following, but I never made a bid on any of them until recently. See the issue with eBay and records is that in buying a record there is a lot to cover. First off all the record itself, let's be honest they don't photograph well and it would be hard to tell if there is scratching or warping, not to mention between light and the grooves a good record could give the appearance of being scratched. Then there's the cover and the sleeves which can at times have the same issues as the records themselves. In person all this takes about 30 seconds to appraise but online its a lot different.

If you read this blog regularly you will know I have been looking for the Eagles Hotel California for a while. Of course my requirements where simple I wanted the record in great shape, cover and sleeve in great shape (since the cover of this album tells a story) and the poster. 

I would come across a copy with my requirements and then find the price was right $10-$15, but it sold while I was thinking it over, or I would find them way over priced $25-$30. But this time I lucked out when a new seller had the album as I wanted it record, cover, and poster in A+ condition, for $10 with shipping. Now a lot of people don't buy from new sellers, but I have found some real deals with them. New sellers can be a good place to look but you are taking a chance. In the past three months I have had two great experiences and deals with new sellers, and one bad one. So the odds have been in my favor mostly, all I can say is Thank God for Paypal buyer protection on the latter.  

This experience was extremely positive and the album is in fantastic condition, album cover is in good condition too, and as you can see by the picture above the poster is in super-awesome shape. I have played through the album twice now with no problems, it sounds fantastic. 

Overall I am ecstatic to finally have this piece in my collection. And I am super happy with eBay and the buyer on this sale.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Going Retro in More Then One Way

Do you have more then one hobby? I do, I have several, and sometimes I wish I didn't so I could just be really awesome at one in particular. But, sometimes I'm glad I do have more then one, because sometimes your hobbies teach you something about yourself especially when you have a few of them. 

What I find most interesting though is that two of my hobbies interconnect in a way I never thought they could. In a way dabbling in both of them is about reaching the same end, and appreciating what once was. And what are these two hobbies that can do this? Vinyl record collecting and retro gaming.


I know its odd to connect the two but you will see what I mean in a bit. See I got into vinyl record collecting back in late spring, but I had an interest in it for a long time. For me Vinyl record collecting is about really listening to the music. It's about the analog sound, the sound that represents analog music made by musicians going to my analog ears. Not perfect and corrected by clear digitalization, but true and imperfect with a real sound. 

You see that's what the vinyl movement is all about. I mean sure in theory digital sounds better and is clear and crisp, but it lacks that connection of the artist at work. Even the record itself seems so much truer and realer then a CD, and that tangibility is definitely much more satisfying then electronically downloaded music. A record and it's cover just seem to be so much more. There is this whole unexplainable experience and nostalgia about it that you have to go through to truly understand and appreciate it. 

In a way though that same thinking isn't all that different from that of the retro video gaming movement. As matter of fact there are many parallels between the two. For retro gaming its about experiencing games as they once where, about the nostalgia, and about the feeling. The cartridge or disc, and the feel of the controller of whatever type it is, all produce an experience new games can't give you. Retro games like vinyl are about the experience, and what memories those experiences can produce. 

There are even those times when the annoying things bring you joy. Like when a record skips, or a needle gets stuck, or when you have to blow into an NES cartridge to get a game to work the right way, or keep taking out and putting back in an Atari cartridge. 

That is the thing about these two hobbies the memories, the nostalgia, and the wholeness that the real deal of the sights and/or sounds can put before you. The sensation of the controller in your hands or the vibration of those imperfect analog beats hitting you body, produce a sense of reality that is almost like a time machine. 

In a way that's what a record player or an old video game console are, time machines. Mechanical devices that have the ability to transport you back to someplace you use to be, even if it is just figuratively and for a moment or two. 

That's the other thing, for me it's not just about collecting, it's about actually playing and enjoying both games and records. I couldn't just gaze at a video game in its original box, or a record in its cover sealed up. I believe those things need to be enjoyed, and there would be no way I could just leave them alone on a shelf. 

I'm posting this on both my vinyl record collecting, and Retro video gaming blog and I would encourage you to visit this blogs counterpart. 

Diary of an Amateur Vinyl Record Collector

The Retro Video Gaming Blog for the Mid-Core Gamer

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Nick Waterhouse - Vinyls Best New Artist

New R&B Artist Reveals Keys to Vinyls Comeback

His name is Nick Waterhouse and odds are you may not have heard of him, but you may have heard his music. His song I Wanna Know was heard in an Acura commercial two years ago, and his song Some Place is currently being heard on a commercial for the FIFA 2014 video game.

If you can recall those commercials then you, like me probably thought that music was from the late 50's or early 60's and not made as recently as 2012, or by a 26 year old in Los Angeles. But all that music is Nick Waterhouse's, the sound, the recording method, and even the songs themselves are all his. 

What is the most compelling about Waterhouse though is his perception of how the music should sound. You see while other artist are running to recording studios to lay down tracks electronically or on CD, Waterhouse made his first singles on 45'. Waterhouse knew vinyl would give his music the sound he wanted. But to help finish the effect Waterhouse decided to record at LA's Distillery Studios one a very few analog recording studios left, and becuase it was someplace Waterhouse grew up around. In producing his sound Waterhouse has also modified his electric guitar a Gibson SG, to give it a more authentic 50's sounds, and complete the feel of his music. 

In an interview with Seattles KEPX Waterhouse was qouted as saying "I come from a lineage of record people", and also "There is nothing like holding a record in your hands". I think these qoutes sum up Waterhouse's love for the vinyl movement, and for the sound it can produce. This love has transferred into a passion for getting the sound just right, something he has managed to do well. For Waterhouse vinyl is about the experience that having a vinyl record can produce. 

I need to add one more thing though. Listening to the sounds of Duffy, Adele, the late Amy Winehouse, or even some Cello Green it would be easy to throw Waterhouse into the retro-R&B movement. But Waterhouse does see himself as part of this movement, but more of a direct R&B artist. 

If you want to check out Waterhouse's sound it is available on iTunes, but you can also get it on
vinyl via Amazon, or eBay if you want to hear it as it should sound. His album is called Times All Gone on 33', CD, or electronic formats. As for his singles on 45' they are out there but they are considered collectors items and get pretty pricy but it's a true piece of the modern vinyl era.  

Also you may want to check out his KEPX interview:

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.

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.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pre-Recorded Memories

July 31st, 2013

I had the urge to build my record collection and had been giving it a lot of thought since I found the record player on Sunday. I can find new albums and remakes on Amazon, but those are $15 or $20 a piece, I'm ok with that for something new like Norah Jones Broken Little Hearts, or Babel by Munford & Sons, but I think I can get older albums a lot cheaper. I checked E-bay next, still prices a little high. That and between shipping and often vague comments on record conditions E-bay may not be a direction to go either. 

I wanted to check the record store in town and maybe hit some of the thrift stores too, but their hours and my work hours don't align. So I wasn't going to be looking that night. But I had this nagging feeling like there was something I was forgetting. Then it hit me, I had a set of 45's. 

In my bedroom closet inside a box of various old items, was what remained of my Grandmothers extensive record collection. It was a small box set of Glen Miller 45's, that I saved as a memory of my grandparents old house, their record collection, and as a lifelong fan of Glen Miller. 

The box is either made out of cardboard or possibly a wood bulsa like, whatever it is they don't use packaging like that anymore. Inside are five records and I took the first one out with Stardust, and Pennsylvania 6-5000 on it, and figured out the settings for 45's on the record player. I put the spacer on, then the record, keep in mind that I still don't have the RCA cable adaptors yet, so I can only hear it by putting my ear close. Stardust sounded great, and so did Pennsylvania 6-5000.

Now my resolve was even stronger to get the RCA adaptors, and more records. But I guess that would all have to wait till the weekend.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Sole Survivor

July 29th, 2013

"It's nice you found the record player but we have no records!" My wife pointed out. My wife was happy I found the record player, and that it filled a gap in the entertainment center that had been bothering her for months. She too had some records fond to her from her past and was a little excited about the possibilities. 

"On the contrary!" I said "there is one record". Inside the record player was one last record part of a 1940's anthology I loved listening to, which the remainder of my father gave away to charity several years before. 


I still didn't have the RCA cable adapters, but I put the record on and called her over. We could here faintly Praise The Lord and Pass the Ammunition playing. 

"God", she said "I use to have a Beach Boys set I listened to like crazy when I was a kid. I wonder if my father still had it?". I could tell she was begging to get hooked.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Record Player

July 28, 2013

It was crazy how quickly I found the record player. I thought for sure the box it was in was buried under a pile of boxes in the basement and it would take me several weeks to find it. Somehow though in my wife's hurry to move things out of the way to light the hot water heater she moved things and the box with the record player ended up on top of a stack of plastic containers. So all I had to do was open it and there it was.

For some strange reason I had it in my head it was a Panasonic or Technics record player, since I have a love for Panasonic, but the turntable is a Sony. As I got it upstairs and on to my kitchen table I realized the belt was loose. I popped off the rubber pad, and the metal turntable, and the belt was rolled into a ball in the corner. I was a little freaked out, I had no idea how to loop it or if it was broken. I gave it a shot to see if I could figure out where it went with no luck. 

I turned to the Internet looking for some instructions, and found virtually nothing that could help. Then I turned to YouTube, no luck for Sony turntable belts. Finally, in desperation I dropped the Sony part, and finally I caught a break. There where several videos and even though the one I watched was for a JVC turntable the idea was the same. The belt loops around that metal turntable and was an easy fix, thanks to the video. 

Now for my next dilemma. The receiver even though it was from 1999 still had a RCA jack for a phonograph no big issue. The turntable though has jacks that only stretch about a foot out of the back, and I need at least three feet of cable to make it to my receiver. I need RCA female to female connectors, I thought I had a pair but I can't find them. It's already late on a Sunday night so my dreams of hearing that staticky-ness of vinyl music will have to wait.