What's So Wrong About Staying Home With Your Record Collection?
"Is it so wrong, wanting to be at home with your record collection? It’s not like collecting records is like collecting stamps, or beermats, or antique thimbles." - Nick Hornby
You may not remember, but writer Nick Hornby wrote that line for his novel High Fidelity. Hornby's novel spoke to me loudly when I read it more than 10 years ago, as I identified closely with protagonist Rob Fleming. Last night I found some time to do just that - spend some time with my records. It's nowhere near the time I spent at home listening to records when I was 16, but that feeling of laying on your floor scanning the sleeve for information never gets old.
Personally, I've never had a hard and fast rule about buying music. I had always bought albums on vinyl and compact disc mostly dependent on price. However, a few months back I made the commitment to myself to buy music released prior to 1990 exclusively on vinyl. First, it was the predominant medium for music until the explosion of compact discs in the late 1980's. Further, I would make an attempt to buy early pressings and not the obvious later pressings or reissues.
For years, I bought music on the most convenient form available to me at the time. First, it was 45 RPM singles (for the Fisher Price record player) and later cassettes (for my Ghetto Blaster - yes, even kids in the suburbs called the metal tape player/radio combo by this urban name for the portable cassette player). Then, after my parents bought me a real stereo with a Scott (no pun, just a good brand name) receiver, Techniques turntable and double cassette player, vinyl was the preferred choice. A few years later I started buying compact discs. I have bought music in the mp3 format, but the experience leaves me cold and usually I only make that plunge when it's the only way to find the music.
The only caveat I made for myself on this new rule was for a deluxe edition of the album on CD like the recent reissues by The Kinks or something similar.
So far this year I've bought over 60 albums on vinyl. You'll find a list below of what has been spinning at 33 1/3 RPM on my turntable lately. Some of these albums I have on compact disc and others I had on cassette years ago and never replaced on disc. Other albums on the list I'd heard songs from over the years and just never purchased. Further, there were albums I had on my mental list and when I stumbled upon a nice copy I pulled the trigger and picked it up. Finally, some are just plain new to me entirely; either new bands or albums that come highly recommended. If you see a stone cold classic below I've likely had the album for years in some format and I've just run across a very nice vinyl copy.
Here's what I've bought in the past couple of months since Record Store Day.
The Band - S/T
Big Brother & The Holding Company - Cheap Thrills
The Blues Project - Projections
The Byrds - Mr. Tambourine Man (Mono)
The Byrds - Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde
The Chambers Brothers - The Time Has Come
The Conformists - None Hundred
Ry Cooder - S/T
David Crosby - If Only I Could Remember My Name...
Bob Dylan - Desire
The English Beat - Special Beat Service
The Faces - First Step
Johnny Horton - The Spectacular Johnny Horton
Waylon Jennings - The One and Only
The Knitters - Poor Little Critter On The Road
Little Feat - Dixie Chicken
Little Feat - Feats Don't Fail Me Now
Nick Lowe - Labour Of Love
Taj Mahal - The Natch'l Blues
Van Morrison - Veedon Fleece
Laura Nyro - New York Tendaberry
Okkervil River - I Am Very Far
Marty Robbins - Devil Woman (Mono)
The Roches - S/T
The Roches - Nurds
Boz Scaggs & Band - S/T
Stephen Stills - 2
Talking Heads - Talking Heads '77
Title Tracks - In Blank
Two Cow Garage - Sweet Saint Me
The Wildflowers - Sometime Soon
- Don't Take My Vinyl Away (golibrarians.wordpress.com)
- Mojo launch heralds the age of heritage rock (guardian.co.uk)
- Review: 'The Record' captures love of vinyl (boston.com)
- An Appreciation of the Compact Disc (Sound Affects) (popmatters.com)