3 Minute Record

"We learned more from a three minute record baby than we ever learned in school..." -from No Surrender by Bruce Springsteen

Filtering by Tag: LP

What's So Wrong About Staying Home With Your Record Collection?

High Fidelity

"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

Cover of

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

 

Hey! Look What I found. Where Do You Buy Records?

Yesterday, I found a copy of one of my favorite albums at a local antique mall/indoor flea market. You never know what you're going to stumble upon at one of these places. I didn't have a lot of time so I flipped through the 6 or 8 crates of records pretty quickly. I happened to find a VG/VG+ original copy of The Byrds LP Mr. Tambourine Man in Mono for $5.00. Except for a little wear around the edges, mostly on the bottom front cover and a stamp on the name and address of a previous owner on the back; the record is in great condition. There was no sleeve inside promoting the other albums for sale, but so often those are replaced or gone anyway.

Mr. Tambourine Man
Mr. Tambourine Man

The stereo copy of the album would have the 'Stereo "360 Sound"' logo on both the top of the front cover and the red label on the record. This one has neither and has the correct corresponding catalog item number of CL2372.

Mr. Tambourine Man label
Mr. Tambourine Man label

This is one of my favorite albums of all time and as I was excited to find a nice copy. Now, I just need to spring for that USB turntable I've been wanting so I can hear the difference between the vinyl and the CD reissue from the late '90s.

This find got me thinking about a question I had started a post on months ago, but never got around to finishing. Unfortunately, the question "Where do you buy records?" becomes harder after each passing year. With the influx of iTunes, Amazon, and online retailing the brick and mortar there are less record stores than ever. Independent record stores have been closing for years and still continue to close.

Not only do independent record stores have to compete with the internet, but the big box stores carry music too. Target, Borders, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart and K-Mart, have music sections, albeit only compact discs, though much more limited in overall scope than in years past. Out of these stores only Best Buy carries vinyl, but only in very small selection and quantities.

Here's a list of you local independent record stores -
Record Stores
Apop Records - St. Louis
CD Reunion - St. Charles
CD Warehouse - South County
Euclid Records - Webster Groves
Phono Mode - St. Louis
Record Exchange - St. Louis
Slackers - 10 St. Louis Metro Area locations
Vintage Vinyl - University City

Then, there's the semi-monthly St. Louis Record Collector's Show held in South St. Louis bringing dealers from in town and out of town focused on mostly vinyl LP's and 45 RPM records, but also selling compact discs and DVD's. Plus, there are tons of various online retailers ready to sell you vinyl and ship it directly to your door.

However, you can also find some diamonds in the rough in places like antique malls like I do on a regular basis.  You have to be a bit more careful with these to look them over and do your research, but you may still find some nice pieces. Further, there is a monthly flea marke at the St. Clair County Fairgrounds, Belleville, IL.

Finally, you can search sites like Craigslist, ebay, or etsy for some finds. Many folks are nice here, but some don't know anything about the worth of records and could be overcharging wildly so be careful.

St. Louis is lucky to have some great independent record stores to supply more than just "hit" tunes to the music loving public. Get out there and buy some music people! Please leave some comments if you know of some other local outlets.

Checking Records Off The List

Old Vinyl

I am lucky enough to work within driving distance for a trip to Euclid Records over my lunch break. The store is one of the best independent record stores in the area and stocks thousands of albums on vinyl and compact disc. The stock consistently changes as the store buys collections and sells the individual parts constantly.  Recently, I picked up a few classic albums on vinyl that I didn't have in my collection, but have had on my buying list for a while. During this trip I decided that I will continue to buy classic albums by artists, but if the release date of the album in question was before 1990 I will buy it on vinyl. Thereby changing the nature of my future buying habits.

Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of albums on vinyl at home, but I have 6 or 7 times that amount on compact disc.  I have been buying albums on compact disc since about 1986 when my family got our first player. During those years I continued to buy albums on vinyl, but usually rare or hard to find albums that weren't on compact disc. I still like compact disc for the portability and the ease to upload to a computer for listening on a portable device like an iPod.  However, I still love vinyl and enjoy the personal experience of listening to an album on vinyl over the same music on compact disc or on a iPod.

I have an ever-growing list of music that I want to buy.  I readily admit that it's an addiction, but at least it's not cigarettes, alcohol or something more destructive. At least I get enjoyment out of listening to music.  I used to keep a written list of albums to buy and I still go back to it now and then, but find that I mostly keep the list in my head.  For some reason I have an uncanny ability to remember what I have in my collection and have rarely bought duplicates of things that I already own. Besides, sometimes you just have to buy records with your gut.

Here's what I found:

Leon Russell - S/T (Shelter, 1970)
Fleetwood Mac - Then Play On (Reprise, 1969) [Revised US edition w/ "Oh Well"]
Van Morrison - Veedon Fleece (Warner Bros., 1974)
Randy Newman - 12 Songs (Reprise, 1970)
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Hard Promises (Backstreet, 1981)

Nothing here that's rare or obscure, but just good classic albums.  The Van Morrison album played in the store while I shopped and I realized I didn't have that album and needed it as well.

I also found a CD compilation that I have had on my list for 7 years.  I just never found it for the right price, had something higher on the priority list, or was in the right mood.  I finally picked up the 2 disc set for $9.99 used.

Various Artists - Night Train To Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945-1970

What records are on your list? How long is your list?