Ode to Vinyl

In honor of Vinyl Record Day on Sunday (the 130th anniversary of Thomas Edison‘s invention of the phonograph), JB over at The Hits Just Keep on Comin’ has organized a “blog swarm” of posts dedicated to the once dominant medium of vinyl records. I’m proud to be part of this swarm, so after you check out this post, be sure to click around to JB’s site for the main post, as well as the other great blogs involved (links down below).

Vinyl. LP’s. Records. Time marches on, and the music listening public at large distances themselves from the LP era, which covered the majority of the 20th century. For those of us older than, oh – let’s say 35? – a special little pocket of our music lovin’ hearts will always be reserved for vinyl records. Here are some random ramblings regarding my reverence toward the record.

First LP: As a bona fide music nerd, I can remember the very first album I ever bought. It was ZZ Top’s El Loco, which was released in November 1981. So it must have been about Christmas time when I walked into a Mankato, Minnesota mall and plopped down my hard earned allowance money for the record. The song that captured my fascination at the time, and inspired me to buy the record, was “Tube Snake Boogie”. I was 11 years old at the time, and while I didn’t know firsthand of what they were singing about, I had a pretty good idea. Having two older brothers didn’t hurt either. “I got a girl who lives on the hill, she won’t do it but her sister will.” Straight to the point.

Albums that soon followed were REO Speedwagon’s Hi Infidelity, Foreigner 4, and the Scorpions’ Blackout.

Prince LP Mania: My vinyl collection grew significantly after September 1984, when I morphed into a Prince-loving animal. Many bus rides were taken to downtown Racine’s Mainstream Records to snatch up the latest Prince or Prince-related albums, 12″ singles, and 45′s. They’re still with me today. All of ‘em. In protective plastic wrap. I’m just waiting for the day that my daughters get old enough to start thumbing through my Prince records, and they’ll see the Lovesexy album, and turn to me with a quizzical and confused look on their faces (Lovesexy, by the way, is probably the last LP I ever bought new).

Proud Papa: I gotta say though, my daughters will be well versed in all formats of music. My three year old already knows what LP’s, cassettes and CD’s are. And she can fire up a song in iTunes like nobody’s business. I can also play her any Beatles, Springsteen, or Prince song, and 90% of the time she nails it. Strummer or the Clash? She has about a 48% success rate. But we’re working on it. My poor daughters… They have no choice, do they? But I guess there are worse childhoods than spending it immersed in your dad’s music! As long as they’re not singing “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” or “Revolution no. 9″ on their first day of kindergarten.

Hardware: My Yamaha turntable, which had served me since 1989, quit on me about a year ago. So by making good use of the Amazon Wish List feature, one of my birthday gifts last weekend was a new USB turntable. I’m back, baby! What’s more, my work buddy Jim up and quit his job and moved back to the east coast. But not before he handed over a couple of crates of vinyl to me.

So here are a handful of tunes ripped straight from vinyl, both from Jim’s collection, and mine. Though I’ve moved on to the digital age, and most of my music is in the form of mp3′s and CD’s (less and less), I’ll always be an album guy.

Vinylove:

  • The feel.
  • The artwork.
  • The inserts.
  • Placing the record on the turntable.
  • Working for and appreciating your music.
  • Flipping to side two.
  • The art of putting the record back into the sleeve.
  • Carefully handling the vinyl.
  • Thumb on the edge, index and middle finger on the label.
  • Appreciating your collection.
  • Showing off your collection.
  • Something to have and to hold…

A smattering of vinyl rips:

Artists United Against ApartheidSun City (mp3) – Little Steven’s 1985 anti-apartheid project.

Dead or AliveBrand New Lover (mp3) – The Dust Monkey’s Love Bubble Mix – thanks Jim for the crate of albums!

John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown BandTender Years (mp3) – From the Eddie & The Cruisers – Soundtrack. One of he quality tracks from Boss sound-alike Cafferty.

John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown BandOn the Dark Side (mp3) – oh hell, I have to include this too…

Check this cool video footage of a Duke Ellington record being manufactured, circa 1937:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjKlFFp4-IE 336 278]

Now on to the SWARM!

JB’s Main Post is Here.

The contributors:

AM, Then FM
Bloggerhythms
The “B” Side
Davewillieradio
Echoes in the Wind
Flea Market Funk
Fufu Stew
Funky16Corners
Good Rockin’ Tonight
Got the Fever
In Dangerous Rhythm
It’s Great Shakes
Jefitoblog
Lost in the 80′s
Py Korry
Retro Remixes
The Snack Bar
The Stepfather of Soul
Three-Sixty-Five 45s

  • bill cassara

    I love vinyl, and still buy it whenever I am in DC and get to Orpheus Records. I am in the process of buying a vinyl to CD recorder. I know that CDs will likely be obsolete soon, and everything will be in MP3 format, but I am holding out!

  • Pingback: Vinyl Record Rundown « The Hits Just Keep On Comin’

  • http://redkelly.blogspot.com red kelly

    yup, my daughters have grown up surrounded by 45s… it’s gotta make them better people in the long run, right?

    HAPPY VINYL RECORD DAY!

  • http://vinyldistrict.blogspot.com/ Jon

    As is our mission, we tossed a spotlight on Vinyl Record Day and frankly, celebrate it each and every day. Check us out:

    http://vinyldistrict.blogspot.com/

  • Pingback: Metagg

  • http://thelonebeader.blogspot.com/ LB

    I miss vinyl…. :(

  • http://www.gonzosmusicorama.blogspot.com Zack

    You know I’m with you on the vinyl tip. In fact, one of the great things about getting back to Iowa City is digging into all of the vinyl I pick up when I’m in Pittsburgh. Score!

  • http://www.myspace.com/mickflaire Professor Phil Moore, Jr.

    As I sit here at the front desk of the Live Nation office in San Francisco (formerly Bill Graham Presents) listening to “Live!-Bob Marley & the Wailers” recorded at the Lyceum in London on July 18th 1975 (that’s right, a real vinyl LP record!) on my AIWA stereo system, i came across this site from a simple search of “vinyl records”!

    I LOVE VINYL RECORDS!!

    I own over 8,000 records, and play them every day at work while answering the switchboard here at Live Nation during the day, and then bring them to the Poster Room Lounge at the Fillmore, where I DJ once a month.

    You’d be surprised how many people come up to me during my sets and remark how much better the music sounds on vinyl records pumped through the house PA than a cd player or MP3 player!

    And what’s more is they love being abe to hold an album cover in their hands and read the liner notes and see the photographs, especially from a live album, which is my specialty.

    Right now I just put on the Talking Heads’ “The Name of This Band is the Talking Heads” from 1982.

    Thank you so much for posting the You Tube video of the Duke Ellington Orchestra making a record, that was awesome!

    Cheers!

    Mick Flaire a.k.a. Prof. Phil Moore, Jr.

    P.S., big bonus points if you can tell me who the original Phil Moore was1