Welcome to My Vinyl Records blog. Here I will be discussing many areas pertaining to vinyl records including buying, selling, collecting, and historical facts about records in general. I will also talk about individual records, artists and things to look for as you build your collection. We’ll explore sources for purchasing records and things to look for and things to avoid. Turntables and other “gadgets” that you might need to enjoy your hobby will also be discussed.
I hope you will find my musings insightful, interesting and valuable. I always welcome comments, criticism and advice and if I ever post something inaccurate I do hope you will let me know so I can research and correct.
Originally I hale from the great state of Iowa and through my life’s journey of 68 years I have ended up in the state of Colorado. I’ve always had a love for music. I remember as a very young boy my grandmother gave me a small transistor radio and I think at the time it was the best thing anyone had ever given me. Late into the night, way past the time I should have been asleep, I had my little radio tucked under my pillow with the volume low so my parents would not know I was still awake and not sleeping. I would listen to St Louis Cardinals baseball games.
When, there was no game I would listen to some of the powerful AM stations that played the popular music of the day. KDKA out of Pittsburgh, WBZ (I think from Boston),KRLA in California, WLS in Chicago, WABC New York. Many of these stations you could not pick up during the day, they only came in at night and would often fade in and out and they usually faded out right when they were playing my favorite song. DJs such as Cousin Brucie, Wolfman Jack, Johnny Rabitt, Dick Biondi “The Wild I-tralian”, and so many more that have faded from my memory.
Those were the carefree days of my youth. Summer vacation from school spent playing baseball every day. The days before video games and the internet that we spent nearly every waking hour outside playing. I’d be down at the end of the block at a friends house playing catch or something and I could hear my mother call me in for supper a block away. After we had finished supper, I would be back outside with instructions to be home when the streetlights came on. Those were the days when my love for music was birthed and continued all my life.
My First Ever Record
I remember the first 33 album I ever owned. I’m guessing I was in 6th or 7th grade at the time. Our local radio station would have give-a-ways at various times of the day. They would give away a record to say the 12th caller. I would poise myself at our telephone table where are rotary phone sat net to the telephone book. When the DJ said “go” I already had all but the last digit dialed in and would spin that last number when he said “go”. Dial and hang up, dial and hang up and one day “Bam” I hit it perfect and was the caller they were looking for. I was the winner! I heard them announce my name on the air, I was famous! I jumped up and down and could not contain my excitement. That was probably the first and last time in my life I had ever won anything.
A few days later my mom drove me to the radio station to pick up my prize. I got to go into the actual studio and see the DJ at his desk “spinning” records and talking into the big microphone. I was in seventh heaven. After a brief tour I was led to a table where I could pick up my prize. There was a small selection to choose from and I cannot remember what they all were but I do remember I picked out a José Jiménez (Bill Dana) comedy record. To this day, given my love for music, I have no idea why I choose a comedy record over a music record. I can only guess the selection they had did not include a group I cared for. But the whole experience. From actually winning to hearing my name announced on the air, and getting to be inside a “magical” radio station was the most exciting thing I had ever experienced.
My Own Stereo Finally
I think around 10th grade or so I finally got a record player of my own. It was nothing fancy but it was portable so I could play it in my room or take it to the basement when I had friends over to listen to records and play pool. My record collecting began in earnest. I found an old headset my dad had from his ham radio days and I remember cutting the wires on the head set and then cutting the wires on my speakers and twisted the speaker wire to the headset wire to have my own headphones so I could listen in my room with the volume as loud as I wanted.
Looking back on that I am surprised I did not burn up the headset or the stereo or shock myself but somehow it all worked out. When I wanted to listen through the speakers I would just re twist the wires back to the speaker wire.
After high school I got drafted into the Army and got the chance to go to Germany. While there I purchased a stereo system for my barracks room. I also bought a ton or records while there, some of those I still have today almost 50 years later. In the early 80s when CDs became popular the production of vinyl records dwindled as did my interest in playing them. Music was changing and I did not care much for a lot of the newer groups of the late 80s onward. I still had my collection of perhaps 700 records but I was not buying anymore.
When vinyl started to become popular again my interest was renewed and I started buying records again. I started an EBay store and began selling records on that platform. I go to estate sales, yard sales, thrift stores and scour Craigslist buying up records to listen to and sell. I’ve found some gems and also some duds. I’ve sold a few for several hundred dollars each which I’ll probably discuss in a future blog post.
Well enough of ‘My Story” for now. You now have an idea where and how my love of vinyl records came from and where it’s going. I hope you will become a regular reader of my blog and learn a few things along the way.
What Am I Doing Here?
I decided to write this blog to share what I have learned about vinyl records over the years. Hopefully I will increase other’s interest in what I think is the finest media format music has ever been produced on. The sound of vinyl is much warmer and natural sounding compared to CDs, MP3s and the streaming music of today. You can hear sounds on vinyl that are simply squeezed (compressed) out of the digital music we are hear today. Even the occasional pops and clicks of vinyl add a touch of a bygone era to the music.