Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Discovering the joys of vinyl has mostly been a personal pursuit in my adult life. For in childhood, vinyl played a limited role in my household. The story goes that my Father saw the future a little too early, and transferred all of his records onto cassette tape. Gone were many beautifully kept examples of albums by the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Santana, Supertramp and Led Zeppelin. In their place was a rack of neatly labelled, but somehow much less attractive, BASF 90 minute cassettes. Obviously, today that rack of cassettes is worth thousands!!??
Therefore my early experiences with a turntable involved my Mother's somewhat pitiful collection of kids' records and cheap “6 Top Hits” cover version compilations from the '60s. It has to be said that there were a few gems amongst the junk, my favourite being a 1970 single by Michel Sardou which my Mother got on a French exchange trip. The song, “J'habite en France,” seemed a bizarrely perfect blend of the lyrics from Penny Lane with the music from Hello Goodbye performed in the mysteriously poetic French language, as though McCartney himself had been transported to a parallel French universe.
So... I had to play catch up on the delights of vinyl once I had gathered the means and desire to do so. This occurred when I started to visit local charity shops (that's English for thrift store) in Watford, Hertfordshire, and discovered a trove of audio treasures being practically given away. I couldn't believe my luck when I found ZZ Top's Eliminator being sold for a measly 50 English pence. And thus a new musical education ensued with the purchase of many many records by such artists as Yes, ELO, The Police, 10CC, Wings and Phil Collins. I must admit that searching through thrift store records isn't pure joy though, as I've leafed through WAY too many Barbra Streisand records, and I have no need for the countless Neil Diamond compilations one finds on every visit.
Now that my collection is ever expanding, I am firmly convinced that vinyl records are simply great. I love the physicality of having music stored on a tangible object, and indeed an object of some charm. A piece of vinyl is perfect because of it's imperfections, as though some degree of static and warp can improve a tune with mystical pops and hiss. Not only does a record sound superb, it looks like it means business, with a full square foot of pictorial splendour. I savour each occasion I can introduce a friend to some music by walking to my stereo console, pulling out a circular piece of long forgotten genius, fiddling with the turntable and wallowing in the glorious aural delight which comes only from vinyl.
Grand Vanity - Got a Nerve (Mp3)
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Posted by Jon at 9:06 AM