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Rediscovering Vinyl Records
I have started to rediscover vinyl records after forty years of playing CDs and streaming music. I wrote about streaming music recently and you can read that by clicking here.
I used to have a lot of LPs (long player records) in my younger days. My dad bought our first record player in the late 1970s. In fact, it must have been around 1972 as I remember my sister’s first record, a single by T-Rex, called Solid Gold Easy Action, which was released on the first of December 1972.
I am too embarrassed to say what my first single was, so I will leave it there. Ok, I will tell you what my first vinyl record was, it was Crazy Horses by the Osmonds. The reason I bought that was that I liked the Synth, or maybe it was an organ that the sound of the crazy horses was made.
What set me on the journey to rediscover vinyl Albums
At Christmas 2022 my daughter, who has her own website Book At it Again, and her husband bought me a Jam Sound Stream+ Turntable. It has built-in speakers and Bluetooth so you can connect a Bluetooth phone or tablet to it and play your music through it.
To improve the sound I also connected it to my Panasonic SC-PMX802 mini Hi-Fi via the RCA output at the back of the record player. The sound quality is perfect for me.
Once I received the record player I set about finding some records to play on it.
My first hi-fi system and record collection
My first hi-fi
I didn’t own my hi-fi until around 1978. I remember purchasing a JVC Hi-Fi separates. It was a beautiful silver machine that came in three separate parts, plus huge stereo speakers. it had a turntable, a tuner and an amplifier. in the 1970s JVC was known for its great quality hi-fi systems. I purchased it from a now non-existent record shop called Sound System in Hinckley, Leicestershire. My local town
Purchasing the JVC stereo hi-fi did cause me some problems at work as I could not afford to buy the Hi-Fi right out as it was expensive for the time so I purchased on what was called hire purchase in those days and I paid it off monthly. The reason it caused me problems I worked for the Midlands Bank, now known as HSBC.
I worked there as a Bank Messenger and it came to the attention of the Bank Manager that I had taken out a hire purchase he had me in the office enquiring why I had done that and not gone to the Bank. I don’t think at the time I realised that there was a thing. such as bank loans. I don’t recall the outcome of the meeting but I didn’t lose my job.
My Record Collection
If I had kept my record collection from the 1970s and 1980s I would now be a very rich man. As I have been looking for vinyl records from the 1970s and 80s I see them on sale from around £10 to over £1,000.
My Bowie Collection
If you have read my other posts here you will know that David Bowie was a large part of my life in my younger days and also a big influence on my thinking. you can read about that by clicking here
I collected all the albums from Man Who Sold the World right up to the 1983 Lets Dance album. At that point, my life took a different direction for several years. In the 1990s I began to buy Bowie CDs.
I remember with a lot of regret that I sold my entire record collection for £73.00 to buy my ex-wife an engagement ring. At the time I thought it was worth it, but now that record collection could be worth over £1,000
My Lou Reed Transformer album would be worth between £26 to £113. I also had Talking Heads Remain in the Light album would be worth between £28 to £55
My other vinyl collection
During the late 1970s and 80s, I would call my vinyl collection eclectic. David Bowie influenced me so much that I any record or album he appeared on I would buy. I discovered several artists I would not have listened to, artists such as Lou Reed, who sang backing vocals on the Transformer Album, and Iggy Pop who also did backing vocals on the album The Idiot. it was that album where I first heard China Girl.
The experience of listening to vinyl
I have been listening to CDs since the 1990s. when CD Players first came out I remember saving up for a Walkman portable CD player. I remember getting it for my fortieth birthday. went through the process of replacing my old records with CDs.
I have been streaming music for the past few years, and I have published posts recently about music streaming services which you can read by clicking here.
I am now enjoying the raw sound of vinyl once again.
The nostalgia factor
There is some nostalgia around playing records. It takes me back to the days I had a turntable and hi-fi system at home.
I remember the ritual of choosing a record. I had a blue record box that I bought from a local Rediffusion, which was an electrical and record shop in Hinckley, Leicestershire. All the records were in alphabetical order.
Unlike CDs, it is recommended that you clean it with a velvet brush and cleaning solution each time you play a record. each time I played one of my records I would clean it to protect the stylus from collecting dust and lint that a record attracts.
The unique sound quality that records offer
When CDs first came out there was a lot of talk about digital music and how it improves sound. interestingly enough it was David Bowie who in 1985 transferred his entire catalogue of music to CD.
The sound of a record can be described as richer and warmer. That at least has been my experience. I have only bought a few vinyl albums but those sound so different on vinyl to listening to them on a streaming service or CD.
On a vinyl record, which is an analogue sound you can hear every note. It has been said that CDs offer a better quality of sound, but a record offers a smooth warmer sound.
The benefits of listening to vinyl records
There are benefits to listening to a record over a CD or streaming service. I have said that CDs are thought to be a better quality sound but are far better than streaming music due to the sound of a record being of higher quality than an MP3 sound.
Collectibility and the joy of owning physical copies of music
I loved the day after payday and going to one of the two record shops in the town at the time and sifting through the records to see what was new and what albums I didn’t have.
Most Saturdays I would go home with an LP or a few singles in my hand. I loved collecting music from my favourite albums. it is hard to describe the excitement I got from buying a new David Bowie album and later the latest Sex Pistols single, or a new wave album or reggae album.
Having a record player opened up a new world of collecting other than when I was younger and buying Marvel or DC comics. you can read about my comic collecting days by clicking here.
The artistry of album covers and inner notes
Some album covers were a work of art. The covers often told you a story of what the music was about.
Often an album cover would cause controversy too such as the the original Diamond Dogs album. Also Never Mind the Bollocks album, I remember seeing the yellow record cover with a sticker over the offending word on the cover.
Where to buy records
There are not as many independent record shops as they used to be. Where I live there is only HMV where you can buy vinyl records.
Buying records online
there are several places you can buy records, both albums and singles online.
Facebook has several groups that buy and sell records. I am yet to buy anything from them. The group I am a member of is Vinyl Records For Sale or Swap UK, You can see the group by clicking here
Amazon has a vast collection of albums on sale. You will find albums from recording artists of today and also from the past.
One thing I should warn you unless you are buying second-hand records can be a lot of money. I was looking at the album Transformer by Lou Reed on Amazon and the price of a used album is £28.70.
The Adele album called 30 is currently on Amazon for £22.29
I have also purchased albums from eBay. you will find a lot of LPs on sale there. There is often the option to buy an LP either by bidding for it, buy it now and sometimes if you are lucky you can make an offer.
I recently bought the Paul Simon Graceland album from eBay. It was for sale for around £15.00. eBay sent me an email asking if I wanted to make an offer. I went on the site and offered £10 which was accepted. when I received the record the album was in good condition with no hisses, clicks or jumps. I was happy with that.
Be careful if you do decide to buy or bid for a record on eBay. make sure you read the description carefully, check to see if they take returns as a lot of people on eBay don’t and finally check the postage price. the price of postage is supposed to be fair but some people do load it if they are selling a record cheaply.
Discogs is a website where you can buy albums and singles but you also get detailed information about what you are purchasing. you will find albums there that are priced in pounds, dollars and euros.
you can choose which country you want the album shipped from. So if you live in the United Kingdom you can search for albums to be shipped from here. you can visit the Discogs site by clicking here. You can also find out what your old vinyl is worth too.
Buying vinyl records in person
I have already mentioned that many of the physical independent record shops have now closed. There are only two places locally where you can buy vinyl albums HMV in the town and an independent record shop that mainly sells second-hand records called Revolution.
I have bought several records from Revolution Records and they have been in good condition. I bought two records by the Eurythmics from Revolution Records for £4.99 each and they play well.
You can find bargains in an independent second-hand record but you will also find records that are silly money. I saw the David Bowie album ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust’ original 1970s copy for £69.00. I remember buying it in the ’70s for around £2.99.
One last place I would suggest looking for second-hand records then you could look in your local Charity Shop. All records that have been cared for or popular albums may have been bought up by dealers, but you might find a hidden gem there.
The joy of rediscovering records
I am really enjoying rediscovering records after all these years. When I put on an album it feels like an event. It isn’t background music as it is when I am streaming music or on the rare occasion I play a CD.
When I put a record on I sit and listen and appreciate it much more than any other music I listen to.
Collecting records is an expensive hobby and I only buy albums I really want, and normally second-hand records. If you do have the money, and I know we are living in a difficult time financially, I would definitely recommend rediscovering vinyl records.
If you were born in the 1990s and never listened to a record then I would recommend you try it and see what you think.
I would be interested in hearing your thoughts, what do you prefer? Vinyl, CDs, streaming music? And I hear that tapes are coming back, that is one music format I would not buy into as I don’t have the time or a pencil to untangle and rewind cassette tapes.
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