REARVIEW MIRROR #1

Being an multi-part wander through the Vinyl Connection year in music

JANUARY

On vacation you often have to settle for charity shops for your crate-digging fix. Sometimes you’ll be lucky and the local Sunday market coincides with your time in a sea-side town, but not necessarily. Even if it does, chances are the solitary box of records contains a bunch of trashed vinyl, a few battered CDs and a handful of uninteresting 45s. Like craving something to read and finding only a dog-eared Stephen King and a few Mills and Boon romances. Though on this holiday I did pick up the complete Jane Austen in one brick-sized paperback for two dollars. Didn’t need it but simply had to take it home. Would have been disrespectful not to.

Charity shops are lean pickings these days as well. The so-called vinyl revival has sprouted new record traders like drug dealers at a three-day festival. Thrift shops are so well monitored that you rarely find anything but the endless crooner dross. Still, one lives in hope.

Collected a few Australian World Record Club LPs from an Op Shop in Apollo Bay. For the cover art, of course. This raises a vexed question. Do I enter these (mostly ‘Classical’ albums) into the spreadsheet, even though I have no intention of listening to them, or simply shelve them with their fellow member’s only records, awaiting a cover-art post at Vinyl Connection? The rule-maker in me is clear: no listen, no list. They’re not a proper part of the collection if only acquired for the cover. But then, how to remember if I already have a particular title? It’s almost impossible with the albums I do listen to (twice) before filing; without reference to the phone-file I have re-purchased albums more times than I care to admit. As this is a much too knotty topic to sort out in holiday mode, it gets shelved. Like the WRC LPs.

Back home, did snag one notable record from a local charity shop. If my research is correct, it is probably the most valuable bit of vinyl in the entire collection and I paid $2.25. Legend says there were only 500 pressed, and the last copy on the market (a few years ago) went for one thousand three hundred dollars. Such arithmetic does my brain in, so that record got shelved too.

The northern hemisphere winter was not kind to musicians. Amongst the fallen were the bass player of Mott The Hoople, Pete Overend Watts, Maggie Roche of sister-group The Roches and two others whose impact on your correspondent was significant indeed.

First was drummer Jaki Liebezeit who, in addition to having possibly the best surname ever, powered Krautrock legends Can through their entire career. Next went singer, songwriter and bass player John Wetton. The trio of albums he made as part of King Crimson are the strongest sequence of any in their career. I did not play the entire Road to Red box in his honour, but a couple of the concerts were re-run. Brilliant.

The acquisition tally for the first month of the year was 17 LPs and 3 CDs. Kind of a warm-up jog, really. Highlights were finally getting a copy of King Crimson’s Islands in vinyl—I’d never owned it on the black stuff—and an odd but interesting 4CD Hendrix set called West Coast Seattle Boy (which counts as one item, of course). There were also some twentieth century composer albums that I enjoyed, but soon forgot.

 

30 comments

  1. 17LPs a warm up? Jesus, Bruce!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Snagging a “most valuable” and leaving it unidentified? Jesus, Bruce!!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Jesus! You guys are obsessed with Christmas.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I admire your honesty, I would never be able to put anywhere my wife may read the 14 albums I ended the year with. Now that is 18.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have individual ‘allowances’ for day-to-day personal expenses. Most of Ms Connection’s stipend goes on fripperies like clothes, exercise paraphernalia, or general grooming. Mine goes on music.

      Which is why we each look the way we do.

      Really, it’s more a space issue than finances.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Of course she counts the packages as they arrive and the records I carry in at the end of the day. Her opinion is that I could be spending money on far worse things or doing worse things even.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. “Thrift shops are so well monitored that you rarely find anything but the endless crooner dross.” This is my workplace, in a nutshell. I have guys in every day to dig the bins, just in case.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You have to, really.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I honestly think most of the daily regulars are re-sellers. Looking for that $2 LP they can re-sell for $20. It’s gross.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s right. Anything over $10 is extortion.
          😉

          Like

        2. Haha not what I meant. You knew that. It’s still not fair to the folks who might want to find a cool record now and again.

          I’m still waiting for this whole “vinyl resurgence” to peter out. Can’t the hipsters go collect vintage toasters, or something? Leave the rest of us alone?

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Toasters would be good. Though I’d be more than happy to cede them cassettes.

          Like

        4. And 8-tracks, sure. Maybe it’s time for a CD revolution. Call it HD audio or something. Smaller cases, easier for storage! Limited edition packaging! Just leave our f-ing LPs alone!

          Liked by 2 people

  6. See, I would say that if you bought it, for the art or whatever, you still need to play it. What good is a record in your house that doesn’t even get one play? And what if it’s the best record youve heard in ages but you didn’t play it ‘cos it got relegated to the cover-only shelf? Into the spreadsheet and onto the turntable, says I!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sure. Worth mentioning that most WRC albums were either ‘classical’ or middle-of-the-road. Anything musically interesting does actually get filed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like classical! As for middle of the road, haha man all I can think of is Billy and the Boingers in Bloom County… “Middle of the road / man it stanks / let’s roll over Lionel Richie / with a tank.” Hahaha oh Berke Breathed…

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Better than play frisbee!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. If that’s a warm up, I reckon I might fall over when your year really got going! I trust there’s a separate post on the horizon for that valuable record? Yes? I thought so 😉

    I actually don’t think I bought that many records (or CDs) over the year! Lordy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, James, maybe that’s because you are a normal, moderately well-adjusted human being who actually has a life. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Haha!

        Like

  9. Who’s King Crimson? You better have that ‘Road to Red’ in a safe spot because CB just might make a stop in your neighborhood one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Would you like my address in Broome, CB? And the keys? 😉

      (Happy New Year mate)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, that would make things easy. I just looked Broome up. CB always wanted to do a little “pearling”. (I’m still chuckling)

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Loved the cover of the Sir Thomas Beecham LP. Tell me, though, how on earth do you play LOLLIPOPS?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a pretty weird catch-phrase, isn’t it? Presumably trying to lure children to classical music via sweeties. What could go wrong?

      Like

  11. I found the most valuable album in my collection at.a thrift store as well. I paid 25 cents.

    I was almost thinking of doing a post about the most valuable item in my collection. Maybe a group collab?

    The loss of 2 members of Can in 2017 was a big bow. It reminds me I need wayyy more Can in my collection.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. […] the keyboard. Really make a commitment and shoulder whatever sacrifice is required. The recent Rearview Mirror series at Vinyl Connection is my first attempt at greater-than-weekly writing in almost five years. […]

    Like

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