REARVIEW MIRROR #3 (AUTUMN)

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

MARCH

Taking a stall at a record fair is good for the soul. A chance to reduce the holding a little, clear some shelf space, clean the springs.

Bullshit.

Though it wasn’t when I started doing fairs in the mid-90s. Then I was flogging off the vinyl made redundant by CD purchases and moving on CDs I had vacuumed up but didn’t like much. But over time the volume of records culled thinned to a dribble and I started grabbing anything re-sellable during charity shop digs to bolster the undernourished crates. I joined the dark side by becoming a casual record trader. May the gods of vinyl have mercy on my soul.

The trick when being a stall holder at a Record Fair is buying less than you sell. Paradoxically, if the fair is busy, you have less time to expend the swollen takings. On quiet days, not only do you lament another Sunday spent in the company of dusty LPs and even dustier traders, but the boredom often results in more frequent trawls through the crates of other sellers. The records go round and round.

If anything should have focussed my attention on reducing the VC holding, it was assisting my friend Steven move house in early March. His collection dwarfs mine—or it did in earlier times, we haven’t compared sizes recently—with all the accompanying challenges relocation entails. It was hard work, even with three more-or-less able-bodied blokes on the job, yet it felt good to be part of it—the only person (other than his son) trusted sufficiently to help move the collection. Obsession has its rewards.

Went to a gig on 11 March. Teenage Fanclub at the Corner Hotel, the third time I’ve seen them perform. Terrific, made better by Ms Connection being there too. Still, I don’t enjoy live music much any more. Too loud, to crowded, too old. I stand there—frequently surrounded by OBITS*—clutching an overpriced beer thinking, ‘This would sound much better on my stereo at home’.

* Old Blokes In Tee-Shirts

Chuck Berry, progenitor of rock and roll, died on 18 March, aged 90.

Barbara Godly-Jenkins, progenitor of your correspondent, died precisely a week later, aged 96 (or 97, depending on which sources you consult).

Read Cub Koda’s bio of Chuck at allmusic, here.

Read about Bruce reading to Barbara here.

Most significant March purchase: the Grateful Dead boxed sets.

APRIL

I’m starting to see why I’ve not done monthly reviews previously. Glancing down the list of purchases for April (29 LPs, 2 CDs) there are fewer sparks of recognition than you would hope, especially amongst the lesser known artists/albums.

There is also more action in the long-running and expensive ‘Vinyl Buy-back Program’ than I realised. Pentangle, Miles Davis, Television… perfectly serviceable copies of all of these sit in the CD shelves, doubtless casting sullen glances towards their 12″ cousins.

When I do spy a welcome addition, the next thought is often that I don’t know it as well as it deserves.

You have to live with an album to really get to know it, don’t you? Spin it multiple times, listen to both individual tracks and the overall sound of the work, notice what grabs you and what drifts past… it is—or perhaps should be—an investment of time and energy. Certainly the records featured at Vinyl Connection receive this attention. But not all. Indeed, far fewer than deserve such attention. So many records, so little time.

And whose fault is that?

MAY

Picked up a few CDs—several at charity shops—this year. Not exactly a revival, more a reaction to ever inflating vinyl prices. Ordered a few new releases on-line too. When it’s a punt on something unknown,twenty bucks seems a whole lot less of an investment than forty or fifty. Which of course it is. Arithmetic is wonderful.

One CD purchase that brought a whole lotta joy was a budget box of four Italian prog albums.

Leaving aside the irresistibility of something entitled Prog Italiano: Quattro Album Originali and even allowing that this lush symphonic style of progressive music is not everyone’s cappuccino, this was sixteen dollars very well spent.

I have but one of these albums on vinyl and know none of them are often sighted ‘in the wild’. In fact, just to ram home the point, I researched what this lot would cost if purchased on vinyl via Discogs. Using the median price, there would not be any change out of five hundred dollars. Roughly $125 each. Plus postage.

Compare that to 4 x $4 for the CD re-issues, including free postage. Arithmetic is persuasive.

Though I won’t be discarding the PFM vinyl. It has a die-cut cover and a message.

In fact the only nagging question is whether this sombre cartoon is a little too close to home.

Next part: Winter

13 comments

  1. $125 vs. $4. Jings. The most expensive record in my want list is just under £100 on Discogs currently. Or it least it was last time I looked (optimistic check every now and again.). Mental. Frustrating. Where are those reasonably priced reissues when you need them!?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s right. On the bright side, so much is getting re-issued, there is room for hope!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had to drop in for this just to catch up and also because of that first record peeking out of the blue box. “OBITS” that’s CB. The cartoon, is that Crumb or is Australian cousin?

    Like

  3. Loved that April summary. And, given the cost of the CDs, the price of those Italian prog vinyls is insane.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha! Kudos for including the Harvey Pekar in there, a firm 1537 fave and a man who managed to shrug of a vinyl obsession for the sake of his soul … fool!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He’s the cartoon artist? Thank you! I’d been unable to locate authorship. And thank you Harvey Pekar (I think).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup. He was the writer of an incredible series of comic books under the title of ‘American Splendor’, using all manner of great artists like Robert Crumb. He was a really early jazz head.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. That’s right; I’ve seen the film!

          Liked by 2 people

        2. He made a great book about it called (drum roll) ‘Our Film Year’. I’ve never seen the film.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Teenage Fanclub.

    They are on my to see list. How was the sound?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pretty damn good. Terrific selection of songs from an impressive catalogue. Gerard Love tends to slide into the shadows whenever possible but Norman Blake makes up the shyness deficit with his amiable presence. I’ve seen them live three times – they’re great! Hope they tour your parts soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As it turns out, I recently found out Norman Blake lives in my city, but I have yet to meet him or see the band.
        I will one day though. Hopefully soon.

        Liked by 1 person

Comments and responses welcome for all posts: present or past. Please join in!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: