Confessions of a Vinyl Junkie

Word on the street is that blogging has become irrelevant thanks to social networking behemoths like Facebook and Twitter. While I don't usually like to agree with bold statements such as this, I would have to agree that these sites have unknowingly contributed to the ever decreasing popularity of the music blog. Over the past couple months alone, I have seen countless bloggers decide to pack it in because there just wasn't enough feedback or interest from the readers.  This can likely be chalked up to our generation's indelible need for instant gratification. Because most people want everything right now in an easily digestible package,  they aren't taking the time to enjoy the simple pleasure of listening to a record in its entirety.

Memories of my first record purchase are fuzzy at best, but I never will forget the euphoric feeling of holding that 12" round cylinder in my hands for the first time. I was mesmerized by the size, shape and feel of the record.  It was probably one of the schmaltzy country records from my Mom and Dad's vinyl collection like Charlie Pride or Eddy Rabbit, but I can't be too sure about the exact artist and title. All I remember is being transfixed by the record as it spun around, filling the room with melodious sound.

Several years would pass before I bought my first record which was probably something like Van Halen Self-Titled, AC/DC Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap or Queen Greatest Hits. I know it is strange that someone who has such an encyclopedic knowledge of music can forget what record was the first one that they ever bought, but my memory has failed me in this respect. I remember that as I entered the record store for the first time, my hands started tingling and I knew that I had entered an exciting new world with unlimited possibilities. I made my way to the rock section for that specific artist that I had heard on the radio or MTV and started shuffling through the titles slowly so I would be sure to spot the record I sought. Once I located the record, I made my way towards the checkout counter, hoping that the record clerk behind the counter wouldn't judge me on my choice of purchase.

While I stood in line, my palms were sweating and thoughts steadily raced through my mind in anticipation of what the record would sound like. I noticed my heart rate increasing and my knees were weak as I raced home to listen to the record, much like the feeling that comes from a first love. Once I arrived at home,  I took the shrinkwrap off the record with an intensity that is often reserved for someone who plays extreme sports. Then, I gently dropped the needle into the groove of the record and was enraptured by the sound.  The warm crackle of the vinyl filled the room with a sound that could best be described as incendiary. From this day on, I would be eternally devoted to that round plastic disc with magic embedded in the grooves.

The next time you are thinking about selling off your entire record collection so you can digitize everything, please rethink your decision. Listening to vinyl is a precious gift that should not be wasted, and its resurgence is the primary reason that record stores are staying afloat in the digital age. While I certainly have my fair share of music in mp3, FLAC, wav and other digital formats, there is absolutely no substitute for the warm sound of vinyl.

Please support the artists that you love and appreciate so that they can continue to release albums, and when possible, purchase albums from mom and pop record stores instead of from big box retailers like Amazon or Best Buy.

I leave you with this last thought and a link for a record that personifies my love for vinyl.

What was the first record that you ever bought, or you first memory of listening to music?

Until next time, keep you ear to the ground for more choice sounds.

Addendum: By the way, this two part download is not one of my mixes, it's an ode to 78's that was released a couple years ago on the Honest Jons label. I won't give away the title as this is still in print, but please feel free to guess what it is.

For the Love of Vinyl Part 1

For the Love of Vinyl Part 2


ajnabi said…
well, let's not let them run us out of town. their loss. i've tried to tweet and mate, it is a hassle. I'm sure i"ll figure it out one day but in the mean time. blog.

the first record that got me excited about music was probably, like you, something from the 'rents collection. The Student Prince (Mario Lanza) or I Love Paris (Eddie Calvert). my first record purchase that I own up to? There Goes Rhymin' Simon...1973.

At the local mall in Greenwood Indiana
No-head said…
i was just thinking having read your post - maybe it's just too easy, you know, getting the music you want whenever you want it. And if some things are too easy do we value them? I remember well when Spotlight kid was released. Us kids who knew a bit about music and listened to John Peel couldn't wait. To get hold of it I had to pre-order it from our local record store (i lived in a little Scottish town and this was not easy) pay what ammounted to a small fortune for it when it arrived and then take it carefully home. Five of us settled down to listen to it in my mate's bedroom because he had the best stereo. I know it was a different era but there was something to be said for having to wait and anticipate and pay for something you value. Maybe there is just too much music around and it's too easy to get. I can listen to anything I want now but something is missing from the experience sometimes. Just a thought but I thought I'd share it with you. My first album purchase was Then Play On by Fleetwood Mac BTW and I still listen to it from time to time.

Bookface & Twatter have both added (or should I say subtracted from) the general lack of attention-span, no doubt. It's an instant gratification world now, after all. But there will never be anything as sonically & visually gratifying as a new 12", especially the double LP or gatefold savored slowly side after side, artwork & lyrics hopefully included.

I became aware of records likewise from my parents, but unfortunately their tastes lie more along the lines of Perry Como & Vic Damone. Luckily they had one "party" album by Phil Harris with "Darktown Poker Club" that will never be erased from my memory.

The first album that I ever bought was also my first huge act of rebellion against parental slavery & oppression. It was The Virgin Fugs & I played it constantly until my mother, the only time I ever saw her really snap (my old man was the one who usually nutted), grabbed it from my record player & broke it in two. By then I had purchased a few other albums & the Amboy Dukes were soon screaming "I'm Not a Juvenile Delinquent"

I blog to say & do whatever I want, I post up whatever musick I feel like posting. I don't care if anyone reads it or comments. I do it for the love of musick in general & vinyl in particular. I do it to be a part of a musick-blog world of other similar minded folks around this planet. I have found more wonderful musick than I could ever have imagined from great blogs like yours & others that introduced me to things I would otherwise never have heard about. I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't have the time to explore the unknown, to expand their world & mind.

Keep on blogging!
Anonymous said…
AAAHH the sweet memory of summer in NYC in 1976, Donna Summer moaning over the airwaves and the best Rock, Soul, Afro, Latin and Disco ever made.
The 70's was truly for me the height of Music in the history of mankind.
I recall taking weekly trips to a Manhattan DIsc-O-Mat in Times Square and buying a shitload of vinyls of all kinds for my Gigs, being a DJ.
Once you have smelled the sweet scent of vinyl it is permanently engraved into your psyche for life.
Since then I have lost many records and have purchased many in return, like a crack addict I have never been able to stay away.
With the advent of the internet it became an intense scavenger hunt to track down those rare hard to find vinyls I had lost over time and then some.
I honestly believe that the McDonalds instant gratification generation will get tired of both Tweeting and Facing...I myself cannot bring myself to doing it...maybe I'm just a set in my ways old man, but then again I really don't give a shit about letting everybody know what cheek I am scratching and at what time.
The blog is where it's at for me, I enjoy reading them and checking out the wide gammut of musical tastes there are.
Thank you for your wonderful blog and I hope you do not abandon it anytime soon before evrybody leaves the other sites and comes rushing back into SANITY.
you can check out my work at CHEERS!
Kevin said…
Thanks to Ajnabi, No Head, Nathan and DJ Colourzone for commenting. I really enjoyed reading your stories about your first experience with purchasing music.

ajnabi: I agree with you that tweeting is beyond me. I've looked at it before, but I never even created an account. Regarding your first experience with vinyl, it's always interesting to see how our listening patterns change over the years. When the P's only have easy listening and cheesy country records, there's not much else you can do but dive in. Cheers!

No Head:

I really enjoyed reading your story about you and your friends gathering together to listen to Spotlight Kid. Sounds like the music brought everyone together which is what it's all about. I agree with you that there is way too much music out there, and there are so many places for people to get music, that they have stopped coming to the blogs as often. I feel that it is fantastic to be able to sample, download and listen to just about any record before you buy, and I find that I buy more music because of this. However, it does take a little bit of the excitement away from the release of a new record. Nowadays, you can download the record several weeks before it's even released, so that anticipation of what will it sound like is all but gone. Thanks for stopping by and dropping your two cents!


Good to see you on here again. I appreciate your thoughts on vinyl, and I definitely agree that there is no substitute for the sound and feel of vinyl for a true musical experience. You can take all the digital downloads, mp3, FLAC, streaming video and audio and it will never measure up to vinyl on any given day. Thanks for your kind words about the blog. Yours was one of the first blogs that I started checking out years ago. Glad to see that you are still alive and kicking!

DJ Colourzone:

Thanks for your thoughts. I have to agree with you that eventually these people are going to come to their senses and start going back to visiting blogs instead of updating their Facebook status every 5 minutes. Occasionally I will post a youtube clip on my Facebook page that is grabbing me at the time, but that's about it. I love hearing the stories from Dj's, music geeks, collectors, bloggers. It all interests me to no end, and I hope to see more people dropping in the comments section.Thanks for your kind words about the blog!

Thanks to everyone for dropping by, and I hope you continue to check me out.

Best, Kevin
Baden-Joost said…
Meet The Beatles 1965 for my 4th birthday (from my father). I was hooked forever. Still have the LP although I played the grooves off of it - it still plays with no skips on it, but it's quite crackly LOL.

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