Vinyl, just vinyl from now on
Oh, vinyl records why did I leave you? I question myself every single time I place the stylus down. First, I weaned off vinyl for a short affair with cassettes in the late sixties. Cassettes, you know that plastic do-hickey which had to be constantly rewound if not played all the way through. And then you could never find that one song, the one which had to be located in the middle of the tape somewhere on side 1. Yet in 1968 I was convinced by the head honchos from BASF at Dubbings Electronics that cassettes would destroy the 8 track tape AND vinyl recordings industries. Cassettes were the wave of the future or so they thought. Hey, we at DUBBINGS made one million cassettes of THE BEATLES (White album) for shipment the same day as the vinyl was to be released. So it was about that time that a slight wink was given to cassettes, an every so slight wink.
Yes, I still bought vinyl records by the armful. Every Saturday mornings would be spent scouring the record racks of the local record stores. My vinyl collection soon hit the thousands. Everything imaginable was there, everything except Opera. Folk, jazz, blues, Americana, rock, hard rock, metal, Beatles, Stones, picture discs, colored vinyl disks, collectibles, cut-outs, you name it I bought it, all safely stored on aluminum shelving, in alphabetical order for easy retrieval.
It was an impressive sight to behold until the storm, one of those great hurricanes. It wasn’t so much the storm wind as it was the electric going out and the water slowly rising in my basement a few days later. With no electric my pumps would not pump. First it was only a few spots of water, then an inch, then more. We scurried around moving as many boxes as fast as we could. I concentrated on the bottom shelves of recordings….The Zappas, XTC, Yardbirds, etc. Not for any truer value or sentiment, I just thought my collection would be safe the next level of shelving up.
Then it occurred. We heard the creaking, the collapsing of one shelf, which was attached to another, and then the third. Records falling, crashing and splashing into the water below. I knew from that sound that most would be lost, to which they were.My BOSE speakers… done, my AudioTechnica turntable …done, my Marantz…all done.
It took weeks to dry out the basement, records included. Most were trashed. A mold expert company was called in to “cure” the environment, to “scan” the walls, etc. The “professional” advised that I should store what I had left, about 500 records and all my cassettes, in another space and wait until a “rainy day” to go through the boxes.Insurance covered nothing.
At that point I became a CD collector and sent most of my music to “the cloud”. But something was missing. I knew what it was but felt I could not enter that zone again. My mistress, vinyl, was awaiting in the dark. I avoided it as long as I could. Then one day, on an app I had on my iPhone, I saw that by me giving up smoking cigarettes I had saved over $1000.00. Hmmmm, what to do with that money. All my bills were paid and this was “rainy day” money. Its time.
After purchasing new stereo equipment complete with a new turntable I hit those stored boxes. A record cleaning device was purchased, new inner sleeves, new plastic outer sleeves, and new shelving set up. Funny how as I was cleaning the records I noticed how they were still in alphabetical order.
Today is the day I completed the task of restoring what was left of my vinyl collection. Took a few weeks cleaning, drying, relabeling but I did it. AND to celebrate I bought some NEW 180 gram virgin vinyl records, notice plural as in records. So I say, “Honey, I’m home” and this time to stay.