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The Return of Vinyl


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  • The Return of Vinyl

    A false dawn? I hope not

    I sold all my vinyl LPs about 10 years ago, and I regret it now. I digitized all of my collection before I sold it. Now that took a long time, let me tell you!

    It's all a bit too easy these days. A few button-pushes and one can listen to just about anything one wants. Listening to an LP was an event. Like dressing up to go and see Daniel Barenboim conduct The Emperor Concerto, for example

    *Sighs wistfully*

    a selection of my songs

    the asylum

  • #2

    It was an event!    i,  too,  had a massive LP collection and a goodly portion of those 12" dance singles from the 1980's UK.  Kewl.    God I loved those 12" singles... great to put on and do housework to,  LOL.

    All those records are gone!   

    LP cover art was a big deal,  too.  What was that LP cover which showed a guy pulling pink bubblegum from a woman's breasts?




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    • Paul.M.
      Paul.M. commented
      Editing a comment

      rasputin1963 wrote:

      LP cover art was a big deal,  too.  What was that LP cover which showed a guy pulling pink bubblegum from a woman's breasts?

      That was the cover of 'Lovedrive' by Scorpions. It caused such a controversy that it was banned and replaced by a blue scorpion on a black backdrop. It did, however, receive the 'Best album sleeve of 1979' award by Playboy magazine. The graphic designer was Storm Thorgerson who also designed covers for Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel and Pink Floyd.

  • #3

    As reported on FB, I lost around a 1000 CDs thanks to Sandy and have decided not to replace the CDs. The truth is I was very unhappy with the sound of CDs in the last 10 years as distortion became more of "the sound". Now I started collecting vinyl. Fortunately there are some good places here in NYC to purchase and online so... I`m not sure if vinyl will comeback but I know I`m not going back to CDs until the industry gets reasonable again. 

    I`m releasing a CD later this year and I was going to have some with it... the first 10 songs will be mastered the way I like it with a bit of room. Then I will include the "radio mix CD".... the same songs butchered to compete with Maroon5! 


    • #4

      The thing about LPs is that they're the right size for reading the liner notes. All this business about having a booklet in a CD is all very well, but the font always seems too small. And the artwork on an LP is better. On a CD it looks squashed

      I remember when my parents bought me 'Revolver' one Christmas. I was a MASSIVE Beatles fan at the time, and I used to have the LP on (through headphones, of course) whilst gazing at the images on the front and back of the LP cover

      And then of course there was The White Album with the 4 glossy pics and the fold-out lyric sheet/collage....

      *Sighs a little more wistfully*

      a selection of my songs

      the asylum


      • sailorman
        sailorman commented
        Editing a comment

        The album cover artwork was the biggest thing I missed when CDs first came out.   My buddies and I used to spend Sunday afternoons at record stores going through the cutout racks, etc.   But it just wasn't as satisfying going through the racks of CDs, even before they got rid of the big plastic packaging that was twice the size of the CD.

        My wife, knowing I'm a huge Hendrix fan, got me a pristine copy of Electric Ladyland with the English cover featuring the naked women.  Great gift and I was stunned at the brand new condition of the 40 plus year old record, like it had never been played.

        Also agree that an album 'side' was an event, listened to in it's entirety.   I remember playing hokie from high school the hear Sgt. Pepper played on a local FM station in it's entirety.   Was a real event.

      • Ernest Buckley
        Ernest Buckley commented
        Editing a comment

        I remember the smell of opening a brand new cassette. I had records when I was a small child, maybe 3-7 but I don`t remember having them for long. My parents had records for a while but they eventually just started to listen to the radio at night. I used to fall asleep at night listening to music that my mother had playing outside in the living room. 

        For me, even to this day, its less about sitting there reading the lyrics and looking at the art, its nice, don`t get me wrong but nothing beat sitting down with my headphones on and listening to a record from start to finish. I try to do this almost everyday of my life... even this morning, with nowhere to go, I put on the phones and listened to Fleetwood Mac for an hour. I just get lost in the sounds. I love listening to the intimacy of a vocal and hear it expand into the chorus. Or just listening to the guitar for the entire song or the drums. 

        For me, its always been about the sound of a record. The smell, the imagery, the lyrics were fun but always took on a secondary role. Even the other day, my wife started to play a song and she says to me, "Come over here and look at these guys." I just said to her, "I don`t care what they look like, I don`t care for the song." 

        I think an entire two or even three generations have been pulled into the image of an artist instead of just listening. And again, this is not to bash The Beatles but long before I saw them, I heard their songs and it did not stand out to me. It wasn`t until I was in my early 20s that I actually started to learn about their place in history, it was not obvious to me that they were above and beyond anyone else. Even to this day, they are not standouts. I respect what they did but the imagery of their records, their looks, etc... has no infuence on my life or my music. I recall asking my mom about them once, and she talked about their hair. :smileyeek: 

      • MikeRivers
        MikeRivers commented
        Editing a comment

        MarkydeSad wrote:

        The thing about LPs is that they're the right size for reading the liner notes.

        And mark my words, Marky - they get even better as you get older.

        All this business about having a booklet in a CD is all very well, but the font always seems too small. And the artwork on an LP is better. On a CD it looks squashed

        And if you get the download version of a CD. you don't even get that unless you print it yourself. If you're lucky, you get a PDF that you can look at on your computer while you're listening to the music play through your little desktop computer speakers. 

        To the credit of some labels, I've got some CDs with really extensive liner notes, more than you'd get on the back of a record jacket or two. But then these are labels who have been putting out records until CDs took over, and they produced multi-page liner notes as an insert.

    • #5

      Well, there are some who would say that that is what you get for trying to get something for nothing.  wink.gif 


      Me, I've still got my 1200 LPs, a good Dual manual with a good cart, not to mention 500+ CDs.

      But I do almost all my listening on the all 320 kbps MOG subscription service because I value the freedom and convenience -- and the almost unlimited variety -- of playing what I want, when I want, in any order I want, without running around looking for disks, far more than the nostalgia value of hearing my old records. ("Ah, yes, I remember that scratch... I was drunk after breaking up with my GF of 3 years and playing the same song over again a couple times, which I would never do sober, and... " You get the drift.)

      Anyhow, I do love my records, but it's really the MUSIC I love and -- I have to tell you -- I have now on a number of occasions caught up with old favorites from vinyl days, including a few that I could never get to play without distortion. It's a really odd feeling to hear an old favorite after 40 odd years or more where the groove distortion is so ingrained in your memory but it's suddenly pristine and perfect (enough). And then there are the smaller handful of albums that drove me crazy back then but now that I've caught up with the digital versions, I realize IT WAS TAPE DISTORTION all along. (The first Swingle Singers album is so. It used to drive me crazy. I'd crank up my stylus weight but nothing would work. First time I heard the album over streaming subscription, I realized the engineer had simply cut most of the tracks too hot on tape that couldn't handle it, producing a nasty distortion.


      I'll agree with others about one thing, though, I do really miss album art and the kind of album liner notes we used to get  in the LP age.

      MOG will have a paragraph or two they've penned on their Editor's Choices as well as occasional bits from AllMusic Guide's now rather uneven album write-ups, but I think back to the long liner notes I used to get on folk and jazz albums in the 60s and think, all that info is somewhere... I can hear the tracks better than ever, but where are the liner notes? 

      The streaming services often display album art -- but that's often a mixed bag, itself, as the labels re- and re-re- release classic albums with different covers (of course, the labels aren't trying to confuse consumers into buying albums they already have or sets of songs they mostly have, nah,  huh uh...  facepalm.gif&nbsp.

      But there's no fundamental reason they couldn't display all the album art and liner notes. 

      What would be nice is if the idiot labels* and their thuggish industry associations could actually cooperate on something worthwhile and develop a standard XML-based info format for syndication of album info.

      * And they are, I'm amazed by some of the crap 'remasters' I've heard recently from some rerelease albums -- there are apparently 'mastering engineers' working for some of these outfits who just hit all old records with maximum single-ended noise reduction in an effort to remove every last single bit of surface noise... I first noticed the growing problem on a rerelease of the Boswells from the 40s. Some of the fi from those wartime records wasn't the highest. But I listened to other releases of some of the same tracks and they sounded a little scratchy but fine. THEN I heard an album from Julie London from the 50's with her classic recording of "Cry Me a River" that had got the heavy hand of absurd noise reduction. There was barely any frequency content over 4-5 kHz. And the underwater effect of over aggressive single-ended NR.

      Attached Files

      music and social links | recent listening


      • rasputin1963
        rasputin1963 commented
        Editing a comment

        Do any of you remember when LP jackets used to bear purple-prosed encomiums like this one?   (Taken from Nancy Sinatra's 1967 album,  BOOTS)


        Attached Files

    • #6

      Vinyl may have some following with the rock and audiophile crowd, but the real record volume was in the dance music arena - which has been dead for about 5 years now. I've heard things like some of the remaining vinyl pressing plants have been running 24/7 to meet demand - but they are the small, specialty companies that lasted the vinyl purge. Good thing!


      • guido61
        guido61 commented
        Editing a comment

        I love my old vinyl.  And my new vinyl.   Nothing like the smell of opening a brand new LP.  

        When CDs first came out I believed that the small size and extended length would lead to a demise in the "album" as an art form and I still believe this contributed to it to a large degree.

        I believe there is something about a 40 minute program of music, split into two parts, that is almost perfect for the human brain to consume and connect with.   74 minute CDs and you start forgetting the track sequence and what you already listened to an hour ago.  

        And the larger size made the artwork part of the "art" of the album.  Once the fascination of being able to get your old music on a more "pristine" format faded, most older music fans started to lose their connection with CDs.   And younger music fans never made that "album" connection in the first place.  CDs was when it all started becoming about convenience and getting to that "track" as quickly as possible.   The "album" was lost.

        As far as the sound quality goes---there are great sounding LPs and great sounding CDs.  All depends on the recording and mastering.  Some albums sound equally great in both formats.   I was never a fan of surface noise and ticks and pops, and all other sound elements being equal, I'll choose to listen on CD for that reason alone.  When I rip an LP to my computer, I always use a program like Click Repair to take away as many of the imperfections as possible.

        Yes, vinyl is making a comeback, but it's to a niche crowd.  It will never be more than that again.   And the album probably never will make a full comeback either.   For one thing, listening to recorded music as an "experience" is lost.   Nobody but those in the small niche take the time to sit and listen to an album anymore.   Listening to music is a background experience for most people.  Something you do while making dinner, working out, driving, jogging, etc.   How many people put a record/CD on in the living room and sit on the couch and just LISTEN for 45 minutes anymore?   It doesn't happen.  It's a lost artform.

    • #7

      In my world records never went away.  By the 1980s I stopped going to mall record stores except to browse the cutout bins and started going to independent "hip" record stores that might have Hawkwind and Sun Ra records.  And after awhile I got so used to going to out of the way places to find records that I didn't really notice that much when the mall record stores became CD stores.

      I started buying CDs in 1999 when I found Music To Eat by the Hampton Grease Band which I had never seen on record.  Though I did eventually find the two record set and bought it.  I probably bought more CDs than records in the early to mid-2000s because there was an independent CD store that had a very good selection of the sort of music I liked.  Though I still bought records fairly regularly.

      Since about 2007 I have bought records more often than I had in awhile.  Most of the jazz and funk I buy is on record.  But over the past year or so I have been listening to a lot of hip hop.  I tend to find most of the full lengths on CD.  But I buy lots of hip hop 12" singles and EPs from thrift stores.  Whenever I am in the Detroit area I buy all the Underground Resistance and Detroit techno records I can find.  Those are almost always on record.  I buy new records that are jazz reissues by cats like Yusef Lateef, Sonny Murray, David Axelrod, Weldon Irvine, and Boogaloo Joe Jones. My best find in awhile was a record by Freddy Robinson.

      I went to a record store yesterday.  I bought records by Joe Beck, Stanley Cowell, and Grover Washington Jr.  I bought the Grover Washington Jr record because I saw on the liner notes that Eric Gale played guitar on it.  I only bought one CD- Labcabincalifornia by The Pharcyde.  I go to record stores about once a week.  I mostly spend my time in the jazz and hip hop sections.

      I don't download music although I have nothing against it.  The biggest reason I don't download music is because I have a huge record collection.  I spend more time in record stores and listening to records than I spend looking for music on the internet.  Though I use the internet as one of the ways I find out about music of the past and present that I haven't heard yet.

      One reason I still buy records is that maybe a year or so ago I realized that my record collection/accumulation, which numbers in the thousands, was completely devoid of funk.  The funk records at the closest record store were mostly less expensive than the CDs.  So I got most of them on records.