Brett Milano’s “Vinyl Junkies” is a great easy read. First published in 2003 and clocking in at 220 pages, minus the index, it should be no problem for a casual reader. The author travelled the states and interviewed various collectors of lps and got into why they collect. Peter Buck, Thurston Moore, and others are interviewed. For the obsessive compulsive collector it is funny and a bit sad reading about others who have shared in the obsessive thrift store digging, or the dreaded buying another copy of an lp you forgot that you own. Anyway it is a great read and there is a lot more to the book than this “sort of a review” touched upon.
I think when one becomes a collector of anything I think the notion of “must have all versions” sets in. After all I guess that is why people collect. But I think when one becomes a record collector the notion that a slightly better pressing of an album exists out there… and it’s better than the one you might have… well, that sets you up for adventure. By adventure I mean sometimes expensive and sometimes inexpensive hunting takes place.
Gotta love eBay for hunting. I am sure my postal worker hates the fact that I use it to find and buy some hard-to-find pressings and more than often I do win those auctions and that I live in a second floor apartment… and yeah. Poor guy.
So back to the subject of multiple pressings. It’s an interesting idea that when records were original pressed there were factors that could deem a pressing magical, or “Ehhh.” Things like the pressing plant where it was pressed, the stampers that stamped the grooves into the vinyl, the generation of the pressing and of course one can’t also forget the mastering. Even countries where the album was pressed at play a part in sound quality. I have no idea why, but Germany seems to be the place where a lot of great sounding albums were pressed. See the German pressing of the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour.
As a collector of Jazz records I am both blessed and cursed by the large amount of reissues that exist of classic Jazz albums from the likes of Columbia Records, Impulse Records and of course Blue Note records. Of course not all reissues are not true analog reissues. Most are sourced from hi-rez digital files, or great CDs. Which isn’t totally bad. But when one becomes a collector one does become a bit obsessive compulsive and if you’re like me you didn’t realize you were obsessive compulsive until you started collecting records.
I thought I was happy with the Columbia Records Legacy Reissue of Miles Davis “In A Silent Way” released on July 30th, 1969. Actually, initially, I was happy. Then I read a review by Michael Fremer that pretty much summed up the fact that it was not sourced from the analog tapes. After reading it what does the obsessive compulsive record collector in me do? eBay. I was lucky enough to win an original Columbia 2 Eye 360 Sound copy off eBay for 21 dollars. The downside is that the seller was in Canada (though the record was a US pressing) and I had to pay a 10 dollar shipping fee.
31 dollars and about 12 days later it arrived today. Everything Fremer said about the original issue compared to the Legacy reissue was true. When I listened to it the sound was sharper, clear, cymbals were up front, the notes rang true. You know, sometimes getting a good record “score” could be like a good “hit” of something. I don’t do drugs so I wouldn’t really know, but I could only imagine. You know, record collecting could be a lot like a drug addiction. I really have been thinking about this. I remember a month ago the owner of my favorite record store had some “good records” for me in the back… And he brought them out, tempting me. He’s also given me freebies as well. I guess I am addicted. I guess he, more-or-less, could have been my dealer!