My birthday was yesterday and my family got me a record player and a few albums as a gift. Little did anyone in my family know, but this was something I had been contemplating diving into for quite some time. But as is the norm for me, as I started my research, I started by looking at high-end equipment which was priced way out of my comfort zone. So I would just spend a couple of hours looking and reading about different pieces of gear and then walk away thinking it was out of my budget.
So when they showed me what they had gotten me, I was overjoyed to say the least.And my happiness increased as I learned that not only did I get the record player with all the bells and whistles, (built in CD player, Bluetooth, Streaming compatible, FM radio etc.), but that were seeding my new vinyl collection with a few of my favorite albums.
The new collection starts off with the 40th anniversary edition of Rush’s Permanent Waves album. Having been a Rush fan since my high school days, I loved this album growing up and am looking forward to spending even more hours listening to it. Also included in the birthday haul, was Whitesnake’s 1987 album ( which featured the extremely over played ‘Here I Go Again’, but is still a great album overall).I also got a classic Lynyrd Skynyrd album (‘Free Bird’ has been a staple for many many years now), and a Creedence Clearwater Revival album.
So once the festivities were over, I of course immediately started looking online for more. So today, I am expecting three new albums courtesy of Amazon.ca. But while I am excited for the albums to arrive, I didn’t get the same satisfaction of purchasing these albums as I did when I would go into a record store as a teenager and spend Saturday afternoons thumbing through the bins and bins of different albums and listening to what they were playing in the store.
I’m also missing the wisdom of one of the older kids in the neighbourhood where I grew up, who seemed to buy new albums every week and had what I thought was a massive collection. A bunch of us would spend hours in his parent’s basement listening to his albums. While he was definitely a rock guy, his collection expanded my knowledge and taste at a time when it was hard to learn about new bands that didn’t get played on the radio. If there is one thing the internet has done well is to make music more accessible to people. Say what you want about streaming services and such, but I have certainly expanded my musical tastes thanks in no small part to Spotify, Apple Music and of course Napster back in the day.
There is a record store not too far away from me that is going to get a visit from me very soon, but being outside of Toronto, the choices are limited. After doing some online rabbit-hole diving today, I did find some great reviews of shops in Toronto that I will have to visit as we get a little more opened up after COVID-19 restrictions.
So finally, a question for my vinyl collecting friends. Where do you shop for records online? In person? And what do I need to know about record buying in today’s world?
Please leave a comment below and help to educate me….