September 7, 2014 by Jay Minkin
I hope you didn’t put your old vinyl records in the garage sale this summer. If they’re still collecting dust in your basement, it’s time to bring them upstairs. Don’t be surprised if little Johnny or June ask why you’ve been holding these gems back from them.
Like stories similar to your own, I grew up with records as far back as memory serves. My parents had a collection of classical, comedy and show tunes and even bought me a set of Disney records … which I still own. But it was my sister, who is twelve years older than me, who kept her records in the family room that set the foundation of influence. Peter, Paul and Mary Moving and The Free Wheelin’ Bob Dylan stirred a four years old soul back in 1963. The Ed Sullivan Show was a Sunday night family ritual, so Beatlemania led to a parody by The Chipmunks. The Fab Four starred in Help!, one of the first films I ever saw in a movie theatre back in 1965. But when my sister came home from college in 1969 with a copy of the rock opera Tommy by The Who, I was catapulted to the next level of listening to an album. Instead of buying 45’s, I finally purchased my first rock and roll album Hey Jude by The Beatles in 1970. My listening taste was probably still on the dweeb level until one day in 1973 when I purchased both The Allman Brothers Band Brothers and Sisters and Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon based solely on a Cleveland newspaper’s “Action Tab” entertainment section which listed these as the best new record releases for the week. I literally had no clue that from that point forward, I began exploring new music on my own.
This year, I tried to purchase most of my new albums on vinyl. Wanting a copy of the new Ryan Adams self-titled release on Tuesday meant pre-ordering one with the good folks at Square Records in Akron. Others were ordered from long distance as Australia’s Kasey Chambers new red vinyl record Bittersweet is not available in the states. Many new releases come with a download code or CD to add digital tracks to your computer. Campaigns on PledgeMusic and Kickstarter by songwriters like Jon Langford and Dan Wilson had levels that included autographed album covers. You might even find a vinyl edition of a new release at a concert merch table and have it signed by the performer after the show. Buying that record could even help someone out with gas money, as did my purchase of The Dirt and the Air and the Grass for Will Phalen when he passed through town and played Brent Kirby’s 10×3 at Brother’s Wine Bar ( which recently had a track played on Sirius XM The Loft) . Special limited editions are pressed for Record Store Day, an audiophile’s favorite spring holiday, with tracks from the vaults of artists like the late Joe Strummer and Gram Parsons. As I moved away from compact discs, there was something special about holding that 12×12 cardboard artwork from this year’s best releases including Lydia Loveless, Jamestown Revival, Sturgill Simpson, The Black Keys, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers reading the liner notes along with hearing that beautiful warm sound.
Local record stores are the place to go when either adding to your collection or working on your kid’s Music 101 starter list. The mavens posting on the Northeast Ohio Vinyl Club helped me put together a list of great hangouts. In the Waterloo Arts District you’ll find Music Saves, Blue Arrow, and in the basement of the Beachland Ballroom a space named This Way Out. Tremont area is the home to A Separate Reality and LOOP while Gordon Square offers Hausfrau Record Shop, Sweet Lorain, and Bent Crayon. Record Den in Mentor can tout they have been selling records for over thirty years while My Mind’s Eye has a loyal following in Lakewood. You never know what you’ll find when your panning of gold in those bins, so the rule of thumb is if you see it … buy it … ‘cause it won’t be there when you go back.
All this wets the palate leading up to the big one. Held four times a year, the next edition of The Northeast Ohio Record / CD Convention takes place at The American Legion Hall in Fairview Park (22001 Brookpark Rd) on Sunday, September 21st from 10AM-4PM. Lawrence Puljic has been hosting this shindig since 1990, drawing vendors from Detroit and Pittsburgh to showcase their collections of music and memorabilia. Admission is only $3.00 for kids 16 & over at this buy/sell/trade event with 56 tables of good items. Unfortunately, I’m going to miss this one as I’ll be in Nashville for the Americana Music Association festivities. I’ll be reporting on the conference and showcases along with highlights from my booty of albums scored in Music City in the next edition of Minkin’s Music.
In closing for this edition of Liner Notes, I leave these words of advice. Music is the soundtrack to your life, so take a journey to the past for something new and refreshing.