<Vinyl vindication: vinyl to outsell cds; 1 min. 55 sec.>
I’ve always been a record guy. Back in Montana as a youth, I would drive 35 miles each way to record shop at the local Hastings outlet in Great Falls. Usually buy a couple pieces of vinyl and a cassette for the drive back home.
When I moved to Utah for University in 1986, I was already dabbling in CDs. In 1985, Cactus Records in Bozeman, MT had a small rack of CDs in a corner of the shop. I remember buying Fleetwood Mac and the Police Outlandos d’Amour. $16.99 (in those days a fortune). I didn’t even have a CD player yet.
For Christmas, I got a Fisher deck, (probably from Montgomery Wards), – 1 drawer, no frills: just the song number in red LED. I was blown away! Space age technology in rural Montana!
What’s not to love? Smaller. Harder to scratch. Easier to store. Portable players to play them on.
Yet, the smaller size and lack of information on many of the disks didn’t make collecting CDs as enjoyable as buying vinyl. Especially, when I switched to collecting Reggae. Early on in CD’s history there was not a whole lot of Reggae available. And a total lack of the 12″, 10″ and 7″ vinyl I especially was looking for. The rarest of the rare.
I was in a Record Shop in San Francisco. Summer of ’87. Up to my elbows in vinyl racks. The shop owner was trying to up-sell me into CDs. He was like, “Why are you so hot for vinyl? Everybody is moving into CDs”. I shrugged, “I’ll always be a record guy.”
Here is how it worked back then. CDs were new. And expensive. So, many people sold their vinyl for pennies on the dollar to add up cash for CDs.
Vinyl was cheap and plentiful. CDs were exotic, limited in selection and expensive. So the stores were in transition from black wax to shiny metal disks. I built the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives this way: buying other people’s vinyl discards.
All the great things you hear me play today came about through hoovering up as much black wax as I could in the voluminous Bay Area Record stores. I was flush with student loan cash (Thanks Ronnie Raygun!) and I went from store to store digging through the crates.
I would stay at the Travelodge across the street from Tower Records in North Beach: Columbus and Bay. Some days, I would be tired after a day of cratedigging. It was awesome.
Wheel it forward 30 plus years. Most of the record stores are long gone, (Hastings went under in 2016), via over committing to CDs in a digital age of iTunes, Pandora and Spotify. People wised up and started piecing out vinyl for the Ebay collector’s market.
But for 20 years, I maxed out the opportunities even if around 2005 I started to notice stores were no longer there when I would visit.
When Tower Records and later Virgin and Circuit City went under, that was the nadir of my CD era collecting.
That is why when I heard on the news that 2019 will be the first year since 1986 that Vinyl is expected to surpass CDs in aggregate sales, I felt a sense of vindication.
To “rinse out” is a deejay term commonly used to showcase a fresh stash of vinyl on your sound system or deejay gig.
I ‘n’ I use it on this edition of Smile Jamaica as a way to juggle the Reggae vinyl I recently purchased while on vacation in Denver.
Bobbylon’s Guide to Cratedigging
Plan your record (and book and dispensary) shopping before you leave the house. I tend to go neighborhood by neighborhood to minimize transit time. Yelp, Yellowpages online, Google.
Upload my discographies to Google Drive or Dropbox so I know what I have and don’t buy duplicates
Print out my wishlist of items I’m looking for
Load up on coffee and green smoke for the excursion. Cratedigging on the Seven Leaf is one of life’s great pleasures
Comb through the racks: I start with Rock and Blues. Spend time on Soul and Jazz. Mutant Dub gets the second most time “digging”: Techno, electronic, lounge. Then Reggae CDs (many of them I already have.)
Spend the bulk of time in the Reggae Vinyl section.
Mention I’m a Radio Deejay and try and score 10% off
Take my trusty Burning Spear record bag to keep everything together
Never leave vinyl in the car during warm months.
Always put your stash in the trunk to deter break ins
At the end of the day sift and sort my haul
And that is how you Cratedig!
So I bought about $200 work of Reggae vinyl and let it simmer for the week. So I could hear it fresh from the needle to the monitor speakers on Smile Jamaica.
First time audio experience for I ‘n’ I as well as the masses. Tune in and hear the fruits of my labor!
Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives Jah-gust 31, 2019: All Vinyl
Black Uhuru – What Is Life; Anthem (Island) ’83 JA vinyl (no overdub mix): 3 Hour Vinyl Show
Blackbeard – Electrocharge; I Wah Dub (More Cut) ’80 Dub Album of the Hour
The In Crowd – Born in Ethiopia; His Majesty Is Coming (Creole) ’78 Fr.
Judy Mowatt – Mr. Big Man; Mellow Mood (Ashandan) ’75 JA
Johnny Organ – Bewitched; Come Back Darling (Techniques) ’70 JA
Sugar Minott – Ease Up Mr. Customs Man; Time Longer Than Rope (Greensleeves) ’85 UK
Idren Natural & Seventh Sense – Sip a Cup; 12″ (Jah Works) 2007 UK 4:20 Cannabis Service Announcement
Paul Davidson – Midnight Rider; Reggae Chartbusters 76 (Cactus) ’76 UK
Yellowman – Honour Your Mother; Jack Sprat (Hit) ’82 JA
Barbara Paige – Babylon Must Fall; Hear Me Now (Epiphany) ’82 Santa Cruz, CA
The Upsetters feat. The Heptones – Zion Blood; Super Ape (Mango) ’76 Lee “Scratch” Perry/Black Ark prod’n
Mark Jah Jah Bryan – Revelation Song (Rohit International) ’83 Barbados Reggae
Dennis Brown – Slave Driver; Joseph’s Coat of Many Colours (Laser) ’79 UK
Bomb Shelter – Stampede; Human Rights (Total Sounds) ’89 US
Doreen Shaffer – This Love; Pirates Choice (Studio One) ’80 JA
Jonathan Arthur – Burnin; 12″ (Emerald Isle) ’89 Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Bullwackies All Stars – Recording Connection; Black World (Wackies) ’79 Dub Album of the Hour
Dillinger – Tallowah; Tribal War (New Cross) ’86 UK
Kojak & Liza – Two Bad Duppy; Showcase L.P. (Kojak) ’80 JA
Michael Palmer – Mr. Officer; Ghetto Living (Bebo’s Music) ’85 Wheaton, MD
Carlton Livingston & U Brown – Mr. Deejay; 12″ (A1) ’81
Kofi – Reggae Starship; Black…With Sugar (Ariwa) ’89 UK female
Owen Gray – Turning Point (Version); Dreams of Owen Gray (Trojan) ’79 dub to Tyrone Davis soul cover
U Roy – Babylon Burning; Natty Rebel (Virgin Front Line) ‘ UK dj to Turning Point
Sylford Walker – Books of the Old Testament; 12″ (Art & Craft) ’79 UK
Set 6: Wailers Family Tree
Bob Marley & the Wailers – Let Him Go; Marley, Tosh, Livingston & Associates (Studio One) ’66 JA – Wailers Family Tree; Bunny/Peter on vox
<Let Him Go; 90 sec.>
Peter Tosh – No Sympathy (1972 mix); This Is Reggae Music vol. 3 (Mango) ’76 US diff. mix than on Legalize It
I mentioned on this blog that 2019 was the year my Dad’s health went sideways. Other than a bad back, he’s like the Montana version of Clint Eastwood. A rare brain condition damn near sent him to Jah’s Heavenly Choir.
Long story short: Jan.-June was a distracting nightmare of back and forth with my Mom reporting grim news and discouraging progress. Calls and texts to my brother and sister who all feel helpless hundreds of miles away.
Here is what Papa Bob had to recover from in 2019:
My Pops has spent more nights in either a hospital bed or “rehabilitation clinic” (aka nursing home) than he spent at his Snowbird spot in Sun City West, AZ. Retire and then get seriously ill. Life is not fair.
Long story short: The Mayo Clinic in Phoenix “fixes” NPH by installing a shunt in your skull. It’s like the condensation hose on your AC unit. Excess fluid drains away and is absorbed, harmlessly, into the abdomen.
I was there in Arizona when he turned a corner and now is walking with a cane, where he was formerly wheelchair bound.
Mayo Clinic. Wow, awesome. Thank you! Dr. Bendok; Dr. Krishna. All killer, no filler!
So I have been basically “clenched” for seven months. It affects everything and I was keeping all days free in case I had to make an emergency trip to Phoenix. So once Dr. Krishna told my Dad “the pendulum is swinging in the right direction”, it was like Pops had permission to return to the way things were.
One day he said, “Hey go get my book.” He reads these detective novels one after another. Went back to reading the local paper. We watched the Chernobyl Mini Series on HBO together and he was totally engaged. Phew!
I was encouraged enough to think I could engage in a little self indulgence. No more Family With Medical Leave Act for I ‘n’ I.
Now, I want to go on vacation: cratedig, road trip, herbal excursion, concert. While everyone else was dealing with the chaos of the first week of school I was on my way to Denver for a comedy concert.
My Version Excursion Itinerary:
I 70 to Green River for lunch at the Tamarisk Cafe’ my bredrin Aqua Boy recommended.
Stop in Palisade, CO at a dispensary. My weed concierge seemed a little grumpy. Hey fella, you could be slopping Slurpees at the Sev. Answering all my questions on my Seven Leaf purchases should be like a wine vendor sampling his wares. Come on man, you see Utah on the Driver’s License. It’s like having to talk to a toddler. But I don’t care — I’m on vacation. Just gimme my stash and choke on my cash!
Drove through the most beautiful stretch of country I have ever been on: Grand Junction to I 25 approach to Denver. Had it all: fruit stands, wineries, rivers, dams, mountain passes, tunnels, ski resorts, Amtrak. Treacherous driving even in the Summer at nearly 11,000 feet. Wow!
Check into my hotel in Denver. Hit the liquor store. Stealth vape in my room while I plot my book and record store mapping, neighborhood by neighborhood. Successful cratedig: picked up around $200 of fresh Reggae vinyl
Had Dinner a couple nights with my friends who flew in to see comedian Jimmy Dore and because I hate flying, I had my car.
Listened to KGNU Boulder’s “Reggae Bloodlines” show on Sat. 1-4pm. Having a session and a cocktail just like millions of you all do every Saturday during Smile Jamaica. Reggae Bloodlines sounded like Smile Jamaica with more Rebelution type reggae than Mutant Dub I ‘n’ I play, but straight up killer roots!
Sat. 4:20 vape like a viper before the show
Standing online with about 75 fellow Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders fanatics wearing my brand new Ilhan Omar T shirt which got many thumbs up from the Progressive audience in attendance
A round of cocktails with my friends to combat cotton mouth and settle in for nearly 2 hours of gallows humor with comedian Jimmy Dore surrounded by fellow travellers on the Far Left political spectrum. Single payer or death!
Sunday morning sunrise return trip via I 80. Thermos full of bad coffee grinding out flat and bland prairie. Cruise control at 73 MPH churning up the mile markers as my Pops loves to say, “feeling like a whore in church”, watching for Johnny Law on the 525 mile stretch back to SLC.
Gassed up in Rock Springs and called my Mom and that is how I found out my Dad doesn’t need a cane around the house. Praise Anu!
So yeah, good week after a brutal year. Selah!
Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: Jah-gust 17, 2019 Annotated Playlist; 43 sec.
Earl Zero – Only Jah; Only Jah Can Ease the Pressure (Freedom Sounds) ’79 JA vinyl
The Supersonics – Treasure Isle Dub vol. 2 (Treasure Isle) JA vinyl dub set of the hour