<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