<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.
Since nearly the very beginning I ‘n’ I have harvested all the various Halloween tunes found in Reggae music.
<25+ Years of Jah-loween on 29 Years of Smile Jamaica; 24 sec.>
Over the 3 decades of Reggae Radio my Devil’s menagerie has grown to 2 60-CD suitcases, a crate full of vinyl, a box full of 7″.
About a decade ago, I started hacking up horror bytes, movie trailers and Jah-loween intros. Then like Dr. Frankenstein in his laboratory, I hunker down in my Secret Dubratory and stitch it all together.
It’s alive! It’s alive!
So now enjoy this look back to all Hallow’s Eve and admire how Horror Reggae fits the Season. 11 sec.
Jah-tober 20th Smile Jamaica, livicated to the late great Peter Tosh – born Oct. 19, 1947.
Jah-tober is Jah-loween on Smile Jamaica,
Peter was at the pinnacle of the masses of Reggae songs devoted to the Halloween menagerie: vampires, ghosts (duppies in Jamaica), witches, mummies, anti-Christs, zombies and general evil. I and I have hundreds of Jah-loween tunes on CD, black wax: LP, 12″, 10″ and 7″.
Peter’s additions to the canon?
Mark of the Beast – about his brutal beating at the hands of Jamaican cops
Jumbie Jamboree – ska update of a classic soca song about the cousin of the duppy – jumbies.
With the Wailers: Mr. Brown (who drives around in a coffin) and Duppy Conqueror.
There is one more….
My very first Reggae LP was Peter Tosh – Wanted Dread & Alive; Christmas 1981. Thanks mom!
I was very happy to be cratedigging in SLC, at Get In Here Records I scored the above 12″ black wax aboved.
Tosh’s tragic end belied an “Omen”. I had just got into Reggae bigly as 45 would say around Sept. ’86. A year later I was working at Graywhale CD and used my employee discount to buy 2 CDs:
Ramones – Halfway to Sanity
Peter Tosh – No Nuclear War.
I think the Tosh album dropped on Sept. 3, 1987. On Sept. 12, I remember going to the SLC airport to pick up my sister off the plane. On page 2 of the paper that morning:
Reggae singer Peter Tosh killed in Jamaica.
Peter Tosh dead on, …wait for it: Sept. 11.
Peter the mystic did not go quietly to Jah’s Heavenly Choir. He got his “revenge” on his birthday that year: Oct. 19, 1987:
<Peter Tosh murder: Sept. 11, 1987. Black Monday – Oct. 19, 1987; 75 sec.>
Black Monday was the worst stock market collapse since the Great Depression. Only, since, eclipsed by the Great Recession of 2008.
Dow Jones stock market lost 22.6% of its valuation in one day. Peter Tosh exacted his revenge against the “shystem” in A-sad-ica. Because for the poor there is nothing “merry” about America.
Happy Birthday to the Stepping Razor: #PeterTosh. Murdered on 9/11 '87. Crashed the stock market from beyond on his birthday. 10/19/87 #BlackMonday. Chanting down the shytstem in A-sad-ica b/c for the poor, there is nothing "merry" in America pic.twitter.com/QjNWMBvwse
It was October 2003. My bredrin Grizzlite and I headed up to Park City to catch one of my favorites from the 90’s: Lucky Dube. Terrific South African roots singer in the era of apartheid.
A huge favorite with the Pacific Islander community, the club was packed. Everyone singing along on a cool fall night in the mountains.
Grizz and I got a beer and angled ourselves and positioned ourselves on the patio with a view of the stage. Everyone bumping along to Lucky’s melodic Peter Tosh-esque vocals.
All of a sudden the packed dance floor scattered and the music screeched to a halt. A youth had been shot. Later I found out it was a gang assassination. Tribal war in the Polynesian community. Assassins were dispatched from California. They knew their target would be out in the open and vulnerable at a must see event: Lucky Dube is on a par with Bob Marley among the Island community.
Before we knew it, the paramedics had wheeled the victim pass Grizz and I on a gurney. One of the EMT’s was straddling his chest doing CPR. Right next to me, a massive Island dready stepped up and punched the dying man in the face, caving in his nose.