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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Seconds Out

I never thought I'd see the day when I looked at the vinyl section more than the CDs when going to a record store. Alas, that's what it has become. Plus, I never imagined vinyl making a "comeback" in terms of preferred physical purchase. LPs were what my parents had and they dubbed their favorites onto cassette. I had punk rock 7-inches so I could have rarities that never surfaced on CD. That was it for me until a few years ago.

In that time, and despite what you've heard about the industry "crumbling," there are plenty of options with finding old records. I'm thankful there are many record stores around the DFW metroplex. In terms of used vinyl, the best quality I've found is at Good Records and Mad World Records. Half Price Books has the best selection, bar none, but sometimes the vinyl's condition greatly varies. I have yet to venture back into Forever Young or visit Doc's for the first time.

So, here's a list of artists I always find, no matter where I go:

Genesis
The records Genesis put out in the 70s are best heard sitting at home, resting. Having Foxtrot or Trespass on in the car or on the computer can be frustrating because of how exploratory they are. One minute it's pastoral folk, another minute it's free-form jazz odyssey. You have to be relaxed to let things seep in. Alas, I'm happy I keep finding used copies of this era of the band.

Frank Sinatra
Sinatra put out a ton of records, and not even counting the compilations. It's not uncommon to hear about a deceased grandparent's record collection ending up at Half Price, and Sinatra was a staple of many collections. There are many treasures to find with the guy's work, well beyond the hits.

Rush
The one record I keep seeing is Grace Under Pressure. Definitely not a bad record, especially since it contains "Red Sector A" and "Distant Early Warning." But since it's post-Moving Pictures Rush, there is a tendency to sell back that instead of 2112 or Permanent Waves.

Carly Simon
Whether it's her 70s or 80s work, she's there. Every time. It's like the album covers scream out, "You belong to me!"

Bruce Springsteen
I'm still on the hunt for the Live '75-'85 box set, but I've regularly seen Tunnel of Love, Greetings from Asbury Park, and Nebraska. I made a lucky score with the rarely-seen The River a couple of months ago.

Neil Diamond
Like Sinatra, many albums and compilations equals better chances of finding this stuff. The Jewish Elvis had a ton of great album tracks and singles beyond the biggest sellers.

The Who
I'm not talking Quadrophenia or Who's Next. I'm talking It's Hard and Face Dances. You better, you bet.

And here are artists I have a hard time finding, non-180-gram edition:

Husker Du
Any record on SST is a sticky issue. They never remastered their catalog on CD and they haven't paid their biggest artists royalties in decades. Just ask Bob Mould. They really took to the overpriced 180-gram trend though. It's a sad way of preserving a legacy for one of the 80's greatest indie labels. With Husker Du, you might find a copy of their two LPs on Warner Bros occasionally.

The Velvet Underground
That famous Brian Eno quote explains this situation. You'll easily find copies of the box set and various reissues of their debut and final record with Lou Reed on CD. But a worn down copy on MGM or Verve that still plays great? Keep fishing.

Tom Waits
At no fault of Tom, his back catalog on 180-gram is outrageously overpriced. Closing Time, Blue Valentine, and Small Change for $28 a pop? Really, Rhino? I'm still holding out hope to find an old copy. Someday!

Archie Bell
To the average oldies music listener, Archie Bell is that "Tighten Up" guy. Sure, that song cemented his work to be played on turntables and laptops all over the world, but finding something beyond that has been tough. I sure would love to hear a single mix of "Balloon's Going Up."

Sex Pistols
Never seen Nevermind the Bollocks. Ever.

Pink Floyd
Aside from seeing Dark Side of the Moon once and Atom Heart Mother once, I figure most can't part with their material. Makes sense.

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