Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Solid Bond

Record shopping. It's a passion of mine, as frequent readers know. Whenever I go travelling, the first thing I do is check if their are record stores. I've never planned a vacation around whether I could buy used LPs, but don't think I wouldn't. I used to go to the record stores in Chicago and Evanston around my birthday, yet another treat to myself.

When we moved to Cooperstown, I wondered whether there would be any kind of outlet for my vinyl needs. Lo and behold!, there was Last Vestige in Albany. Great store, with bins of $1 albums that are hard to get past. There's also a nice selection of $3 discs, as well as racks of higher end pieces. (For a complete list of the 45 albums I bought on this trip, check my Facebook note).

So, yesterday before meeting my old college pal and fellow Slipped Disc Record Co-op manager Paul, me and the boys (a great Dave Edmunds song, that) headed up to L.V. There was a twist to this trip, 16 year old R. wants a USB turntable. We said he could get that, plus nicer computer speakers for Hannukah or his birthday, but, surrounded by records, he couldn't wait. Diving right in,,he rifled through the $1 containers and, his first record was ...... John B. Sebastian's solo LP. R. has been very much into Woodstock lately and nothing is more Woodstocky than the former Lovin' Spoonful leader's debut.

I found Pete Townshend's "Empty Glass" and "Chinese Eyes" for R. and he was beside himself. Later he would say that was one of his greatest moments ever. "Empty Glass is my favorite album ever!" he said gleefully. Happy to be part of it. He's hooked on records now, totally, and it was great fun to teach him the ins and outs of the science of purchasing used records. I showed him what to look for, and that he must take the disc out for inspection. He ran his finger over various scratches to learn the difference between surface and deep gouges. We talked about cleaning systems, proper care, etc. He even got a quick primer on warping.

I used to go to baseball card shows and sees fathers with their sons searching through stacks of singles with their want lists by their side. I always dreamed of doing that with one or more of my own sons. But this is so much better, really. It's a pleasure to see R. thrilled by the same things that I am.

One problem. He saw a copy of Music from Big Pink before I did. I don't have it on LP, for shame, and the gatefold pictures are beautiful. I told him I was jealous and he offered it to me, but I explained the first rule of record hunting, "If you find it first, it's yours." I'll just have to be more alert next time.

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