Friday, 17 June 2016

Vinyl Q&A

I saw these questions floating around on Tumblr and thought it'd make a fun post! I've wanted to post more about my vinyl collection too, so this felt like a great introduction. It's not a tag, so feel free to snag it yourself and be sure to leave a link if you do I can have a nosy.

01. Name your five favourite albums

This is really tough! I'm not putting them in any particular order and I'll only allow myself to pick one from each artist.

  • ➳ Pink Floyd - The Piper At The Gates of Dawn
  • ➳ Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laughs
  • ➳ Roger Taylor - Fun in Space
  • ➳ Queen - Queen II
  • ➳ David Bowie - Diamond Dogs

I wanted to also include Led Zeppelin III, The Hurdy Gurdy Man by Donovan, and The Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson. But that's more than five.

02. The last record you bought?

A Nice Pair by Pink Floyd which is a "toofa" style compilation of their first two albums The Piper At The Gates of Dawn and A Saucerful of Secrets released in 1973. The Syd Barrett era of Pink Floyd is my favourite and I've been after an original of The Piper At The Gates of Dawn for a long, long time. I found A Nice Pair at a recent record fair and it felt like the next best thing and essential for my collection regardless.

03. With what artist do you own the most records? Least?

Queen are my most, I own 30 LPs, two of which are boxsets. This doesn't even nearly surprise me as they're one of my favourite bands and probably have the largest discography. Least is tricky, as there's a few artists I only own one of. I only own one Rolling Stones record (Out Of Our Heads) as it's the only one I've ever found. I have found their later records sometimes, but I'm only really interested in their '60s material, the later stuff doesn't interest me so I've passed. I also only own one Small Faces record, as again they're just really difficult to find. I almost broke and bought Ogden's Nut Gone Flake on eBay recently, but held off because I know it'll mean so much more to me if and when I find it in the flesh. For me, half the fun is the hunt and there's little like the elation of unexpectedly stumbling across something you've had your heart set on forever.

04. Do you own any box sets?

Yes, not big ones, but box sets nonetheless. I have The Beatles Box, a 9 disc compilation spanning their entire career that was released in 1980. It was highly sought after when it was released as it contained recordings and mixes which had never been made available to the public before. I also have Queen's Rock Montreal and Live at The Bowl box sets.

05. Any originals?

About 90% of my collection are original pressings, the rest are pressings of up to a few years later but I don't go for the modern pressings they put out of old artists. I don't mean to sound snobbish, but they're very low quality in comparison and it annoys me how they press the vinyl from digital remasters instead of the original analogue tapes, it's missing the entire point of vinyl! Not to mention second hand vinyl is so much cheaper! You can buy an original pressing of some records for a few pounds, when brand new would cost £20+. The only modern pressing of an old album I have is The Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson and that's because the original usually sells for around £200+. I hope to stumble across one one day, you never know, but until then I have this copy. And it comes approved by Robert Fripp who's particularly finicky so it can't be too bad!

06. What record do you want to own most?

My absolute number one grail item is the original mono first pressing of The Piper At The Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd. Pink Floyd are one of my favourite bands and it's my favourite of their albums. It's also the one most predominantly featuring Syd Barrett who means the world to me which obviously makes this LP even more important to me personally. However being Pink Floyd's debut I'm sure you can imagine the crazy prices it sells for! Also high on my grail list is a promo copy of Roger Taylor's Fun in Space complete with the press kit. I've never even seen it for sale to give you an idea of how rare it is (but I have seen photos so I know it exists!) It was Roger Taylor's first album, and also my favourite so it would mean everything to have this in my collection. I have the Strange Frontier promo + press kit, which is Roger's second album which makes it feel even more important to have the Fun in Space one too. I have it watched on eBay and Google, so I literally get notifications every time anyone lists anything to do with Fun in Space so fingers crossed it'll turn up one day!

My Strange Frontier promo record and press kit. They're sent out to the press to promote the album and were usually thrown out so they're pretty collectable! It includes the full album, photos to give them something to use in the magazine, a statement about Roger and the how/why he wrote the album.
07. A record of yours that you never listen to?

Quite a few to be fair. Although I have a large collection, I tend to just listen to my favourites over and over. I still like having a large collection though, as it gives me choice for when I do want a change. I rarely, if ever, listen to my 45s, though I do fantasize about one day setting my chair up next to my player with a cup of tea and going through them. 45s can feel like a pain in the ass because it's only 3 minutes until you have to flip it over, but then again it ensures you're really listening to the music which is lovely.

08. Do you own any albums on vinyl released after you were born?

Quite a few! Queen released The Miracle, Innuendo, Made in Heaven and several live albums after I was born. Roger Taylor released a lot of stuff after I was born too: Happiness?, Electric Fire, Fun on Earth, as well as all of The Cross' discography bar Shove It. I'm also a huge fan of The Killers and own some of their stuff on vinyl (I even have a Killers tattoo!).

09. Tell me about a record of yours that means a lot to you

Probably my copy of The Beatles Help! It was one of the first records I ever bought, and so is special to me just for that reason. It's one of those records that means nothing to anyone else, it's not rare or collectable, but it has that emotional attachment for me. Also my copy of The Madcap Laughs by Syd Barrett. It's a first pressing and was the first LP of Syd's I was able to buy, and it's an album in general that means a lot to me.

10. Why vinyl?

It’s tangible. I like going shopping specifically for music, flicking through crates of records and hoping, that euphoric feeling when you do find an artist you love, getting to look at the artwork on the sleeve close up in detail, looking at the grooves and figuring out which ones are your favourite song on the LP, the almost hypnotic feeling of watching the record spinning, and watching my collection grow and grow. Vinyl requires a level of attention that other formats don’t because you can only listen to a few songs before you have to flip the disc over. When I play iTunes or my iPod I tune out and it becomes background noise, but vinyl demands attention at all times.

11. Do you buy more vinyl than digital music/CDs?

Yes. I like to have digital too to take on the go, but I don't really buy it *coughs* I have zero interest in CDs and never have. Even as a child I held on to cassettes for as long as I could and then went straight to digital. I hated CDs and didn't see the point, I don't like the sound of them and they're so impractical (remember Discmans and walking whilst trying to keep them perfectly still so the disc didn't skip? Yeah, that)

12. Do you own any rare or collectable records?

I own a test pressing of Roger Taylor's second album, Strange Frontier. It's probably one of my proudest things. It's got completely blank labels and sleeve because they weren't designed yet! I also own promo copy and press kit for Strange Frontier, and also Queen's album Jazz which is also the most expensive record I've ever bought so far (and so far the only time I've spent three figures on a record, yikes!)

I don't think my other records are particularly rare though. It's hard to judge, because I have records that are rare, like Blue Rock by The Cross which was only released in Germany and then pulled shortly afterwards, or Old Wave by Ringo Starr which has a similar story. But because I've seen people wave around Beatles butcher covers like they're no big deal on YouTube, it kind of skews my opinion of what's rare now, you know? Which is a shame really.

13. Have you got any of your records from your parents?

Nope, I don't really share musical taste with my parents beyond Adam Ant and David Bowie, they think most of what I listen to is noise. All of my favourite music I’ve found for myself throughout the years, which actually makes me happier than inheriting music taste as it makes it 100% mine.

14. How did you get into vinyl?

When I began listening to classic rock and other old artists, I began looking through charity shops and such for the records just because it was the format it was originally released on and felt like something I wanted to collect. It was honestly more the novelty aspect that intrigued me about vinyl the most at first, I had never been exposed to it before so it was something completely new to me, and I just liked looking at the artwork and thought of it like memorabilia. After I had a couple though I naturally wanted to play it, and as soon as I bought a record player and played my first vinyl I was hooked in a huge way!

15. What’s your favourite record at the moment?

I've been listening to a lot of David Bowie recently, particularly Ziggy Stardust and Diamond Dogs. But it changes constantly!

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