See, while my digital music collection numbers in the thousands of pieces, indulging my Tangible Media Fetish is rare. I tend to download almost everything now, especially if it’s out-of-print or otherwise impossible to buy ($90 for a copy of Running Jumping Standing Still? Don’t think so. But I’ll buy it if I ever see it reasonably priced). Therein lies the problem. Dialup is cheap, but slower than Congress giving back civil liberties. Anything faster is out of our budget. It’s okay for grabbing shorter pieces, or multitrack albums piecemeal. I can get a song or two downloaded over an evening. But longer pieces, like the wild stuff on Kyle Gann’s site, or works I see on Soulseek, is impossible. And streaming? Forget it.
Download the small stuff, buy the big stuff. Used.
At a quarter each, I was picking through, getting only the really good ones in the best condition. I’d get eight albums, no more, I told myself. It was as I was weighing the merits of Rod McKuen versus Van Cliburn that the hostess came over and said I could have the whole box for five dollars. Jen handed me a fiver from her mad money and made my day. She’s so sweet like that; she knows how important music is to me. Sure, there’s a bit of God-botherer stuff, unavoidable in Lubbock but thankfully still shrinkwrapped to keep it from spreading – I’ll probably donate those albums. But a first pressing of 1964’s Hello Dolly! from Louis Armstrong? Jorge Bolet playing Chopin? Poor heatseekers didn’t know what a treasure was sitting in their driveway.
It’s great looking at all these old albums. Most appear unplayed, the jackets and all are also in remarkable condition. A faded – once screamingly bright – yellow label on the Jorge Bolet album reassures that “though the label and jacket of this record may be marked monaural and with our monaural numbers, this recording is TRUE STEREO”. It goes on to let me know that the company, Everest Records, is going to be using the same numbering system for its stereo albums as it did for monaural, and for me not to be worried about it.
Some of the marketing phrases are pretty funny too. I mean, how can you resist something labeled “Specially-Priced 2 Record Set of Mangione Magic”? It’s now second only to the Douglas Records ad copy for Electric Havens on my list of overblown recording industry gimmicks.
By far the best was this copyright notice on the labels of some old Mac Gregor 78 RPM records of folk music and square dances:
Licensed by manufacturer only for non-commercial use for phonographs in homes. Manufacturer and original purchaser agrees this record shall not be resold for any other purpose.I’m not the original purchaser though, so screw ‘em. These babies are getting digitized.