Friday, September 7, 2012

Vinyl rules!

I know, either you get it or you don't. I have moments when I go back and forth on records versus high definition downloads, and on some days it pays to sit back with a wireless mouse and pick and choose songs and entire albums from my hard drive. And then the sound of the Luxman (or alternately, my Thorens) starts calling my name, ringing my bell, and it demands I answer. Yesterday was that day, and it's expanding into another day of strictly vinyl.

It's a problem I'm plenty glad to have. I have a seat between my speakers for when I'm not at the couch, and between the speakers is my television. I should, in the interest of full disclosure, admit that it is my television/computer monitor/movie screen/multipurpose visual stimulation apparatus. Here I can blog, watch YouTube (another guilty pleasure, although the sound quality is spotty), flip records from side to side (like in the olden days), surf the web, shop for gear, sort my LP's (stored in two glass-doored cabinets that house my television, tuner, radio, tube amp, tea, DAC, PC and modem right in front of me), and adjust my receiver/preamp (Sansui 8080DB). I have a nice leather office chair on wheels that serves a utilitarian purpose, and if something starts sounding really good, I can retreat immediately to my rear and sit on the sofa! Life is good.

Last night, speaking of YouTube, I ran across a concert film (generally the only feature-length things I'll watch, that or the occasional biopic or documertary, as long as it isn't blatantly partisan. I hate politics...) I saw in its original release in the 70's, from one of my then-favorite bands. Yessongs was a triple LP that I literally wore out two complete copies of, and never got to see the movie but at the Kirkwood Cinema in the 70's. Now that YouTube has no limit on program length I could , and did, watch Yessongs again, after all these years, in its entirety.

The performanes were inspired, the playing of course was superb, and it was as amazing as it originally was as a 16-year-old, just discovering rock and roll in depth (I had always had a radio under my pillow ever since I was 5, so that's a bit of a stretch to say), and progressive rock was my implement of enjoyment, before punk hit hard. Yes, ELP. Triumvirate, Genesis, King Crimson, and the deeper hard rock was my favorite styles.

We had 3 or 4 record stores within striking distance, and everyone collected vinyl at the time. Some kids had tapes but I had a stereo that my father bought from Radio Shack (upon my demand) and all it had was a receiver and cheap BSR turntable that wrecked records. I cut my teeth on a Western Auto all-in-one, then moved to the amazing esoteric Realistic component line! (hehe)...Dreaming of Sansui and Dual, I tuned in FM and thought I'd gone to heaven. Shortly thereafter I discovered that The Beatles weren't the only great band from the United Kingdom!

Getting back to vinyl has been a great experience, and to be honest if I never own an ipod I won't lose sleep.

We'll see what we shall see the next time we contravene. Keep your tubes hot and your antenna up! See you next time!

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