The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Record Collecting #4

7-2-08 Record Collecting #4

I can’t write any further without mentioning the enormous influence that popular music was having on my young life – I was devastated by the deaths of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. I felt the void when The Beatles broke up, and when Cream broke up. I hated it when The Rolling Stones got arrested and harassed. I was too young to go to anything even remotely like it, but I liked the ideas of the Monterey International Pop Festival and Woodstock – largely because I liked so many of the artists that played at these ‘festivals’.

My older sisters also played a big part in making me who I am – in the record collecting universe. 100% it was my sister Marilyn who played me Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention and The Fugs. And Country Joe & The Fish. My brother played me Bob Dylan and Procol Harum. My sister Susie was the biggest fan of The Beatles in our house, and she also first played Leonard Cohen for me.

Numerous times, I have detailed the influence of my parents on my musical education – playing me the London Cast LP of “My Fair Lady” (Rex Harrison!) and assorted Harry Belafonte albums. My mother loved comedy LP’s – Allan Sherman, Shelley Berman, Orson Bean etc. My dad played me Spike Jones – he had taped some of his music off of the FM radio!

And it was likely my dad who bought me a Sony reel-to-reel tape recorder, when I was very young. My brother showed me how to wire it up to the amplifier / receiver and hot to record off of the radio – or turn a knob and record off of phonograph records – without having to use a microphone!

I took a while before I knew how to take care of my phonograph records – but it happened pretty early on – maybe by ’68 or ’69? I started putting all of my LP’s in protective plastic outer-sleeves in the early 70’s – and have fanatically done so since about ’75 or so. In the late 70’s / early 80’s, I even went for re-sealable plastic LP outer-sleeves from Japan; to this very day, I buy re-sealable plastic CD outer-sleeves from Japan!

Remember the Discwasher? I had one of those to clean my LP’s. I did not care for the fluid (maybe I was doing it wrong?) – so I switched to a dry brush in the late 80’s (I found a Philips record cleaning dry brush in Singapore!). Now I buy dry LP cleaning brushes in Japan (from Disk Union). I’ve seen the overly-complicated LP cleaning systems (the “Nitty Gritty”) in operation…I’ll stick with my dry brushes for now. Also, remember “Zero-Stat” guns, the thing that was supposed to eliminate static electricity build-up on LP’s?

Ah, the ephemerals of phonograph record collecting! How do you clean your records? How do you store your records? Do you have a database with all your records listed in it? Do you buy reference books on phonograph records? How much of a music geek are you?


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