The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Historic period of your collecting..."

3-24-09 Was there a historic period of your collecting that you like best?


Well, one can never recover one’s innocence or youth…walking into a well-stocked hippie record store, looking at all the psychedelic covers for the first time. Or my first visit to England (“Look at all these English records!!”). Or my first visit to Japan (“Oh my God! Every record on Earth!”). Or my re-awakening to vinyl, about ’97 or so (I needed some sort of arcane info from the liner notes of “Home” by Procol Harum, I went to my remaining LP wall, and it was absent. My heart sank. I got in the car and drove to a store that no longer there and bought a used LP of “Home”, just to get the info. Ad infinitum.)

I like my 1980’s New Zealand collection a lot. I went to NZ 7 x times in the 80’s, and I used to have a ‘standing order’ of “1 of each, all local product” with one distributor! I got to see a lot of those bands, I visited both of the main record companies (EMI & Polygram) as well as some of the owners / operators of indie labels (Flying Nun, Propeller etc.) Some great acts: Blam Blam Blam, The Swingers, Coconut Rough, The Crocodiles et al).

Toward the end of the 90’s, I was going to Japan a lot. I knew several record label people, and I was really into the Shibuya-kei wave of acts (Pizzicato Five, Cornelius, Les 5-4-3-2-1’s, Hideki Kaji et al). I have about 130 of the 250 Trattoria label titles; many of them were sent to me as promos by kind record label employees. I visited several major labels in Japan, and was usually given huge stacks of new promo CD’s, many of which I greatly enjoyed. I think in 1997, 8 of my 10 favorite records were of Japanese origin.

And in the early 70’s, I decided that I wanted to hear every hippie psychedelic band from 1967 / 8. Tomorrow, July, Family, Skip Bifferty, The Iveys, Eire Apparent – you get the idea. You could actually find some of the original LP’s for next-to-nothing, in the early 70’s. Seemed like people were real ready to forget about the hippie / psychedelic music. Great, I’ll buy anything you have for $3! Of course, I continue to work on this collection – re-issue CD’s now afford me new audio delights of this nature.

I worked at an importer from 1981 – 1987. When I like best about this period was my almost unlimited access to record catalogues and release sheets. There wasn’t a lot (that I knew about) that I missed in these years. At that time, I was mostly interested in New Zealand artists (see above), but I still saw Music Week from England, and regularly read (English language) release sheets from Japan.

I like it all. My youthful purchases of 45’s at hardware stores, my bike riding to far-flung hippie record stores, the clandestine drives to Los Angeles in search of 99 cent promos, the international travel – beginning at age 21, rubbing shoulders with Japanese music business, swap meet customer for 30+ years…


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