Don Gibson with Spanish Guitars–Guitars are the Centerpiece


(RCA Victor LSP-3594)
Produced by Chet Atkins

Solid country effort from journeyman musician/songwriter with some amazing background guitar playing by producer Chet Atkins, among others.

Track List


MARIA ELENA (S.K. Russell – Lorenzo Barcalata – William H. Heagney)
VAYA CON DIOS (MAY GOD BE WITH YOU) (Larry Russell – Buddy Pepper – Inez James)
ONCE A DAY (Bill Anderson)


I CAN'T TELL MY HEART THAT (Johnny Wright – Jack Anglin – Jim Anglin)
SOMEBODY LOVES YOU DARLING (Wiley Morris – Zake Morris)

Grady Martin, Chet Atkins, Harold Bradley – guitar
Ray Edenton, Velma Smith – rh.guitar
Roy Huskey – bass
Buddy Harman, Jerry Carrigan – drums
Hargus Pig Robbins – piano
The Jordanaires (Hoyt Hawkins, Raymond Walker, Neal Matthews, Gordon Stoker)

Recorded: March 15-16/1966, RCA Victor Studio, Nashville

More vinyl from Sony

In September 2008, the LP marketplace will welcome one dozen new slabs of Columbia, Epic, and RCA Victor polyvinyl chloride, joining their RIAA gold, platinum and multi-platinum CD counterparts as new catalog staples. The first six LPs will roll out on September 16th:

* MINGUS AH UM by CHARLES MINGUS (1959), a cornerstone of his discography, his first Columbia LP introducing "Better Get It in Yo' Soul," and tributes to Lester Young ("Goodbye Pork Pie Hat"), Ellington ("Open Letter to Duke"), Charlie Parker ("Bird Calls"), "Jelly Roll" (Morton), and more, in a 180 gram audiophile pressing;

* AGENTS OF FORTUNE by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT (1976), their break­through fourth album, with the first BÖC hit single, "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," ranked #397 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time;

* BOSTON (1976), the phenomenal 17-million selling biggest debut album in history, with "More Than a Feeling," "Long Time," and "Peace of Mind," , in a 180 gram audiophile pressing;

* BRITISH STEEL by JUDAS PRIEST (1980), their eighth LP but first RIAA gold album in the U.S., the one that started it all for them, with "Living After Midnight" and "Breaking the Law";

* BERLIN by LOU REED (1973), his raw exposé of abuse and addiction, ranked #344 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, revived on-tour last year, filmed by Julian Schnabel for theatrical and DVD release;

* 16 BIGGEST HITS by JOHNNY CASH, first compiled for CD and released in 1999, comprised entirely of signature tracks recorded on Sun and Columbia vinyl between 1956 and 1979, and now coming back full circle to vinyl again.

Two weeks later on September 30th, Legacy will roll out an additional six titles:

* ONE NIGHT STAND / SAM COOKE LIVE AT THE HARLEM SQUARE CLUB (1985), 39 minutes of orgasmic soul recorded January 1963, at a North Miami nightclub with King Curtis onboard, in a 180 gram audiophile pressing;

* GRATITUDE by EARTH, WIND & FIRE (1975), an RIAA double-platinum double-LP #1 R&B/ #1 pop smash, the only live album of their 18 years at Columbia, with "Sing a Song" and "Can't Hide Love";

* BLOWS AGAINST THE EMPIRE by PAUL KANTNER & JEFFERSON STARSHIP (1970), the sci-fi Hugo Award-nominated concept album recorded with members of Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, and Quicksilver, Graham Nash, David Crosby, and more;

* RED HEADED STRANGER by WILLIE NELSON (1975), his Grammy Hall Of Fame debut on Columbia, ranked #184 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, with the Grammy Award-winning "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," ranked #302 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time;

* REMIXED & REIMAGINED by NINA SIMONE (2006), 13 well-chosen numbers from her RCA years (1967-1973) as interpreted for a new club generation by the greatest DJs and remixers from around the world;

* TRIO OF DOOM by JOHN McLAUGHLIN, JACO PASTORIUS, and TONY WILLIAMS (2007), their 25-minute set at 1979's Havana Jam, and 15 added minutes recorded at a NY studio five days later, archived for nearly three decades until 2007 CD release, now in a 180 gram audiophile pressing.

October 14 releases:

* RIDDLE BOX by INSANE CLOWN POSSE (1995), a CD making the transition to vinyl as a double-LP, exploring the violent, graphic, dangerous world of Detroit's Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, on their early third album;

* ELVIS PRESLEY (1956), his one-and-only 12-song first LP, with "Tryin' to Get to You" and "Blue Moon," and those earth-shaking covers of "Blue Suede Shoes," "I Got a Woman," "Tutti Frutti," and "Money Honey";

* SURFING WITH THE ALIEN by JOE SATRIANI (1987), a CD making the transition to vinyl, the hard rock guitar virtuoso's second solo album, with that amazing Silver Surfer cover art and his explosive "Satch Boogie";

* LEGALIZE IT by PETER TOSH (1976), his first solo album after a decade with Bob Marley & the Wailers, including the career staples "Burial," "Ketchy Shuby," "Brand New Second Hand," and of course "Legalize It";

* HEAVY WEATHER by WEATHER REPORT (1977), with "Birdland," it was the biggest LP (RIAA platinum, #30 in Billboard) for the band that starred Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Jaco Pastorius, Alex Acuña and Manolo Badrena, now on a 180 gram audiophile pressing.

October 28 releases:

* CHILD IS FATHER TO THE MAN by BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS (1968), Al Kooper's all-time groundbreaking classic, with "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know," "I Can't Quit Her," "Just One Smile," "Morning Glory," and more, on a 180 gram audiophile pressing;

* LIVE AT BUDOKAN by CHEAP TRICK (1979), the historic concert that lanched the import rock LP revolution, with "I Want You To Want Me" and "Ain't That a Shame," on a 180 gram audiophile pressing;

* HEADHUNTERS by HERBIE HANCOCK (1973), introducing the first Headhunters band lineup, a four-song must-have with "Watermelon Man," "Chameleon," "Sly," and "Vein Melter," on a 180 gram audiophile pressing;

* REMIXED & REIMAGINED by BILLIE HOLIDAY (2007), a CD making the transition to vinyl, with 14 songs from her early Columbia and OKeh 78 rpm treasures (1935-41), and 1958's Lady In Satin LP;

* SOCIAL DISTORTION (1990), a CD making the transition to vinyl, the Epic debut of the legendary SoCal cowpunk hardcore band led by Mike Ness, with "Story Of My Life" and their cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire";

* PASSION & WARFARE by STEVE VAI (1990), a CD making the transition to vinyl, the hard rock guitar virtuoso's second solo album, an RIAA gold title that is considered his finest career work.

Fone Records

Virgin vinyl

Following pressing requests from the enthusiast market, and after a long series of tests to determine the best support material to use, fonè is now able to make available our best titles in LP form, using 180/200 gram virgin vinyl as the base.

This is strongly contrary to the current of present-day international market trends, which tend ever more towards a homogenised product with little real content. These are pressings of the highest quality and are dedicated to those who can appreciate the search for perfection in the field of sound reproduction, to collectors, and to connoisseurs of beautiful things.

Club of the 496

The LP you have chosen
has been produced in only 496 copies.
This feature will make it
even more unique and exclusive over the time.

Signoricci Vinyl

Printed in Japan
Printed in Germany
Pure Analogue Recording
Pure Analogue Cutting
Cutting Machine Wired by Signoricci
One-Stage Pressing Process
33 rpm and 45 rpm
180g. and 200g. Virgin Vinyl Pressing
Special One Sided Series
Heavy Quality Sleeves

Signoricci Vinyl

giulio cesare ricci “Signoricci” started collecting vinyls and tape recorders when he was 10 years old. While most youngsters dream of becoming engine drivers, police officers or fire fighters, giulio cesare ricci was different, at the age of 18 he did his first cutting. All that he wanted  to do was to own his own record company, and 25 years ago the dream came true when he launched fonè with the first vinyl release and since then the production of LPs has been central to his activity with professional collaborations at the highest levels in the analogue domain.
Now the Signoricci ultimate vinyl generation pressed in Germany and Japan from analogue master and with analogue cutting is a reality.
A step of the production process fundamental to guarantee the transfer and the preservation of the originary quality of the Analogue Master is represented by the Cutting which is done with State of the Art machines, with extreme dedication, and in continuous evolution. This is not only important to get a superlative control-quality on the pressing process of his LPs, but also to obtain the highest possible quality.
Like a fine-art photography printing, like a unique bottle of wine, Signoricci Vinyls are made with the highest knowledge, technique and extreme care, each detail is taken into account and the manual component characterizes every step of the production process.

Signoricci vinyls features:

– Limited Edition 496 pcs, each edition is different. The laquer is processed with one galvanic only and after 496pcs the stamper is destroyed on purpose, for additional quantity another cutting session is necessary

– Different formats: 4 LPs one sided for enhanced disc quality and minimized pressing stress, 2 LPs one sided, 2 LPs double sided, 1LP double sided

– Pure Analogue Recording, Master Ampex ATR-100 Modified by David Manley, 76 cm/sec, 2 tracks ½ inch

– Pure Analogue Cutting, cutting of the laquers has been made with the support of analogue delay – no digital device is used for this operation

– One stage pressing process, instead of the three usual steps the stamper is directly made from the laquer

– 200 grams / 180 grams virgin vinyl pressing

– Extra long 24 hours cooling time

– 45 Rpm, 10-13 min per side maximum groove width (110 micron) /depth and optimized space between the grooves

– 33 Rpm, 18-20 min per side maximum groove width (110 micron) /depth and optimized space between the grooves

– Heavy quality sleeves

– Made in Japan – uniquely  200g. productions with 100% virgin vinyl

– Made in Germany – 180g. productions with 100% virgin vinyl

Enter the vinyl catalog

Spin cycle: Vinyl returns

Spin cycle: Vinyl returns

LPs are hip status symbols among young fans, but finding turntables takes effort

var requestedWidth = 0;

if(requestedWidth < 200){ requestedWidth = 200; }

Ed Collins of Collins Music and Collectibles in Suisun City, sorts through some of his inventory of used albums. (Joel Rosenbaum/The Reporter)

if(requestedWidth > 0){ document.getElementById(‘articleViewerGroup’).style.width = requestedWidth + “px”; document.getElementById(‘articleViewerGroup’).style.margin = “0px 0px 10px 10px”; } The vinyl LP, believe it or not, is making a comeback. True, record album sales have steadily declined in the past 25 years – to 3.4 million discs in 1998, reaching an ebb with 900,000 sales in 2006 – as music consumers, young and old, gravitated to the more easily available CDs and online downloads of mp3 files.

Curiously, however, sales reports show that while CD sales declined 17 percent last year, to 511 million units shipped, vinyl LP sales jumped 37 percent, to nearly 1.3 million.

Deejays, audiophiles and hardcore fans of vinyl are hardly surprised by the news, but industry watchers say some music buffs, especially those in their late teens and early 20s, are ditching their CDs for the rich, warm sound of the LP. Analog sound, not digital or electronically "sampled" sound, offers more sonic rewards and pleasure because it is closer to the actual sound created in the recording studio, they note.

This emerging trend has prompted all the major record labels (Warner Bros., Sony, EMI, BMG, Universal) to not only issue new discs by artists such as Radiohead and Coldplay but also to re-issue some popular albums from their back catalogs. In fact, Warner Bros. on Friday released the new Metallica album, "Death Magnetic," in a five-record (45 rpm) boxed version, available in some retail outlets and through the company's online vinyl store, And the few record-pressing plants still making vinyl are "completely booked," said Josh Bizar, director

GetAd(’tile’,’box’,’/business_article’,”,’’,”,’null’,’null’); &amp;amp;amp;lt;script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript"&amp;amp;amp;gt;document.write('&amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=";wi.300;hi.250/01/0.6803675172395348" target="_blank"&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;img src=";wi.300;hi.250/01/0.8006252308501347"/&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt;');&amp;amp;amp;lt;/script&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;noscript&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=";wi.300;hi.250/01/0.7281767529697619" target="_blank"&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;img border="0" src=";wi.300;hi.250/01/0.2396005393929892" /&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;/noscript&amp;amp;amp;gt;

of sales for Music Direct, a Chicago firm that specializes in home sound systems and vinyl discs.

New vinyl records, because they are printed in relatively small quantities, "are instantly collectible and disappear (from store and online shelves) almost as soon as they come out," he said, adding that "smarter" consumers are buying two copies and re-selling the extra on eBay "for ridiculous sums of money" – and getting it.

The resurgence of vinyl is due in part to its exotic and somewhat retro appeal – after all, its newest fans were not even born when CDs were initially mass marketed – but some teenagers say the reason is not only the sound quality, even the pops and clicks of imperfect records. They say some music is available only on vinyl.

"In a time when you can (illegally) get virtually any CD you want at the click of a button, for free, there's something exciting about finding something that no one has heard yet (er, in a long time)," said Sarah Rouleau, a senior at Buckingham Charter High in Vacaville and a former pop music columnist for The Reporter. "In fact, in online torrent communities, for instance, obscure, fresh-from-vinyl mp3 rips are in hot demand."

Additionally, Rouleau noted many hip-hop and rock 'n' roll groups "have begun adding fuzzy or crackling loops to their tracks to sound like old LPs, as a kind of tribute to the old technology and sound.

To Rouleau and her contemporaries, 2008 is an era when many music collections are the same and vinyl LPs offer a completely different audio and tactile experience. As their parents or grandparents knew, it takes time to enjoy a vinyl LP: taking it off the shelf, carefully pulling out the sleeve, equally carefully placing it on the turntable, laying on the needle. It offers a more personal connection to the music.

To some young fans, vinyl LPs are hip status symbols, "kind of a badge of honor" and are a sign of a "determined" music lover, said Bizar.

But while finding and purchasing vinyl – whether in a store, online or at a garage sale or flea market – is not overly difficult, sometimes finding a turntable is, said Rouleau, who has unsuccessfully sought out working record players at thrift stores in the Solano County area. She expressed chagrin at the price of new audiophile-quality turntables, which start at about $300.

"I own a few things on vinyl (lots of bands give them out for free with purchase of a CD), and I've tried to find a turntable, but … They're awfully expensive to purchase new, and, because they're such a hot item, it's pretty difficult to find them in thrift shops."

But they appear to be plentiful at Collins Music & Collectibles in Suisun City, a longtime and funky Solano County used vinyl and music equipment store, where clerk Dennis Palmer showed off several models and new styluses for sale.

The Vacaville Radio Shack, in Vacaville Commons on Harbison Drive, had fully automatic belt-drive turntable in stock, with many more models – Audio-Technica and the Stanton T.90, with a USB port – available online, prices ranging from $60 to more than $350 for a higher-end model, with some customer reviews posted.

"I get at least one customer a week coming in here asking about a turntable," said salesman Anthony Vasquez.

At Best Buy on East Monte Vista Avenue in Vacaville, store manager Evan Pendley showed off one turntable in stock, the ionAudio for $158. He said a new complete sound system can range anywhere from $400 to $500 to more than $10,000.

Likewise, Bizar, 39 and a longtime vinyl aficionado, suggested record fans invest in a turntable that begins in the $300 range, saying the cheaper, all-plastic models do not deliver good sound quality and may not last as long.

"The turntable is the first link in the chain" of assembling a home sound system, he said, adding that a good stylus (beginning at $50) will offer "100 times the resolution" of sound that a CD offers. "Depth and warmth of the recording come into play," he noted. "It sounds so much better than downloading onto your iPod. It all depends on the turntable and needle – you have to get that music out of the grooves."

Palmer, of Collins Music, agreed and cautioned consumers to beware of buying used equipment.

"We show them that they work," he said of turntables offered for sale. "But that's it. We don't guarantee them or warranty them – unless you're a customer we've known for a long time."

• Reporter staff writer Richard Bammer can also be reached at 453-8164.


Online (a partial list): In stores:

Radio Shack 2080 Harbison Drive Vacaville 446-1502

Best Buy 1621 E. Monte Vista Ave. Vacaville 447-8170

Target Stores 3000 Harbison Drive Vacaville 452-8053

Collins Music & Collectibles 801 Main St. Suisun City 429-9011

Guitar Center Concord 1280 Willow Pass Road, Suite A Concord (925) 363-7770

Guitar Center Sacramento 2120 Alta Arden Expressway Sacramento (916) 922-2132

Back to the future

September 14, 2008

Step aside, iPod users. Move over, digital downloaders (legal and otherwise). A very cool “new” form of recorded music is growing in popularity with teens, twentysomethings and even their parents: It's called . . . vinyl records?

K.C. ALFRED / Union-Tribune
Whitney McDaniel listened to vinyl records at M-Theory Music in Mission Hills.

That's right.

Against all odds in this high-tech age, vinyl albums – those round, 12-inch discs that look like thin Frisbees with a small hole in the middle – are experiencing a resurgence in popularity in San Diego County and across the nation.

Granted, vinyl albums are unlikely to regain the dominant position they held before the advent of CDs, even as CD sales continue to plunge. (CD sales in this country last year totalled 511 million, a 17.5 percent decline from 2006 and a whopping 30.5 percent drop from 2005.)

But sales of vinyl albums, which were officially pronounced dead in the mid-1980s after CDs were introduced to the buying public, jumped to 1.3 million last year. That's a 36.6 percent increase from 2006, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, a figure that is deemed dramatically low by some industry experts.

“I'd have to say there are more than 5 million new vinyl records sold in the U.S. each year. And that's not accounting for the 20 million used albums selling annually,” said Josh Bizar, sales director for Musicdirect, a Chicago company that services nearly 300 independent record and electronics stores around the world.


Metallica's new album, “Death Magnetic,” is available from Warner Bros. not only as a CD with 10 songs, but also in a five-record vinyl box set (one song per side) that goes for $115.

Other artists with upcoming vinyl albums range from such veterans as Bob Dylan, The Pretenders and former Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour to such young acts as Plain White T's, Margot and The Nuclear So & So's and Rise Against. San Diego indie bands that have recent or new vinyl releases include The Muslims, Night Marchers, Lady Dottie & The Diamonds and Pocket, whose debut album is available on CD and in a special double-album set on green vinyl. San Diego band The Creepy Creeps only releases its music on vinyl.

Eager to cash in, major record labels will soon reissue landmark albums on vinyl by such legends as the late Miles Davis (“Kind of Blue”), Jimi Hendrix (“Band of Gypsys”) and John Lennon (“Imagine”).

“Most vinyl albums are sold in independent stores, through mail-order companies and over the Internet, and none of them uses the Nielsen scanning system that tracks sales in national chain stores,” Bizar noted. “Demand for vinyl is through the roof. We had to buy a new warehouse just to store all our stock.”

For the beleaguered record industry, soaring vinyl album sales are providing rare glimmers of hope:

Amoeba Records, Los Angeles' biggest independent record store, is now selling 2,000 vinyl albums a day, up 15 percent from last year, while Best Buy stores nationwide are starting to sell vinyl.

Nationally, turntable sales climbed to nearly 500,000 last year, up from 275,000 in 2006. “We've seen a huge increase in sales, not just for turntables, but also for styluses (needles) and record-cleaning products,” Bizar said.

On Sept. 2, EMI/Capitol Records re-released multiple albums on vinyl by the top rock bands Radiohead and Coldplay, along with the Beach Boys' classic “Pet Sounds,” R.E.M.'s “Document” and The Steve Miller Band's “Greatest Hits 1974-78.”

Consumer appetite for new vinyl is creating production delays. “We're having issues with manufacturing capacity because demand has surged so quickly,” said Bill Gagnon, EMI's senior vice president of catalog marketing in Los Angeles. “We weren't releasing anything on vinyl five years ago.”


&amp;amp;amp;lt;SCRIPT language='JavaScript1.1' src=";abr=!ie;sz=300×250;click0=;ord=408027491?"&amp;amp;amp;gt; &amp;amp;amp;lt;/SCRIPT&amp;amp;amp;gt; &amp;amp;amp;lt;NOSCRIPT&amp;amp;amp;gt; &amp;amp;amp;lt;A href=";abr=!ie4;abr=!ie5;sz=300×250;ord=408027491?"&amp;amp;amp;gt; &amp;amp;amp;lt;IMG src=";abr=!ie4;abr=!ie5;sz=300×250;ord=408027491?" BORDER=0 WIDTH=300 HEIGHT=250 ALT="Click Here"&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;/A&amp;amp;amp;gt; &amp;amp;amp;lt;/NOSCRIPT&amp;amp;amp;gt;

Indie-rock favorite Beck – who performs at San Diego's Street Scene festival Saturday – went so far as to have the online MP3 version of his new album, “Modern Guilt,” taken from the vinyl pressing of the album. As a result, the first thing listeners hear on the opening track is the needle dropping onto the original vinyl.

“At this point, everything is coming out on vinyl,” said Heather Johnson, the co-owner of M-Theory, an independent record store in Mission Hills.

“For the more mainstream releases, like Radiohead's 'In Rainbows,' the price of the vinyl album is $17.99 and the CD is $14.99. For the new Calexico album, the CD is $12.99 and the vinyl is $14.99, but it includes a redemption number to get a digital download of the album. And for the new Bon Iver album, both the vinyl and CD versions are $15.99.”

Johnson estimates that new vinyl releases account for 30 percent of M-Theory's sales, while used vinyl sales account for another 30 percent to 40 percent of sales. M-Theory's best-selling new vinyl releases so far this year are by Radiohead, Nada Surf, The Hold Steady, Portishead and My Morning Jacket.

At Lou's Records in Encinitas, the largest indie music store in San Diego County, vinyl sales have grown steadily over the past year while CD sales have continued to decline. The best-selling vinyl albums at Lou's are by Radiohead and indie-rock favorites Dr. Dog and Conor Oberst, along with a recent vinyl reissue of “Pacific Ocean Blue,” the 1977 solo album by Beach Boy Dennis Wilson.

“Our Top 20 selling albums right now are all vinyl,” said Andrew Snodgrass, Lou's manager. “ is now selling vinyl, and I think you'll see other places start carrying vinyl, as well.”

This unexpected surge has been dubbed “the vinyl solution” by some. Under any name, it's clear many fans are now embracing vinyl, a medium that – until recently – had little cachet beyond turntable-manipulating DJs and hip-hop producers seeking obscure songs to sample.

In some cases, there's a growing frustration with the thin, compressed sound of MP3 files, which rarely match the warmth and audio depth of vinyl. In others, it's a desire to have a more meaningful experience with music and to be able to enjoy the art on an album sleeve and read the credits and liner notes while listening.

The vinyl payoff is palpable whether listeners are using an old turntable, which can be hooked up to their home entertainment systems, or a new turntable equipped with a USB connector, which allows music from vinyl records to be transferred to a computer. Turntables are available locally at RadioShack, Costco and other chain stores, though styluses can be harder to find outside of specialty stores, such as Stereo Unlimited, or from mail-order Web sites.

“Customers are frustrated with the sound quality of downloaded music and their MP3s are crashing,” said M-Theory's Johnson. “So the growing popularity of vinyl is a backlash to downloading and also a little bit of a generational thing, with kids who grew up on their parents' vinyl now embracing it.”

In the case of San Diego musician Ray Suen, 23, aesthetics and a deep love of music prompted his newfound passion for vinyl.

“I got into vinyl last year,” said Suen, who is now a touring member of top national rock band The Killers, with whom he'll perform on “Saturday Night Live” on Nov. 22.

“The first vinyl album I got was Elvis Costello's 'Imperial Bedroom,' and it was so much more of an engaging physical experience to sit and listen to it. When side one was done, I flipped it over. It demanded my attention; I try not to read or do anything else but listen.”

Suen used to download music from Napster and other pirate music Web sites, he said, but now finds himself buying vinyl copies of many of the same albums he had previously purloined digitally.

“I'm sort of paying penance,” Suen said. “Now that I collect vinyl, I just can't stand CDs anymore. I really think CDs are on their way out.”

So does Musicdirect sales director Bizar.

“The forecast is for the eventual demise of CDs,” Bizar said. “But 50 years from now, there will still be new vinyl albums being made. Vinyl will outlive us all.”


A spot of anarchy by the seaside

A spot of anarchy by the seaside

In which resident vinyl junkie Simon Armitage feeds his habit with £33.33 of OMM's money. This month, trawling a Cornish record fair …

It's the holidays, so it's raining. Bad news for the ice cream and pasty emporiums along St Ives harbour and for the gangs of rapacious herring gulls waiting to mug tourists of their seaside comestibles, but good news for the St Ives Record Fair, which at least offers shelter. Inside the Parish Room (entry £1), it's everything that a good record fair should be – trestle tables, dozens of scruffy cardboard boxes full of records, and scruffy cardboard dividers scrawled with misspelt category information. About six men (it's usually if not always men) are truffling through the albums. One has tipped a record from its sleeve and is inspecting it thoroughly. There should be a name for this act of vinyl reverie, whereby each black disc is held on outstretched fingers, sometimes with the little finger acting as a balancing spindle, then tilted and turned at an angle to the daylight. It's like watching a Mayan ritual, the high priest looking for significant reflections in a bowl of congealing blood. Isn't it?

Back in the old days, being into Crass was serious stuff. Like being in an outlawed cult. I never saw them play; I was too timid, and probably thought that I might be abducted and sold to the gypsies, or wake up next day in a London squat with a nappy pin through my lip and a Molotov cocktail in my hand. Stations of the Crass (£11.50) is both an ugly and a beguiling object. Ugly in its blurted slogans and its scrawled graffiti and its shoddy typography, beguiling in its terse imagery and its artful packaging. Like Crass's anarchistic politics, everything here is either black or white, as if colour has been dismissed as a bourgeois indulgence. The sleeve, an object lesson in origami, is a giant, folded poster enveloping the two discs. Of the four sides of (ugly) music, three are played at 45rpm and only side four, a live recording, is at normal album speed. Why, after hanging on to a record like this for more than a quarter of a century, would someone decide to get rid of it? Didn't it match the new settee? Opening it up, I hold it not to the eye but to the nose. It smells like damp washing and hand-rolling tobacco.

I also buy Contenders by Easterhouse (£3.99), equally black and white in their artwork and only marginally less radical. Still sounds great. I also plump for Birdland by Birdland (£3.99). Remember Birdland? Four bleached Warhol lookalikes in Billy Liar suits. This particular pressing of their only album is white vinyl in an entirely white sleeve. Even the lettering is white on white, barely discernible, like milk stains on a paper tablecloth. Birdland were all over the media for about three days but I never heard them. The music sounds like an Eighties indie compilation album played by a teenage Japanese mod band, and perhaps as a psychotropic antidote to all this monochrome-ism, I buy Echo and the Bunnymen's Crocodiles (£4.99). When the Bunnymen released Ocean Rain they declared it to be the greatest album ever made – impossible, because it wasn't even as good as their first one. I already own Crocodiles on several formats, so I'll give this as a present, and whoever receives it should consider themselves indebted, cherished and chosen. My makeweight is The World of the Bachelors (97p), an album 'laminated with Clarifoil', I'm fascinated to learn, and from the days when it was cool to dress like a golfer, ie never.

Staying in St Ives, in the top corner of the Porthminster Café, behind the more esoteric liqueurs, is an abstract painting by the exuberant Cornish artist Anthony Frost, which, keen-eyed diners might have noticed, is the cover from the Fall's latest album, Imperial Wax Solvent. One of Frost's pieces was also used on Extricate, but in typical Fall style (wilful perversion meets chaotic accident) was printed upside down. In his Penzance studio, Frost tells me that the image on the new album is also the wrong way round, this time by 45 clockwise degrees, and has acquired a horizontal black stripe, because the cover was reproduced from a creased old photo which had been in Mark E's arse pocket for several weeks. It's highly satisfying to own a Fall album on vinyl (£7.89, eBay, inc. postage). Frost's high-spirited works are available for purchase in the cafe. But not the one behind the Galliano and the grappa, which has acquired, of late, a further adornment: a little red dot.

Spin me around

Spin me around

Vinyl records are staging a miraculous comeback
September 12, 2008 12:03

try { Prop8=”False” } catch(err) { } AnswerTips-enabled ANSW.Trigger.showLogoIfEnabled(“AnswerTips_landing_square.gif”,””);

In the early and middle 90s, while, it seemed that everyone on the planet was looking to dump their vinyl record collections in favour of CDs because we all bought the line about “perfect sound, forever.” 

Music stores couldn’t phase out their vinyl sections fast enough and fans feared that turntables and styli would go the way of the 8-track. Used record stores were swamped and every garage sale had milk crates full of LPs going for a penny apiece. 

Even the radio station I worked at was going digital along with our move into a new building. Almost two decades’ worth of vinyl was going to be just thrown away. (It’s OK, though, because the staff came to the rescue. I literally backed up a Ryder truck and took home about 5,000 pieces.  They’re safely and lovingly stored in my basement.)

But that was 1995. Despite the industry’s best attempts to kill it off, vinyl did not become extinct.  Collectors kept collecting.  DJs preferred the tactile feel and action of vinyl on turntables. And manufacturers kept making vinyl records and turntables, including for audiophiles who never believed the hype of CDs in the first place. And while vinyl’s share of the market for pre-recorded music dropped to almost zero, it never became extinct.

Today, strange things are happening in the vinyl market. Manufacturing plants are having a hard time keeping up with orders.  Major labels are expanding the number of vinyl releases (Check out Warner’s Vinyl sections are reappearing in both bricks-and-mortar stores and in special sections in places like Amazon. Sales numbers are still small — only 1.3 million records were sold in the U.S. last year — but that represents a 37 per cent increase over 2006.

And it’s not older people driving the market — it’s the iPod Generation.

The sheer inconvenience of vinyl — its size, cost, poor portability, fragility, rarity, etc. — is being embraced by young fans as a way of showing how much they care about music.  Anyone can download an MP3 for free — but to search for, purchase and then consume music through something as ancient and anachronistic as a record on a turntable?  Now that’s love. That’s dedication. That’s downright exotic.

The prospects for more vinyl releases are very good. Now if I could only remember where I packed away my turntable …

More on vinyl’s second life today at

– The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on stations across Canada. Read the daily Music Geek blog at

4 Turntables

Spin Control: Top Turntables

September 12, 2008

After a recent Brussels concert by the The Duke Spirit, I stood in line to buy the up-and-coming British rock band's new record, "Neptune," on vinyl. The group's lead singer, Liela Moss, was signing fans' purchases. A teenager next to me smirked as he asked, "Do you even have a record player?" I gave him a quick "Sure, dude," but was too busy getting Ms. Moss's autograph on the album cover to explain that it probably predated him.

In fact it was the same Technics belt-drive model I've had for 30 years. A month ago it was finally wearing out, and I decided to replace it. I was surprised by the range of record players still on the market — from basic models under €100 to ultra-high-end audiophile contraptions from Continuum Labs and Thorens costing €10,000 or more. Several new turntables will even convert music from vinyl records to CDs or MP3 files, though the process can be cumbersome (with some software, you have to tell the computer where tracks begin and end). Yes, a few models even have iPod docks.

One thing to keep in mind as you shop: Many of today's compact stereo systems don't have "phono" inputs, which boost the analog signal from a phonograph needle. Some new turntables will plug directly into normal "line" inputs found on most stereos, but if you buy one that can't you may need a separate preamp. And don't forget: You have to get up from the sofa to flip the record to side two.

Here, a look at four popular and widely available record players.

Numark TT USB

A dependable, inexpensive unit perfect for someone starting a new record collection or dusting off the old one. It includes a USB connection and software for converting LPs to digital formats. (Numark's new TTi USB model adds an iPod dock.) It also works on newer stereo systems with no phono input. "We sell loads of these," says Chris Summers, manager of London's Rough Trade record shop in Notting Hill, adding that most young buyers don't bother with the USB connection. Unlike the other turntables listed here a dust cover isn't included; the company says it will start selling one for €39 at the end of September.


Pro-Ject Debut III

Sleek design and simple controls distinguish this entry-level model from an Austrian manufacturer of high-end turntables. The Debut III is sold in a variety of cool colors, from fire-engine red to lime green. It requires a phono input or optional adapter to play on most recently manufactured stereos. Also, changing from 33 1/3 rpm to 45 rpm to play singles is a hassle (you have to remove the platter and change the belt from one sprocket to another, or else buy an optional speed-changing attachment).


Vestax Handy Trax

The iPod of turntables. This portable unit folds up like a clamshell, has a built-in speaker and headphone jack and can run on batteries, so it can be taken to parties and picnics. But it also has a good enough needle to use at home through hi-fi stereo systems (even ones without a phono input).


Technics SL1200 MkII

The old war horse of the turntable world, a sturdy direct-drive model favored by DJs everywhere but also fine for home use — though your stereo needs a phono input. (I ended up buying an inexpensive imitation made by American Audio that cost €98; it works fine but isn't as solidly built as the Technics.)


Write to Craig Winneker at

WSJ – Excellent vinyl article


Vinyl Revolution: In a Digital Age,
The LP Record Makes a Comeback

September 12, 2008

A group of 20-something tourists from Istanbul are wandering along London's Portobello Road when one of them, Surhan Gebologlu, walks into Intoxica, a bamboo-covered record shop with an inviting array of LPs displayed on its walls — everything from Sly and the Family Stone's "A Whole New Thing" to "Scientist at the Controls of Dub."

"I just got a record player," he says, inspecting a mint-condition copy of "The Queen Is Dead" by the Smiths. "My girlfriend bought it for me and I want to use it."

[See a photo slideshow]

He's not alone. The 12-inch vinyl LP record — in decline for the past two decades, clung to only by DJs, audiophile nerds and collectors — is back. Sales of new LPs are on the rise — the only segment of the market for physical-format recorded music (CDs, tapes and records) to expand during the digital revolution — and more groups are releasing albums on vinyl, often creatively packaged in combination with digital formats. For young people just discovering vinyl and older listeners indulging in a bit of sonic nostalgia, a record player is suddenly a trendy new piece of audio equipment. Sales of turntables increased more than 80% from 2006 to 2007 and are continuing to rise this year, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.

While LPs remain a niche product — the sales figures are minuscule compared with the amount of music sold digitally — their resurgence is notable. World-wide sales of LP records doubled in 2007 (from three million to six million units) after hitting an all-time low in 2006, according to figures from IFPI, the international recording industry trade association. Global sales of CDs dropped 12% in the same period, after having fallen 10% the previous year. In the U.S., sales of vinyl records increased 36% from 2006-2007 while CD sales dropped nearly 18%. Those figures are just for new purchases; they don't include the vast secondary market for LPs online and in used record shops.

[Spin Control] SPIN CONTROL

Take a look at four popular and widely available record players.

"Last year and this year have been our busiest ever," says Kris Jones of London's Sounds of the Universe record shop, which sells more music on vinyl than on CD. "It's really crazy."

Why the sudden interest in a bulky, old-fashioned format that costs more than downloading and requires equipment most people banished to the basement long ago? Some of it is due to increased visibility in a changing marketplace. Record companies are looking for innovative ways to make people pay for music — often music they already have in another format — rather than get it free or at a reduced price over the Internet. Vinyl is one way to attract buyers with something more tangible than a computer file.

"There's a reaction against the commoditization of music" that downloading represents, says Mike Allen, a music-industry consultant and former vice president of international marketing for record company EMI Group. "With vinyl there's something that has innate value — a physical object."

LPs hitting the market in recent months have run the gamut from major acts like Coldplay and Madonna to hip new groups like Black Kids and the Hold Steady and even to indie bands who press a few thousand LPs and sell them at gigs. There's also a boom in vinyl editions of old albums. U2 just rereleased deluxe remastered LP versions of its classics "War" and "October." Earlier this year, Michael Jackson's 25th anniversary edition of "Thriller" hit the shelves in a vinyl edition with extra tracks.

Some artists are even rewarding buyers of their new LPs with digital versions of the music, effectively selling them the best of both worlds for one price. Major acts like Beck, Tom Petty and Wilco — as well as newer indie sensations like Fleet Foxes — have recently released albums on vinyl with free CDs or MP3 downloads included.

[Sounds of the Universe photo]
Ilpo Musto
Sounds of the Universe record shop in London's SoHo

Radiohead's release late last year of "In Rainbows" was a watershed for the new sales strategy of value-added vinyl. The band made its new album available online and asked people to pay whatever they wanted to for it. But they also released the music in a £40 "discbox" edition, with two vinyl records, two CDs and a thick souvenir booklet. (Like the five LPs in the special edition of Metallica's new album, "Death Magnetic," the "In Rainbows" records are made to play at 45 rpm rather than 33 1/3, allowing for higher-quality sound.) Even with the music available digitally for free, Radiohead has sold more than 60,000 discboxes.

"People want to hold something," says Mr. Jones. "They like the pictures, the artwork."

So do older listeners, who remember the days when buying a new record was something special. "You forget how gigantic the artwork was, how much more interesting the albums are than CDs or downloads," says Mr. Allen. "It's a bit of a lost joy."

Sound quality also plays a role. Vinyl fanatics have always maintained that LPs sound warmer and richer than digital formats. "There has been a resurgence of vinyl among people who believe that with CDs and downloads the sound quality is not there," says IFPI's Francine Cunningham.

That was especially the case in the early days of CDs, when methods of transferring master tapes to digital formats failed to satisfy audiophiles. CD sound quality has improved greatly since then, says Mr. Allen, but there have always been people "who found digital music harsh and cold." The same is true with MP3s, which typically are saved onto players as compressed files, much smaller than the data on CDs, that sacrifice some audio quality.

There's also a novelty aspect. To a young buyer, a record is something unusual — even something you listen to from start to finish as an artistic whole rather than on shuffle play. "People have gotten tired of downloading all of a sudden," says Chris Summers, manager of London's Rough Trade Records. "Young listeners crave something new. To them, vinyl is new."

London's Best Vinyl

The Internet has made it easy to find almost any record anywhere. Amazon's U.S. and U.K. sites have beefed up their vinyl sections in response to increasing demand (recent top sellers include the new Metallica and classics like Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon"). EBay and the online Gemm network have created a huge virtual market for vinyl records by allowing small shops around the world to sell to anyone. Retail giants such as Best Buy, HMV and Britain's Fopp! have vinyl sections.

[Record Store Addresses]

But the most rewarding way to shop for LPs is by flipping through the racks in a great record store, perhaps one specializing in your favorite kind of music. Plenty of small record shops have closed in recent years, but most cities still have a few. Collectors and experts favor places like Croc-o-Disc in Paris, Hard Wax in Berlin, Second Life Music in Amsterdam and Runtrunt in Stockholm.

For the best shopping, though, they head to London, where around 20 record stores are still in business, concentrated mainly in two areas, Soho and Notting Hill. Collectors go crazy in these shops, which cater to every taste from acid jazz and soulful house to punk to Afro-beat. But even casual buyers can while away hours looking through the racks.

Here, a look at a few of the city's best shops selling new releases and vintage LPs.

Side One: Soho

Today's London may seem like a city of cookie-cutter pubs and Starbucks-quaffing hedge-funders, but Berwick Street, in the heart of Soho, retains a bit of what people like to think of as swinging '60s vibe. It's the kind of place where students strike artistic poses as they sketch interesting storefronts — as several were doing on a recent morning — and Cockney fruit-and-veg men shout out friendly hellos.

It's also the kind of place that still is home to record shops, a half dozen or so of them clustered on or near Berwick Street. A few of the area's shops have closed in recent years, but the remaining ones claim business is picking up as demand for vinyl increases. They all do business over the Internet and a few also sell CDs and DVDs.

Start at the southern end, where Music & Video Exchange and the appropriately named Vinyl Junkies are right next to each other. Music & Video Exchange is worth a brief stop — a real grab bag, with racks of used records in all genres. Vinyl Junkies ( has a more attractively arranged selection, including new releases, especially in house, disco and funk; vintage classic rock; and a wall full of 45s, perfect for DJs seeking unusual beats.

"We try to sell a bit of everything," says store clerk Dave James, "from drum-and-bass to African funk, Latin, reggae."

Like many of the shops in the area, Vinyl Junkies has several turntable-and-headphone listening stations, so you can check out potential purchases. Store employees report an uptick in business recently — especially with sales over the Internet. "A lot of people are only listening to MP3s," Mr. James says, "but there are still a lot of people who want to hold something in their hands."

Just around the corner, on Broadwick Street, is Sounds of the Universe ( This airy, sunlit shop features several albums from its own label, Soul Jazz records: mainly new compilations of classic funk and world beat tracks from around the world.

The store also sells CDs but is doing more business in vinyl. Mr. Jones points out that with some types of music, like dubstep (a bass-heavy dance genre popular in London, in which tracks are sometimes mixed and arranged on the fly by DJs), many groups release their albums on vinyl only. "Over the last five years vinyl has done nothing but go up," says Mr. Jones. "I really do think there is a future for vinyl."

Back on Berwick Street are two other shops worth visiting. Revival Records ( buys and sells rock and pop classics. It's strictly a used-record shop, with everything from dusty obscurities for around £2 to hard-to-find classics for £50 and up. You can also find the occasional new release. A mint-condition copy of The Hold Steady's "Stay Positive" was recently on sale for £12, compared with £16 at HMV.

Like most of the record shops in the area, Revival stocks its racks with empty album covers; the records themselves are kept behind the counter. It's like a library with a colorful card catalog: Ask a clerk to bring you the music, which you can inspect for scratches or even spin on one of the turntables before buying. Revival's selection is nicely eclectic. On a recent visit, I picked up Ry Cooder's self-titled solo debut, and Kraftwerk's "The Man-Machine."

For more new releases, head a few doors up the street to Sister Ray Records (, which has a more modern record-shop feel — with CDs and DVDs on sale as you enter and thumping music on the stereo. But the selection of vinyl in the back of the store is extensive and fun to browse: everything from classic jazz (Miles Davis, "Kind of Blue") to pop (new releases from Madonna and Paul Weller) to dubstep (The Bug, "London Zoo").

Side Two: Notting Hill

Portobello Road in Notting Hill is one of London's most popular shopping areas, a mecca for people looking to buy everything from vintage clothing to antique jewelry. It's also a target-rich environment for vinyl lovers, with a half dozen record shops all within a few blocks of each other in addition to the several used-record vendors who set up shop along the street market held every Saturday.

Rough Trade (, located on a side street, is usually the first stop in the area for record collectors. Originally affiliated with the record label of the same name, which in the 1980s released albums by the Smiths, Aztec Camera and a host of postpunk bands, the shop is now a separate entity but has a reputation for a good selection and knowledgeable staff.

New vinyl releases and CDs are upstairs, and used records — everything from junk to collectible rarities — are in the basement. The records are organized in clever categories. Some groups, like the Beatles and the Stones, get their own shelves, but other albums are grouped by interest: "UK Seventies Prog," "Celtic Folk," "Texas New Country." There are a lot of rarities and dance remixes, "things you just can't find on a download," says Mr. Summers.

Browsing the racks one recent morning is Swedish musician Idris Aly Omar, 27 years old, who is visiting London with his parents and hitting all the record shops in Notting Hill. "It started in the '90s, with hip hop," says Mr. Omar, who has amassed about 4,000 records since he started buying vinyl as a teenager. "I was looking for samples. But then you get interested in different types of music. I like the rarity of it. There are a lot of records that aren't available on CD or digital."

(Rough Trade's new store just off Brick Lane in London's East End supersizes the indie-record-shop concept, with books and CDs and a long row of turntable listening stations. It also adds such contemporary touches as a coffee-and-juice bar, lounge seating and free Wi-Fi. There are near daily in-store performances by bands.)

Tucked away on Blenheim Crescent, a few steps off Portobello Road, Minus Zero Records ( is two shops in one: Minus Zero owner Bill Forsyth is on the left as you enter; Stand Out records owner Bill Allerton is on the right. They both stock an amusingly bizarro mishmash of 1960s and '70s psychedelia, folk oddities and old-school British punk — everything from classic Dylan and Stones to really weird stuff, such as a recording of Kurt Vonnegut reading "Breakfast of Champions." Even more fun to browse than the records are the old magazines, postcards and concert posters.

Further up Portobello Road, Honest Jon's ( specializes in soul, world beats and jazz. The shop has joined with rock musician Damon Albarn to found the record label of the same name, which releases eclectic African and Asian music and archival compilations, such as the newly issued "Give Me Love: Songs Of The Brokenhearted — Baghdad, 1925-1929," a collection of early 78-rpm recordings of Middle Eastern music.

Another shop, Sounds, on the main Portobello drag, has a cramped back room with used LPs but is worth poking your head into if you're looking for something special in the classic-rock genre.

Back at Intoxica Records ( on Portobello Road, Mr. Gebologlu has paid for the Smiths record and is heading out. It's music he already has, but he wants it on vinyl, too. "I downloaded it, but I also want to buy it," he says. Downloading without paying "is not good for the artists. It's stealing."

Intoxica sales associate Debbie Smith says the shop has struggled to stay in business in the digital era but is doing better now. "Vinyl, as an artifact, is coming back. Young people have never known vinyl — they have no concept of it — so it's a cool thing for them. They're discovering that it sounds so much better than downloads. You can't collect MP3s."

Write to Craig Winneker at