I was recently asked by a pal about how to tell the difference between legitimate Beatles releases on Vee Jay Records versus counterfeits. Though this could cover a serious amount of ground, I think just a few main pointers might be useful therefore this is by no means a comprehensive list.
Elton John was the first musician I was aware of. I became conscious of his catchy tunes and wonderfully elastic voice from hearing him on my brother’s cheap record player, my Dad’s stereo and my Mom’s car AM radio. His hits were the the soundtrack of my early childhood, in the early to mid 70’s and I was fascinated with the sound of his records, way beyond my pre-kindergarten existence. My brother and I had quite a few of Elton’s 45’s from his UNI Records days, then MCA and we had to badger our Mom into buying multiple copies of them, because we wore them all out, because they were really, really good. Elton John’s music has been an anchor throughout my life.
1964 and 2014. Compare and contrast then let me know what you think.
Every once in a while, I get into conversations with collectors and non-collectors about my thoughts on signed items, mostly about the Beatles. I always issue my standard disclaimer that I am not, nor have I ever been and autograph expert, not even in the slightest. I’ve owned Beatles autographs, seen quite a few and do have a general idea of what their signature looked like through the years. But when I’m asked to look at a signature bearing John, Paul, George or Ringo, or anyone else for that matter, I give my standard plea of total ignorance regarding the subject. I don’t have the credentials to call myself an expert. But that never stops clients and friends from asking my opinion anyway. So after they accept my disclaimer, I’m more than happy to elaborate on the subject.
Some of you may know that I ran a rare record and vintage music collectible website called Microgroove Records. And that it stopped being updated in early 2013. Well, if you’re wondering why…
Here’s what happened.
The website was originally developed using an Adobe program called “GoLive”. Without getting into the unfortunate irony of that software name, GoLive died several years ago and stopped being updated and could no longer “live” on newer operating systems. After updating our operating systems, which was essential for us to use other important software, we were unable to open the GoLive application in order to change or add any static content for the web pages, which wiped out our ability to showcase new items, adding new links or really doing anything to improve the website and feature new product, other than adding and removing products which were hopelessly buried in the catalog portion of the website. So without the ability to market any of the new products on the front pages, the website effectively became pretty useless. It was kind of like having a cool looking sports car with no wheels.
This leads to the next topic of why we didn’t build a new page using some other means. In a nutshell, Microgroove Records was meant to be my full-time gig and it served that purpose quite nicely until my customers started to feel the effects of a slowed down economy. It then became an uphill struggle. The time involved with building a totally new website just didn’t make sense when GoLive stopped working. Nevertheless, I soldiered but was largely unable to grow Microgroove Records as I had done so before the economy faltered. My inventory declined, as did my overall budget and I could not keep up with running the business the way it needed.
In a nutshell, I have sidelined my business for now though I do have a smaller more specialized inventory on Ebay and MusicStack (which are linked on the front page of this blog) and if you’re interested, check them out. Or if you have something else you want to discuss related to vintage records, audio, collectibles and the music business in general, just use the contact button and fill out the form. I’d be happy to discuss the field in greater depth or answer questions you might have. Or you might inspire a separate thread and others can join in the discussion with us.
To my regular customers who found me here, I sincerely appreciated everything, most of all, just keeping in touch. I hope we can continue doing so here, and in the future.
Counterfeit Beatles vinyl records were relatively abundant during the age of vinyl in the 70’s and 80’s with the biggest suspect being the Vee Jay Records “Introducing The Beatles” LP. I recently came upon a new counterfeit, though not 100% dubious.
There is such a thing as being in the right place at the right time.
Not having kept a diary or having been a writer of any sort back in my early teens, this retelling of how I stumbled into one of the most cherished experiences of my life is done through a filtered lens of my mind’s eye thirty-one years after-the-fact. Other than existing slides my Dad shot as proof, I have never documented this experience on paper, or any other medium. I’m going to do so now here before it gets hazier through time.
I purchased this t-shirt at The Beatles At Abbey Road Studios presentation in the summer of 1983. At the time I bought two of them at the merchandise stall, one of which I wore, the other I left sealed in its wrapper and stored away. I seem to recall seeing one or two people wearing them at the time, probably at a Beatlefest in New York but have not seen another one since. The one I have is a size small. Interestingly, the shirt, though purchased at Abbey Road Studios in London has a Made In The USA tag on it.
With most major music retailers and brick-and-mortar mom-and-pop stores going bust over the last twenty years, buying vinyl on the web has become the norm these days, but can seem daunting and is often risky. When speaking with clients, they often mention past web purchases where they were greatly disappointed with what they received and how it was not really what they expected, usually of the far worse variety. This is particularly an issue when buying high-end vintage collectibles where age, use and storage wear takes its toll on a highly desired item and the seller either does not have the experience and know-how to accurately describe the item (ie, an innocent mistake), or the seller is pumping an item’s condition to get him or herself a higher price (aka, the seller has a vested interest in over-grading). The story usually involves a purchase for some rare record, let’s say it was from a seller on Ebay, that had been described as in near mint condition. The buyer pays for the item, including shipping and after waiting a few days or more, gets the record only to find that it’s got far more miles on it than the advertised description mentions. And the buyer is unhappy and disillusioned.
I was fortunate to be able to attend a very limited seating listening party at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles on 9/10/14 to hear samples of the new Beatles Mono Box set hosted by Sound & Music editor Mike Mettler, and featuring the renowned recording engineer Ken Scott, reissue mastering supervisor Steve Berkowitz and Analog Planet’s Michael Fremer.