Record Buying: On grading, the market place and other collecting conundrums

In the world of collecting, the subject of condition by experts and novices alike stirs a great deal of conflict for various reasons. For someone such as myself, who has been purchasing new and used vinyl LP’s and singles since the age of five, I’d like to think that my rather large investment of time, energy and money made me a more discerning collector, and later dealer. I’ve also come to the realization through the years, that despite by knowledge, there really is very little exact science and far more subjectivity in this hobby but there are ways to understand the market place better which I feel can make collecting a more fun and happier experience. So it is with this in mind, I’d like to start by giving an overview of grading and condition and their effects on pricing in the market place as well as some little quirks to the hobby.

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Dave Grohl: Surfing The Placid Swells Of Grunge

I have to admit that I’m pretty nonplussed by the long-term success of former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl. Since the death of Kurt Cobain back in 1994, Grohl has managed to establish himself, with a long string of successful albums and concert tours, as a go-to nice guy in the world of rock. I freely admit I’m kind of bewildered. I thought after his aptly-titled debut hit record “Foo Fighters” that he put out a string of albums each of which would go on to sell less than the one before it till he was left with a core of devoted fans while the masses would move on the next whatever. Or maybe he could have followed some other muse and became a more substantial artist by tapping a bit deeper into his core and actually push some experimental boundaries. Boy was I wrong. I can’t help being mildly bemused about the huge success of a guy who, admittedly drummed and sang backup quite well, but then was able to transform himself into the leader of a multi-platinum selling band after the death of the more creative,  but self-destructive Nirvana leader, Kurt Cobain.

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Vee Jay Records: Originals Vs. Repros (The Basics)

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.

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You say goodbye. But I say … Bogus!

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.

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Grammy Beatles Mono Listening Party: A Report

Grammy Museum Panel
Steve Berkowitz, Ken Scott, Mike Mettler and Michael Fremer discussing the Beatles mono vinyl project.

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.

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Beatles Mono Vinyl: The Eagle Has Landed

Just when I thought it was safe to move on from collecting fetishistic vinyl, comes The Beatles In Mono LP’s available as individual titles or as a box set complete with special hardcover book.

Though I’m not one for compulsively adding every re-release from The Beatles to my collection, I just don’t have that much money or space in my home, I felt a overwhelming sense to the point of obsession with owning this new mono box. The audio was cut to vinyl at Abbey Road Studios, 100% analog with NO digitalizing whatsoever in the chain from the source master tape to disc. I couldn’t have, in my wildest nerd dreams, thought of a better way to deliver the mono LP mixes to the public.

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