Back in 1971 I saved up my allowance and bought a shitty Wurlitzer portable turntable for twenty-eight dollars at Sears.
'Why' hit me years later. Back when I was buying albums, the music I really wanted wasn't carried on the west side of the Willamette. It wasn't even broadcast on the west side of the Willamette until late at night, so I owe at least some of my taste to an inability to sleep and a lack of late-night management presence at radio 101.9 .
Of course as soon as I discovered the Internet I started building some shit-hot playlists. With that on tap, you might wonder 'why bother buying vinyl?'
I'm not a purist. I'm not a trophy hunter. I've been a volume abuser for 52 years so my eardrums probably look like iron manhole covers...but even I can hear the difference between music recorded in the 70's played back digitally, and the same music on vinyl played on a turntable. In that case, vinyl genuinely sounds better, with that lush, plummy tonal quality that only comes from liquid dinosaur.
Analog recording wasn't done with a tin can on a string. It was a precise science, and a vast amount of research and money went into producing very specific, highly controlled results throughout, and that included taking into account how the ALL of the equipment and materials involved effected output. After all, that output was the product they were selling...on vinyl, that went onto a record player, and came out the speaker. It was the quality of what came out of the speaker, after all, which either brought customers back or drove them away. To put it another way, if it was recorded to be ON VINYL, it's only going to sound the way it was meant to sound played off vinyl. That's why I'm buying record albums. Plus sometimes you find weed.*
See, I know you're now asking yourself 'fine, you have records, but who has a turntable?' Why, I do. I has a turntable. An excellent turntable.
When the Playboy of the Western World went to that big bathhouse in the sky, we inherited his sound system. This thing was 20 years old when it came to us and solid as a fucking rock, with components (Pioneer) and speakers (Bose**) that still perform flawlessly. Turn it up to 'eleven'? 'Eleven' means absolutely NOTHING to this device. '6' on the volume control is loud enough to hear across the street, and although the calibration promises '30' I've never taken it past '18' because when I do I start ovulating charcoal briquettes.
This is what a weeks' effort turned up; not connoisseur stuff but not too sad or lame either, I think, except for maybe Right On Time which I bought because I liked their shiny outfits, and that they gave their astrological signs in the liner notes:
**Research in the field leads me to believe that hippies were a careless bunch of folks. LP jackets were a common hiding place, though; beside skanky old vegetation I've found love notes, dollar bills, cockroaches and antique blotter acid. Imagine your cat getting ahold of that. Although with a cat it might be hard to tell.
**Bose advertising is not bullshit. We have the home range 'sound environment' package: quad wall mounts with floor unit dual speaker boom chamber; pretty snazzy stuff for the era in which it was made.