• Why Nerdy White Guys Who Love the Blues Are Obsessed With a Wisconsin Chair Factory In the 2001 movie “Ghost World,” 18-year-old Enid picks up the arm on her turntable, drops the needle in the groove, and plays a song yet another time. She can’t get over the emotional power of bluesman Skip James’ 1931 recording of “Devil Got My Woman.” If you know anything about 78 records, it only makes sense that a nerdy 40-something 78 collector named Seymour would have introduced her to this…
  • Meet the Irreverent Librarian Who's Taking on the Music Nerds When Sarah O’Holla started her blog “My Husband’s Stupid Record Collection,” its title was a playful nod to the 1,500-album elephant in the room, poking fun at the snobbish seriousness of collectors like her partner, Alex Goldman. Despite packing and unpacking Goldman’s vinyl collection for five different moves over the course of their nine-year relationship, O’Holla had only listened to a small s…
  • Good, Clean Fun: This Rock Star Parties Hard (with Hot Wheels and Wacky Packs) Dave Schools is not your typical Hot Wheels collector. Certainly, his passion for toy cars was not why I called him up last fall, when I was writing a story about a new book called “Poster Children,” which covers 25 years of concert posters produced by the band Schools co-founded, Widespread Panic. But as we spoke, it became clear that Schools was no mere casual hobbyist. “I've been collecting Red…
  • Your Turntable Is Not Dead: Inside Jack White’s Vinyl Record Empire When the White Stripes got signed, Jack White created Third Man Records as an insurance policy. With the White Stripes and, later on, Whirlwind Heat and the Raconteurs, the bands only licensed their music to record companies—the labels didn’t really own it. So in case things went sour, Third Man was a way for Jack and the bands to be able to maintain ownership of their masters and their records. …
  • Secrets of the Blue Note Vault: Rediscovering Monk, Blakey, and Hancock When I was a jazz DJ in Philadelphia, Blue Note was always my favorite label. Naturally I had a lot of jazz-musician friends, and many of them told me that they’d played in a lot of Blue Note sessions that were never released. I started to keep a list of these sessions in a little notebook, and in 1973 I started banging on the door of Blue Note to find someone to show it to. My inquiries fell o…
  • Stephen M. H. Braitman on the British Invasion, from the Beatles to the Sex Pistols I was a Hollywood kid. My father was a TV and radio editor in the San Fernando Valley, and he allowed me to do my first writing to review concerts and shows for the newspaper. But as a younger kid, I really hated rock ’n’ roll music and pop music, and I disliked the Beatles and all that. I have a younger sister who was a total Beatlemaniac. She started getting into the ’60s scene, but I was more…
  • Beatles 45s To Make You Twist and Shout About 12 years ago a coworker told me that they saw a picture sleeve on eBay from The Beatles selling for 500 dollars. My sister had given me a Beatles 45 picture sleeve when I was quite young. I went to make sure I still had it, and it was similar and still in excellent condition. So that started up my interest again. I had a couple of more Beatles 45s and albums, and I did a little research on t…
  • Black History Shared Through Vinyl In case I haven't shared the beginning, here it is in a nutshell: My son came home from elementary school, and said, "Dad, I need something to take to school for Black History Month.” That was the beginning of collecting black history as a specific area. My son was in second or third grade then and now he is in his first year of college, so let’s call it about 10 years. Now I have a black hi…
  • Jack White foils eBay flippers, angers fans Jack White's Third Man Records produces a large number of standard all-black vinyl records for every album it releases—but those LPs and 45s aren't the ones that drive fans wild. No, what the fans go crazy for are the limited-edition versions, made in two- and three-colored vinyl. The trouble is, scalpers or "flippers" have been profiteering off of the fans' insatiable appetite for these r…
  • Psych Out: The Trippy Side of Vintage Vinyl I’ve been interested in psych records for about 25 years now. It started with just 1960s music, the Beatles and stuff like that, and then I kept on checking out new things and finding new music that was unknown or not very well known that I thought was really good. The Beatles started with the Revolver album in 1966, which was an influential early psychedelic record. They were definitely one of th…
  • Should Record Store Day Exclude Online Shops? Vinyl record geeks and turntable enthusiasts all over the blogosphere have been digging in their couches for coins all month to save up for tomorrow. Why? Well, it's Record Store Day. Musical artists of every stripe—rock, hip-hop, soul, country, jazz, punk, and metal—are releasing special limited-edition albums, mostly vinyl LPs and 45s, for this event, now in its fourth year. Here are just…
  • Vinyl Is Smashing Again I know I’m going to date myself when I say this, but the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” is my favorite album of all time. Yes, I know it was released in 1995. Yes, I know that there are “better” albums out there (like the Beatles' “Sgt. Pepper’s,” of course), but it’s still my favorite. But enough about me. A vinyl LP of “Mellon Collie” in near mint condition sold t…