Saturday, October 4, 2008

Don't want to but have to....

I have set myself a difficult task today, made necessary by the consolidation of our belongings as we get ready for The Move.

Regulars will recall that I've been grappling mightly with the question of what to do with my old LPs. I've been swearing to myself that I would digitize them and add them to my mp3 collection, but that is a daunting, time-consuming and expensive project that I know in my bones I will never get around to. I've been ever-so-gradually purchasing CD substitutes for my favorites among them, and am now faced with the cold fact that those old records are taking up a huge amount of storage space and dust. There are a few that I know cannot be replaced: Buffy Sainte-Marie's out-of-print second album, Many a Mile, with its original, superior version of "Piney Wood Hills," is one. Another is a collection of classic Mike Nichols and Elaine May routines. Yet another is an irreplaceable collection of Russian folk songs performed by an extraordinary singer named Natania Davrath. The rest, I fear, are mementoes from various past lives which I honor on that basis but which I also have to admit I never lay eyes on.

And so today I'll inventory my records and remember the time in my life when I bought each one. I'll look inside the jackets for any treasures I may secreted away who knows when. And then I'll offer them up for sale. A once-indispensable part of my life will make way for something new, still unimagined. The records were always good to me. Now maybe they'll buy me a good dinner, and I'll return the favor by finding a new caretaker to whom they mean as much now as they once did to me.


Anonymous said...

Dear Ralph,

My heart and memories are in sync with yours' this early Sat. morning.

I moved/lugged a record collection with several moves. I think it was the most tedious and time consuming segment of the move. There came a point when I/we stopped listening to the albums due to a myriad of reasons. However, I kept the collection and moved it on the "big relo". Occassionally, I would listen to an album and then the stereo's turntable belt broke - a needle was needed and dust accumulated on everything. So... on the next move, the albums were stored in a friend's barn. As they say, out of sight, out of mind and I knew then, it was time.

However, sadly and very regretfully, we decided to participate in a barn sale at our friend home. I weeded out the LP's that I knew were very special and had forgotten a few. I arrived late at the sale to find out that my friend "did me a favor" and sold the "lot" for $40. As another friend said after the fact, someone might have made "a ton" of money on Ebay.

I share this experience with you with much sadness in my heart. Yes, it may be time for the LP's to go - but sort through carefully. Try not to make a decision today - sleep on it - sleep on it again. If you are fortunate enough to know a genuine collector - make that your first inquiry. Should it comes down to a yard sale,give thought to Ebay and make sure LP's are sold as is.


Anonymous said...


I had given thought to (at the time) taping my LP's. I did do several which I still have.

You might want to give thought to those you want to pass on - to MP3 the songs you truly love. This may help in the sorting process as if you find an LP that you love in entirety - it is a keeper. If not, the process will still be long - not as long - and you will have some of your best loved in an MP3 library.


Ralph said...

A good cautionary tale, Linda, and some excellent advice, as always. I don't know any serious collectors, at least of the kind of music I have, so my first thought is Ebay. And I hadn't thought about individual favorite songs on otherwise forgettable albums. Since I don't have an mp3 transfer turntable I'll probably look first on Amazon to see if there are mp3 versions, and then figure out what to do if there are none.

im6 said...

I think you're making a terrible, terrible mistake! When I see all those old albums in thrift stores and second hand shops, I can't begin to imagine what the former owners were thinking. You're considering sacrificing irreplaceable memories for the sake of a bit of space and a meal or two? I just couldn't do it and many's the time I haven't listened to an album in YEARS, but then that day comes along when I want to hear an album (or as is more often the case, ONE SONG off an album) and I'm glad I still can.

I say all this even though I've lugged box after box through several moves across several state lines. The secret is putting them in boxes that are small enough that they don't get so heavy you can't easily pick them up. I've found those Xerox paper boxes are just about perfect. My last move, I had about 45 boxes of them -- all categorized, alphabetized and LABELED (very, very important!).

Yes, those boxes seem to get heavier with each move and, yes, it's a royal pain in the a#@, but those albums are my friends. They've been with me through good times and bad, happiness and sorrow and helped me through some dark moments. To cast them aside would be a travesty (even though many of them have been replaced with their younger cousin, the CD).

Don't get me wrong, I love CDs and MP3s and am thankful for them, but there's nothing like a big ol' album with full size art and liner notes and an occasional seed lodged in the gatefold of a double album (they were perfect as a rolling surface!). And album covers were once ART. You might be able to replace the music, but you can't replace the covers.

And, Linda, turntables can be easily (and cheaply) replaced these days. Go get yourself a new one and experience the JOY of dropping the needle on the vinyl and listening to your youth come out of the speakers!

Good luck with the move, Ralph!

Ravel said...

My ONLY advice on that: you don't need to keep everything. Keep your favorite ones. You might find the time to put them on Mp3 later...
As for keeping them all and "thinking" of what those people were thinking of when they sold their collection: maybe they kept their favorites too. Selling to a used record store is putting these treasures back in circulation, for someone who'll be happy to listen to them. This is a universal law (give back...)

Peewit said...

I know from bitter experience that however much you go through the pile and save your favourites it is only after they are gone forever do you realise that a particular LP might have been worth saving after all. CDs really don't do the music justice: there is no warmth; there are no familiar jumps and scratches.. Think long and hard when making your choices for the "let go" pile