Richard Lutz bids a fond farewell to his record collection….sigh.
Under the bed in the little room on the top floor, covered in forgotten dust, lay my record collection- a pile of vinyl, some scratched some, for some reason, almost untouched.
From the times of cassettes, CDs and then downloads I did occasionally and faithfully re-plug the old stereo system and take it all in. But it became, quite honestly, a chore and faintly unneeded when I could simply access something more manageable online.
I tried to offload them. I valiantly attempted to find a system to transfer them digitally. But time and neglect just stood against me. A moment arrived to get rid of them.
Funny enough, for about 90% of the albums, I remember just how and why I bought them. But some remained a mystery. Where did I get that record of Mozart brass? How did I get that ancient self regarding album from the late sixties group Spirit? Or that absolutely classic album of road songs from the States?
But most have personal history embedded in their scratchy grooves. Lowell Fulson? Bought his blues in a London shop while working in the capital 25 years ago. The Riverside collection of Thelonius Monk? At a great little indie shop in Tyneside called J Windows. Buckwheat Zydego? After I saw Paul Simon using Louisiana music in the ’80’s. The list goes on.
Finally, as part of a long range “let’s clean out the house” purge, I grab that pile under the bed. The turntable had long disappeared to a friend.
I flicked through them: a lot of Coltrane, Art Tatum, hey, there’s that Super Session album I rolled one too many joints on; a Johnny Shines blues album with that gritty Chicago wintry photo on it.
And yes, the last album ever bought: the Ghostbusters LP when I took the kids to see the movie for the umpteenth time.
I put them all in an outsize IKEA bag. The record shop thumbed through them. Not interested in the old blues stuff, not interested in the Zydeco nor Monk nor even gritty Johnny Shines.
“Some of these covers are falling apart.” the guy said. “American covers used bad glue on them.”
He then told me that the market is for mainstream stuff. Not the more fringey stuff. What was wanted was Genesis, Black Sabbath, Springsteen. Stones. U2.
He offered £100. “Hey, there’s some good stuff in there.” I say. I hold the line. He offers £150.
Maybe there was one album buried in there (Yusef Lateef? That Buckwheat? Mike Bloomfield’s solo effort?) that was worth £150 alone. Maybe it was a singularly unique cover that was a limited edition? Maybe it was worth the £150 to get me out of the shop and stop the the hassle and the haggle.
I’ll never know. Part of my past life has been sold. Each album bought for a reason. Even the ones I never listened to.
*Written in memory of Glyn Humphreys who enjoyed his music and, as a professor of neuropsychology, gave so many stroke victims hope with his medical research. Much missed.