As the Digital Age gains an ever increasing momentum, a segment of audiophiles have chosen to embrace the Analog Era in numbers that find old and young alike, enjoying what was once to be cast aside and left as a footnote for music history.
Digital, at that time, was the superior way to go, offering clean, precise sound that fans had hoped for with the premium virgin vinyl issues and half-speed masters released by Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs. The delicate nature of the vinyl medium had its limitations with static, scratches and impure raw vinyl, used to further degrade the sound. To satisfy the demand for clarity and storage concerns, the compact disc filled that need rather well. Compact discs were the cure for the ailments of the Vinyl Era, but they came with a stiffness and sterility of sound. Analog, by comparison, had a warmth and genuine feel that helped to make the music a true experience. And as time continues, collectors still seem to enjoy that charm of the procedure…disc to platter, needle to groove.
A recent visit to a high profile pop culture retailer in the Indianapolis shopping district, found an interesting blend of new vinyl issues of past best-selling titles carried alongside the retro players that help transfer those vinyl issues to CD duplication for convenience. The 60’s and 70’s have come full circle and showcase the fact that there are a fantastic amount of well written songs and melodies from those decades, just waiting to be heard again by a new generation.
Baby boomers have plenty of favorites to choose from during that era and are still wanting to embrace the memories of their youth. New audiophiles are just discovering the authenticity of vinyl recordings, not to mention the spectacular array of album covers and additional art inside the gatefold sleeves.
As the re-introduction to albums continues to grow, the need for storage and preservation has timely merits. BCW has added product lines to aid every discerning collector. They offer jackets, sleeves, toploads and storage boxes for media, 45’s and LP’s, with their cause for business, to… “Protect, Store and Display”.
Even the US Postal Service recognizes the efforts of past musicians in 2013’s Music Icons series of commemorative stamp issues. The likenesses of Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Lydia Mendoza and most recently new series member Jimi Hendrix, are part of this series. The fifth issuance in this series will be Janis Joplin, scheduled for later this year.
It’s great to see a special day, Record Store Day, reserved for the hobby that has molded pop culture to what it is today and will continue to be as the future unfolds.
An overview by Stephen and Joy Butler