Plugging musical knowledge gaps with vinyl

By Craig Cooper -
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The Chills' Lost EP ... still lost, sadly, says Craig Cooper
The Chills' Lost EP ... still lost, sadly, says Craig Cooper

It's always good to return things people have left at your house.

Children, small dogs, cars.

This past week, I returned a Tina Turner record left in our rumpus room in 1985.
And I didn't go far to find the owner, she sits less than 10m from me at work.
A strange coincidence.

After 31 years, it was only fair I gave it back. Especially since I am not really a Tina Turner fan. Led Zep or Bob Dylan, and I might have kept it.

I found Tina amongst a motley collection of scratched and warped vinyl in my garage.

Of the albums, half of them are mine. The other half belong to family, friends and people who knew my parents in 1985.

Boy Dylan's Masterpieces have vanished, Led Zeppelin III appears to have been melted with a blow torch, and the Psychedelic Furs cover had been eaten by something with excellent taste in music but I question its food source choices.

Sadly, The Lost EP by The Chills remains lost. I have spotted a copy on Trade Me that was $60. Too much, sorry.

I was inspired to open the box after deciding I wanted to buy a turntable and listen to vinyl again.

I am slow to the party on this one. For some time, there has been a worldwide resurgence in the popularity of vinyl. And here, in lil ol Northland, the consequence is a shortage of second hand turntables.

Searle Electronics in Whangarei specialises in selling good quality second hand audio gear, as well as new equipment. They have a waiting list of people who want to buy a decent second hand turntable.

My search was slightly complicated in that I like vintage audio gear. But after a few months I found a turntable in Northland, and bought it for a good price off a successful restaurateur who I tried to convince, for selfish reasons, to open a craft beer bar/eatery in Kamo.

I left his house with the turntable's matching speakers and a week later bought the amplifier off him as well.

Already, going back in time has given me a new experience.

Music for me had become a background soundtrack to my domestic life. It was there, but I wasn't tuned in.

My music tastes aren't particularly broad but range from early blues to virtually anything on the Flying Nun roster, to Nick Cave.

I have a soft spot for the music of the 1960s and 1970s, and the first album that played through my new speakers was Jimi Hendrix Live at Montreaux.

I am not a massive Hendrix fan, but after 31 years, it sounded pretty good. I sat there and listened while Jimi played live in my lounge.

I also put on Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring. Recorded in 1984, it could have been recorded any time in the past five years or so.

Talking Heads - again, it hadn't dated.

Leadbelly - well, it sounds old until you hear a guitar riff that has been recycled umpteen times since he played it.

Martin Phillips of The Chills is known to peruse record collections and observe "there are gaps in your musical knowledge".

There are huge gaps in mine, but I'm looking forward to trying to fill them with vinyl.

Footnote: What's the longest you've waited before returning a borrowed item - can you top my 30 years?

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