Trip Back In Time

I found a box of 78’s the other day, among a job lot of records I bought a while ago. Some interesting ones in there, from artists such as Bing Crosby, Norman Wisdom, Harry Belafonte, Nat King Cole and Fats Domino. Only snag is I don’t have a way of playing them! Interesting how times have changed, as  I think most of them are from the 1950’s and have never been near a DJ.  Very easy to damage them though, so I can imagine some people bought several copies of the same record, as they kept dropping them. I decided to sell them on, as I have no space to keep them and I would need to invest in an old turntable. Not sure if there is a huge market for 78’s now, but you never know…

Back in the House

Getting back into the swing of things, after a busy summer. I’m getting more enquiries from discogs now, so the cooler evenings seem to be encouraging everybody to retreat indoors and listen to more vinyl.

There’s an interesting documentary on BBC4 at the moment about the rave scene, “Can You Feel It – How Dance Music Conquered the World”. Well worth a watch, as it brought back some good memories for me. Some talented guys on there too – Frankie Knuckles, Gerald, Juan Atkins, Reese, MayDay, Moby, Pete Tong…   Interesting history of Earl Young’s beat, four-on-the-floor, from the early 70’s, which inspired Disco and later the electronic scene. It also raised the importance of radio on the music scene at the time, from The Electrifying Mojo to the mass burning at the Disco Demolition Rally in Chicago. Modern radio seems rather dull in comparison, although more acts seem to come from reality TV shows these days, such as X Factor, than anywhere else.

Top 30 Items Sold on Discogs for June

Getting back into the swing of things after a summer break, plus the weather has been really hot here in the UK for the past few weeks. Not really the weather for digging out the vinyl, as I’d be a bit worried that it would start to warp. Not sure what sort of temperatures would cause this to happen, so that may be something for another post.

I’ve been browsing today through the top 30 records sold on discogs in June. Nothing that I have in my collection unfortunately, but there’s an interesting story about a copy of The Black Album by Prince that holds the top spot. It was sold for $27,500 by  a guy who was a pressing plant employee in Canada, and saved a copy from being destroyed. Nice! Still hoping that Jim Reeves might enter the list, but you can see the full article here.

Making the Grade

I’ve been having a good look at my grading today, as when I started selling on discogs I was concerned about over exaggerating the condition of my records. The last thing I wanted to do was to get some negative feedback early on and not have the 100% score. I’ve still got it, both on my ebay and discogs accounts, so I must be doing something right!

I was pondering whether to rate some of my records, which fit the bill,  as Near Mint (NM-) rather than Very Good (VG+). The only time I have done this so far is when I bought the records brand new and know the full history of them (i.e. how often they have been played). Without this history, things get a bit more tricky.

I guess it’s like buying a car – if you buy one straight from the showroom brand new, you know it’s going to be spotless and run like a dream (in theory anyway). If you buy a car from a second hand dealer, who does not have a logbook or service history for it, you know there is a risk it could have been owned by a boy racer who thrashed it, or an old dear who used it to pop down the shops. The price you pay in the first place is a good indicator, of course.

I play most of my records before listing anyway, as well as giving them a good clean, and also do a visual inspection to cover all of the angles. It takes time, but I’m sure by doing this I can reasonably sell at a higher grade (mostly moving up from VG to VG+). Whether I can move up to quoting Near Mint will depend on the record, so I’ll have to come back to this when I go through my records again. I’m sure that a lot of other sellers are quoting Near Mint when they are not, but I don’t not want to go down that route. A sale is a sale, but I’m looking at the long term here.

For now, I’ll continue loading my records up to VG+ as the highest grade, and see what happens.

I’ve listed the Goldmine Standards for some of the grades below, in case you are not aware of how it works:

Mint (M)

Absolutely perfect in every way. Certainly never been played, possibly even still sealed. Should be used sparingly as a grade, if at all.

Near Mint (NM or M-)

A nearly perfect record. A NM- record has more than likely never been played, and the vinyl will play perfectly, with no imperfections during playback. Many dealers won’t give a grade higher than this implying (perhaps correctly) that no record is ever truly perfect. The record should show no obvious signs of wear. A 45 RPM or EP sleeve should have no more than the most minor defects, such as any sign of slight handling. An LP cover should have no creases, folds, seam splits, cut-out holes, or other noticeable similar defects. The same should be true of any other inserts, such as posters, lyric sleeves, etc.

Very Good Plus (VG+) 

Generally worth 50% of the Near Mint value. A Very Good Plus record will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it. Defects should be more of a cosmetic nature, not affecting the actual playback as a whole. Record surfaces may show some signs of wear and may have slight scuffs or very light scratches that don’t affect one’s listening experiences. Slight warps that do not affect the sound are “OK”. The label may have some ring wear or discoloration, but it should be barely noticeable. Spindle marks may be present. Picture sleeves and inner sleeves will have some slight wear, slightly turned-up corners, or a slight seam split. An LP cover may have slight signs of wear, and may be marred by a cut-out hole, indentation, or cut corner. In general, if not for a couple of minor things wrong with it, this would be Near Mint.

Very Good (VG) 

Generally worth 25% of Near Mint value. Many of the defects found in a VG+ record will be more pronounced in a VG disc. Surface noise will be evident upon playing, especially in soft passages and during a song’s intro and fade, but will not overpower the music otherwise. Groove wear will start to be noticeable, as with light scratches (deep enough to feel with a fingernail) that will affect the sound. Labels may be marred by writing, or have tape or stickers (or their residue) attached. The same will be true of picture sleeves or LP covers. However, it will not have all of these problems at the same time. Goldmine price guides with more than one price will list Very Good as the lowest price.

I am planning to list some CD’s and cassettes at some point in the future, so I’ll have to go through all this with these too. At least CD’s have less that can go wrong with them.

For more information on the Goldmine Standard and gradings, please click here

Top 30 Most Expensive Items Sold on Discogs

Hi again! Just been checking the May list of the top selling items on Discogs. Unfortunately, I do not have any copies of these belters, which is a pity as 12 of them were bought for over $2000 each! Still, it does give me an incentive to keep rummaging through those boxes of records, to see if there is a hidden gem in there somewhere.

Led Zeppelin seem to be regulars on these lists, so I’ll need to keep a look out for there stuff. No sign of Jim Reeves however, but maybe his time will come next month. You can see the full list on the Discogs site using the link here.

Taking a break from loading records this weekend, as I’ll be watching the football and enjoying the crazy weather in the UK at the moment. Might try and catch a bit of the tennis too, but there’s not much of a British presence at Wimbledon this year.

Have fun!

Space Truckin’

Hi again! Having a bit of a rock feast tonight, having dug out a couple of my classic albums from the 70’s. First one to hit the turntable was Deep Purple’s “In Concert”, a two disc compilation of BBC live sessions recorded in 1970 and 1972. Second up was Ritchie Blackmore (the band’s guitarist) with his solo project “Rainbow”, released in 1975.

Definitely ones for the guitar connoisseurs I think, so having not played the guitar I’m probably not appreciating the artistry involved. Still a good listen though, and doing so reminded me of my time at university, as my flat mate Mark was heavily into Deep Purple. I would often hear “Space Truckin'” blasting out in the evening, when he got back from his lectures. Didn’t do him any harm though, as he was probably the most intelligent guy I’ve ever met, getting a PhD and going on to do well in Computer Science and having his own Wikipedia entry. He was a decent musician too.

I need to try and get my kids a bit more into playing a musical instrument, that’s if I can drag them away from playing Fortnite…

Happy Birthday to the LP – now 70!

Yep, it’s now 70 years since the LP (Long Player) vinyl record first appeared, along with its smaller grooves and slower speed (33 1/3 rpm). It was a revolution at the time, replacing the phonograph records made of shellac.

It’s strange to think that lots of other formats have come and gone over the years (floppy disks, VHS etc) but the humble LP is still going strong.

See a full article on discogs here to join the celebration!

Sounding Sweet..

Cleaning records

Hello again! I’ve managed to drag myself away from the footy to do some cleaning. I hate to list dirty records, so my Knosti Disco-Antistat machine is getting plenty of use. I’d certainly recommend it, if you have a few dirty records that need a new lease of life. The older version is selling on Amazon for just over £40 I believe, although there is a newer version for about £65 that has a crank for spinning the records. I tend to get the cleaning fluid off ebay, as there’s cheaper options than the Knosti one.  Only snag is you start feeling a bit dizzy after an hour or so, as it is powerful stuff!

I’m going through a large box of house / techno / garage tunes from the mid 1990’s at the moment, so will hopefully find a few bangers in there. I’ve also got some easy listening / classical / jazz / country stuff as well, which I need to load up and give them a go. Not really my cup of tea, more for the old man, but you never know..

Welcome to the Blog!

Hello! Welcome to the first post on my blog. My name’s David and I’ve been a keen collector of vinyl records for many years now, starting with a copy of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds that I bought way back in 1978. My musical tastes have varied a lot since then, depending on what mood I was in at the time really.

Having been brought up in Coventry in the early 80’s, 2 Tone was a big part of the music scene and my life, hence where my internet name comes from. I was a bit too young (much too young..) to go to gigs or own a Harrington Jacket and DM’s , but I can remember going to school friends’ houses and hearing the sound of the Specials, The Beat, The Selector (especially the track, “Three Minute Hero”), UB40 etc booming out of their elder siblings bedrooms. Plenty of skinheads and mods were roaming the streets too, so probably not a scene my parents were keen on, so we moved out of Coventry to the suburbs in 1981.

The mid 80’s were spent listening to Jean Michel Jarre, Fun Boy Three, Abba, Kraftwerk and some classical stuff on the family stereo. I can remember buying the Frankie Goes to Hollywood album, but having seen the gatefold I took it back to Woolworths as I did not want my Mum to see it, plus it was a bad pressing. I did listen to the pop music of the time (Duran Duran, A-Ha, Michael Jackson, Tears for Fears etc), mostly on cassette copies of the “Now That’s What I Call Music” series, plus I watched Top of the Pops every week. While I liked the music, I was not convinced enough to go out and buy the records. Then, in 1986, I heard the Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley track, “Jack Your Body” on the radio and was entranced by it, which started in earnest my interest in electronic music. I can remember we were all off school due to heavy snow, and being glued to Radio 1 waiting for them to play the track, as it was heading to number one at the time. I was also an avid listener of Jeff Young’s Big Beat too, as well as Franklyn Hughes who played some good, soulful dance stuff such as Prince, Alexander O’Neill and Luther Vandross on a local station Mercia Sound.

During my time at University I was a bit of a raver, so was well into Chicago House, Techno, Acid etc. I could just about pick up the signal for Wear FM and listened to DJ Huey’s show, who was playing some cool dance stuff, like Joey Beltram’s “Energy Flash”, that was not being played often on the commercial stations. I liked Hip Hop and Rap as well, such as Public Enemy, Tone Loc, Rob Base and Eric B & Rakim. Alongside that, I also enjoyed African Music as well, especially from Senegal, and went to concerts and gigs by artists such as Baaba Maal, Youssou N’Dour and Salif Keita.  One of my flat mates was well into World Music, so I ended up being a regular at the Reggae Club at the Uni too. Energy Flash one minute, then chilling out with Bob Marley the next. All good fun.

I bought a lot of vinyl at Uni, and probably spent too much time in record shops when I should have been studying. After that, as I did a lot of travelling in my twenties and thirties, I did not buy much more vinyl. I guess CD’s were becoming more into fashion, plus I had other priorities for spending the pennies. Any concerts I went to were more to keep my now wife happy, such as David Grey, Take That and Westlife.

Now that I’m settled down, with a wife, two kids and a mortgage to pay, I’ve retreated to my man shed and my love on vinyl has been reignited. I did sell a lot of my earlier collection, so I am kicking myself about some I let go far too cheaply. However, I’ve picked up several boxes of vinyl from various sources, such as friends, house clearances, charity shops, plus some interesting job lots I’ve bought off ebay and gumtree. I must have well over 1000 records by now, plus loads of CD’s and cassettes, so will be listing as many as possible on discogs over the next few months. I will keep my favourites, or list them for a silly price, but the rest I will be aiming to sell in proper Trotters Independent Traders fashion.

If you are interested in buying some vinyl, please keep an eye on my site as I will be listing everything as accurately as possible. All my records will be cleaned and any sleeves repaired or glued, as I do not like to sell rubbish!

I’ll use this blog to list some of the more interesting stuff I have picked up, or to highlight something that has a personal connection to me. This post has already ended up being a lot longer than anticipated, so I’d better finish now and do some more cleaning. Bye for now!