Somebody’s Darling:
The TVD First Date

“First of all, I don’t claim to be an audiophile. I wouldn’t call myself a vinyl purist, nor a staunch advocate of the tone and aesthetic of the medium. The ritual appeals to me–the digging, the pleasant surprise of pulling an old record from its sleeve and seeing the glossy black of a gently used disc, the hiss and crackle of the first needle drop–it’s all great fun, but at the end of the day vinyl, to me, is just another way to listen to more music.”

“Plus, it’s one that I can’t take with me in the car or the van. Except for DJs, the personal vinyl ritual lies solely in the home. Which granted, despite its inconveniences, makes for a more intimate listening experience.

Rather, my collection began and grew in step with my curiosity. I wanted to listen to more music, and before me laid an ocean of used vinyl waiting to be rediscovered. I loved digging through stacks, discovering new artists (new to me at least) by connecting the personnel dots from one favorite record to another. Dr. John led me to Allen Toussaint, who showed up again in Little Feat records; everybody and their dog led me to Leon Russell and I started looking at Tulsa differently; Miles Davis turned me on to Paul Chambers and Bill Evans and Philly Joe Jones and Jimmy Cobb and Wynton Kelly and fucking everybody else in that beautiful incestuous Columbia/ Blue Note/ Impulse scene.

I spent years losing myself in the byways of sidemen, trying to piece together a narrative of a scene, decades removed, from the artifacts they left behind that I discovered either by word of mouth, sheer persistence in digging, or just plain old luck.

It doesn’t hurt that at a lot of places–the garage sales, the thrift store/ antique mall/ flea markets (which are basically just big, air-conditioned garage sales, organized and sold at a mark up)–you can find gold for cheap.

If you’re willing to do some work on the searching end of the record hunt, you can often come out with an armful of good cheap records. It’s a gamble, but if an impulse buy turns out to be a dud, you’re only out a few bucks. Plus, that’s one more little tidbit of discographic knowledge to catalogue and file away in the ever-expanding vault of trivia in between the ears, to collect dust until the day comes when your friend can’t remember, say, who played bass on Phoebe Snow’s second album.

At the proper record stores the consistency of quality is usually higher, but you’ll end up paying for all the clerk’s work. Knowledge of the esoteric and elusive factors that determine a record’s rarity, and thus its price, is closely guarded by the clerks and collectors of the world. I might actually find that old Chess record that I’d been looking for, but you better believe I’ll be paying for it.

So, as someone whose appetite is bigger than his wallet, I’m willing to spend some extra time rummaging through box upon unsorted box until I find something good. Or not, either way. Sometimes the fun lies in the digging itself.”
Mike Talley, Keys

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