Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Album Collection

with 2 comments

If I were ever to venture from this moment to visit and romanticize a period of my history, I would gladly focus on the pinnacle of my young experience, and it would have everything to do with vinyl LP record albums of my most adored recording artists.

My parents and older siblings all had records and I became familiar with listening to the music and studying the intricacies of the covers and printed inner sleeves. I would guess I was in my early teens when my sister Linda offered to take me to a record store so I could pick out an album of my very own.  My first.

I recall having no clue what to pick and walking up and down the aisle looking at too many choices of which I knew nothing. When I happened upon one in the front of a stack that had a brightly colored sticker touting a hit song, I decided that was the one I wanted. I’d heard the song on the radio, Black Sabbath’s “Ironman.”

When I grew old enough to know better, probably only a year or two later, I realized that choice was barely on the fringes of my genuine interests. Of course, interests evolve. I ventured in a few odd directions that seemed a stretch for me over time, but the constraints were more financial than musical tastes. Albums didn’t come cheap and it was prohibitive to buy an entire LP for interest in just one particular song.

If you didn’t own the record back in the day, you were at the mercy of a radio station to play a song you wanted to hear. Dropping my dollars on an album and bringing it home to break the seal of the clear plastic wrap was a momentous occasion. After setting the needle on the outside edge of side one, it was time to study the images and soak up every word on the jacket.

There is no experience like it today. Not when almost anything you can think of is available in a search of the internet.

The album art was almost as much of an experience as the quality of the music emanating from those vinyl grooves. Or is that, vinyl groove?

My first job after high school was selling records at the local mall. That broadened my exposure to new music and gave me the ability to bring home promotional albums I wouldn’t otherwise have bought.

When Cyndie and I got married, our similar but surprisingly rare number of duplicated albums merged to become one precious collection. That treasure was pared down drastically when digital music became the norm and I sold off all but one hundred gems that were either rare or meant enough to us we couldn’t part with them.

Yesterday, Cyndie pulled them out with a mind of continuing her momentum of purging possessions that we aren’t using. I’m considering pulling out my old turntable to find out if the belt on it is functional at maintaining 33 & 1/3 RPMs.

As much as I’d love to once again hear the music from old records I never digitized, I think I’m finding it even more pleasurable simply seeing the artistry of all those classic album covers another time.



Written by johnwhays

March 23, 2022 at 6:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. I remember that great feeling of an album, too. And sitting down to read the song lyrics! Over the years, I have purged a lot of the paper books in my “library” but kept a few that have special meaning. I wish I had done the same with my old records. While Spring cleaning and purging can be rewarding, I recommend not going too far or you might regret the touch/read/listen of those albums one day in the future!


    March 23, 2022 at 9:21 am

    • Thanks! I’m hoping to give them another chance on the turntable before authorizing any sale or giveaway.
      Since I haven’t given any of them a glance in the last 10 years or more, it’s hard to argue over finding other homes, other people’s eyes and ears, to give the artistry renewed life in the world.


      March 23, 2022 at 9:00 pm

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