We have an eclectic collection of 78s and LPs that we have been adding to joyfully over the years. We have some 7-inch (45s and 33s) in there as well, but not many. The 7-inch records tend to be nifty early vinyl Jazz or one-off releases that we just like. (We have a copy of “Yuppie Drone”, for example, by the Pheromones, a duo whose act I caught one day in… I dunno… 1982… in a coffee shop outside of Washington DC. I had to have their only record – and have it still.) Regardless, the collection includes Jazz, Blues, Swing, Folk, Rock, and lots of stuff in between. We have very specific wish lists of items that we are always on the lookout for and try to track them down wherever we think they may be hiding. We also have been selling off some items to make room for others. We sometimes buy large lots of records that may include disks we already have, disks we like but don’t necessarily collect, or disks we just can’t keep for lack of room. As Stephen Wright once said, “You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?”
So, that’s what we do, and we’ve been having a blast doing it.
About the Recordings
All of these recordings are made directly from turntable to digital wave file then converted to mp3. The turntable is an Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB with a wide, 3mil stylus. It interfaces via USB with a laptop running a recent version of Fedora Linux.
Post-recording processing involves little more than clipping the first few seconds of silence at the beginning and end of each song and boosting the volume for consistency across all the recordings. We do all this using SoundForge. We do not apply any hiss reduction, compression, effects or other similar audio manipulations. What you are hearing here is as close as we can get to what we hear when we play these records ourselves. In only one case was this not entirely true. Our only copy of Memphis Minnie’s “New Caught Me Wrong Again” skipped midway through, forcing us to advance the stylus manually and edit the resulting file. We lost a few seconds of the recording, but decided that was better than nothing at all. The platter had been tortured in the extreme before it came to us, and we are always on the lookout for a crisp replacement. This is true for many of our pieces that haven’t aged well over the years as they were shuttled from owner to attic to basement to ambivalent relative to what-have-you to Retriever Records.