And the beat goes on...
by Bob Alavarado
Records, musical notes etched on long-playing plastic permanence, shealted in paper sleeves and crdboard cover art, have vanished form main-stream music shop shelves. Black vinyl has been pushed aside by colder sounds: compact discs and cassettes tapes. But the life of the LP's isn't over yet. From Tokyio to New York, dealers and collectors are scouring big-city basement shop and European auction houses for first pressings and rare releases. The market for LP's is on the rise.
New Jersey dealer Jackie Beabopa Brown has been buying and selling vintage albumes for years. Specializing in Latin Jazz and old Cuban Salsa, he notes that first pressings of some early recording can bring hundreds, even thousands, of dollars the right collector. "The Japanese are among my best customers for old Latin music, followed probably by the Germans. I've traveled thousands of miles to put the right LP into a collector's hands.
Afro Antillan music is just beginning to gain wider recognition in the U.S., trends here tend here tend to be a few yeas behind those overseas."
For most aficio, it is not just the music that enthralls them, but the LP itself. The 12-inch vynil disc and the artwork on the cardboard dust-jacket play an equally important role in determining wheter the record is fit to enter a prized collection.
First pressings and test, or promotional, pressings are must haves for the majority of seious LP fans. The records have deep grooves, rich sound quality, and like ny first edition, are limited in number and costly.
Acetates are even higher on the wish-list, and the price list. As they are expensive to menfacture, ususally not more than five acetates are produced for any given album.
Also know as master discs, these recordings are actually aluminum discs coated with cellulose acetate. The musci is cut into the acetate with a neddle, by electronically tramited soundwaves. Of couse not all collectors are willing to pay top dollar for a desired addition. Many enthusiasts simply feel the quality of LPs are better than more recent counterparts.
Houston hobbiest Allen Pasternack, who's personal colection is a estimed 3,000 albums, agrees that there is nothing like the warmtones of a LP.
"Compact disk is a fine for modern music, but there is nothing like the sounds of Jimmy Lunsforth or Cab Calaway on LP."
Dealers agree that one of the largest problems facing the industry is people tossing away their old collections. The market for vintage black vinyl is growing, so before draggings those albums to the local dump. call reputable dealer. Theee may be an irreplaceable collectors item located amongst those old LPs.