These are articles written for the Orillia Packet & Times newspaper by Lorne VanSinclair, who is the promoter of the Toronto Musical Collectables Record & CD Sale and this site's administrator.
These articles began in 2005 as a monthly series designed to be a primer on record collecting for the uninitiated. The series is still ongoing, there is now more than 100 articles so we've divided them up by year in the menu above.
The series has now expanded to include articles on other aspects of collecting and they can be seen on our sister web site www.carouselcollectables.com.
New articles will be posted about every five weeks until somebody at the newspaper realizes what a big mistake they've made and stops the series.
Like records, radios have a very emotional connection; they played music after all. We got to know, even become “friends” with our favourite radio personalities, and we heard the important news stories of the day on this beautiful, magic box with tubes that glow in the dark
People who collect records also collect books, graphic art, vintage electronics or just bits of tin ... as long as it has something to do with music
Our story begins some time in 1955 in Los Angeles. A singer and songwriter named Richard Berry is backstage between sets hurriedly scrawling something on a napkin. He never imagined the song he wrote that night would become one of the biggest hits in music history.
Collectors will often focus on certain stellar brands - Royal Dolton china or Zippo lighters for instance. For record collectors there are a very few brands - or labels - that warrant building a collection around them but of the ones that do, Sun Records of Memphis Tennessee is the cream of the crop.
If you’re not a devotee you might wonder, just what the heck is folk music anyway? The stock answer is that this is music made by just plain folks. The songs and styles are passed on through an oral tradition, not through formal education. The ideal folk musicians are just carrying on a culture, not trying to be stars making gazoolas of money.
The record business mostly involves producing mass quantities of popular music. In many ways records have defined our popular music culture but the industry got its start - and a lot of its technological innovation - from classical music.
The Dumbells may sound like a silly name but this group of actors and musicians played a crucial role in boosting morale among Canadian soldiers in the muddy, blood-soaked trenches of World War I. They then built on that success to become international stars.
This holiday season has many layers of significance. It is a time of lights and festivities to ward off the darkest days of the year, a time of religious observance, a time when we gather together and cherish our families. Christmas music reflects all this.
We hear a lot about soul in music. Last month we looked at the phenomenon of Northern Soul, but sometimes it seems soul is everywhere. Alicia Keys, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and American Idol winner Taylor Hicks are all well-known exponents of soul singing. Most country and pop singers use soul techniques.
Music collectors can sometimes be like a cult. They have their own language, sacred rituals and idols to worship. Most outsiders can only scratch their heads and wonder what it’s all about. No group is as rabid, enthusiastic or baffling to outsiders as Northern Soul collectors.
Music commentators and journalists like to use hip jargon. You’ll often hear them use the terms “cover” or “cover version” when referring to a new recording of a song that has been recorded before by someone else. The word cover is over used and usually applied incorrectly.
Everyone loves a good laugh, and record companies have exploited that for years. Some of the very first recordings Thomas Edison made were comic monologues or recitations, some by Mark Twain. Novelty records have been a staple of the industry ever since.
When buying music, most people look for a favourite song or artist, they don’t usually consider the label, that’s something collectors do. Some labels do manage to develop an audience for their own distinct “sound” but none did it as successfully as Motown Records.
The word jazz has many different meanings. When you jazz something up, you make it more exciting or colourful. When you talk jazz, that’s nonsense.
Jazz music is just as hard to define. It can be dance and party music, smooth and soothing, or weird and dissonant. Fans say it doesn’t matter, as long as it swings.
All mass manufacturers strive to find ways to make their products stand out from the ordinary, and record manufactures are no different. One of the most obvious ways was to make records of different colours to attract attention.
So why are most records black?
Bootleg records are a hot topic in the news these days.
Bootlegs are unauthorized and illegal issues, often recordings of concerts or unreleased material stolen from record company vaults or even reproductions of legitimate releases. Bottom line is, the person or company selling the record does not own the copyright and they don’t pay royalties
Click … whirr … clunk … swish … music. That may not be a very good representation but it serves to remind us of a time, not so long ago, when if you wanted to listen to a specific piece of music in your home, it involved the process of taking a large disc out of its storage sleeve, placing it on a turntable, starting the motor, placing the tone arm on the disc, then waiting as the needle found the groove then - finally - the music.