Saturday, August 16, 2014

It All Started with These...

You're looking at the first two records I ever owned in my life. 

The bad news is: I don't have the original 45-RPM singles anymore.

But the good news is this: I went on to find the Four Tops' "Baby I Need Your Loving" and Martha and the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Street" on albums.

It was fifty years ago this month that I started collecting records (with Dad's and Mom's financial help, of course...heck, I was eight-going-on-nine years of age!). 

The real impetus for launching a personal record collection was still going some kind of strong in August 1964...six months after that impetus originally took hold here in America.

That's right...just as Elvis Presley's entry onto the Billboard pop chart in March 1956 ended up causing a boom in the record industry (and transforming everything else), so the Beatles' arrival on that same chart in January 1964 (and- the absolute clincher- their live appearance on TV's The Ed Sullivan Show on 2-9-1964) caused an even longer-lasting boom in the record business (and transformed everything else).

Started collecting records at a time when, to tell the truth, I was actually away from home...and not of my own choosing.

Where I was forced to stay, I heard the records that some of the other children at that same facility had bought and were playing. (Once a week or so, we'd go into the rec room down in the basement and stack that portable record player with 45s; once in a while, an album would get heard...and, more often than not, the LP was "Meet the Beatles!")

At that time, music was on many Americans' minds...especially the minds of the youngest citizens. If it wasn't the Fab Four, it was the Dave Clark Five or the Searchers or Gerry and the Pacemakers or Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas or Manfred Mann or Herman's Hermits or the say nothing of the Rolling Stones.

Or it was some of the acts those British bands learned the Miracles and the Contours and the Supremes and the Temptations and Martha and the Vandellas and the Four Tops (to say nothing of Chuck Berry, who'd found his way back on Billboard's charts at that very moment). 

Besides those rec-room moments, the radio was always playing (when the TV wasn't on), and it was always tuned to a Top 40 this case, KWWL in Waterloo, IA. (I lived in Eastern Iowa from January 1964 to June 1967.)

And starting my own record collection helped make that three-and-a-half year period easier to take. 

Me, I didn't want to stop at Motown...or at any one genre of music.

And so, the next three singles I happened upon are now the oldest surviving 45-RPM releases I own: "Come a Little Bit Closer" by Jay and the Americans, "Selfish One" by Jackie Ross, and "Michael," Trini Lopez' remake of the Highwaymen's 1961 Number One smash.  

Anyway, I started buying albums in mid-1967 while continuing to purchase 45s (by then, I was receiving an allowance); over the next fifteen years, my collection grew, slowly-but-steadily.

By 1982, the cache exploded.

It was all because I found out about Kanesville Kollectibles (530 S. 4th St., Council Bluffs, IA), the biggest used record-tape-CD store in the Hawkeye State.

I got to the point where I'd go shop at Kanesville once a month. (Now I'm lucky to stop in twice or three times a year.)

Thanks to Kanesville Kollectibles and the chance to go to record shows every year since 1984, I now own roughly 2,000 records, tapes, and CDs. 

And since 2007, I've been working on digitizing these records and tapes, burning them onto a hard drive and converting the vinyl to compact discs. What's more, thanks to online music services like Rhapsody and eMusic, the computer I'm using to type this post now has about 5,000 items...and the items have been saved to a flash drive.  

One thing about this fifty-year (and counting) journey: This is one addiction I'm proud to have.

I'm Jim Boston, and thanks for reading this blog!

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