Another Thing I Miss About Vinyl.

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There must be thousands of articles out there discussing the pro and cons of CDs versus albums. Or vice versa. I think most people would agree that it boils down to this: Yes, CDs sound better, but everyone who has collected albums (especially in the 70′s) misses those wonderful covers. For me, covers have always been interesting. I bought my first LP, Electric Warrior by T-Rex in 1971 (I think), and that had a pretty good cover; but in addition, it had a superb inner sleeve where Marc Bolan’s and Mickey Finn’s faces had been built up form smaller images having a general fantasy theme. Then, it was the Yes/Roger Dean era, and among my most prized possessions is the Jethro Tull ‘Thick As A Brick’ newspaper cover. Very funny indeed. My mate had Hawkwind’s ‘In Search Of Space’, with the wonderful Hawkwind Log. This was a time when you could sit and look at the cover, while listening to the music. All part of the experience. I don’t think anyone would make the same claim for CDs.

But there is one thing I don’t hear mentioned very often, and that is the fact that you could play your vinyl at different speeds. And I think youngsters are really missing something here. If you were feeling a bit bored, there was nothing to compare with the hilarity of playing your favourite songs quickly (e.g. playing a 45rpm single at 78rpm), or slowly (e.g. playing said single at 33rpm). My sister and I used to spend hours listening to my Dad’s singles in this way. A particular favourite being the speeded-up sound of ‘Seven Little Girls’ by The Avons, and the B-Side ‘Alone At Eight’. Or, you could just disengage the motor, and spin them by hand. Or even backwards. Or, if you knew that you were listening to a song that deliberately had backwards music in it (‘No One Came’ by Deep Purple, ‘The Gold At The End Of My Rainbow’ by Be Bop Deluxe), you could spin it backwards to find out how the passage was originally played in the studio. Somehow, as a music lover in the 70′s, it was important to know such things.

No wonder they got so scratched.

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