Sheet Music

Sheet Music

Vinyl Junkies: Adventures in Record Collecting

By Brett Milano

St. Martin's Griffin, 230 pp., $13.95 (paper)

Exploring the idiosyncrasies that make record collectors their own brand of eccentric, Boston-based music journalist Brett Milano picks the fevered brains of a handful of renowned diggers. Whether discussing prewar 78s with Robert Crumb, proto-punk staples with Peter Buck and Thurston Moore, or the importance of both JBs (James Brown and James Bond) with Cut Chemist, Milano lays bare a consumer culture so fascinated with musical documentation it often forgoes living space in favor of stacks of dusty artifacts. As the obsessions of vinyl hounds are scientifically pinpointed as a result of serotonin deficiencies, which are generally treated with daily doses of Prozac, Vinyl Junkies extracts every bit of rhyme behind the now-remote reasoning of the wax-wielding audiophile. Citing a fuller sound than CDs; bigger, more creative sleeve art; and most importantly, the immense challenges of locating wanted records, each collector rationalizes his own personal fetish with colorful anecdotes of determination and fulfillment. The realization that there's someone out there willing to pay $2,000 for a copy of Tony Jackson's Understanding EP then pay the same fee again when the first payment disappears in the mail is a wake-up call any number of psychiatrists would love to answer. Of course, the ends justify the means, or so we are led to believe.

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