Vinyl Freak: Love Letters to a Dying Medium
John Corbett is a music critic, record producer, and curator. He is the author of Microgroove: Forays into Other Music and Extended Play: Sounding Off from John Cage to Dr. Funkenstein, both also published by Duke University Press, and A Listener’s Guide to Free Improvisation. His writing has appeared in DownBeat, Bomb, Nka, and numerous other publications. He is the co-owner of Corbett vs. Dempsey, an art gallery in Chicago.
Track Four: Brand New Secondhand: Record Collector Subcultures
Track four begins with a shellac collector’s convention, situating collecting in the context of a particular subcultural activity, imagining a range of possibilities from solitary collecting to being “the focal point of social interaction.” Returning to a memoir-like mode, the author reflects on his early involvement in collecting, as a clerk at a record store, beginning to collect jazz and avant-garde music, recalling in multiple anecdotes his adventures acquiring prized LPs. The piece ends with a comparison of several kinds of collector, from the “amassing” record buyer to the “connoisseur” crate-digger.