Here's this week's excerpt from the R.C.Weekly Newsletter from 991… "celebrate vinyl" – that's all we have to say!
Times have changed. The media is no longer telling us: “Vinyl is coming back.” Now it has a different question: “Why is vinyl back?”
Hurrah! Vinyl is back! Official. For some of us, it never went away; for others, it just hid up in the loft, weeping gently at its fall from grace, before its owner went up there, tenderly wiped away its salty traces (bad for vinyl) and placed it in a sensuous reunion with a quivering stylus. (Diamonds are a groove’s best friend.)
That doesn’t answer the question. Why is vinyl back? Because it’s better. Liz Kershaw has a different answer: “I think this is capitalism getting back at Marxism.” As I understand it, her argument is that computers represent Marxism in that they distribute mostly free music made by “the kids” without the need of record company intervention, whereas capitalism wants to sell you vinyl and the equipment to play it on. But who sells you the computers and MP3 player to play your “free” music on? Not “the kids”, that’s for sure. I like free stuff as much as anyone, but how are musicians to earn a living if music has no monetary value? For every millionaire member of a stadium rock band there must be at least, ooh, three or four struggling musicians who put out records but fail to rake in the megabucks.
What are musos meant to do if they can’t make royalties on their music? Work in iPod factories by day (and we know what they are like) and gig by night? I like reggae, and it’s a crying shame to me to have got on a bus and seen one of my idols, Pat Kelly, sat there, when he has had massive specialist hits, but wasn’t paid royalties. It’s the same for Ken Parker, a singer who is like Brook Benton and Smokey Robinson in one handy package, who was working as a security guard in Enfield in the 1980s. Those dignified men didn’t moan: they got on with life. But that’s what happens when music is distributed without the artist receiving a royalty. Anyway, have a listen to this short story on the Today programme this morning, and be glad vinyl is back and hopefully someone is getting paid for it. And yes, I know that I buy secondhand records and the occasional bootleg, but I also buy brand-new black plastic from retailers in shops. And people get paid when I do. In theory, at least.
Thank you for your huge support for the last issue, RC 397, the one with Keef on the kover. It’s sold brilliantly, we’re delighted about it. It’s in its last week in the shops before the next one drops. We’ve got a feeling this is another winner, featuring The Clash on the brink, fighting for complete control in 1978; we have a big piece on Alex Harvey and the first section of our story about Motown LPs. There’s lots more besides: I’ll tell you more next week. It’s in the shops on 2 February. You won’t be able to miss it, the cover is so dramatic…
Thank you for reading,
Have a great weekend
Ian McCann, Record Collector Editor
In the current Record Collector Magazine…
COVER STORY: Keith Richards on the making of The Stones’ Some Girls + Kris Needs on the album’s origins.
Stone Roses: the second comeback – will it work out this time?
British Soul Power: the original home-grown soul stars, including Dusty, Geno, PP, Tandy, Farlowe and Fame.
Bill Bruford, the drummer who drove Yes, King Crimson and Genesis.
Bill Nelson: Be-Bop Deluxe’s enigmatic mainman talks.
Plus: Wishbone Ash, our pick of the rock books, Roger Mellie, 2011 under the microscope, and win a Can box set!
Don't forget if you want to receive the full unedited R.C. Weekly Newsletter by email every week, contact firstname.lastname@example.org – please mention 991.