mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS

Letting Go of Vinyl

You can't realize you're on the wrong road till you start driving.

Last January Pat lent us her USB turntable for playing vintage LPs into the computer. Jim and I have well over 100 records between us, contributing nothing to our quality of life. Good idea to turn them into CDs, then MP3s for the iPod, right?

In a burst of energy I decided this would be the week to tackle the vinyl treasure chest. I could be capturing old tunes while I list movie star photos on Ebay.

Set up was a snap. Turntable to USB on my laptop. Downloaded free Audacity sound software, so that I didn't have to worry about "professional" fine tuning. It worked!

Figured I'd worry about CDs later, so I just saved the .WAV files to a spare hard-drive and scanned the album covers so I would know the names of the songs.

After about 4 hours and 4 albums, I came to a conclusion:

THIS IS CRAZY!!!

I started with my most arcane records -- figuring I could download all the 5th Dimension and Stevie Wonder I want from iTunes. I enjoyed singing along with Woodie Guthrie's "Dust Bowl Ballads." But do I really want to relive the bullfighting marches of my high school days, every Judy Collins and Joni Mitchell album of my college era, and every Pete Seeger protest song of my post-college, young married life?

NO.

If I decide I need them, they will be somewhere in the Download World.

At least I came to some decisions: (1) We are going to drive the vinyl over to one of the big record stores here and sell the lot. (2) I have a Stanton DJ's turntable that I used to capture sound from old 78s -- which has been sitting around catching dust. Now I know that is no longer needed, so up on Ebay it goes.

The old LPs have accumulated a lot of magic.. Those grooves and those worn album covers are permeated with dorm room longings and groovy party smoke, serious philosophizing and laughter. The Sixties... the Seventies. But... enough.

5.16.2008

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