Friday, April 01, 2011

Silk Degrees

Good news people! With the amount of vinyl rips that I occasionally provide here, one might think that I'm just an old fart living in the dinosaur ages but you'd be wrong. Vinyl record sales are back in high rotation. In 2010 Vinyl Records sales increased to become the fastest growing music format in USA and Canada. Take that digital. Also these numbers do not include all of the 100% DIY/Independent releases. Or sales from most Mom & Pop stores and bands who sell off-stage at concerts. Barcodeless-off-the-grid stuff. So the numbers are even higher than being reported. Now if you think it's just a bunch of us old hippies trying to relive our glory years you'd be wrong again. Younger people are the fastest growing market for vinyl. There are a number of factors at work here. Digital download limitations in recent months has led some customers toward searching out for higher sound quality, as well as the more authentic experience of physically putting on a record and holding and looking at the sleeve. After reading several articles I've come up with at least 10 reasons for the renewed interest in the glorious vinyl sound.
1: Generally most of us audiophiles believe vinyl has better sound, a more soul reaching sound. Even after ripping it to digital.
2: Cover art and liner notes are way more cool than needing a magnifying glass to read cd liners!
3: Us boomers want to reattach to the era that they got into vinyl.
4: Lots and lots of cheap used vinyl out there and tens of millions of titles with many that will never see the light of day with CD even after 30 years of CD .
5: A physical and almost organic attachment to the black disc.
6: More and more new vinyl being pressed and sold.
7: Lots of good used turntables out there many very affordable.
8: More and more new turntables being made and sold.
9: It's A tweakers paradise unlike all other playback formats.
10: Many younger music listeners are getting caught up in it and the retro part of it, in one interview a young kid said he liked the way it felt when he held the album.
There you have it folks, straight from the mouth of babes.  Mp3's are a great portable medium and I'm down with that but you just can't beat the sound quality that comes from a hard copy such as vinyl.

In honor of this news I'm posting up a couple tunes from a classic piece of vinyl from the 70's. Silk Degrees is the seventh album by Boz Scaggs, released in 1976. The album reached #2 on the U.S. pop albums chart. The album is a mix of straight pop rock tracks, smooth soul compositions and appealing ballads. Two tracks from this album, Lido Shuffle and Lowdown, are two of the best songs released in the seventies. Lido Shuffle is one of my all time favorite songs. Has anybody out there ever heard the cd of this album? I can tell you it is quite horrible. A friend had ripped a copy for me way back and I thought the sound was awful. I was glad when I finally found a vinyl copy of this classic. Listening to the two different formats and it was immediately obvious which sounded better. Interesting note is that Boz recorded this album with session musicians who would later go on to form Toto.

Lido Shuffle
Buy It

Funny Toon


jb said...

This was one of the first CDs I bought, and I can tell you I don't listen to it much because the sound is so awful. If I want to hear any of the tracks from it, I get them from the My Time compilation, which sounds far better.

I second your vote for the physical, tactile pleasure of handling vinyl--sliding it out of the jacket, putting a finger on the hole in the middle and balancing it by holding the edges. Vinyl albums have a certain smell to them, too.

You did omit this one: It's hard to separate the seeds from the stems with a CD case.

I always enjoy your stuff--keep up the good work.

TJ Hanson said...

Sooo true!!! Last Christmas my parents gave me a turntable to replace a cheap one that I'd bought myself and along with the turntable my dad gave me his collection of vinyl's. I've spent hours listening to the albums one at a time in alphabetical order. And like the guy you spoke to holding the album cover is an experience you don't get from a CD. Usually I put on the album, sit back on my bed with the album cover in my hand and drift away.

Of course I own several iPod's stuffed with digital music, but there is nothing that compares to the raw vinyl sound.