We’re all familiar with those “Top 10, 20, 25, 30, 50 etc…” essential buying lists for LP’s, records, or vinyl (I still call them records or LP’s). However, a quick scan of said lists quickly brings me to the realization that music is a deeply… deeply personal and subjective thing.
Like many of my generation I bought into the hype surrounding the arrival of the Compact Disc back in the early mid-80s and so discarded my record collection for the new medium. Somehow over the ensuing decades I lost all but a handful of my CD’s to divorce and other vagaries of life. Then along came Napster and later other digital download mediums that along with the ubiquitous YouTube pushed the desire for physical ownership of my music to the back burner. Nonetheless, and paradoxically it was YouTube that reinvigorated my desire for fidelity in audio and a spending spree reclaiming first CD’s and now LP’s.
Audiophiles such as Ron “Rockin’ Ronny” Beaudry and fellow Beatlemaniacs, Mean Mr. Mayo and the Canadian Studmuffin ignited the fires that seemingly died out forever in the 1990s. So why a non-essential list? Well, as I state above the whole music listening experience is so personal that what I might consider essential may include music that you can’t stand. So with that said, and since in most cases I won’t be buying vinyl versions of albums I own on Compact Disc here’s my:
Nonessential Top 10 Records:
1. The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
I own the 2017 Deluxe box set on CD – it is a real treasure and sounds amazing. So why buy the record? Well, I’m admittedly anal retentive and decided if I was going to buy any record then the first one had to be the Beatles. Moreover, the general consensus is that the LP sounds better than its digital counterpart. In my opinion they both sound wonderful. I’ll probably end up getting The 2009 remasters Beatles in Mono box set too.
2. T.Rex: Electric Warrior
I own the Rhino remaster of this one on CD too. However, once I was in the store (London Drugs in this case) and saw this staring back at me from the shelf I had to buy it. Released on 180 gram vinyl and published by Rhino it was a must-have for me. This is probably my favourite album cover and simply screams “rock-god guitar hero”. It’s also my favourite T.Rex album. The cover photo demands a large presentation that the LP delivers in a way the CD simply can’t. Sounds great too! Teenage memories came flooding back! Get it on and Bang a Gong!
3. John Lennon & Yoko Ono: Double Fantasy
I bought this one simply because I own most of Lennon’s catalogue on CD already. This one I don’t have on Compact Disc. I also wanted to own a Lennon album before I grabbed a McCartney solo effort. I picked this one up at Walmart last night for $27 Cdn. I admit that I do like the cover photo. It’s an interesting and poignant album insomuch that John was murdered just after its release. I remember my excitement when I first heard “Just Like Starting Over” on the radio in the Fall of 1980. John’s back! And then the instinctive gut wrench as I literally woke up to the radio intoning… “John Lennon…. was shot and killed last night in New York City.” There was something in the way the DJ intoned “John Lennon” that told me he was gone before the announcer actually had time to speak out the awful news of John’s death. I cried all day. The edition of the album I own is a UK remaster from 2015 on 180 gram vinyl. It sounds wonderful. As an aside, my favourite John Lennon solo LP is 1973’s “Mind Games”
4. Neil Young: Harvest
Although I own Neil Young’s Greatest Hits on CD I currently do not own a copy of Harvest in any format; and so with that in mind it appears high up on my Nonessential list. I’ll be looking for a good audiophile version on this and will research accordingly before I purchase.
5. Sinéad O’Connor: Sean-Nós Nua
I’ve heard a few cuts from this album on YouTube and I have it in my mind to pick it up. I am proudly part Irish so this collection of traditional Irish tunes by the incredibly gifted and equally troubled Irish singer appeals to me. As with all my LP purchases I’ll be looking for the best/near-best available recording I can lay my hands on. I have to admit this is one quirky looking Album cover but could we expect anything less from Sinéad?
6. Piero Toso, I Solisti Veneti, Claudio Scimone
From the music forum: https://www.vinylengine.com/
Q: Can anyone recommend a decent sounding copy of this [Vivaldi’s Four Seasons] please?
A: I have many versions and the best of the best is Piero Toso, I Solisti Veneti, Claudio Scimone (Erato NUM 75054/RC 180).
Thanks, Blue Angel!
7. The Moody Blues: Days of Future Past
I have a Greatest Hits CD from these guys but I’ll be wanting this particular album on vinyl. Great youthful memories of listening to Knights in White Satin at the old Sportman’s Restaurant in the wee hours on Dunsmuir street in Vancouver, BC. Tuesday Afternoon is another favourite from this LP.
8. Yes: Close To The Edge
I am a huge Yes fan going back to the mid-1970s. I’ve seen them in concert a few times and lament the passing of bassist Rick Wakeman whose autograph I have gracing a concert program, a Yes DVD, and a couple other goodies. Close to the Edge is probably my favourite Yes album… although I really enjoy them all. No excuses for this one. I own a couple of CD versions but I wouldn’t be happy without Yes on vinyl and Close to the Edge fits the bill.
9. Paul McCartney: Band on the Run
*Sigh* I own this one on CD but it’s another album I’d definitely want on vinyl. I might as well throw in Venus and Mars too. Both LPs are among the very best McCartney produced. As is standing operating procedure I’ll be wanting to get a couple of hi-fidelity pressings of them.
10. Badfinger: Magic Christian Music
Badinger’s contribution to the 1969 comedy “The Magic Christian” starring Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr. Pure nostalgia on this one. I owned this record and played it ad nauseum back in the 1970s. I have Badfinger’s Greatest Hits on CD but it doesn’t hold the nostalgic kick that owning this album again will bring.
11. BONUS LP Led Zeppelin: IV
I couldn’t leave off without adding in Led Zeppelin IV… another 70s wee hrs staple. Another one that I own on CD. Not sure which version to get – Ron Beaudry whom I mention above cannot abide the Jimmy Page remasters. I don’t have the same complaint regarding the CD but it does add a cautionary note to the LP purchase.
12. BONUS LP #2 Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon
Ooooo! I definitely have to add a copy of this to the mix. Another 70s favourite that I own on CD. Nonetheless, a Vinyl version needs to be purchased. Money! It’s a hit!
That’s all Folks… for now… I’m kinda wanting the Rutles’ “All You Need is Cash” again too 😀