Music fans flock to records

Those who grew up having only records and the younger crowd that now covets them gathered at the WRUV annual “Vinyl is Forever Sale” last Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The second floor of the BCA gallery was the spot chosen for the sale; the contemporary gallery windows faced out on a dreary morning. It seemed that everyone had abandoned the few tents that braved the farmers market, for the sale. With 102 confirmed guests on Facebook, vinyl-lovers found a wide assortment of records for sale by local vendors. A music marketplace set up by WRUV, Pure Pop, Speaking Volumes, Burlington Records and other private collections took up one section of the gallery. The morning began with WRUV DJs selling merchandise and spinning sounds in the next room; James Brown sang over the bartering. Senior Zach Zimmerman and friend Grace Gomes rotated around the vendors, looking for the best selections and prices. With a Deep Purple record in arm, Zimmerman was a staunch supporter of the more manual style of music. “I’ve been a fan ever since my folks handed their records down to me,” Zimmerman said. “I love how you then have a physical imprint of the original vibration.” Gomes agreed that there’s something special about vinyl. “I call it tangible music,” she said. Records are the closest we get to the essence of a song other than actually witnessing the performance. Zimmerman briefly explained why that is. “With digital, everything is broken down into bits and bites. Unless you have an mpr3 recorded into 24bits… that is studio quality.” he said. “You end up with what is called a ‘lossey file,’ where a certain amount of information is missing.” The large size of a 33 1/3 rpm record — 12 inches — also allows ample space to showcase artwork that defines the style of the artist. Lined up in boxes, records from every decade, displaying a variety of album jacket images, cluttered the ongoing “Outdoor Excursions” BCA exhibit. Related merchandise was also sold. Speaking Volumes, located on Pine Street, brought in a classic selection of used books, records, music memorabilia and record players. A tank top printed with the red, white and blue image of The Who was reminiscent of rock and roll in its early days. Its $75 price tag sparked interest — “An original,” the vendor said. “The knock-offs usually go for $50.” There were $5 bins and then those more valued. A Rolling Stones compilation was priced at $85. At the end of a busy day, customers walked away grinning with the addition of new and old music to their collection. They carried things much more real than mp3s and iPods. The smell of old books and records exuded from the room. “It’s worn and tattered,” Gomez said, with another Deep Purple record in her hand. “It means it’s been loved.”