Eight years of The Vinyl Word
It's exactly eight years since the first Vinyl Word blogpost was published. I was working as a communications manager at the Department of Health near Waterloo when, bored and fed up with the January weather, I discussed the idea with my mate Nick Tancock, now living in Bologna, who contributed to a political blog at the time. I'm not sure whose idea the name The Vinyl Word was, but it's a good one I think, as it neatly sums up the central theme of the blog. Since then there have been over 850 posts, a similar number of comments (excluding the thousands of spam comments that have been filtered out) and nearly 200,000 page views. Posts on Muscle Shoals, Etta James and Ernie K-Doe have attracted the most views, but I can't help feeling that the reason is that many of them have been by spamsters.
The blog was born the day after Wilson Pickett (pictured) died and I wondered at the time who
would be the last soul man standing. Since then we have lost James Brown, Solomon Burke and Bobby Bland, three of the names I mentioned, but Bobby Womack, Clarence Carter, Sam Moore, Ben E King, Eddie Floyd and Percy Sledge are still with us. Long may they be so.
The blog has catalogued hundreds of music deaths over the years but it hasn't all been bad news. I've been to some fantastic music festivals during that time, including the Ponderosa Stomp, Jazz Fest, the King Biscuit festival and the Porretta Soul festival, and many excellent gigs, along with a few crap ones. I've found some wonderful records during this time, including many at knock down prices in car boot sales and charity shops, and featured many of them on The Vinyl Word. From time to time I have delved into nostalgia for past events, TV shows and personal memories. Hopefully I haven't bored too many people!
My very first post set out the reasons for writing the blog and the sort of topics it would cover, so I'm reprinting it here for readers to judge whether I have been true to my promise. Here it is, from January 20th, 2006.
'People keep telling me that everyone should have a blog these days. Whether anyone will ever read it, other than myself, is another matter, but I hate to miss an opportunity to get into the 21st century, or, in my case, beyond the era of vinyl LPs and singles. The Vinyl Word is dedicated to the discs that we knew and loved before CDs came along, not to mention mini-discs, IPODs and MP3s.
Vinyl records may have surface noise, may have scratches, may even jump and skip, but they are the only way to fully appreciate the great music of the 50s and 60s. The vinyl was thick and heavy and the sleeves of LPs and even EPs (an almost forgotten musical format) told a real story and were often works of art in their own right. And is there anything to compare with a two minute 45 by Little Richard or Fats Domino blaring out from your record player? I don't think so.
They say vinyl is making a comeback - and about time too - but in truth it never went away, as testified by my record collection, which runs into thousands of singles and LPs. It's not just the plastic that makes this form of record so great of course, but the music itself.
I was born in 1946 and remember my sister buying the very first Elvis 78s. By the time I reached record buying age 78s had been replaced by 45s and I began to build up a collection of rock and roll, American pop, 50s R and B, blues, sixties soul and ska records during the 1960s, which I have expanded massively as a result of years of early mornings searches at car boot sales, and routine visits to charity shops.
The content on this blog will focus on the golden musical age of 1956 to 1969. I never did care much for British pop so it will have little flattering to say about the 60s British beat groups or middle of the road crap. But if your interests lie in original US and Jamaican music from that period this may be the place for you.
So welcome to The Vinyl Word - and keep on rocking.'