There's been a resurgence of folks hearkening back to the good ol’ days by owning a record player, hitting local music emporiums for vinyl and watching those circular LPs go round and round; sounds vibrate, come together and bleed out of the speakers like the last song you'll hear before you go to Heaven—assuming you've been good.
When the phonograph was introduced in 1877, do you reckon they thought, “Man, if only this could be more compact and let you play music by swiping your finger on a screen. Wouldn't that be swell?”
Hell, even Neil Young has designed a digital music player (Pono) that boasts of replicating the sounds of an actual record. Young released a promo video wherein Patti Smith, David Crosby, Gillian Welch and Duane Eddy all testified to Pono's awesome sound. Preach it, y'all. You might be asking yourself, “Where is all this nostalgia going?” Well, it's leading toward a celebration for record enthusiasts—people who still find comfort in placing a record on a turntable to listen to those loose, rhythmic notes emanating from the ether.
Does that sound like you? If so, you may want to head over to the Albuquerque Record Convention on Sunday, Sept. 7, at the MCM Elegante Hotel (2020 Menaul NE). This momentary vinyl nirvana serves as a place for record lovers to “meet, buy, sell and collect records, tapes, CDs, posters, memorabilia, etc.” Dealers come from all over to show off what they've got, and more often than not, it’s something you’ll want.
In 1980, the convention's founder lost some money when the premiere event didn't prove as successful as he hoped. So he passed the torch over to Mike Walsh, who still coordinates the affair. Owing to growing interest in this once-thriving, still-surviving format, he made the yearly convention into a semi-annual experience.
“For the first three years, we didn't make any money, but someone had to do it because there's such an interest in vinyl in Albuquerque,” said Walsh. “I get [everyone] from college kids to the big band era, guys from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. I get guys looking for ’60s rock, punk, hip-hop, whatever. It's all in there: classical, doo-wop, every kind of music that's out there.”
Like most music nerds, my first instinct was to inquire what happens if they don't have a certain record (because, by God, I will find that Karen Dalton album).
“If it's not there, I make announcements and refer them to a dealer,” Walsh said. “If the dealer has it at home and didn't bring it, they can get ahold of them. But if it's something really rare, it's probably at the show.”
I was also curious about what surprises Walsh has encountered during the three decades he's been handling the convention. His answer? “Continual interest in vinyl. It's not waned at all; it's continuous.”
So if you fancy yourself an aficionado of sonic sentiment, scoot on over and scope the LPs. Who knows? You might find an original pressing of the White Album ... or maybe even the Black Album. Or even ... heck, just go.