[Table of Contents]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: arsclist record collecting


You continue to pose interesting questions.

At 12:50 PM 03/04/2001 +0000, k mcbain wrote:
i have since interviewed a man almost as interesting as him - possessing 15,000 records, but owning no turntable, playing them only at a friend's...

From my perspective that is collecting without enjoying the collection, although I suspect that he enjoys amassing the collection.

just what is it that constitutes a 'collector'? - the amount of items, the genre of music, categorization...?

Personally, I think it's intent. I know people with thousands of CDs who are music consumers and others I consider collectors. I consider myself a collector but for time/space/money reasons have a very narrow focus. I probably have about 3,000 recordings all told, and I'm trying to restore and disperse the original master recordings in my care.

in an age where portable MP3 Jukeboxes ... is the nature of collecting music bound to change?

Of course, but again, it is intent at least in my opinion. I believe that the metadata and context are important, so collecting the original LP and CD artwork is important to me (but not an end in itself). Having the original albums in their original sequence is important...as well as having some of the "best of" collections--especially those with previously unreleased tracks.

naturally the market has a major influence on what music enthusiasts [is this different to collectors?] can acquire. is collecting perhaps a way of resisting this?

For me, it's a way of focusing on what really interests me (which is not the mainstream). Often, a recording of interest is only in print for a few months or a year, so I need to acquire it then--two in my collection have achieved very high prices (I hear close to $500) on eBay. I have paid $100 each for two rare LPs of an artist.

A music collection without doubt becomes an extension of the self.


When items that have been fought over and tears shed for find themselves re-hashed by the latest star, or used as a backing track to the latest cough syrup or car - is the value/aura of those items diminished or heightened?

To me it doesn't matter (and is generally unlikely) but in both folk and classical, I am interested in specific performances--ones that touch me and/or by artists that are my favorites. For example I thought it a plus that Judy Collins recorded a coffee commercial or something like that a few years ago because it might have caused people to say, "who is that wonderful singer?" and then go an buy a CD or more.

one last question - does a collection, as an entire entity, provide space for collectors to 'produce'?

I definitely think so in limited circumstances.

I started collecting and preserving the works of Canadian folksinger Marie-Lynn Hammond (who I think is perhaps the most under-appreciated talent in North America at the moment--certainly the most under-appreciated in my collection, though I wish all of the ladies whose music I collect were better appreciated).

This collecting and preserving (with her encouragement) turned into re-releasing all of her back catalog on CD (only one had previously been released on CD and that was out of print). I included three previously unreleased tracks on one of the CDs.

She is now recording a new CD that I will release and I am working with her former partner in a group called Stringband to restore, compile and ultimately release (on his label, probably) a 2-CD retrospective compilation.

I have also restored three of Nancy White's albums (another stellar Canadian) from the original master tapes (finding the tapes was a bit of detective work), and one is being re-released on the Borealis label (a major independent Canadian folk label).

I say limited circumstances because much of what I collect is actually owned by major record companies and I would not be able to do what I've done with these artists' work. But since the artists I collect are represented across many record companies, no one has assembled all of their work in one place except us collectors. While I wish I had access to master tapes--in at least one instance I believe the master tapes to be lost--so we settle for finding pristine LP copies and transferring them to CDR in our spare time.

I hope this helps with at least one person's perspective.

You can find a light-hearted press release about some of my work at
and a more serious introduction to preservation from tapes at

My home page, http://www.richardhess.com catalogs some of my collecting efforts.

Hope this helps!


Richard L. Hess                              richard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Glendale, CA USA                           http://www.richardhess.com/
Web page: folk and church music, photography, and
                 broadcast engineering

[Subject index] [Index for current month] [Table of Contents]