The satisfaction of vinyl and close harmonies
My turntable, a trusty old Denon DP-60L, has been out of commission for the past few weeks. It had developed an annoying hum. I figured that it was just a bad ground connection but haven't had the time to chase it down and fix it. Well Sunday was cool and rainy, a perfect day to get that turntable fixed. The ground (earth to our British friends) problem turned out to be a simple loose connection at the pre-amp, but since I had the turntable apart I gave it a full tune-up.
That is when I realized what was missing from listening to music the modern digital way. Each time I play one of my treasured LPs I have a ritual to perform. First the album must be removed from the liner carefully holding it with the palms against the edges. Next is the cleaning of the album to remove any dust that has settled on the surface. I then turn my attention to the stylus and give it a cleaning with a dense but gentle stylus brush. When all is clean the tone arm can be moved over the lead in and gently lowered onto the record and the platter set spinning. This ritual is repeated for each side of each album, approximately every twenty minutes.
I believe it is this ritual, performed with care and reverence, that makes one feel he has contributed to the music somehow. The science tells us that CDs offer cleaner, more complete sound, but after performing the album ritual and sitting in my listening chair, the music from an album satisfies something within.
Since my turntable is freshly tuned I spent the day performing the ritual and transferred a few things to digital to share with the riders on the Bus.
The musical style of the Highwaymen is one that has not been revived in the decades since its peak in the early 1960s. The harmonies of the collegiate folk vocal groups like the Highwaymen, the Chad Mitchell Trio, the Kingston Trio, the Brothers Four, the Serendipity Singers, Joe and Eddie,... fell out of favor as the more confrontational and politically oriented folk singers such as Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs took the stage to raise our collective consciousnesses. 'Tis a shame that the beautiful harmonies of these groups have never regained the popularity they once enjoyed.