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Campus Collectibles aisle of 45s. (Photo by Christine Bradley)
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Campus Collectibles has the largest collection of vinyl records for sale in Shreveport. (Photo by Christine Bradley)
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Day Old Blues
Local music and merchandise available at Day Old Blues. (Photo by Christine Bradley)
Although the glory days of the Louisiana Hayride, Stan “the Record Man” Lewis, and Steve Timmons’s Something Out Of The Ordinary (SOOTO) Records store are behind us, a new love and cultural appreciation for vinyl records is re-emerging.
Collecting trends and perhaps a newfound appreciation for listening experiences are creating new, healthy markets for vinyl records. What was the main source for listening to recorded music decades ago is now a collectible physical medium of music, popular among all ages. While new generations absorb so much information in digital formats, there is still something attractive about an album you can see and literally touch. There’s also the artwork and/or posters that may accompany a record.
Kern Courtney is a vinyl record collector and hosts a monthly record listening party here locally. Beginning in 2009 at the Naked Bean, the Naked Vinyl listening party now takes place the first Thursday of each month at Marilynn’s Place, 4041 Fern Ave. This July marks the fifth annual celebration of the event.
Courtney said that while vinyl albums do not have the perfect sound quality of digital audio files, records do provide unique listening experiences.
“So if I have a record that skips in this one little place—and I do—that’s the way I’ve heard that song over and over, with that little skip in it. Then it almost doesn’t seem right when I hear the digital copy, and it doesn’t have that little skip; it doesn’t have that little noise right there,” Courtney said. “I think that can actually be an endearing quality about vinyl. It collects these imperfections that create a kind of beauty that wouldn’t exist in a very, very perfect file.”
The raw and crackling sounds of a recording, starting and growing a collection of your own—the appeal of vinyl spans generations, evident at events such as Courtney’s Naked Vinyl listening parties and other events such as Record Store Day. An international event that began in 2007, it helps bring awareness to the businesses and culture surrounding vinyl records.
This year’s Record Store Day took place April 19, and local record shop Day Old Blues signed on as an official participant. James Gilcrease, owner of Day Old Blues, hosted the event at their new location at 437 Kings Hwy., just a few blocks down from where SOOTO Records was years ago. He said they saw great success at Record Store Day, with people lining up outside the shop nearly three hours before opening time.
Gilcrease takes pride in the unique selection he supplies at Day Old Blues, stocking new and out-of-the-ordinary vinyl. He also sells vintage records, but they must be in good condition, choosing instead to brand his vintage vinyl as “pre-loved” versus “used.”
“It’s coming from someone who loved their vinyl and listened to it, and now they have to part ways with it,” said Gilcrease.
In addition to the vintage, new, and unique vinyl records Gilcrease sells, he has a local music section set aside at Day Old Blues. In this section are the only CDs available to purchase at the shop—those produced by local artists. As a supporter of local music, Gilcrease said he keeps no profits from the sales of the local releases at Day Old Blues, giving every cent back to the band.
“I don’t want any of their money,” Gilcrease said, “because I want to build them up.”
Another source for vinyl records shopping in Shreveport is Campus Collectibles at 102 E. Kings Hwy just next to Centenary College. Housing more than 150,000 vinyl records, it’s the largest collection for sale locally.
Hunter Ward has worked with and helped organize the store’s records for about three years. He has a vinyl collection of his own with about 400 records and estimates its current worth at about $2,000. A collector since he was a freshman in high school, Ward said he enjoys taking the time to sit down and listen to an entire album.
“No one really takes time to sit down and listen to music. It’s always on you iPod, on your phone, in the car,” Ward said. “Just sit down and hang out with your records. It’s fun.”
Although vinyl records have never completely vanished from the music scene, they have made quite the cultural comeback in recent years. These new spin trends bridge generation gaps, and even the local community of vinyl enthusiasts is growing.
Whether it’s the unique listening experience or the collectible, physical medium that motivates local vinyl enthusiasts, in a way their participation is a small tribute Shreveport’s vibrant music history.
By Christine Bradley