My top 10 vinyl tricks
My wife and I treated ourselves to a new turntable for Christmas 2019. It was a basic entry-level player with a built-in speaker. Unfortunately, as with the old adage that “you get what you pay for”, the tonearm wasn’t properly balanced, so the stylus was skimming the records like a figure skater at the Beijing Olympics.
And the speaker: you know when you’re at an airport and they make an announcement, but you can’t quite understand it through all the static? This speaker was only marginally better than that. It didn’t really inspire any interest in developing a vinyl habit.
So about two years later we upgraded to an Audio Technica turntable with a pair of Bluetooth speakers. This setup worked really well for our house. Our vinyl collection has grown significantly in 2021 – and for me at least it’s become a bit of an addiction.
No. 5. KING CRIMSON – RED: Now on 200g vinyl, “Starless” has never sounded so hauntingly beautiful before. It’s the pinnacle and last album of the John Wetton era, and special care has been taken to produce an exceptional reissue. Taken from the original analog source recordings, this disc puts you in the room with Robert Fripp, Wetton and Bill Bruford.
No. 4. POWDERFINGER, ODYSSEY N°. 5: 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION (Australian import): This is a gray area because pressing 2020 It was the first time the album was released on vinyl. Powderfinger were one of Australia’s top alternative bands from the 90s to the 2000s. Odyssey No. 5 was originally released on compact disc in October 2000 and contains two of their most beloved tracks – “My Happiness” and “These Days”, the last of which was the latest song they have already played live to close the last concert of their Farewell 2010 tour.
No. 3. FLEETWOOD MAC – THEN PLAY ON (reissue 2021): The best thing about this re-release is that it restores the original UK track listing. Some of Danny Kirwan’s tracks had been replaced with “Oh Well Pts.” 1 & 2″ and “The Green Manilishi” on the US version. These songs are some of Green’s best, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something about experiencing an album as it was meant to be heard. was Danny Kirwan’s first official album with Fleetwood Mac, he had made some contributions to “The Pious Bird of Good Omen”, but was not considered a full member of the band at the time. springs from the doors with “Coming Your Way”, and established himself as a force to be reckoned with – which was fortunate, as this turned out to be Peter Green’s final Fleetwood Mac album.
No. 2. MARILLION – LOST CHILDHOOD: I would discuss misplaced childhood was one of the best albums of the 1980s. Marillion’s brilliant concept album is a must-have. This pressing is from the 2017 mix and captures the magic of the original release. The acerbic bite of Fish’s vocal delivery on “Kayleigh” is preserved in perfect form: “By the way, didn’t I break your heart? Sorry! I didn’t mean to break your heart!
1. AUSTRALIAN CRAWL – SIROCCO: 40th ANNIVERSARY REISSUE (Australian import, 180g clear vinyl): Australian Crawl has released three studio albums, an EP and some live albums. From their work in the studio, Sirocco was easily their best. There’s not a bad track on it. This is the reissue the album deserves. It’s aural pleasing from first to last note.
No. 5. AMERICA – THE STORY: It was one of the first albums we picked up in January 2020. From what I can tell, it’s an original pressing. The cover has seen better days, but it was one of the few albums that played well on our home turntable. As such, it was one of the most played albums. America had so many great songs, and it’s great to have so many in one collection with the warmth of vinyl. This is an album that I recommend to any collector.
No. 4 SUPERTRAMP – CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS? : My favorite Supertramp album, as some of John Helliwell’s best moments were captured on this release. Although he has none of the hits of Crime of the Century Where Breakfast in America, the songs he has are absolutely delightful. From the opening suite of ‘Easy Does It’ to ‘Sister Moonshine’ to the epic majesty of ‘A Soapbox Opera’. Add “Another Man’s Woman”, “Poor Boy” and “Lady” (not to be confused with the Little River Band song of the same name) and you have a fantastic collection of songs.
No. 3. ROLLING STONES – CONSEQUENCES (1971 UK edition): I deliberately researched this version of the classic Stones album over the US edition, due to the alternate track listing: the UK version does not have “Paint It Black” which precedes the US edition, but contains “Out of Time”, one of the Rolling Stones’ best deep cuts. It is also presented in its entirety, while only appearing in edited form on More Hot Rocks: Big Hits and Fazed Cookies. This copy of Consequences sounded like it had rarely been played; the disc was still in exceptional condition. I would say this is possibly the Stones’ best album of the Brian Jones era. Jones’ multi-instrumental talents are prevalent throughout this release.
No. 2. THE TRIFFIDS – CALENDAR : The refined, stripped-down style of the late Dave McComb is really showcased in this version. McComb was an exceptional songwriter and a decent singer. Calenture is like a warm blanket on a cool fall day. I was surprised to find an American pressing of this australian version. The vinyl was in exceptional condition.
No. 1. DAVID BOWIE – THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE MARS SPIDERS (1980 pressing): There’s a reason this album is on most must-have vinyl lists. It’s not just content Ziggy Stardust was even necessarily David Bowie’s best, but it was easily his best mixed album! I have a handful of Bowie reissues, and none of them sound as perfectly magical as this one. Whether it’s the singles or the album’s deeper tracks, there’s a magic and warmth to vinyl that isn’t quite there on other mediums. Every time I listen to it, I hear something new. It’s like hearing Ziggy Stardust for the first time again – and that’s something I can’t necessarily say about another vinyl in my collection.