Only a vinyl record could get us to to take a break from The Record.
The portable record player sitting on my desk was so enticing. Out came the 3-LP Woodstock album that a friend recently gave me. We dropped the needle on Jimi Hendrix’s Star-Spangled Banner, and cranked it pretty loud. We just sat and listened, which is pretty unusual behavior for us at the office.
I told this anecdote one recent night to a group of record collectors. The Bull City Boys’ Night group has been meeting monthly for more than 20 years to bond over vinyl. They invited me to eat dinner with them at a Durham restaurant and tell them about The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl. Right away, one of the guys told me that he was there at Woodstock that morning in 1969, when Hendrix played Star-Spangled Banner like no one had ever heard it before, his guitar channelling Taps and machine gun fire. It was shocking, he said. “You could hear the Vietnam war!”
Together, the guys of Bull City Boys’ Night have collected tens of thousands of records. They never gave up vinyl (like I did) for cassettes, CDs and MP3s. Throughout dinner, the record references flew. “That’s a bigger pizza than I thought!” one of them said. “Is that 12 inches? Is that a record album?”
The catalyst for Bull City Boys’ Night was The Record Hole, their favorite store in Raleigh. The proprietor John Swain was quite a character, apparently. They’ve been getting together ever since the store closed. These guys are so sweet, and I can’t wait to hear what they think of The Record. They know all the references, the back stories of all the labels, the histories, the details. I look forward to seeing them all at the opening party this Wednesday, 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.
IMAGE: Photo of Bull City Boys’ Night Group with Wendy, taken by a waitress.