More Confessions of a Vinyl Act, Part 3

OK. The crisis has passed. As relapses go, it was relatively harmless. I did not log onto eBay and search for every missing Blue Note and bid like a madman. I did not head into Manhattan armed with enough cash and credit cards to buy out the Jazz Record Center. I didn’t really do anything except lose a night’s sleep and move a bunch of Jimmy Smith records from one shelf to another.

As I am left to ponder this latest chapter in my ongoing struggle with vinyl addiction, I believe what I had was not a relapse of vinyl addiction but something more akin to a full blown existential crisis. Why am I here, what am I doing, why do I have 10,000 records, why do I care if a single one of those records has a New York USA address on the label rather than a 767 Lexington Avenue address? You know, the usual kind of existential crisis.

The trigger was the cataloging of the Blue Notes and the process of

taking each one off the shelf and handling it and looking at it and cleaning it and becoming absolutely aware of it, in the moment and in the context of its history, and my history with it. Each record brought me back to the time when I either bought the record, or first heard the music, or first became aware of the artist. And I realized as I was cataloging these records that they have been a big part of my life, the music, the collecting, the thrilling adventures in hunting for them. And I felt once again the passion of my 20s and 30s, when finding an original Lexington Avenue pressing of The Eminent JJ Johnson on Blue Note seemed like a venture worth pursuing.

I will stop here before I get too wacky with this stuff. I feel I am back to normal, or as normal as an obsessive vinyl addict can possibly be. I can once again look at a Blue Note cover without pining for all of its brothers and sisters and cousins. I can once again think clearly about which records I want to keep and which I will never miss. I no longer believe that my life is incomplete without a copy of an original pressing of every Blue Note.

So now that this crisis has passed, it’s time to move forward until the next existential crisis. When will that be? No one can tell for sure, but I will tell you this: Once I’m done cataloging the Blue Notes I’m planning to head right into the Prestige catalogue.

Uh oh.


  • Great article Al. Albeit a little scary and familiar.

  • Al- I thoroughly enjoyed reading this 3 part series that offered a glimpse into your head and expansive vinyl collection. One question- what did Mrs. Jazz Collector have to say/think about this brief crisis in your life?

  • Mrs. JC is used to my existential crises, thank goodness. Otherwise she’d probably be Mrs. Ex-JC by now. She even took the picture of me this morning that accompanies the article. The idea was to bury myself in Blue Notes, but we were in a hurry so I just pulled a few quickly off the shelves. At least I picked some good ones — and they are all originals, by the way.

  • The UK-based writer Nick Hornby (once also a vinyl addict and a very serious collector) once said, that collecting vinyl has some aspects of autism in it. I think this was a bit exaggereated….but I am sure that we all now moments when a lovely cover with an old record can redirect our minds from reality….

  • No one but a fellow collector understands. The emotional feeling of finding, playing and cherishing a rare record is difficult to express to a non collector. I don’t know if autism is the correct description, but elements of neurosis and psychopathy could apply.

  • Hear hear! I try and explain to people the feeling and sensation of digging for vinyl and unearthing gems for the personal collection. The excitement, the giddiness, the satisfaction and the overall elated feeling that overcomes me gets blank stares from the non-collectors I preach to. But I will always take the opportunity to talk about my passion when asked about it.

  • For me,nothing nails the feeling,that “rush” that one gets when coming across an original gem,than the phrase one wag uses for his ebay handle-‘sniffin’ vinyl.’ EXACTLY!(The jazz heads version of sampling a taste of the white stuff before closing a deal-and,these days,just as expensive.)

  • Pingback: Free Duke Jazz Vinyl: The Winner Is . . . |

  • has anyone done the math? I mean, at JC price guide prices, what would the complete Blue Note catalogue be worth?

  • Jazz enthusiasts acquiring uncommon Records for their Blue Note collection: (Rare Copy)
    *Please let me know only if you do have a serious interest in possibly purchasing this specific record & respond to this post/ also to those who may be extremely interested please try to leave email or a method to contact and we’ll go over more of the details.

    -Blue Note 1575 Lee Morgan City Lights LP.-(The record, cover, and insert.) It does have the “ear” and “RVG” in the dead wax and there is no “R” on the labels.
    There are different addresses on the two Labels appearing on the each side of the record:
    *(side 1 is the same address that is also on the back cover)

    Label-Side#1 =.47 WEST 63rd.NEW YORK 23 *

    Label-Side#2 =.47 WEST 63rd.NYC

    *The record is VG copy.
    *The cover is VG- condition, having visible water damage.
    *The original stock inner sleeve.

    Thanks 🙂

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