It’s been a little over a year since I finally secured a turntable after several years without, as a friend of mine once called the device, a vinyl-spinner. It was absolutely wonderful to track through the remainder of my record collection, often playing things that I figured (somewhat erroneously, as it turns out) were essentially entirely unattainable these days. Turns out, though, that the main appeal of having a turntable again is being able to shop for records again. I’m not referring to the new culture of 180 gram vinyl rapturous collecting (though my household does occasionally succumb to that particular siren call), but instead the anxious rustling through used bins trying to find that obscure Wonka factory golden ticket that some other foolish soul discarded. I’ve also been a devoted used CD hunter in recent years, but somehow the relentless clack-clack-clack of that activity doesn’t have the same charm. Furthermore, given that nothing excites me more than some forgotten college radio staple of the mid-to-late-eighties (I once audibly gasped upon discovering a Swamp Thing album so far from home in a used bin in Raleigh, North Carolina), lovely discs of vinyl are more likely to contain the music I covet most.
I was reminded of this again last week when I took the occasion of a visitor from the south to head to an independently-owned record store that is my current local favorite (as opposed to my all-time favorite local, independently-owned record store) so she could pursue the used bins. Naturally, while I was there….
My purchases that day included a couple real oddities for me, but there was also one that particularly scratched my proverbial old-school college radio eardrum itch, the debut EP from the Balancing Act, New Campfire Songs, originally released on Primitive Man Records in 1986. While the Balancing Act was a staple of my college radio shows back at 90FM, I don’t believe we actually had this release, so laying my hands on it created a special spark. I wasn’t reclaiming part of my past, but was instead filling in a gap. Maybe not a critical, devastating gap, but a gap nonetheless. I know a few keystrokes on a computer could have probably gotten this for me ages ago. It wouldn’t have been the same, though. There’s something about the kismet of finding it, quietly lurking in a used bin just days after some other music fan decided they just didn’t need this record any longer. Drop the needle on the vinyl, and it sounds like fortuitous fate.
Listen or download –> The Balancing Act, “A TV Guide in the Olduvai Gorge”
(Disclaimer: I’ll admit I didn’t even look it up this time, so I could be totally wrong about the assertion I’m about to make. I believe New Campfire Songs to be out of print and that track I placed here to be unavailable for purchase in a way that would duly compensate both the artist and the proprietor of your favorite local, independently-owned record store. I’m am therefore sharing it with the assumption that doing so will harm no one’s fiscal bottom line. I will gladly remove it if requested to do so by an individual or entity with due authority to make such a request. I should also note that this digitized track does not come from my personal copy of New Campfire Songs but was lifted off of some now-unknown-to-me website ages and ages ago. I’m not cool enough to transfer my own vinyl to the MP3 format. Yet. Just kidding, I’ll probably never be cool enough.)