Sunday, August 2, 2015

Michigan Record Club - For the Love of Vinyl

Bill Young

Michigan Record Club

Bill Young was born in 1958 and grew up in Sanford. He had four older sisters and they all liked to listen to music. His parents had a small collection of older country music. This led to a lifelong love for music and his eventual sojourn into record collecting.

 Bill recalls, “I was young when the Beatles made their impact on our radio stations. I also remember their impact on my sisters. I found it interesting and quite amusing that the girls were so smitten by the Beatles. They were also fond of Elvis and his style of rock & roll. I thought he was great. I made it a point to watch all of his movies at the local Drive-in Theatre.”

As he approached his teenage years, one of the biggest problems was that he didn’t have any good radio stations to. “So if we wanted to listen to the new rock and roll music, we had to buy the records. I started out listening to my sisters 45’s but in my opinion they were already out dated. At the age of twelve I was buying my own music.”

 In the early seventies Bill found that his musical tastes leaned more toward the Rolling Stones than the Beatles. “The first album I bought was “Let It Bleed” by the Rolling Stones, using my paper route money and my lawn mowing money, I was able to buy several records. But not just records. I also started buying Creem magazine which I shared with my friends. This was how we kept pace with the rest of the music world.”

By the time Bill reached the age of sixteen his collection consisted of all types of rock music. As he got older, the rock got harder. “We did not take good care of our vinyl as teenagers, said Bill, quite often I would leave my records at my friends homes never to see them again. Once I started driving, I bought 8-track tapes and soon after that cassette tapes. These were great because it was so much easier to take your music with you. No matter where I was, I could hear the loud sound of music. My vinyl collection became a distant memory.”

When Bill was in the military, his desire for vinyl returned with a vengeance. “I had my own place off base and the first thing I bought was new stereo system, of course this included a turntable. I bought some of my old vinyl favorites and many new artists too. This was during the early 1980’s. I didn’t keep many of the records I bought during this period because we simply played them to death!

 Bill has grown older. After working twenty-seven years as a chemical operator, he’s retired due to heart problems but his love for vinyl has grown so much in recent years that he decided to use the new technology on the internet to form a Record Club.

 “My thoughts were that if so many interest groups were gathering on Facebook, then why not try to find other people that have the same love of records that I have. That’s how the Michigan Record Club was conceived. For several years, there seemed to be a big decline in vinyl record sales. It became so bad that most all artists and music producers gave up on vinyl. Nearly every yard sale had a box of old records that people were selling so cheap that they were almost giving them away. I started buying when people were selling but I didn’t get too carried away. The record club began to build slowly. I thought we were a dying breed. The only store that sold records was a place called “Records and Tapes Galore.”

Bill soon noticed that more and more people were becoming friends to his Facebook page. “I had over 2000 friends (including this writer). Then Facebook shut down the page. Without any notice, I was told that the record club needed to be in a different format. I was dejected. I had to start the club all over again following a new format called a group. I was thrilled to see the people coming back to the club. I was also excited to see that vinyl record sales were making a comeback. It doesn’t surprise me at all that vinyl is returning.”

Like so many purists of great analog sound, Bill bemoans the rise of disposable music. “ As the format of music evolved from vinyl to tape, to compact disks and finally to digital MP3 and streaming, we lost that personal connection that we had with our love of music. People will still continue to stream music as they are traveling and working but when you are home relaxing, what better way to kick back and listen to your favorite band than to put on an album, read the back of the album cover and enjoy the rich analog sound of vinyl!”

Michigan Record Club does not have any real formal meetings. “We don’t have dues to pay and most anyone is free to join. I have removed people that didn’t follow the simple rule of being kind and thoughtful. Many of the club members now actually are friends and we all buy, sell and swap records with each other. I get phone calls from people that think we are a “Brick and Mortar” store. They ask if I have records for sale or even if we fix turntables. I explain what the Club is and then I give them guidance to get whatever they need. I have never run a regular record store but I have bought the entire content of a record store. I would much rather help run record shows. The Club supports and helps sponsor a local show in Bay City twice a year. We also are in close contact with many other record show promoters in the state. Record shows are my favorite place to pick up records. They have a large selection of records and it is the best place to find the hard to get records. I still like yard sales and looking for people that are will to sell their collections too!

If you would like to join the Michigan Record Club contact Bill Young through his Facebook page or call him @ 1-989-839-5709


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