[JPL] How I Lost Most of My Music Collection and Nearly My Mind redux

Bill Barton seekandlisten at gmail.com
Tue Jan 13 19:11:50 EST 2009

Oh my, can I ever relate to that story!

I've been collecting recorded music since I was about 10 years old (I'm 58
now.)  As a kid I was a C&W fan and started there.  At around age 12 jazz
came into the picture (and never left).

When I was in the Army at the turn of the 1970s rock reared it's head.   The
relatively large collection of rock and R&B that I accumulated then was sold
because I couldn't rationalize spending the money to have it shipped home
from Vietnam.

The C&W went a little later (and sometimes I regret it.)

But the jazz grew and grew...  Damn, did it ever!  By the time I was in my
mid-30s I had somewhere in the vicinity of 10,000 LP albums (the exact
number always remained a mystery as I never actually counted 'em - unlike
some collectors I preferred listening to the music rather than cataloging it
or obsessing over discographical details.)

In the mid-1990s when I was in the Berkshires I had to move out of where I
was living in a hurry and stored my entire collection in a friend's
basement.  Well, I thought that he was a friend - turned out to be only an
acquaintance.  When I finally managed to get re-settled I rented a truck and
went to rescue the vinyl.  A friend who is a fellow musicaholic came along
with me in his car.

We got there and find out that the dude had proceeded to actually give away
about three-quarters of the collection!  Even though I had been in touch
with him he didn't think that I was going to come and pick it up.  I was in
shock.  My friend said that if it was him he'd do physical damage to the
guy.  We could have fitted what was left in his car.

Unreal.  A quarter-century's collecting gone.  Poof!  Over forty Duke
Ellington albums including that amazing French RCA Black & White series...
An almost complete collection of Miles Davis...  Tons (almost literally) of
obscurities and rare stuff...  Original issues of Blue Notes like Cliff
Jordan and Dizzy Reece's "Starbright"...  BYG Actuels...  Archie Shepp's
"Attica Blues Big Band Live in Paris" on Blue Marge...  And on and on...

I'm slowly beginning to replace some of these in digital format but it's not
like having the vinyl.  Boy oh boy do I miss readable liner notes and the
artwork as well as the music.

So, yes, I can relate to this story in a big way.  It's ironic that the
writer of the article is also a Seattle-area resident.  Maybe we can meet
sometime and commiserate over our losses.

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