Real Music, Scratches And All

compact discs CDs records recordings generic
Back in the early eighties, at a time when I was a rebellious rock jock, a little man from that Japanese electronics giant came to me with one of these..... and told me that all the music on it could be held on one of these. I told him he was talking nonsense of course and sent him on his way sharpish. And of course, I was right.

Whatever the guy in the store tells you... you can't get all that music on this one little disc. Any sound engineer worth his salt knows that the range, the width, the depth, (whatever you like to call it) that a CD can reproduce isn't a patch on the sound you get from good old fashioned vinyl. When he first heard his music reproduced on CD, Bob Geldof realised that the reproduction of what he'd recorded in studio was limited, artificial. And the darned thing doesn't last. I have a collection of CD's from 1990 that already look like the face of the Phantom of the Opera. A chemical reaction has left them discloured and unplayable. On the other hand, the oldest vinyl in my collection, a 78 rpm recording of "Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag" still plays, scratchily, but it still plays nearly a hundred years after it was pressed. Besides, a good proportion of you must remember the sheer joy of handing the cash over and buying that album you'd saved up for for so long. Big, clumsy things that they were, you felt you'd got something solid, something that would last, not like a tacky disposable CD with a case that would fall apart the moment you took it out. And now the kids on this side of the pond have started to wake up to just how much more you get from Vinyl.

After being abandoned for a couple of decades, music on vinyl is back. The catalogue is growing.

Here in the UK a thousand more albums on vinyl will be released this year - acts like U2 and Madonna are returning to the format. And the mistress of all disposable music, Kylie Minogue, released her last single on Vinyl. There's a moral here for all of us for whom Creedence Clearwater still plays in a roadhouse somewhere in California, and who are transported by the beauty of Jussi Bjorling's voice or the energy of Al Jolson.

I'm not pretending that Compact Discs don't work, they work all right.... It's just that comparing CD to vinyl, is like preferring instant coffee to fine wine. The music's got to be in the grooves, otherwise you'll never hear it...all.