Print Reviews
Garage Sale Vinyl

Garage Sale Vinyl

Christopher Long

Bibliozona Books

I was confident I had reached a personal limit on my interest in collecting vinyl. I don’t consider myself a real “collector” but more of a hobbyist who has a decent scattering of her records from adolescence and early adulthood. In the last two decades, the hobby had a resurgence as I began to only buy vinyl for new releases and the occasional “find” at the local independent record store. I have two storage cubes now at capacity with everything from the new Sierra Ferrell record to some Patsy Cline gems I will take to the great beyond. I’m good now, right?

Then I got my hands on a copy of Garage Sale Vinyl, Christopher Long’s latest book that is both a nostalgic tunnel of love for those of us of a certain age and a modern primer on how to appreciate the record for the magic carpet ride it is.

Expanding on the enlightening column of the same name for Ink 19, Christopher introduces the book in a way that feels more like a conversation than a lecture with a “back in my day” tired vibe. I find myself nodding and laughing at the memory of being in a little hot water for bringing certain records into the house. We both grew up with Alice Cooper, who set the shock wave bar for us 1970s kids. Before finishing the first few chapters, I’m already curled up in a chair, feet tucked under, devouring each section and page-turning for the next.

As familiar as I was with Christopher’s style of storytelling, I didn’t quite know what to expect with the book format. Would it be just a digest of past columns? Would I be able to relate to the emphasis on older records, as someone who prides herself in not clinging to the past? As I read through each section; covering such classics as Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young’s Deja Vu, to The Kinks’ Low Budget, I allowed myself to exhale and become comfortable, proud even, of the memories I have of this music and its place in my life.

The author brings engaging personal anecdotes to each record highlighted, so you understand why it is included. He also leaves some negative space for the reader to step into the scene and get more curious, or take a look at the track list included and wonder why she didn’t snap up that ten-dollar bargain when it was in the used bin, still in the original plastic wrap. This book isn’t an all-inclusive “greatest hits” collection of records you need to buy, but a journey outlining the joy of seeking out records, finding them in the most unexpected places, and holding on to them in a world that requires so little effort to acquire music.

Naturally, a standout chapter for me is the author’s story of finding Bonnie Raitt’s 1974 release, Streetlights at a garage sale for less than a dollar. This find is what birthed the column that inspired this book and inspired me to hunt for a copy to squeeze into the last quarter inch of space I have on the shelf. The author and I discovered Bonnie at about the same time. I feel seen. I’m also jealous. He’s got Streetlights on vinyl, and I’m on a mission.

If you’re old enough to remember where you were, or where you wish you were when these albums found their way to you, you’ll be folding down pages and checking your collection to see if they are still there. If they are, and no matter what condition they’re in, you’ll take them out and examine the cover art, put them on the turntable, and find new ways to listen inspired by this book

If they’re not; even if you’ve maxed out on space or money to spend, you’ll keep your eyes open for the buried treasure in the back of the store, or the corner of a friend’s garage. Garage Sale Vinyl gave me permission to revisit some great memories, and look forward to my next find.

This is a book that isn’t put back on the shelf once finished, but kept within easy reach for future reference, bookmarked favorites, and just enough FOMO to keep you on your toes.

Bibliozona BooksGarage Sale Vinyl

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