The Great Culling Of 2023 – Part 1 – The First Wave

I think it was the “Pat Benatar – Crimes Of Passion” album that did it. I was flipping through the P section in my record rack (yes she is under P not B) when I saw this.

When I was in junior high and living in Ann Arbor, this was a new album and I dug it. “Treat Me Right” and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” were absolute hits and I paid full price for my original. I probably bought it at the mall. It was great.

Some years ago I ran across it for a buck and put it in my collection. The end. I HAD loved it, and it’s a good album, but since I bought it I have never once listened to it. Why?

Every record collector evaluates the reason they collect once in a while. I have done culling’s before, removing the mistakes and experiments and poor judgement albums from my collection.

When I moved a few years ago I had a lot of crammed boxes of albums that I had to move and it was not fun. Handing over my collection to the movers was terrifying and I realized then that my collection was just too big, and vowing to do something about it… I didn’t.

Then came Pat Benatar.

I pulled out that album from the rack and looked at it and I had to admit there really was no reason for me to own this album. If I owned this album for another 10 years, what were the odds I would ever go to the rack and pull this album in particular and listen to it? Ultimately I guessed, never.

There was a point when I thrilled to add any and all records to my collection. I remember buying 2 albums from Hot Tuna in the very early days of my return to vinyl, and getting them home and listening to them (I think at that point I had about 25 records) and finding out, well, I didn’t really care for Hot Tuna. I had those in my collection for a long time before I took and sold them. I don’t know why I kept them that long.

I also bought a copy of  “Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson – A Star Is Born”. That was a nostalgia record. I think I only paid a buck for it (will have to look back) and was excited to write about how I used to listen to this record, perhaps my first full dub of an album, on a cassette in my portable tape player when I went to bed as a kid. I wrote about it, I posted it… the end. I don’t really need to keep it anymore.

I think in my head I envisioned a huge collection of cool records.

It was comforting to buy records from my past and have them to talk about and when I started making videos for YouTube and the Vinyl Community I definitely bought albums that I grabbed more to talk about rather than to listen to. That was a mistake.

My short foray into buying all the Hipgnosis album covers was fun, for a while, then I had to admit to myself that this wasn’t why I was into records. Buying sometimes not so great albums to add to the collection and never listen to was not the way to go. I remember one day thinking I wanted to buy an album that I was after from Discogs and discovering that that seller also had a Hipgnosis album. I bought that album instead and never listened to it. Shame.

When I gave up the Hipgnosis collecting I lost myself for a bit, but that sort of self-reflection and reevaluation of why and WHAT I was collecting was good. I decided to only buy things I was certainly going to listen to, or wanted to have to fill holes in the collection, or were essential albums. I have stopped myself a few times now, standing with a record in my hand at Half Price Books and thinking to myself… really, is this the one that you can’t live without? Is owning it on VINYL essential, or will a download do, or a CD? I have surprised myself and walked away from “cool” albums that 5 years ago I would have bought without thinking.

It’s taken a long time to get here, but now that I’m here… time to review what I have in the racks.

I pulled some that were good albums that I just didn’t ever listen to and earmarked them for friends. I have a stack for taking to Strictly Discs, and some to go to Frugal Muse or Half Price books. Probably 2 boxes worth thus far.

That Kinks album above is one of my original vinyl records from the early junior high days. I think Abbey had it for a while and when I got back into vinyl it came back to me. The only song on it that I really loved was “Destroyer”. Hardly a reason to keep it for 40ish years.

Not surprisingly a good amount of the albums were from the dollar bin. I did spend the time to try and remove any price stickers that would easily come off.

That was the easy part. The first wave.

Next came the hard part. Duplicates.

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