In my experience it is rare to come across a record where every track is of a consistent high quality, or perhaps more precisely, where there is not a single track that you do not enjoy.
How often do you listen to an album that is very good but let down by just one or two tracks? Or an album where side 1 is much better than side 2? It is easy to skip tracks when streaming or listening to a CD – not quite so easy on an LP record.
From about 1970 on I amassed a large collection of LP’s (and 45’s) and was sometimes not too fussy about what I bought. I might buy an album I had not heard on the strength of previous albums by that artist; I might even buy a record because I liked the cover!. Consequently I ended up with a certain amount of dross.
When I started buying vinyl again I decided I would purchase only albums that I knew I liked – a lot. I have a Tidal Masters account so I can listen to a huge number of records in very high quality: if I hear something new that is very special I will sometimes want to purchase the LP. This may seem daft to some of you because Tidal Masters should be just about as good sound quality as an LP record. However, I may not be able to support Tidal membership forever, and of course there is the perennial problem of what do you do if your wifi slows up – or goes down altogether – and you can’t stream anything? I need to know I have a few really good records to listen to.
One of my ambitions was to have my top 50 records on vinyl, but I’ve been well and truly thwarted as most of them are not available! If you look at the sample of sleeves below you will see what I mean. Try getting Natacha Atlas, Nuyorican Soul or St.Germain on vinyl. I certainly can’t. And why is it I can get Joni Mitchell’s Hissing of Summer Lawns on vinyl but not Hejira? Weird.