My now 6-year-old daughter got her first record player at the age of 2. It was a Christmas gift from her grandpa – my dad. Now, many would probably wonder if a record player is really the best gift to pass on to such a young child. But Papa Ray just wanted to make sure she had her own turntable to play the dozens and dozens of records he had brought her during her first 2 years of life. From the soundtrack to “It’s a Small World,” to Ella Jenkins’ Nursery Rhymes, to not one, not two, but three versions of The Nutcracker (her personal favorite). Some of the albums have quite a few scratches, and she pulled the arm off the player years ago. But the important thing is, she was indoctrinated into the cult of the vinyl LP at a young age. And this was important for my dad, who runs one of the very few “vinyl only” records stores in California.
On the eve of Record Store Day – which is celebrated on Saturday, April 20th – it occurs to me that not all 6-year-olds are as savvy about records as my daughter. We’ve had a couple of her pals come over and ask what the wall of thin spinned things were on the shelves (Thin books? Art? Large coasters?). When they see the record itself, many assume it’s some kind of black Frisbee or that you put it inside some big CD player like thing (ala a laser disc). But even though the vinyl LP is thought to have died long ago, it is celebrating a resurgence. Vinyl sales and production are up, with many a music fan realizing that the sound quality is better and that there is just something intrinsically cool about a real, tangible record.
Since the rumors of the vinyl LP’s death have been greatly exaggerated, let’s use Record Store Day as a teachable moment. Show your kids what a record is. Go support your local record store day by just walking in the door. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to pull out your old record player from the basement, play some slabs of vinyl and have a family dance party. And if you happen to be a collector (or want to become one) the very coveted Record Store Day limited edition releases by the likes of the Flaming Lips, Neon Indian, Jack White and Feist will be sold on that day ONLY creating instant collector’s items.
How will you celebrate Record Store Day? Me, we’ll be paying my dad a visit. Record store day for us is a family affair with three generations celebrating.