Friday, July 13, 2012

[Read] A Lesson By Honest John and 5 Albums To Buy

Technology, despite it's daily ability to make our lives easier and more efficient, is slowly destroying something I, as well as those over the age of 40 (call me an old soul), love. It's a little bit ironic seeing that technology is what made them possible, but the obnoxious advancement of digital music has made collecting CDs and vinyl records obsolete. Why pay extra and wait for a CD to come in the mail when, with one click, you can have the same album instantly digital in front of you and for much less? This is where Honest John steps in...

He runs a record store in Charleston, South Carolina appropriately named Honest John's Record Store. He's a large, elderly African-American man with a high-top haircut grayed at the edges. His large square frames seemed to magnify his eyes, giving him a quirky but warm presence. And when I entered Honest John's record store last week, little was spoken to each other. Sure is hot out there. Browse aroun', lemme know if I can help. It's a mess but you probably fine' somethin' good. 

It was a mess. There was no alfabetical order, no genre assortments, and the massive collection was definitely not grouped by color. I loved it. It looked exactly like my bedroom but much cooler since vinyl records replaced dirty clothes. I spent an hour combing through record after record. I'm not exactly sure why. I don't have a record player, but I do have an infatuation with album covers and the idea of collecting them and the music they represent. And this brings me back to my original point: technology, and more specifically, digital music blows. It's not cool. Yeah, I guess you can "collect" and build up your iTunes library, but what's to show for it? Years from now, when I have kids, I'd like to pass a badass CD and Vinyl collection on and not an external hard drive. 

I bought two records: Led Zepplin's "II" and Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young's "Deja Vu." I walked up to Honest John, and lo and behold, he gave me an honest reaction. 

"You gotta record playa?" he asked raising an eyebrow. I can't imagine he sees many young customers anymore. 

"Nope, just like records," I said. "I hope to get one soon, though." 

My response, for him, was like seeing fireworks for the first time. A smile stretched from ear to ear and he stuck his wrinkled finger on his nose, pushing his glasses closer to his eyes as if he was reevaluating me as a worthy customer. 

"Aww yeah, you gots some good ones. Lemme ring you up." 

Those were just about the last words he said to me, but I could tell his day had been made. That, or Honest John was just happy for some business (which, thanks to digital music, could be the case). I'd like to keep some faith in humanity, however, and say that Honest John was truly happy that a 21 year old white guy came into his hole-in-the-wall record store and showed genuine interest. Thank yous were exchanged shortly after he totaled my purchase and with a massive hand, Honest John waved me goodbye. 

I want to say that this man and his outrageously unorganized store symbolize the passion for collecting. He's one of the few looking down on digital music. I don't want to think otherwise. Mainly because if I do, it makes this post pointless, but also because I have faith that John got his prefix for a reason. His look and appreciation was genuine, and his inability to work the credit card machine hinted to the fact he doesn't know what iTunes is. 

So here's to collecting physicals, be it CD or vinyl, and to hell with digital music. Here are 5 albums that any collector (with similar taste as us) should have on hand... 

1. "The Lumineers" - The Lumineers 
Folk / Acoustic 
Buy it for $15.00 on their website 

2. "The Blue Frontier" - Micah Dalton 
Soul / Folk / Blues 
Buy it for $12.00 on his website 

3. "Tin Shed Tales" - John Butler 
Rock / Jam / Funk 
Buy the 2 CD set for $24.50 on his website

4. "Run Wolves Run" - Sean Hayes 
Folk / Singer-songwriter 
Buy it for $9.99 on his website 

5. "Sigh No More" - Mumford & Sons 
Folk / Rock 
Anticipate their second album to come out on September 24th.

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