Join Daniel’s lifelong vinyl journey with a selection of his most prized records.
When I first started collecting records, the online marketplace for used vinyl was extremely limited. Now, with successful resell websites like Discogs, anyone can find out the current value of a record with the click of a button. For old school collectors like me, that means the days of digging around for a $2 steal that might be worth $100 are long gone – as well as the prospect of buying bulk second-hand vinyl at a reasonable price.
I’ve spent thousands of hours rummaging through thrift stores in NYC, picking up single records, but I also acquired a lot of my used vinyl this way: by buying up entire collections. Naturally, this means you end up with an immense number of records, which now sit as a backdrop to our distillery venue.
Valuing my records using Discogs is something I’ve never done before, but with the venue due to reopen again later this summer, it’s time to revisit them all individually. To date, I’ve valued 300 out of the thousands of records on show at the distillery – and it’s been a really enjoyable, educational experience, as well as a great opportunity to reconnect with some of my favourite albums.
Here are some of the most significant records I’ve rediscovered in my collection… so far, anyway:
Herbie Hancock’s 1976 album, Secrets, is hands down the most important album in my collection. While this record itself is worth very little (<£10), the sounds sent me on a lifelong journey into funk – from which I've still not returned.
I acquired my first copy in 2004 when I picked up one of my largest second-hand collections to date. It included clean, excellent copies of all of Herbie’s jazz fusion albums plus all the Headhunters releases, as well as seminal work from James Brown, Parliament and Funkadelic.
I first heard this record when I was 16. It’s probably my least favourite of his fusion explorations, but it resonated so hard with me back then that it warranted a mention here. Check out Spider, Swamp Rat and Sansho Shima to hear the sound I fell in love with.
I actually found this record in the trash along with mint copies of all the Nine Inch Nails releases on TVT Records and Interscope. It was an open secret that band founder Trent Reznor hated the owner of TVT, Steve Gottlieb, so I like to think these records were chucked away during some epic fight they had.
I still remember the moment that my friend Zach dragged me off the Astor Wines & Spirits sales floor to show off the score of a lifetime. My jaw hit the floor. We both snagged several copies of each release, but in hindsight, we should have grabbed ALL of them. The Downward Spiral original release sells on Discogs for nearly £200 these days.
I picked up Cannibal Ox’s debut album, The Cold Vein, not long after it was released in 2001 on Definitive Jux. Produced by one of my all-time favourites, El Producto (El-P for short), this record was, and still is, massive on so many levels. It’s raw, dark, gritty and futuristic, and before its release, unprecedented.
More than 20 years on, there still isn’t anything like it. Huge respect to emcee Vast Aire and producer/emcee El-P for this timeless work. Emotionally, for me, you can’t put a price on this record, but it now goes for ~£100 on Discogs. I bought mine for £15.
I turn to Phantogram’s first studio album, Eyelid Movies, all the time, but I’ve never bothered to check the current price on Discogs, because I value this record in a way money can’t touch. It’s a physical representation of all the feelings and experiences I’ve had with founding band member and dear friend, Sarah Barthel. Just holding the record fills me with love, gratitude and happiness, and you simply can’t put a price on that.
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