My Record Collection - June 16, 2016

My Record Collection by The Charlatans' Tim Burgess (hmv Vinyl Week special!)
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor,

My Record Collection by The Charlatans' Tim Burgess (hmv Vinyl Week special!)

In My Record Collection, we dig down to the bottom of musicians' souls to find out what the most treasured parts of their record collection are. This week being hmv vinyl week, we've got a special edition for you with Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess...


The first vinyl I ever bought was...

'Long Haired Lover from Liverpool' by 'Little' Jimmy Osmond from Woolworths in Northwich. Not sure my copy got played much after 1975 though - it's not one I'd take to a DJ set but that's no disrespect to Jimmy.


The most treasured vinyl in my collection is...

A signed copy of Power Corruption & Lies by New Order


The number of records in my collection is...

They're not strictly catalogued or anything - that's part of the fun. Maybe 3,000 in total. Some at home and some are at The Charlatans' studio.


The most expensive vinyl I've ever bought is...

That would probably be Metamorphosis by Philip Glass - it's not like a super rare, only one copy kind of record that's the price of a car but it was the price of maybe 50 regular albums. 


The best vinyl artwork ever is...

The cover of Tutu by Miles Davis.



The last vinyl record I bought is...

A copy of Something Else by Ornette Coleman - I'm listening to it now.


An album I was given by my Dad is...

There are lots of things that can be passed down through the generations of a family - from a old vase the Grandad used as a door stop that's supposed to be worth a fortune to stories of wayward relatives and their adventures on the high seas, from dimples in your cheeks to a love of going to Glastonbury. For me, albums are the perfect hand-me-down that act as a snapshot of what was happening in the world at the time with clues as to the emotional make up of the donor which will be revealed to the new owner over time. A record like What's Going On? by Marvin Gaye is a perfect example - if an older sibling or a parent owned that record, you can guess they are pretty cool, that they looked beyond the dancefloor for their soul music and they were aware that the world was waking up to a new consciousness in 1971. The Best of The Brotherhood of Man on the other hand, none of the above but some catchy tunes nonetheless.

The album from my Dad was one that captured a time that was like an old photograph that summed up a time long before The Clash and The Damned who I was listening to when it came into my possession. The album was a vinyl copy of Come Fly With Me by Frank Sinatra which came out in the late 1950s. My Dad would've been 18 and Ole Blue Eyes was the epitome of cool. The cover is like an advert for Pan Am - Frank's holding hands with a girl who would be standing exactly where you are if you are looking at the cover - the songs are classic Sinatra in his Capitol years. Maybe Dads in the 70s didn't speak as openly to their sons as they do now but that record gave me an insight into what my Dad was like and where the world was at in 1958. He probably wanted to be Frank Sinatra like I wanted to be Joe Strummer - someone who made sense of the world around them and boys thought was cool and girls thought was hot.

So, Frank took up residence in my record collection and he's been there ever since. I'll still listen from time to time - that sleeve comes alive - a world where style was defined by a sharp suit and where everyone wore a hat. Do I sing along? Only if nobody is looking.


The vinyl record I would give to my son is...

My son doesn't have a record collection, he's just turned three, but he knows what he likes musically. Mostly it's theme tunes from CBeebies - some of which I find myself singing when I'm going about my day. But he also picks out records which he then passes to me to put on the turntable - I used to think they were random choices but before he was two, he had favourites that would get played on repeat.

One of those favourites is Arthur Russell's Instrumentals - it's a record from 1974 but sounds as fresh now as it would have sounded on the day it was released. I'd always been a fan of Arthur Russell but the album spent more time on the record player in the last couple of years as Peter Gordon, one of the mainstays of Arthur's band had put a live band together to perform the music after Arthur Russell's untimely death in 1992. By a quirk of fate and an alignment of the stars, I was asked by Peter to join their tour for a couple of dates in Barcelona and London - The Littlest B came with us and was an instant hit with the band - he would dance as we played the songs, recognising them from back home. At one of the shows, the band were soundchecking and going through the painstaking process of reproducing the delicate beauty of the songs - in amongst the finely balanced fragility came a new melody that was a style of avant garde freeform Jazz not heard outside of some of the more experimental  musical ensembles of 1940s New York.   For a couple of minutes only and under the watchful eye of Ernie, our bass player a hugely proud Littlest B had made his way on to the stage, strode up to the grand piano and made his first appearance in a band. 

Albums are like time capsules that don't just contain the music contained in the grooves but also all the memories you have of what the music evokes. Way better than a chipped old vase, even if it is worth a fortune.

Modern Nature
Modern Nature The Charlatans

Tim Book Two: Vinyl Adventures from Istanbul to San Francisco will be in-store from July, 21.


Love vinyl? Click here to visit our vinyl hub and read our most popular features, see what’s dropping in-store, and more!


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