The reason why I collected them in the first place was that that's where a lot of the "good stuff" lived. Distribution of re-issued music was sketchy and in many cases non-existant. If you wanted to hear real honest to goodness Western Swing, you weren't gonna find it on the radio or even in a modern acts recordings, you were going to have to do the work and find the music and then struggle to listen to it. My old roomate Mark Hays sat me down one day and played me 4 different version of a Bob Wills 78, all with different lyrics and lead breaks, it was revelatory and set me off on a nearly 20 year path of collection.
It many ways it was my "adult "version of how I consumed music during the American Hardcore Punk rock movement, the similarities were many. You had to be proactive to find good music, and collecting 78s for me was the natural progression to buying Necros 45's from a mail order catalog in the back of a 'zine, or a Bad Brains cassette from a little independent label you never heard of. All of this was in the pre-Internet and pre-digital age, a study in musical archeology and it prepared me well for my life bent over on my knees in antiques store across the US and Canada while Bad Livers were at their touring zenith.
But then I started meeting the fetishists. We all know who they are, guys to whom the possession of the platter is FAR more important that the information contained in it. Those to whom "rarity" was more important than "quality." They can sit for hours and tell you every detail of every little obscure recording label and all the artists on them, in many casing even taking to expertly mimicking these recordings, mistakes, false starts and all. It's actually very impressive this track that so many collectors I know find themselves on. They extend it to their lives and even professions, becoming living Re-Enactors for a a period of history (that frankly I think is best left forgotten, other than the wonderful art that was created at that time.)
But more and more I see that as a trap, a "death trip" as we used to call it in Bad Livers and the weight both allegorically and actually is a burden I no longer wish to carry. The truth is that the vast majority of music I possess now, and the format it arrives in to me is frankly less than meaningless as that is simply how my personal relationship with music has developed, I could listen to it all and die an old man by the time I got back to the start. I'm sitting here now with a hard drive loaded with 15 gigs of Moldovan and Romanian music that I suspect will take a decade to properly digest.
These records brought me lots of pleasure and joy in my life and I will forever cherish not only the music contained in them, but in the places in which I found them and the journeys made to locate them. That I will have always. So cut to the chase, big boy.
If you would like them, I would be pleased for you to have them. I do not wish to sell them, but I will offer them, all of them, to anyone who would like them. All I ask in return, is that you leave me something that was meaningful to you; maybe a book, a work of art, home made cookies, whatever. I'll even accept nothing at but your thanks, if that's all you have to give. I even have a couple play back machines which I would let go as well, even a lovely Cherrywood RCA Victor console, which my TV lives upon currently, which I'd sell for mighty cheap.
Y'all know how to get me and I hope to have everything divested by Carnival time, so I can enter the Mardi Gras season with a little less baggage.
Cheers and much love to you all.
(PS: no shipping, gotta come by in person, ok? )