THE JB HI-FI GUIDE TO ESSENTIAL VINYL, VOLUME 1 (2020): 101, and more, records in any serious collection

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THE JB HI-FI GUIDE TO ESSENTIAL VINYL, VOLUME 1 (2020): 101, and more, records in any serious collection
It was almost a decade ago when I wrote The Cornerstone Collection, a booklet like this which picked out 101 albums on CD which could be used as the building blocks for a serious and diverse music collection.

Even today I get e-mails from people who tell me they are still working their way through it, making discoveries and are following down the paths of other albums we offered as the next step from our 101 main entries.

That booklet was distributed through JB H-Fi, a fine bunch of people it has been my pleasure to know over the years.

cornerstones_coverSo when they approached me with the idea for another such guide I jumped at it.

And here it is.

In the decade since The Cornerstone Collectiona lot has happened: new artists have appeared and there has been the inevitable sad attrition as some have passed on; there have been one-hit wonders (“Hi and bye, Psy”), unexpected careers by former marginal players and big acts fading away.

All of that is what we expect.

What few would have predicted in 2011 was the resurgence of vinyl.

At some point in the 90s I wrote an article about the demise of records which had been replaced by shiny CD technology. The illustration was of a record riding off into the sunset.

But then came streaming and these day I can't even give away CDs to my millennial music students at university, they don't have players.

Increasing they – and I guess you, if you are reading this – have turntables and want that lovely piece of vinyl with the cover art, lyrics, gatefold sleeve etc etc.

All the things streaming can't provide.

More of my students have turntables than CD players.

This year vinyl outsold CDs for the first time and so now the CD is heading for that distant sunset.

Maybe, who knows?

What we do know though – and that is the reason for this handy booklet where we mostly sidestep live albums and greatest hits – is that people like to be guided towards what they weren't aware of, might have missed or just want to know if their favourite album is on vinyl.

All of these are on shiny new vinyl at JB Hi-Fi stores.

We hope you enjoy looking through this, argue with some of the selections, are seduced by others and challenged by some.

Maybe in a decade we'll do this again. But who knows what the technology of preference will be then?

I don't, so I'm keeping my wind-up gramophone just in case.

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Graham Reid

Auckland, November 2020

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You can find the original Cornerstone Collection online at Elsewhere here.

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Your Comments

Robert McAdam - Jan 19, 2021

Yes CD's are on the way out like any media relying on mechanical technology to extract information as vinyl does. This is always going to be problematic. In reading current Hi-Fi journals ie: The Absolute Sound and Stereophile we now have turntables retailing at $100,000, cartridges at $10,000 and phono stages $20,000 in spite of this we still have a basic mechanical interface, a rock tracking in a plastic groove spinning on a bearing. Vinyl will always be limited by this fact alone. The present trend world wide to collect vinyl is based on some mythical, romantic idea that it sounds better than digital(CD) and it does in some cases. But most if not all master tapes are now recorded in digital. Remasters are digital some are excellent, Giles Martin's 50th Beatles Abbey Road for example supersedes any vinyl I ever owned, played back in hires 24bit 96 khz digitally. In the 80's I had a $10,000 turntable with a $3000 cartridge. The effort to get good sound from vinyl drove me to despair even with this money and sold the lot. Today never been happier with hi res digital sound.

Richard Varey - Nov 1, 2021

Nice work Graham

Are your two guides available for download?

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