Monday, September 11, 2006

7 Inches of Black Plastic--45 Culture Erupts at the Allentown PA 45 and 78 Music Expo on September 23!

Though the music business and music itself continues evolving, or maybe even devolving, the quest to seek out, discover and recover lost treasures goes ever on. In less than 2 weeks collectors from around the globe will converge on Allentown PA for the 15th Semi-Annual 45 and 78 Record Expo where both 45 and 78 culture will explode into full bloom. Grown men (and ladies too) will be seen toting Fisher Price Big Bird record players as they dig into box after box of little records hoping to find that long sought after disc or discover yet another twisted tune that somehow got embedded in wax. Though the music market for the most part has abandonded the vinyl 45, die-hard music fans worldwide still embrace the format. The rush of listening to that 7 inch piece of vinyl delivering a 3 minute burst of whatever trips one's trigger as well as holding it in your hand and staring at the cool label is really like none other, and certainly 100% more aesthetically pleasing than a 99 cent digital download.

When Bob Bosak first started this convention over 10 years ago, the idea of a record show strictly devoted to 45s was a novel one, but now the show has eclipsed its humble beginnings to become an event in the truest sense of the word. Over the years the show has expanded to include 78s as well, and the demand for the ultra rare 45s and 78s continues to grow unabated. The unique thing about 45 culture is that it involves virtually all types of music from hillbilly, psychedelia, soul, reggae, and country to rock and roll as well as being in many cases the very first (and in many cases last!) step in a recording career. These first recordings usually show the artist in his rawest, purest form.(i.e. Elvis's Sun 45s) These primal, primitive and in many cases very scarce recordings are what fuels the collector market. Our photo highlights a few such examples, mostly from PA,of a wide variety of gems of various styles of music. Like Bosak, I, too, have a great interest in recordings from the PA area which you may have deduced from our very first release in 1982 a comp of 60s 45s called "The Return of the Young Pennsylvanians". Though there have been hundreds of 45 comps, the flood continues despite the oversaturation as new comps with yet even more incredible 45s are released almost weekly. Despite the industry's attempt to bury the 45, they remain an essential aspect of pop culture and for those diggers who trace an era or a sound they are a window into the past.

So in less than 2 weeks, 45 and 78 collectors will converge in Allentown for what has almost become a ritual now. Whether it be funk, garage, northern soul or that Robert Johnson 78 on Vocalion, chances are you may find it at this amazing show! You'll see many of us armed with our battery powered portables like my dependable Fisher Price pictured at the right. Got to hand it to those Fisher Price people for making sturdy players that held up and sound great! It's an essential tool for diggers as mine has both saved me money as well as hooked me up with great shit I may have left behind! There still remain those elusive 45s that are longed for and may never turn up, but miracles do happen and this 45 show just might make someone real happy! As always, I'm looking for a few myself. I'm documenting the Central PA heavy rock scene of the 70s for a Bona Fide comp and I need clean copies of the Mourning Sun "Make Me Day" on Arpeggio, Springhead Motorshark's "Papa's Schoolgirl" on Baldwin Sound Productions(pictured bottom right--Harrisburg PA, 1973) and Larry Byron's "Alone" 45 on Red Barn. If anyone out there is from those bands or the Ashley, and the Reflection or anyone from Dimension Five Studios, please get in touch! In the meantime, I hope to see some of you at the Allentown show, and just in case you are not a 45 geek, come to the show there the next day for the regular 45/lp/CD show which is great too! See you there!