At the end of the movie “Dazed and Confused,” incoming Lee High freshman Mitch Kramer had just had the night of his life. After his last junior high dance, he cruised around with his new friend, Wooderson, partied at the moon tower and cemented his place as one of the cool kids in 1970s Texas.
Reveling in the moment, Kramer laid back on his bed, cranked up “Slow Ride” by Fog Hat on his record player and was lost in the moment.
After years of collecting dust on a shelf, records have once again become cool despite advances in technology that have moved past the tangible feel of an album.
The resurgence of vinyl records in popular culture was on display recently at a Record Fair at Joe Sippers, where record enthusiasts were thrilled to find people that shared their passion.
“It’s nice to have something like this here local,” said Nick Palmer, who brought his young family out to browse the stacks.
Palmer was raised on vinyl recordings and wants to instill love of the medium in his son.
“Alexander listens to recordings with us,” he said, noting that his wife, Brittany, also loves vinyl.
“I like the thrill of the hunt at swap meets and places like that,” said Brittany, who was looking for ELO, the Cars and Beatles albums. “It’s cool, though, that everything is here, in one place.”
Mike Ratcliffe brought 200 albums to sell and trade in what has been a lifelong hobby for the Olney resident.
“I’ve been collecting since 1965,” he said.
Ratcliffe said he listens to a little of everything but is partial to classic rock. Vinyl records appeal to one’s sense of hearing, sight, smell and touch. He loves the smell of old vinyl, the process of taking the album from its case, putting it on a turntable, the little pops and other sounds the album makes before the song plays and the way his favorite music sounds.
“Vinyl just has a different sound and feel,” he said.
He pointed to the album art in early rock, which he said can’t be enjoyed on a small CD case or through a digital medium with no physical product.
“The artwork on these albums is so intricate,” he said, holding up the Elton John album “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboys.” “You couldn’t see all this on a CD.”
With a collection of about 700 records, Ratcliffe bought and sold albums from his ever-changing music collection and taste.
“I like the older Glen Miller stuff,” he said. “You can only find some of his old music on vinyl.”
All versions of vinyl were available — 45s, 78s, 33 and a thirds and 16s. Albums are often known by number, which signifies rotations on a turntable, said Ratcliffe.
As a steady flow of vinyl devotees visited and flipped through tables of records, event coordinators were pleased with the turnout and plan to hold more fairs in the future.
“We are starting to get a little vinyl culture started in Effingham,” said Rob Davies. “We knew there were plenty of people that listened to vinyl, and we wanted to create something for them.”
You can find the future vinyl events on Facebook at Wildebeestvinyl.
Tony Huffman can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Ednthuffman.