I have worked at Vinyl Tap Records now for 9 years and over that time period I have constantly been told by some colleagues and customers that “originals are better” or “you want an original of this one in your collection”. Truth is that as a collector I have realised something, no they aren’t and no I don’t.
Before I’m jumped on for sacrilege, I’d like to say that of course a mint original copy of an album is nice to have and tend to sound pretty fantastic but they also tend to be hard to find and when you do find them they are usually very, very expensive and beyond what I and most collectors can realistically afford. Yes, if you keep good care of them, they can be a great investment for the future but most people aren’t in to vinyl for those reasons, they just want the music to listen to and the artwork to be in nice condition to look at. In my opinion vinyl reissues are very much underrated.
A few weeks back I was down in London and so I headed over to Rough Trade East, one of the most famous record stores in London. In there I found a little slice of heaven, the 60s reissues section filled with brand spanking new classic album reissues at reasonable prices. If I had more time and, more importantly, money I could have spent a hell of a lot of both in there, as it was I had a gig to go to and an expensive weekend to pay for so I just purchased myself a couple of albums. The first was the fantastic Crosby, Stills and Nash self titled album from 1969 which set me back a measly £15.99 for a 180 gram vinyl, brand new, high quality reissue. Now an original of this album in mint condition would probably cost you somewhere between £50-£100 at least, that is if you can find one, to get one at a similar price to my reissue it would probably be rather well used or a later issue from the 70s or 80s. The other album I bought was another classic, Love – Forever Changes, which also cost £15.99 for a 45th anniversary edition, again on 180 gram vinyl, brand new. It’s a fantastic album, a must have for any collection and originals are highly sought after. Recently we sold an original mono pressing at Vinyl Tap, in not brilliant condition, for around £40 so you can imagine how much a mint copy would cost. I got them home after my weekend away and the sound quality is very good, as good as anyone needs it to be and it’s really nice having these classic albums, brand new, with me as their only owner, now in my collection.
Buying those two albums at those prices and at that level of quality really converted me to reissues, not that I didn’t rate reissues before, just now I’m their biggest fan. It is now my first port of call, I look for a reissue and if I can’t get one I look for the cheapest copy in as good a condition as you can find. In the last couple of weeks I got listening to Screaming Trees and really got in to the album Sweet Oblivion so I went looking for a copy to own on vinyl. I went looking in the usual places and most original copies were £25 – £30 plus and not in mint condition, not a price I was really willing to pay. I asked at work if we could order in a reissue copy if any were available and was told “we’ve already got one in”….. result! A brand new reissue had been released a couple of years ago by Music On Vinyl, a fantastic label that exclusively release high quality, 180 gram vinyl reissues. At £18.99 it was a decent saving on the second hand, well used, originals that were available out there and more importantly for me it was brand spanking new, I am the one and only owner of the album, at the very worst it will hold it’s value and if there is anything wrong with it I know more copies will be readily available through Music On Vinyl and a replacement would be supplied.
Specialist reissue labels are useful to know. They regularly reissue things so if you are willing to wait they may just reissue that album you really want. They do a brilliant job of it too, both with the artwork/sleeve and the vinyl and if you are familiar with labels it is less of a risk as you know the kind of standard they will produce. They will also usually provide you with a download code so you can have the album on your portable music device, now that’s something the classic originals definitely don’t have, and I always like to own the files too rather than have to solely rely on Google All Access/Spotify. Music On Vinyl, as previously mentioned, is a fantastic label for reissues and another to look out for is Back To Black, you won’t go far wrong with reissues by either of these labels.
For me, it’s a no-brainer. Yes it would be lovely to listen to an original and hear the depth in sound they seem to possess but reissues are brand new, they are usually very very good quality, if there is anything wrong with them you can return them and get a perfect replacement, some are done so well they even look the part with the same label design and top notch reproduction of the album artwork and they don’t break the bank. You do the maths.
- Death Cab For Cutie to Reissue ‘Transatlanticism’ (wxrt.cbslocal.com)
- White Stripes’ ‘Elephant’ Vinyl Reissue Will Get Wide Release (freshwaddabrooks.com)
- Eagles six albums reissued in vinyl box set (liveforvinyl.wordpress.com)
- Why vinyl is Top of the Pops… thanks to Daft Punk, Bowie and Led Zeppelin (independent.co.uk)
- Boards Of Canada LPs Set For Reissue (thequietus.com)
- Go Retro: How to Play Vinyl in Your Apartment (apartmentguide.com)