That was when Randy Stinson, a record aficionado whose apartment was (and is) crowded with vinyl, founded Randy’s Records. Sure, Randy’s Records has changed with the times, adding cassettes, CDs and even some movies on VHS and DVD, but the place is primarily about vinyl, from rare Beatles and Elvis to your favorite band’s new release.
There was a time in the mid-’90s when those new vinyl releases seemed poised to go the way of the dodo. “When CDs came out, for a while it looked like people weren’t going to want vinyl anymore,” Stinson recalls. Collectors, however, never lost their lust for records, and recently vinyl has made a comeback. “The main reason people like vinyl is, [it] just sounds better. It sounds richer, sounds more real. I can be fooled into thinking I’m there in the studio by listening to a record.” Vinyl also came back in the universes of dance music and hip-hop, whose DJs like to “scratch” or manipulate them by hand on the turntable.
Randy’s hosts a $1-an-album sale every year, but this year it’s different. He’s cleaning out a lot of items from his warehouse across the street from his 900 South storefront to offer tens of thousands of items that he hasn’t offered before. Each Friday and Saturday in June, he’ll add items to the stacks.
With something like 90,000 albums in stock, Stinson is looking to get 30,000 discs out for browsing during the sale. Everything from classic garage rock to Lawrence Welk, Barry Manilow to Led Zeppelin, The Band to The Beatles on colored vinyl. “We’ve got a lot of classical and country,” he notes. “You could probably pick up some stuff and turn around and sell it online for $10, but I don’t have time to do that.”
Another thing collectors love is the album art. From the surrealist paintings of Roger Dean on Yes albums to vintage Beatles covers and beatnik-influenced jazz albums, none of it looks quite the same on a tiny CD sleeve. “I also like to look at the liner notes on albums,” Stinson says.
Vinyl albums do demand a little more maintenance than CDs; vinyl needs to be protected from scratches and scuffs. But there’s something about the sound of a vinyl album that many collectors believe CDs or digital downloads can never duplicate, a warmth in their crackle, Stinson notes. “I believe it’s therapeutic.”
157 E. 900 South
$1 sale, Fridays/Saturdays through June