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Stylus Counsel | Area Resident’s Records

Track 5 | A second chance to just not put them up.

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I’m trying to think of the first time I got an album with a poster inside. I certainly remember becoming aware that some did, I just didn’t have any yet.

The public library’s copy of Tumbleweed Connection still had the book in it. My brother had a copy of Hard Labour by Three Dog Night, with the medical file folder in it. And my other brother had one of the Dark Side of the Moon posters on his wall, but it wasn’t until years later that I realized that’s what it was.

When I started collecting records, I was just a kid — and it was the beginning of the era of reissues. So any albums I bought new usually didn’t have the awesome posters, stickers or even gatefolds their earlier pressings did. It sucked.

My first copy of School’s Out did fold into a little desk, but was without the paper undies wrapped around the vinyl. Billion Dollar Babies had no billion-dollar bill. Let It Be had no gatefold. Neither did In The Wake Of Poseidon. Certainly my Sgt. Pepper had no cut-outs or psychedelic inner sleeve. Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits had no Milton Glaser poster.

No lenticular sleeve on Their Satanic Majesty’s Request. No serial number on The White Album — though my 1980s Capitol re-issue did have all five posters. No 1972 calendar with Killer by Alice Cooper. All the awesome stuff with KISS albums: Nope, just lame Priceless Collection editions (which now are surprisingly valuable on Discogs!).

No newspaper with Thick As A Brick. No buckle on Honky Chateau. The list goes on and on.

The era of the compact disc which followed was even worse — not only did the albums come without bonus goodies, but everything was so damn small. My pal had a copy of Wish You Were Here on CD — no liner notes, no bag, no sticker, no postcard, and all the songs were on a single track.

I remember saving and saving for a copy of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, after repeatedly borrowing one from one of my brother’s friends. When I finally got it — probably around 1982 — it had no gatefold, let alone a triple. To make matters worse, Record 2 was actually an Al Jolson album. So much for being able to blast Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting. I cried.

That’s probably why I spent like $80 on my current copy of the 1973 masterpiece. Childhood trauma.

I think the first album I bought with all the goodies might have been Venus And Mars. Sticker on the front, a pair of two-sided posters and stickers on the inside. Cool gatefold and a cardboard sleeve. That’s how you do a rock album, man. I loved it. I ruined the posters with Scotch tape and stuck the stickers on my bedroom door.

So, I’ve been replacing all these. It’s awesome that so many of the current 180g remastered reissues come with all the awesome extras. Some of them are must-haves for vinyl collectors. Such as — the psychedelic poster now re-included with The Who Sell Out. Dark Side of the Moon has both posters and stickers. The Giles Martin-remixed Sgt. Pepper has cut-outs and the cool sleeve.

But the world is not only golden for collectors of classic re-issues. Music lovers like me are still buying lots of new stuff as well. The popularity of vinyl has led to a return to goodies with albums. Last week I got Smooth Big Cat by Dope Lemon. It comes with stickers, two scratch tickets and an awesome animated picture disc. When you put it on the turntable, there’s little cats running around — especially when viewed through the video function on your phone or camera set to 24 fps.

Not to mention there are so many new releases on coloured, clear, splattered or oddly-shaped vinyl.

What a time to be alive!

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Area Resident is an Ottawa-based journalist, recording artist, music collector and re-seller. Hear (and buy) his music on Bandcamp, email him HERE, follow him on Instagram and check out him out on Discogs.