Friday, December 18, 2009

Rant #156: My Vinyl Request

I hate to cross merchandise my two blog sites, because I think that one is totally exclusive of the other. However, there are times when this type of maneuver is valid, and today’s rant is one of those times.

I recently uploaded the mono version of “The Birds, the Bees and the Monkees (Colgems COM-109, 1968), and it is accessible at my Colgems Blog site (

It is one of the rarest of all Monkees albums, at it was released at the point in time when mono releases had finally given way to stereo releases. Way back when, record stores (remember them?) often had two sections for their albums: mono for the general listening public and stereo for audiophiles. In mid 1968, mono was just about totally replaced by stereo, so any LPs that were released in the middle of that year in mono are usually pretty scarce.

(Of course, I am talking about the U.S. market. Overseas, mono releases were still being produced in some countries into the 1970s.)

Anyway, this has created something of a major discussion point on my Yahoo Group sites, as members are discussing the merits of the mono over the stereo version and vice versa.

There seems to be a growing market for both vinyl and mono releases in the U.S. Vinyl consumption is up once again, and audiophiles, in a great about face, now search out mono copies of classic LP releases, and not so classic LP releases.

The Beatles mono box set this year—albeit on CD—has been a great success along with the stereo re-releases of their albums, and the interest in mono recordings may be at fever pitch right now.

And I love it. I really enjoy reading about the differences between mono and stereo releases—no matter how small they may be—and this debate has no real “right” answer, it pretty much is personal preference.

And personally, I happen to like the stereo version of “The Birds, the Bees and the Monkees” somewhat better than the mono version. The mono version is muddier, which I am sure pleases a lot of people, but I like the punch of the stereo version a little bit more.

Some will disagree with me, which is OK by me.

But I especially like the discussion, the explaining of key points as to why people like mono vs. stereo and vice versa, and the dedication that people have to vinyl.

We will never fully go back to vinyl as our main recording delivery format, but the dedication that people have to this format is astounding, especially for the recordings of their youth.

I hope the record labels are listening. They have increased their vinyl output, and people are buying even new albums from current artists in this format when they are available.

Long live vinyl—and long live the debate between stereo enthusiasts and those who cherish mono. It is great debate, isn’t it?

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