Vinyl records alive and well in the Four Corners; event will be held Saturday
The Four Corners Vinyl Record Club’s annual Fall Record Show Extravanganza will return to downtown Durango this weekend.
The event will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Holiday Inn & Suites, 21636 U.S. Highway 160.
Club founder and president Phil Gallacher expects a strong turnout, as the club is rebounding after the COVID-19 pandemic. Gallacher said the club has been doing record shows in the spring and fall for over a decade.
“Vinyl records are alive and well in the Four Corners,” Gallacher said. “(The record show) started through Southwest Sound in Durango around 2010 or 2011.”
Gallacher took over organizing the show when Southwest Sounds closed.
He said a lot of the vinyl records vendors are part of the “boomer generation who are not on social media.”
“So I created the club as a bridge, a platform for us to indulge in sharing our record hobby and also be able to communicate with a group of people,” he said.
He also said that Durango has a record store, “Toast,” that only sells newly made records, “so it’s very difficult to find used records in this area.”
Gallacher said that vinyl records are regaining popularity because they provide the best sound reproduction quality by far.
“Records never lost their appeal like CDs … you can't give CDs away … kids aren't into them,” he said. “Analog music is a continual sound wave, whereas, digital music is a cut sound wave where the highs and the lows are cut. It's a finite spectrum of wave music, wavelengths.”
He also said analog music “encompasses the entire sound wave.”
“It encompasses those low, low tones and the high, high tones,” Gallacher said, adding that digital technology “cuts out” the highest and lowest sounds.
And it “gets even worse” with streaming technology, he said, because it an even “smaller spectrum that get broken up into a million pieces to feed it back together.”
“And then when we do Bluetooth speakers, we're breaking it up again and feeding it back together, so you’re only getting a limited amount of the sound spectrum,” Gallacher said.
He said people are “blown away” by how much of the sound one can hear when they play an old record compared to the sound of a Bluetooth speaker.
Gallacher said more young people are getting involved in records “because it was a cool sound and those things that are the coolest never really go away.”
He said the average age of the vendors is probably 50 to 60, but the attendees are primarily under age 40.
Gallacher said people want something they can touch and hold, adding they truly appreciate the “quality.”
“And there's the art form of it again … seeing the pictures of the people,” he said.
Gallacher said they average about 400 to 500 people at the record shows. He said the largest show was in March of 2020, held at the Fort Lewis College banquet room. He said they had vendors from throughout the Four Corners states, including one vendor from Scottsdale, Arizona.
They had 25 vendors and about 1,000 people who showed up, according to Gallacher.
Area musician Rob Webster will serve as disc jockey for this year’s event. Gallacher said there will also be coffee and doughnuts.
With this being a fall show, there will also be vendors with Christmas records.
“So you'll be able to find anything you're looking for most of the time,” Gallacher said.
Gallacher recalled how his mother bought his older brother the Fleetwood Mac double album, “Tusk,” so he asked her to buy him two albums.
His choices were “Freedom of Choice,” by Devo and Styx’s “Paradise Theatre” with their hit “Too Much Time On My Hands.”
“I grew up playing the piano when I was a kid, and so I was really into the ’80s New Wave music coming on. I really got into music that had cheesy keyboards … and the weird hair --- that was very cool to me,” Gallacher said. “And so I remember when Van Halen’s ‘Jump’ came out with the keyboards intro … it was the first piece of music that I learned to play by ear.”
Gallacher, who now has a few electric keyboards, plays in a band called the “Acidtones.” He’s also an aficionado of diverse musical genres, including classical jazz, rock, blues, punk and metal.
He said the Record Show Extravaganza will have 12 to 14 vendors, so they should have “over 10,000 records for music lovers to peruse.”
Gallacher said there will be vendors from Durango, Farmington, Cortez and Grand Junction.
Vendors who’ve been involved over the years, along with two or three new vendors, will offer up their records. Gallacher said those records in some cases are like that “shirt in the closet that never gets worn.”
Gallacher said they may have duplicates or “it may just be time to let somebody else enjoy it” and make room for new ones. He said his musical tastes have changed over time.
“Right now I'm really into stuff I haven't heard before. And so I've digressed backward in time to music of a period before my generation,” he said, adding he’s now listening to 1950s-era jazz and soul music.
His vast collection of nearly 2,000 records is diverse and eclectic, including everything from AC/DC and Frank Zappa to John Coltrane and Herbie Hancock.
He said the best of the best all “stems from the roots of American music,” adding he enjoys the history of how blues and jazz evolved into bebop.
“And now we're into fusion, soul music, funk and disco,” he said.
Vinyl record production stopped in 1989, but have rebounded since the early 2000s, now surpassing all other recorded music formats.
Gallacher said some of the current music that’s popular does not feature instruments.
“New music is mostly either electronically created through a computer or built in pieces,” he said.
Gallacher said the current artists are going back to find sounds from music in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
“So when I listen to music with my kids, I say this sounds just like David Bowie or this ‘80s band,” he said.
Editor’s note: Phil Gallacher is an advertising representative with The Durango Herald.