Why do I collect records? I ask myself this from time to time (usually when I?m feeling as though I?m wasting a whole lot of money) and it?s at times like tonight that I realize exactly why I do.

I?ve recently been running through in my head why I must every couple of days go into a record store and get my fingers dusty. Why do I spend almost every spare cent that I have on these 12 inch pieces of wax? For as long as I?ve been a fan of Hip Hop I?ve always wanted to make beats. I grew up on a 100 acre ranch and when we moved to the bigger house on the property we also were granted access to a rather large shed. I was convinced that some how some way I would turn that shed into a recording studio and get to make music? that never happened.

But the passion I have for music is still here to this day ? one might say it?s even more prevalent than it was back then. But today I find myself questioning that which has always been my goal: Am I really a beat maker? I think not.

I spent several hours in the studio with a friend of mine the other day (an experience that I?ve always wanted to have and that any music fan should seek out) and while I watched him construct a beat from scratch I saw the passion he has for HIS art. I respect that. Hell, I admire that. But I also saw what for me I can?t ignore. While we spent maybe fifteen minutes flipping through the stacks of vinyl to find something that may be flipped into a beat I was in awe. Not only of what I saw but of how beautiful they were. Records are magical. The covers, the sounds within, the whole experience ? nothing can compare.

While he took his stack with him to the turntable to begin mining them for sounds I stayed with the wax and continued looking through the pile. Throughout the rest of the afternoon I would travel to different piles every time finding several gems and many covers that I can only guess as to how amazing the sounds inside were.

When I returned to the couch in the studio my friend was rapidly running through something. Every few seconds he would drag the needle just a little bit and see if there was something to be had. I couldn?t help but cringe ? how can you not just sit and listen? Let the sample find you. But that is just me.

I like to listen. I like to listen. I like to listen.

Even though I love vinyl and never plan to stop gathering more and more platters I will be the first to admit that they are incredibly troublesome. To quote the same friend from above ?They take up way too much space & they are heavy as hell.? These are both facts of life that any digger or collector will immediately crack a smile at upon mention. But it?s OK. Aside from these complaints the only other one I have is that you can only listen to them while you?re awake and in your apartment or at your turntable. This being said I have taken it upon myself to digitize my entire collection. Partially because I?m an aspiring DJ and want more and more choices when I spin, but more so because I want all that great music readily available to me at a moments thought.

However like everything else about vinyl digitizing a record is no easy task and takes time. As I begin the process I?m also taking advantage of listening to records I?ve never heard before. Tonight it seems I was in for a special treat.

Jimmy Smith

Know the name? If you?re at all familiar with the B3 Hammond Organ you should. He and Jimmy McGriff are probably the two best B3 players to ever live. While I?ve been a B3 fan since High School I?ve only recently heard either of the Jimmys. And let me tell you they live up to their reputation.

This has prompted me to pick up just about anything I see from either of the two. This evening I happened to be digitizing ?The Other Side of Jimmy Smith? a date where he is accompanied by Ron Carter on bass, Jeff Beck on guitar, Jerome Richardson on flute and Gene Orloff on violin. On this record he plays what he feels he needs to play ? making other composers compositions priceless. He speaks with his instrument like few musicians can. He delivers a message with no lyrics; just his fingers as they glide across the keys of his Hammond.

This is why I buy records. Not so I can run through them and find some small piece to use for my own creation but because when something sounds so right it will bring a tear to your eye. Nothing can compare. This is why I buy records and as long as they inspire me I will be writing about the music that can be found within the grooves of so many pieces of wax.

Never stop listening.