“Garage Sale Vinyl” Drops The Needle On Nostalgic Fun June 16, 2024



It’s a craving not unlike a White Castle slider. You just wake up one morning and you have to have one (or four). Just like you can only have so many “normal” potato chips before you must devour the dehydrated imposter known as the Pringle. That’s the hold that the vinyl record has on me, personally. In a world of streaming and convenience, I’ve fallen victim to the instant gratification of Spotify or a CD like everyone else. But I must tell you, the snap, crackle, and pop of a needle riding the grooves of a vinyl record is mesmerizing. The only thing better might be the musty fragrance that so often permeates the air around them.

If you are someone who grew up without a digital source for music, you know that going to buy a vinyl record and spending time with it was an event. You took the time to pierce the shrink wrap and gently slide the shiny black slab out of its paper holster. Hearing the needle thump down and fit into a groove was the beginning of every great musical adventure. As the music carried you away, the liner notes acted as your tour guide. It told you all the players’ names and their assignments. It would sometimes give you the lyrics or a few photographs of the band. It took a lot of time to unbox all of this, and every second was savored like a hearty gourmet meal. In this new book by author Christopher Long, that personal intimacy with music is explained, and the “event” aspect of the vinyl record is at the forefront of the experiences that are so warm and wonderfully written.

Long takes us on a personal tour through 50 “events” that he has had with vinyl records. I am someone who closely associates sound and vision. When I see album art I hear the music, and vice versa. I have stories of my own that were the building blocks for that association. Some of my stories might be similar, but every listener’s relationship with a record is intimately their own. It’s a relationship that I don’t have with music that I listen to digitally. I get sound without vision in the digital realm, and I get little to no information about the creators. Garage Sale Vinyl puts you into Christopher Long’s intimate personal adventure with these records. As I read this fun and sometimes emotional collection of stories, I felt like a fly on the wall in Long’s teenage bedroom.

Long takes us through a time when he was getting stoned and experiencing the emergence of teen angst (The Kinks – Low Budget). He takes us to meet his 5th-grade teacher, Bernice Rephlo, and shares the gentle way in which she shaped his life with a folk classic (John Denver – Poems, Prayers, And Promises). He introduces us to Hank, who informs him that Kiss’ “Deuce” wasn’t about tennis and that most Cheap Trick songs have a reference to drugs (Cheap Trick – Heaven Tonight). By the end of this book, you will know about 50 records that had an impact on a person’s life, and you will know Christopher Long pretty darn well too.

Are these personal stories that Long shares extraordinary and spectacular? Not particularly, and I think that’s the real appeal here. Long is sharing stories that could be similar to your own. Each of them has a warmth and a human element that is comfortable and charming. This is a book that is nostalgic and relatable, while also being informative and fun.



One of the biggest highlights for me comes before the book even gets started. The foreword of Garage Sale Vinyl is written by powerhouse guitarist Bella Perron of Plush. This is a young lady in her very early twenties who lays out her real love for vinyl in an eloquent introduction to the book. She understands the “event” concept and the story behind every record. The fact that she is so young and has a sincere and deep-seated obsession with vinyl is something I find to be encouraging for the future of the format.  

Throughout the book, there are quotes from various other authors, journalists, and celebrities. These offer yet another glimpse into someone else’s journey with the music being discussed. All of this really drives home the fact that one piece of music can touch many lives in many different ways.

So, grab a glass of wine or an ice-cold beer (and maybe a can of Pringles), and curl up with this rich, down-home tome. Not only will it satisfy a craving for a good read, but I can almost guarantee that you’ll put your nose to the pages of this one at least once in search of that record odor that we all know and love.






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