Someone recently described me as an Archaeologist. At first, I didn’t really see the connection, but then I thought for a moment. One of the things I love most about record collecting is how much akin it is to an Archaeological “dig”. A person finds the physical record, occasionally has to dust it off, and often there is incredible meta-data housed on the labels and sleeves that don’t make into CD liner notes and aren’t embedded into an mp3. Case in point: above, a 1970s Roots Reggae 12 inch single I picked up at a local record store. I see that it belonged to someone named C.T. (scrawled in pen in the corner), and that it was purchased on the North Side of Chicago at a place called Studio 1 Records ["the place for Carribean Sounds and Crafts"], based on a rubber stamped logo.
This particular recording very clearly displays the ingenuity that occurred in the process of getting this record (that was pressed in Kingston, Jamaica and still smells like incense) out to the public. On the outside, it’s packed in a generic white paper sleeve with the word “disco” printed near the center hole cut out. But on the inside, it’s clear that the sleeve was made from repurposed paper. In fact, it was made from uncut flats created to be boxes of Jamaican Ovaltine Biscuits (a national favorite snack cookie, then and now). Dope.
So much more than I would have gotten from your garden variety download.