The Other Side of 50

Music lover still favors vinyl

By From page OSF4 | March 13, 2014

Other Side of 50

John Carlson, 67, owns Collin’s Music & Collectables at 801 Main St. in downtown Suisun City. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

SUISUN CITY — John Carlson is transitioning between his long career as a real estate appraiser and what comes next – and what’s next is vinyl records.

Carlson, 67, owns Collin’s Music & Collectables at 801 Main St. in downtown Suisun City. There, the walls are plastered with album covers and the racks crammed with records that any music fan from the past few decades would immediately recognize, as well as obscurities.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono “Double Fantasy,” The Dukes of Dixieland “Breakin’ It Up on Broadway,” Artie Shaw “Mr. Clarinet,” The Beatles “Rubber Soul,” Cher “Greatest Hits” . . . 

Carlson grew up as a music fan in Sacramento, buying records and going to concerts in the 1960s. He saw Jefferson Airplane in San Francisco and Jimi Hendrix at Monterey.

“The thing about records I really enjoy is you have to take it out of the album cover, you put it on the turntable and play it,” he said. “There’s something to be said about doing that whole thing. You’re usually around friends.”

He believes the sound quality of albums is better than what comes from compact discs, though the store also sells compact discs. The good players have diamond needles and get better high and low sounds, he said.

Collectors come to the store and they are all different ages, Carlson said. There are college students who want everything from rock to reggae to Frank Sinatra.

Bruce Springsteen “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” Bozo “Christmas Sing-a-long,” Village People “Go West,” Beach Boys “Smile,” Michael Jackson “Thriller” . . . 

Carlson remains a fan himself. In his back office on this recent day, he had a copy of Ten Years After’s “Watt” from 1970, a record that can bring a smile to his face. He showed the good condition of the disc, with no scratches.

He has a couple hundred records at home of different bands, ranging from The Rolling Stones to Led Zeppelin to John Lee Hooker. He has a record by The Weavers at Carnegie Hall.

There are some rarer records he would like to find. Among them is The Velvet Underground and Nico from 1967, with its cover of a banana done by Andy Warhol.

Marvin Gaye “Live,” Frank Sinatra and Count Basie, “Sinatra-Basie,” Creedance Clearwater Revival “Chronicle,” The Beatles “Meet the Beatles” . . .

Carlson bought the store about two years ago. It was kind of dingy and dark, he said. He’s worked to change that atmosphere.

Many of the records sell in the $4 range, but the store has sold records for as much as $2,000, such as a Dutch jazz record sold on eBay.

“I buy records constantly,” Carlson said. “I go to Los Angeles, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Sacramento. I go all over.”

Ozzy Osbourne “Diary of a Madman,” The Beatles “Meet the Beatles,” David Bowie “Aladdin Sane” . . . 

“I think our collection is one of the best,” Carlson said.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Discussion | 2 comments

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  • Rich GiddensMarch 13, 2014 - 7:16 am

    He sounds quite a bit like me. Even my eldest son prefers vinyl over digital. I like vacuum tube powered power amps too. My dream system is powered by 6 Mesa Boogie Colliseum tube amps with enough big block torque to cause a sonic earthquake. Digital's not that harsh now though because good pre-amps with sound processors can tame the harshness to produce a natural sound.

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  • Bobby BurnettMarch 19, 2014 - 1:10 pm

    Collins music has a way bigger collection than Rasputins. And the vibe is just right!

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