Thursday, February 09, 2006

Today's Oregon Daily Emerald

Amassing the Music
The Eugene Record Convention provides a place to buy, sell, trade and appraise records and CDs

By Andrew McCollum
Pulse Reporter

February 09, 2006

On Sunday, Eugene will host the 18th annual Eugene Record Convention, which draws vendors and record collectors from all over the world. Convention attendees will be able to buy, sell and trade records, CDs and other music memorabilia. Attendees can also get records appraised at the convention.

Bill Finneran has been a part of the Eugene Record Convention since its inception in 1988. A friend of Finneran’s noted that unlike Seattle and Portland, Eugene didn’t have a record convention.

“It pretty much worked right from the beginning,” Finneran said. “Eugene is a music town with a lot of people who like a lot of different music. Right next to the guy looking for punk records from the 1970s is a guy who is looking for any yodeling cowboy records,” Finneran said. “There’s always someone looking for weird, old children’s records.”

There will be around 100 vendor tables at the convention, and Finneran estimates that there will be more than 150,000 records at the show.

“You can’t go through them all in one day,” Finneran said. “Although some people try, we have a lot of people who get there right when it opens and they are still there when (the vendors) are packing up their stuff.”

Records range in prices. There may be some obscurities at the show, but many of the records will be less than $20.

“There’s a ton of stuff for under twenty bucks and there’s a ton of stuff under $5,” Finneran said.

Finneran said the convention will be filled with music lovers with a wide variety of tastes.

“You can go in there and talk about the strangest music that has ever been recorded,” Finneran said. “(You can) bring up some obscure artist and someone will join in and talk about parts of their career that you have never heard of, or pull out a record by them that you have never seen.”

Marc Time, disc jockey for KWVA radio’s The Sunday Morning Hangover, record collector and record convention veteran, is excited about this year’s event.

“It’s like heaven for anyone into vinyl,” Time said. “Right around noon or 1 p.m. it turns into a frenzy; it’s kind of like a circus. It gets really, really crowded and really, really exciting for a while.”

He added that “a lot of the bargains are to be had later in the day.”

This year, for the first time, KWVA will broadcast live from the convention on 88.1 FM. Those who want a preview of the show can catch The Sunday Morning Hangover, which will begin its broadcast at 8 a.m. on Sunday. The convention doors open at 10 a.m.

Both Finneran and Time have been record collectors for years. Finneran’s collection of musical memorabilia includes more than 20,000 pieces.

Finneran says that audiophiles prefer vinyl’s analog recording because of its fuller sound when compared to CDs, a digital format.

“Digital sound has improved vastly since the early days of CDs, but there is still a notable difference,” Finneran said. “Obviously we don’t talk in digital, we don’t hear in digital, when you go to see a band you aren’t listening to digital guitars.”

Finneran said that some collectors just collect records for the cover art.

“I collect records that have cheesecake covers,” said Time. Cheesecake covers are records from the 1950s and 1960s that feature half-naked women.

“Usually the artist on the record is some geek who is so ugly they don’t want to put his picture on the cover, so they put a beautiful girl on the cover instead,” he said.

Time also collects Christian ventriloquist records.

“Springfield has the number one Christian ventriloquist artist, a lady named Marcy Tigner,” said Time. “Marcy Tigner has put out 40 records on her own.”

The Eugene Record Convention will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Eugene Hilton hotel, located at 66 E. Sixth Ave. Tickets are $3 for adults, children younger than 12 get in free.

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