I have been buying a lot of vinyl recently! Why? Is this a retrograde step back in time? Has the compact disc failed? Non of the above. For some the resurgence of vinyl is a fashion thing. The latest item to have around your pad. Not to listen to, but to admire. The hipsters may have boosted the popularity for all things vinyl, but not for me. The current vogue for vinyl has piqued my interest in my ignored boxes of vinyl pushed into the garage and attic. The result of resurrecting my collection of vinyl has been threefold: a great emotional rush at re-engaging with records from my youth, at how good some of it sounds and how much I have lost over the years and having not got a clue where it all is! I suppose, just be glad I have what I have!
We can have debates about the merits of CD versus vinyl (hello Mr CBQ) but there is something about the tactile and emotional connection to a vinyl record that to be truthful CD has never really achieved. I know this is a pure nostalgia thing going back to my youth, but when I put on a record that I may not have touched or even heard in maybe 20 years, wow does that send an emotional jolt that takes me right back to memories when I first had these records.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand and Brain Salad Surgery by ELP. My, how many times has this been released over the years! Now the catalogue is with BMG and they have released CD as well as vinyl editions. So I have taken the opportunity to own this on vinyl for the first time. It is my favourite ELP album and did buy it when it was released. But, back in 1973 we were a household that did not have a record player. That was not introduced till 1975. I just had a crappy little plastic cassette player. So my listening was purely tape and mono at that! It's a pleasure to have this now on vinyl in all it's die-cut, gatefold glory. This was ELP at the height of their popularity, even the NME celebrated them by releasing excerpts of the album in a free flexi single. How things would change in a few years.
This new issue is taken from the latest remasters by Andy Pearce and Matt Wortham and sounds the best I have heard it. But it's the overall experience of the great package design, which can only be done justice in the vinyl format that makes Brain Salad Surgery one of progs golden greats.