THE AVID COLLECTOR was the title of my column in Pulse! magazine. Pulse! (with the annoying exclamation mark) was the in-house magazine for Tower Records that was free to every customer in every Tower store in the world! The Avid Collector was about collectible records and ran for almost two years in the early ’90s.
Except for occasionally misspelling my first name (Neil instead of Neal), the Pulse! people were easy to work with and Pulse! readers were a good audience. I was given free rein by my editors to write about whatever caught my fancy. Here are a few of the articles that appeared in that column:
“Beatles Rarities: Are Yours Legitimate or Fake?”
“James Brown: The Godfather of Soul’s King Albums”
“Collecting Uncle John’s Band: Grateful Dead on Warner Brothers”
“The Art of Jazz: David Stone Martin’s Album Sleeve Masterpieces”
There were two things over which I did not have control: the title of each article (the ones above are a compromise between what I submitted and the editor’s taste) and the illustrations used (which I didn’t care about anyway).
The May 1993 issue of Pulse! featured Depeche Mode on the cover while my Avid Collector column featured “Full Radial Vivid Sound-O-Rama: Collectors Flip Over Dramatic Early Stereo Sides.”
The Avid Collector
A few years ago, I started using a modified version of that column’s title—Avid Record Collector—as a category on my Neal Umphred Dot Com blog. When I started this blog (Rather Rare Records), I moved all the previously published articles on record collecting from the Neal Umphred site to here.
Currently, I use the term “the Avid Record Collector” on both my Rather Rare Records and Elvis – A Touch Of Gold blogs. Since I am using it, I thought I should explain who or what the Avid Record Collector is—which is me!
Unfortunately, I was not able to secure the rights to the domain name theavidcollector.com as somebody beat me to it.
This image of the resting hippie was cropped from the featured image of the Sixties Music Secrets website. I have always assumed that the image’s artist was inspired by the Lovin’ Spoonful’s classic hit Daydream.
The Avid Record Collector
For a brief while, I contributed a column about collecting records and related topics to the Sixties Music Secrets blog. I modified the title and the persona of my Pulse! column from the Avid Collector to the Avid Record Collector. So, this information should answer the question, “Are the Avid Collector and the Avid Record Collector the same person?”
Fortunately, this time I was able to secure the rights to the domain name theavidrecordcollector.com.
FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of the page is of the Tower Records store in Los Angles in 1976. For readers interested in the history of Tower Records, check out “The Rise And Fall Of Tower Records” by Ben Marks on the Flashbak website. The albums advertised with the huge outdoors posters include the soundtrack to The Wiz, Jonathan Richman’s latest with the Modern Lovers, and Starland Vocal Band’s self-titled debut.
I confess that I was already discouraged by the rock and pop music scene of the ’70s and wasn’t paying a lot of attention to the latest hits; therefore, I cannot identify the other albums on the posters.
Mystically liberal Virgo enjoys long walks alone in the city at night in the rain with an umbrella and a flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig who strives to live by the maxim, “It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble; it’s what you know that just ain’t so.
I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a college dropout (twice!). Occupationally, I have been a bartender, jewelry engraver, bouncer, landscape artist, and FEMA crew chief following the Great Flood of ’72 (and that was a job that I should never, ever have left).
I am also the final author of the original O’Sullivan Woodside price guides for record collectors and the original author of the Goldmine price guides for record collectors. As such, I was often referred to as the Price Guide Guru, and—as everyone should know—it behooves one to heed the words of a guru. (Unless, of course, you’re the Beatles.)