Sunday, January 13, 2008

"Bringing the music to the people"

from - by Brian Marchetti

ALSIP, IL -- The history of rock 'n' roll came alive last weekend at the Doubletree Hotel in Alsip at a record convention sponsored by Record Recovery Productions.

A dozen dealers from local stores and as far away as Tennessee spread their collections of thousands of records along with 8-tracks, cassettes, videos, books and CDs, which were carefully examined by collectors from as far away as Great Britain.

"Rock 'n' roll is very much alive," said Larry O'Connell, of Chicago, founder and event planner for Record Recovery Productions. O'Connell's love of music began as a 13-year-old in the Midway neighborhood while jamming on his drum set as he listened to the radio.

"There are a lot of great songs out there that no one gets to hear," O'Connell said. "This convention gives people the chance to find rarities on imports and lesser-known labels."

Greg Biggs, a vendor originally from Elmhurst but now living in Clarksville, Tenn., owns CVC Collectables, a mail-order service offering rock standards, collectables and lesser known acts on import labels.

Biggs boasts a rare copy of a Brazilian cover of the Who's monumental "Live at Leeds," which sells for $150. And he recently acquired a 45 by The High Numbers, the original name of the Who, one of only 1,000 records printed.

"Records have a warmer sound," Biggs said. "Cover art is also a big factor in record collecting. Record covers offer more innovative cover art and legible liner notes that you don't get on CDs"

Geoff Maguire, of Frankfort, attended the convention in the hopes of finding original mono recordings of his favorite artists.

"I've been collecting since 1993," said Maguire, 33. During his search, he acquired an original mono record of Pink Floyd's debut album "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn," which he purchased for $50.

Val Challoner, a 48-year-old record collector from England, searched for rare 45s of soul and funk artists.

"I occasionally make trips, but I just happened to find this convention while on holiday," Challoner said.

With a couple of thousand records in his collection, Challoner represents the quintessential collector.

"I spent $500 on a 45 of Mickey and the Soul Generation," he said.

Record Recovery Productions hosts six events a year. The next one takes place March 9 at the Doubletree Hotel.

"Because of all the downloadable music out there, most of the record stores are gone," O'Connell said. "This is the only way people will be able to find rare songs from the beginning of rock 'n' roll."

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