The Vinylist: Brian Jones
With an impressively organised array of over 10,000 records focusing in on the 50s to the 70s, reader Brian Jones collects rock ’n’ roll, Americana, Motown and soul – and has an affinity for the honeyed tonsils of Nancy Wilson, Brenda Lee and Barbra Streisand…
What was the first record you bought?
“The first record I purchased was a copy of by The Shadows in 1960. This 7″ record opened my eyes and the bug was born! It cost 6s/4d [around 30p] and I bought it in Gloria’s Record Bar in Glasgow… sadly no longer trading.”
Which artists and genres are you most interested in?
“From the late 50s until the late 70s, including selected easy listening, rock ’n’ roll, Beat groups, Americana and anything Motown. The major players would be Tony Bennett, Nancy Wilson, Bobby Darin (complete), Connie Francis, Peggy Lee, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Cliff and The Shadows, Brenda Lee (complete), Little Richard, Gene Pitney and Bob Dylan. I have every LP by Barbra Streisand (to me the finest female singer of all time), and over 100 Beatles albums. The Stones, Floyd, Hollies and Moody Blues are all in there. Americana accounts for hundreds of albums, and Motown and soul account for loads of shelving!”
How many records do you have?
“I have around 8,000 LPs, 1,500 45s, 3,000 CDs and around 200-plus boxsets. I also have around 500 biographies, which I read avidly. These are stored in an understairs cupboard along with most of the boxsets. The LPs are all catalogued, and being a retired mathematician has made the job easier! Hundreds of other artists not mentioned above have mini-collections.”
What’s the most valuable record in your collection?
“I have an original copy of The Drifters’ Rockin’ & Driftin’ from 1958. Not released in Britain, it can fetch £400 in mint condition. I also have Tom Petty’s 7LP Live… set, which is worth around £800-plus now (very few pressed). Pink Floyd’s Pulse set (unplayed) is another. One of my favourite sets is a full 13LP-collection of Japanese Beatles albums. With so many albums, a large percentage of them are in stunning condition.”
What’s the Holy Grail record that you’d most like to own?
“The first two albums from Elvis, in great condition… at the right price. That’s the only Holy Grail for me.”
What’s your listening setup?
“A pair of Linn Espek floor-standers and a new VPI Traveler deck. I am operating with a Kenwood M-85 stack system, which has six units. Bought 24 years ago, it has been a trusted performer but is now starting to show its age. I’ll upgrade significantly after the summer, and I’m thinking of a MOON amplifier, but still considering what else I need. The guys at Loud & Clear in Glasgow, a high-end hi-fi store, will see to that – Ian, John, Barbra et al. A great bunch and they will do anything for you.”