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‘Memories,’ rarities sound buys at fair

John Banas looks over a Steppenwolf album at the Record and CD Fair on Sunday at the Woodlands Inn & Resort.

Fred adams/for the times leader

PLAINS TWP. -- Anyone interested in purchasing recordings appealing to a wide variety of tastes could do so Sunday at the Record and CD Fair at the Woodlands Inn & Resort.

A selection of more than 200,000 recordings, including vinyl and digital, was available for the choosiest aficionados.

Jack Skutnik, organizer and avid record collector, described the clientele who sifted and sorted through the thousands of records as “eclectic.”

Most are looking for “memories,” he said. Some were searching for a song they heard when they were children, others something they can purchase for their mother recorded in the 1940s on a 78 rpm vinyl disk, he said. Still others were looking for the most “obscure” recording they could find, he said.

Prices ranged from 50 cents for a 45 rpm vinyl disk from a popular 1960s artist to $500 for an album recording from Moondog, a homeless recording artist from New York City, he said.

Skutnik admits his fascination with records is a “disease” he turned into a popular event. He has been organizing similar fairs in Northeastern Pennsylvania since the early 1990s.

He talked about the fascination some have with vinyl records, saying they have a “fuller sound” than the new digital technologies. A significant percentage of fairgoers remain committed to vinyl.

Ian Vannan from Forest City, Lackawanna County, carried a stack of 45 rpm records he found at the fair. He said the new digital music technologies are computer-generated “noise” compared to the true “sound” from vinyl records.

“The kids listening to them will be deaf in a few years,” he said. “Sound won’t make you deaf, noise will,” he added.

Mark Zip, owner of Zip’s Ziggurat in Woodstock, N.Y., said he brings his minivan full of recordings to about 20 shows each year including the ones in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

He said he started selling records when his private collection got too big. He said he believes most of the vendors begin to sell records with the same motivation. “We don’t have sellers’ remorse,” he said.

Zip said his assortment is “about 1 inch deep and a mile wide,” appealing to many enthusiasts.

Tom Konopka from Pittsford, N.Y., has been collecting and selling records for 25 years. He started as a hobbyist when living as a “Mr. Mom.”

He said he noted an increase in young people becoming interested in record albums. They like the sound, he said, and the large decorative album covers.

About 600 shoppers were estimated to have visited Sunday seeking good sounds at a fair price, Skutnik said. He said the record fair takes place twice each year in the region and there are numerous shows within a 100- mile radius.

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