Ever have records melt…?

10-7-10

Ever have records melt, from being left in a car?

Yes.  On a junket to Tijuana in the 1980’s, I found a Procol Harum EP with a picture sleeve that looks like the cover of the debut LP.  How very groovy.  Got it for almost nothing at a little record store off of the main street, with some other (now forgotten) stuff.  Yes, I still have this artifact, lo these many years later – but it is unplayable because it got left in the car in the hot Mexican sun.  It’s an edge warp, but…the record lives inside it’s neat-o sleeve, and you can’t see it.  Or play it.

I’ve purchased vinyl in Las Vegas, NV that it took a lot of work to keep from warping while being transported home, while driving across the desert.  How do the people in Phoenix keep their records from warping, when driving home from the record show / record store?  Do they all have coolers specially outfitted to transport 12” records residing in their car trunks?

I’ve left records on trains in Europe.  I’ve mailed stuff home from a non-U.S. destination  that never arrived.

I once mailed some boxes of LP’s from Wellington, New Zealand to my home.  I don’t remember how many, but let’s say 5 boxes.  All but one had arrived by the time I got home.  The 5th box eventually turned up, in a large plastic bag from the US postal service.  All the records were still in the box, but…it looked as though the box had been submerged in some possibly inorganic sticky substance.  Yuck.  The cardboard of the carton protected some of the records, but…even today, I still sometimes run into an LP that I had to ‘salvage’ out of that box – with wax paper on the cover (to prevent it from sticking to it’s protective plastic LP bag), a fresh white inner sleeve (which had to be changed) etc.

For me, the big enemy of natural disasters with vinyl is the post office.  I’ve had way too many LP’s arrive broken, crushed, torn, damaged etc.  But from heat?  I remember buying comedy LP’s at Record Surplus once that smelled as though they had been in a house fire.  They were in a bag in my car, but I kept thinking that I smelled something burning.  It was later when I discovered that it was a smelly bag of LP’s that reeked like a house on fire!

Another fire-related vinyl mis-fortune:  I once found a very groovy 60’s LP that I had been looking for at a small record store in Santa Cruz, CA for a very good price.  I paid my $3 for a nifty copy of Mephistopheles “In Frustration I Hear Singing” (Reprise Records – still not on CD in 2010), put it in my LP box and drove home…only to later discover that a candle had been burned over the label of this charming bit of psychedelia – with plenty of detritus still evident.  Yes, I eventually righted this wrong with a sealed copy of the LP from a store on Hollywood Blvd. (for $1), but my Mexican Procol Harum EP is still in the same state it was in when I crossed over the border with it – heat warped from having been left in my car, while I walked around Tijuana.

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2 Responses to Ever have records melt…?

  1. postpunkmonk says:

    I’ve only had one record melt, but it was one of my first, and therefore, it made a big impression on me to never have it happen again. I had specifically asked for Joe Tex’s hit “I Gotcha” as a gift for my 7th birthday. I was given the 45 and took it with me somewhere in the car and the cruel San Fernando Valley sun did the rest. I remember that my mom ironed the warped 45 so that it would play again. At no point did the thought occur to buy another copy. But it did to ME and I’ve had that 45 back in my collection for many years now.

    Ever after, I’ve been extremely cautious in leaving records in hot conditions. I’ve done a ton of shipping and have never had records damaged in over 25 years. That includes receipt of records from as far afield as Greece and also includes the “buy away and ship back home” gambit. in fact, I wish I’d done the latter more often in my travels. Ususally, I can bring records on planes as carry on items. Better still, I can review my purchases on the flight home! After all, what better reading is there than liner notes?

  2. ronkanefiles says:

    I try not to find myself in too many situations where I can’t carry home whatever I’ve bought. When we visited Malaysia, I hand-carried everything; this wasn’t possible on my ’07 visit to Japan! (I had bought so much). Ah yes, the elements against our chosen hobby / ambition~!

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