Caroline, record collector from Birmingham, AL – USA

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On the road to meet the record collectors, I met Caroline, owner of the website and IG account Carol’s Vinyl! From Birmingham, AL, her collection of records is about 75% of rock. Dedicated to her passion, Caroline obviously loves the record but also the audio equipment that goes with it. Kindly enough, she took a moment to answer our questions and to share her story about her love for the record. Let’s discover Caroline’s interview!

Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Hey, I am Caroline Favorite, I am from Birmingham, Alabama! I currently am working as an Administrative Assistant for a chemical engineering plant! I have lived in Birmingham for almost my entire life, moved here when I was 5 years old. I went to college at Auburn University, Auburn, AL. Located about 1hour and 45mins from Bham. I studied Radio, Television and Film.

How and when did you start you record collection? How many do you own today?

I started my record collection about 10 years ago. I always loved collecting the physical form of music (cassettes and CDs) and I went to family friend’s house one time and saw the record player and records and I had to start collecting. It was when it was “wasn’t cool just yet”. My family friends started getting wind that I had restarted collecting and I received a whole bunch of records from friends. I had about 200 about two months after I started collecting. Now, I have over 1400 records of all genres, decades, artists, etc.

album oasis

What started your interest in music?

I always loved music. It has been second nature for me to have a tune in my head at all times. I loved watching and singing along to Barney when I was little, I loved the fact that Neil Diamond wrote that beautiful song about me (Sweet Caroline, ed). I loved the bubblegum pop of the late 90s. I would perform albums and songs with my sister to my mom and dad! Shania and The Little Mermaid were our favorite. I saw Spice World when it came out. I paid attention to music in the movies that I was seeing, especially Disney films. I was obsessed with music. Still am!

“I think that the music finds you when you need it the most

What was the first record you ever purchased?

The first vinyl record I ever purchased was Led Zeppelin III. That and Some Girls (The Rolling Stones) was the reason why I started collecting. The album art for these two albums was so unique and I wanted to hold those in my hands at all times. I actually purchased them on eBay about 10 years ago. The next record was Lissie‘s first album which I bought on Amazon right when they started selling records and right when Prime was created!

record collection led zeppelin

What is your musical background?

I am not musically talented at all. Like I said before, I have always just surrounded myself with music. I would watch MTV & VH1 music videos, and pretend to be the pop princesses that appeared on the TV. I loved to have music playing at all times. I would listen to my walkman or slip a cassette tape in my little karaoke machine. My sister and I would spend hours making up dance moves.

What kind of music was playing in your house when you were a kid? Did your parents have records?

My parents did not have records but they had a huge CD collection. They were very social people and we constantly had people over. My dad was obsessed with music too, and loved finding the newest technology to buy and set up at the house. He lived for surround sound and setting up audio equipment. I learned how to wire a receiver for surround sound at very young age. We were constantly listening to music. They had CDs of 80s and 90s pop/pop rock. Heavy on the Michael Jackson, Prince and Styx! My dad loved to listen to Beck, Crash Test Dummies, Hootie, Queen, etc., in his truck. We would always sing along to very loud music!

Do you collect a particular genre of music?

My collection is about 75% of rock and rock sub-genres. But I own a lot of pop, hip-hop/rap, soul, jazz, soundtracks, etc. My collection ranges from the 50s to now, but it is mostly full of late 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s stuff.

beastie boys album

What is your best find ever?

Hmm. Well I am a huge movie buff. Almost Famous is my absolute favorite movie, it is the reason why I got into writing. I want to be Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous’ director, ed). But the record for the soundtrack to this movie is so rare. Like it was only pressed twice (once when the movie was released with about 500 copies and secondly when the 10th anniversary of the film hit with about 2500 hand numbered copies). Because of its popularity it is a very sought after record. The reissues go for about $400+. One day I kept on seeing the quote “It’s All Happening”, I knew I had the record in my discogs wishlist so I checked it out.

I saw that this guy was selling a copy for $175 and I freaked! The next was $500… I actually took a chance and made an offer for that one at $150 and HE ACCEPTED! I freaked out! So it is mine now and yes I am crazy for spending that much on a record but it is epic and so unique.

I also own the original pressing of Metallica’s “Kill Em All” on Megaforce, “Skid Row” & “Slave to Grind” by Skid Row, Guns N’ Roses Appetite with uncensored cover & Mariah Carey’s “Rainbow” … I also have Baby One More Time on vinyl and that exclusive pressing only was 2500 and it sold out in preorder in less than 2 days. Its worth well over $250 now!

album rainbow mariah carey

Any regrets about a lost record or about records you did not buy?

I have a few, but mainly I think that the music finds you when you need it the most. The records that I have passed up will find me soon enough. I will tell you that I miss the days when record collecting wasn’t “cool” and you could go to record stores and find Near mint pressings of Pink Floyd DSOTM with all the inserts for less than 20 bucks! LOL! I was stupid and used my inserts as decor in my college dorm room.

A funny anecdote about your collection or about vinyl that you have acquired?

The… Baby One More Time vinyl has become my signature! The whole vinyl community will relate me to that because I talk about how it is one of my favorites! I am B. Spears‘ biggest fan and I will always be! Seriously though, my three favorite records of all time are Baby One More Time, Led Zeppelin II, and Ride the Lightning. You can’t get anymore eclectic than that!

Also, my new motto is “For the Love of Music, nothing less, nothing more”, kind of a warning to the creeps who try to talk about other things than music. I will rid you, HAHAHA!

britney spears album

What was your latest purchase?

Hmmmm. I am always purchasing records and getting stuff sent to me! Not trying to brag at all but I work in a record store a few days a week and I do promo work! I am also an Amazon influencer, apart of record clubs, etc. My most recent favorite record release is Father John Misty‘s album & I got to visit Vinyl Me Please when I was in Denver so I got the new album by Mistki which is perfectly pressed.

My most recent White Whale purchase……. hmmmmm. IOWA by SLIPKNOT OHHHH SHOOT! Totally forgot about that purchase. One of the most amazing pressings, and the guy I bought it from used to work in a record store in the early 00s & he included promo stickers with it and sent me a promo sticker for… Baby One More Time! LOL! see told ya it was my thinggggg!

album iowa, slipknot

“I am the type of collector who collects vinyl (original pressings) because I want to hear the music the way it was originally heard

Is there an artist that you are trying to get the full discography?

Currently I am on the hunt to complete my Rolling Stones discography. At least up until the 90s! The only record I am missing from that list is Out of Our Heads! I’ve got all the rest!

record collection rolling stones

It’s the end of the world, you can only take 5 records from your collection with you! Which ones and why?

  • Baby One More Time, because it was my childhood
  • Ride the Lightning, because I love the progression of the album. It’s just the right amount of angst. It really does things to me 🙂
  • Led Zeppelin II, because this is my favorite band of all time and favorite album from them
  • Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves, it’s just a lovely album. So me!
  • Almost Famous Soundtrack, because its worth a whole lot and it’s amazing and the packaging is gorgeous

Thank goodness I sleep by my record vault and can pick it up! I have about 20 records in there right now. So if anything happens, I can grab that and run! HAHA!

nirvana, nervermid, blue record

Original pressings or re-issues? Why?

I am an OP girl! I try to find the original press of records & if they are not affordable and I cannot live without them at the moment, the earliest re-issues are acceptable. I am the type of collector who collects vinyl because I want to hear the music the way it was originally heard.

caro in a green dress

What kind of digger are you?

Since I work in the most “diggable” record store in the world, I am A DIGGER! I love finding the gems!! And the store I work in has the best! They don’t over price their records. I try to support the local businesses when I can! So record shops, but I love going to antique malls, thrift stores, & if I need something asap Discogs and Amazon is my go to! Discogs for my White Whales, Amazon for the discographies.

caro holding 7" records

Do you think that collecting records helps to preserve our musical and cultural legacy?

I definitely think so! If you buy music from local record shops that allows for artists and small businesses to benefit. I think that the listening experience is more enjoyable when you can hold a record in your hand and watch it spin around. It makes it more unique and intimate. It also allows for other types of artists to come about, vinyl pressers, vinyl creators, the preservation of recorded music. I think that the increase in vinyl record sales has also helped artists that haven’t produced music in forever. The reissues of classic albums and the reimagining of music that is familiar has helped these older artists to reemerge.

What attracts you in a record?

At first it was the artwork. I wanted to be an album artist for a long time. The vinyl record allows for inserts and cool artwork. Something that cannot be seen and enjoyed on a digital front. Sometimes CDs can allow for cool artwork but not usually. There is nothing like the full packaging of a vinyl record. The other thing I love is the intimacy, the way you have to physically pick out the record, pull it out of the sleeve, examine it, place it on the table, hold the needle and put the needle on the record. Adjust the audio, etc. It really is one of the most relaxing and therapeutic experiences.

record collection

How do you organize your collection?

I organize my collection now by genre and then alphabetical. I have a three cube under my record player in my room and I have my artists that have full discographies (or close to that) in the shelves under there (AC/DC, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones, etc.) I have rock and all rock subgenres started in Alphabetical order. Then pop, country, etc. I have Soundtracks in order of years.

beetlejuice soundtracks on record

What does your record collection say about you?

That I am eclectic and that I am a crazy person who has too many records for one woman! haha! Seriously though, I have such a variety and I love it that way!

caro holding few records

What’s your current setup at home?

I have four record players (2 vintage box record players, an HYM Seed, and a Numark DJ table) and one turntable (Audio Technica LP 120) which is connected to a Marantz 1970s receiver with vintage and early 00s speakers. I have a Yahama 80s cassette player. I love audio equipment a lot. I like all the different ways each one sounds.

Want to add something about yourself? Now it’s the time 😉

I am mostly (about 98% of the time) doing everything that you see on my posts BY MYSELF! I do my own makeup, plan my outfits, write the captions, take my own pictures, research, find the records, etc. If I collab, I include that in the caption and give credit where it is due. I am a control freak about my posts, and super anxious every time I go to post something. So I love to do it all! I created my own website back in December. I started from scratch on iPage and created a domain and all that. I am currently working with Eclectic Elyse to revamp my website and make it more collaborative. I love cross-promoting, so touching on things that are not just music. Everyone is influenced by music in some way so it is cool to learn what other types of influencers and brands love about music. I am going to be DJing an event for a Fright Club showing of Halloween in town! I am super excited to combine my love of Horror movies and music! 🙂

My whole goal is to show that you can do whatever you put your mind to! I am a self-starter. I did this all by myself. I loved every second but I know that I wouldn’t be anywhere without the love and support of my friends and family! Also, I want to show the younger generation of women that you can listen to whatever music you want to and collect just like the men! There is no limitation to what you can do! Don’t let yourself get in the way!

More About Caroline:
Instagram : @carolsvinyl
Twitter: @carolsvinyl
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/carolsvinyl
Website: www.carolsvinyl.com

Photo credit: Courtesy of @carolsvinyl

Thank you very much Caroline for this interview. It was very cool to discover your story about your passion for the record!

Don’t forget to visit Caroline’s website and to follow her on IG 🙂