ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JORDAN KRAUSE
For many people, vinyl records are a thing of the past.
Not so with Byron McCarty.
McCarty, a former Hillsboro police chief, now retired, has collected of more than 3,000 45-LP singles, as well as many full-size vinyl albums, from the ’50s and ’60s.
“It’s nice having songs that you heard when you were younger,” McCarty said. “Songs bring back memories to people.”
McCarty said he was always a music fan, but didn’t actively start collecting until 1974, when he bought the Elektra Records compilation album “Nuggets”-two vinyl records full of past hit singles from such groups as the Amboy Dukes, the Electric Prunes and the Magicians.
On a whim, McCarty decided to find the original 45 singles of all the songs on the album.
“I would guess I found about 90 percent of them,” he said.
He decided to keep collecting. Today, the results fill several large boxes and take up an entire closet.
McCarty, 54, keeps all his records in the original picture sleeve and plastic cover, if possible.
“A lot of people threw away the picture sleeves because they just wanted the music,” he said. “That significantly decreases the value.”
McCarty rarely trades or sells his albums. One exception he mentioned was when a longtime friend and fan of the Beach Boys wanted a single he’d found, and McCarty gave it to him.
Some of the rarest items in his collection include an original Remains vinyl album, a “fan club only” Christmas album recorded by the Beatles, and hard-to-find Jan and Dean and Beach Boys surfer singles.
“I’d actually be willing to trade some of the Beatles stuff for any old country music anyone has,” he said.
McCarty’s collection isn’t limited to vinyl. He frequents music-trading newsgroups online, buys compact discs and audiotapes, and often “burns” his vinyl collection to CD.
“Most of the stuff collectors collect you can’t find in the record stores, so that might be the only way you’d ever find a record,” he said.
Some of McCarty’s personal favorites include Paul Revere and the Raiders, Jay Black, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, Lovin’ Spoonful, and the Remains-a group who opened for the Beatles on the Fab Four’s first North American tour.
McCarty also has affection for underground acts-the talented but overlooked contributors to the pop/ rock music scene.
“Records from garage bands are worth at least double what Top 40 stuff is, as long as it’s in good shape,” McCarty said. “Mainly, though, I collect them because I like the music. It’s nice to hear stuff you’ve never heard before.”
“I basically collect everything except rap and disco,” he added. “I’m a big old country fan.”
When not collecting, McCarty can be seen hosting tables at Hillsboro’s Old Towne Restaurant, or doing work as a paraprofessional for the local school system.