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Old 04-09-2007, 05:58 AM   #1
Jesse Joe
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Neil Johnston, of Stanhope, P.E.I., holds up two 78-rpm records from his collection. His vinyl record vault, which is shelving units in one corner of his basement, holds roughly 4,000 albums and singles

Mary MacKay

Charlottetown Guardian

CHARLOTTETOWN (CP) - Everything under the Sun Records' label is golden to longtime music collector Neil Johnston.

His vinyl record vault, which is shelving units in one corner of his basement, holds roughly 4,000 albums and singles, close to 400 of which bear the distinctive brown-and-yellow Sun Records' label.

"I have virtually everything that ever came out. There were (also) hundreds of tracks that were never released by Sun, so people have gone into the vaults and reissued some of the stuff that (Sun Records owner and producer Sam Phillips) didn't issue at the time," Johnston says of the recording company that launched the careers of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and B.B. King, to name just a few of the big names.

The day the music came alive for Johnston, now of Stanhope, P.E.I., is tucked into his 10th year as a child growing up in Winnipeg.

He still has the two 78-rpm records of Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash that fuelled the fire for more music.

When he relocated to Vancouver as a teen, he toted his growing collection with him. He lugged an even bigger load when he moved to P.E.I. last summer.

One man who made it big in that Sun Records' era and still belts it out posthumously is Presley, who factors in as the largest single singer in Johnston's collection.

Presley only put out about 50 albums in his lifetime, but that didn't prevent Johnston from adding in excess of 400 to his collection.

"I have albums from all over the world, different covers, different track listings, different countries. I have a lot from Japan - Japan is very big on Elvis - and the British Isles and Germany," he says.

"That's just a small fraction of the stuff that is available."

Like any music collector, Johnston has morphed through many musical playback periods, starting with 78- and 45-rpm record eras and other vinyl offerings.

Although he dabbled in cassettes and embraced the CD age, he admits that there was one music-making medium that he leap-frogged over entirely.

"I was never into eight-track. I never had a car back in those days, so I never was into (the portability) of eight-track players or anything like that.

"And I always thought they were a real pain because my experience with people who had them was the machines ate the tapes quite regularly," he says with a laugh.

He also has hundreds of VHS videotapes, DVD movies and books on his musical subjects to further bolster his collection.

Many of the greats have now become late greats, while some are still pumping out the tunes, including Johnston's latest acquisition, "Last Man Standing" by Jerry Lee Lewis, who was the starting point of his five-decade devotion to rock 'n' roll.

"I'm a completist. When I start collecting something, I want to get everything.

"I collect labels like Chess, a (postwar) blues label out of Chicago. So anything that's on Chess, I'll buy an album if it's just got one song on it that I don't have in my collection."

[ April 09, 2007, 06:03: Message edited by: Jesse-Joe ]
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Old 04-09-2007, 03:33 PM   #2
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4000??!! ...and I thought my record collection was big! :D LOL!

Another man who has a huge collection is Joel Whitman,who helped Billboard put out "The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits". He has an underground vault and in the picutre I saw,literally dozens of cabinets & files!

He's been collecting since the early 1950s,so,I'll never have as many as these guys.
"A knight of the road,going back to a place where he might get warm." - Borderstone
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Old 04-09-2007, 04:46 PM   #3
Jesse Joe
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How many do you have Borderstone, in your collection?

[ April 15, 2007, 10:54: Message edited by: Jesse-Joe. ]
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