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Barry Courter

Every so often, if you live long enough I suppose, you'll have deja vu moments where what was old is new again. Kind of like when millennials invented fresh-grown fruits and vegetables all over again. Who knew a tomato picked right off the vine could taste good, and be kinda good for you?

Anyway, I had coffee with Ben VanderHart last week. He told me his idea for a record store he is opening called Yellow Racket Records. One of my first jobs was working at the Record Bar in Eastgate. Some years later, my older brother, Bob, opened Courter Brothers Records, and later sold it to Chad Bledsoe, who changed it to Chad's Records.

I've always been a vinyl guy for all the same nerdy reasons that audiophile types have been espousing for decades. Talking to VanderHart reminded me just how cool it was to be able to spend hours in a record shop browsing through the bins.

Apparently, other people miss those days, and even younger folks who never had the chance are discussing how great it can be. VanderHart is banking on it, anyway.

The 31-year-old VanderHart isn't looking to open another vintage vinyl shop, however — not that there is anything wrong with those. He's looking to carry the many new works that are being released. Several media outlets reported last week that vinyl will outsell CDs for the first time since 1986.

In fact, new vinyl LP sales in the U.S. rocketed from 900,000 in 2006 to 16.8 million in 2018. More interestingly, VanderHart sees his shop, which will open somewhere downtown likely in the early spring, as a gathering place where people can talk about music, drink a beer or a cup of coffee, and perhaps check out an in-store performance by bands playing in town.

Another reason VanderHart said people are re-embracing the album format is that music fans want to know who played keyboard or bass, or who engineered the recording, and the credits and liner notes on albums are part of the experience.

Again, this is not news to us old folks, but it is nice to see it being embraced again; not so much because life was so much better back in the day, but because it makes the music, and the artists, important.

Part of the fun of sitting around listening to records with other people wasn't only talking about the music, but impressing your friends by knowing which Frank Zappa records Steve Vai played on.

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.


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