Inside the Pleasants Family Assembly Room, several dozen cardboard boxes were set up, containing about 3,000 items. Most were vinyl records, but LPs, CDs, and cassettes, as well as compilations of interviews with past musicians and magazines like The Old Time Herald, Living Blues and Blues Revue, were also included.
In the background, a country album by Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton was playing, and a steady stream of music fans filtered in and out, browsing the colorful records.
“For people of a certain generation they hold a lot of nostalgia,” said Steven Weiss, the head of the Southern Folklife Collection.
“To some ears it sounds a lot better. It is a warmer sound, the subtlest aesthetic thing, and has more depth.”
Weiss said the sales will go toward buying supplies for the collection and help fund upcoming lectures and concerts.
Profits will also benefit a screening of “it’s grits!,” the 1980 documentary about grits — and the South in general — that will take place this spring.
In celebration of the movie’s 30th anniversary, the director will be coming in to speak, said Weiss.
He added that the appeal of vinyl records drove many people to the sale.
Elizabeth Macleod, who said she used to be an undergraduate library assistant at Wilson Library, shuffled through Old Time Banjo, Stevie Wonder, and Cowboy Junkies records.
“They’re big and fun to look at. And more disgusting,” she added while holding up a country record with a middle-aged man sitting on a beach chair, one leg propped on top of the other, shirt unbuttoned to reveal an explosion of black chest hair.
James McGurk, a disc jockey at Cat’s Cradle, said he’s always looking for good vinyl deals for his job.
“Most of the DJs around here still use vinyls,” he said. “It’s a cool little culture. So anytime someone’s liquidating vinyls is a good reason for us to swing by and look around.”
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