In a remarkably sad story, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library in Tennessee has sold its collection of rare vinyl record albums for $1 a piece. Some of the vinyl was valued at a thousand times as much. The library staff was obviously clueless of its value.
From the library, Chad Bledsoe, owner of Chad's Records in Chattanooga, bought a rare collection compiled by Library of Congress Folk Life Center archivist Richard K. Spottswood in 1976 for the Bicentennial. For only $13, he got a collection of American Folk music from the 1920's, 30's and 40's that inspired the best country, blues and rock musicians decades later. On Amazon, the same collection is now valued at $1500!
Each album in the set has it's own theme and title like War & History, Complaints & Protest, Migration and Immigration and Songs of Childhood. "It's definitely a one-of-a-kind find because I guess the only sets are in libraries," Bledsoe said.
Bledsoe's 13-record set came from the now-empty shelves of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library, where the vinyl was tossed out like yesterday's trash. Friends of the Library were selling the records through March 2 for a dollar each in the center of Northgate Mall.
Each of the albums contained a vinyl disc that was in remarkably good shape. They included a book that detailed the music, the lyrics and the story behind the songs as well as the life of the artists. Included were some of the earliest Grand Ole Opry performers on these albums, as well as performers like Wilmouth Houdini, Dutch Coleman, Bumble Bee Slim and others who blazed the blues and folk music trails.
"We had noticed over the last several years that the vinyl is not circulating like our CD’s are, or our DVD's, and what we wanted to do was make space for new items and get them into the hands of people who would really appreciate them," Cathy Royal of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library said. She didn’t have the time or resources to property maintain the vinyl that was now over 30 years old.
What a truly sad, sad story!