The past few years have seen a resurgence in vinyl record sales. Many people have said that vinyl is back and here to stay.
If that's true, then one area resident is well ahead of the curve.
Carl Heess started buying records in the early 1950s. Today, he has more than 2,000 records in his collection. Heess has so many records, in fact, that he had to buy a 10-by-16-foot shed in order to house all of them.
"I bought a shed and put shelves in there for the records to go on," Heess said. "I had to get a building separate for them because there were too many records in the house."
Having a separate structure to house his records means Heess can keep his collection organized.
"I got them all straightened up in there," Heess said. "I put tags on all of them with the singer's name and the type of music. They're mostly in alphabetical order. If I want a Hank Williams record, I know right where to go. Everybody who has been in there says it looks like a museum."
Heess's shed is equipped with electricity and temperature control so that he can keep his collection in optimal condition.
"I've got it all fixed up," Heess said. "I've got electricity in there and I have a big stereo system that I play my records on. I call it my home away from home."
Heess said his collection encompasses a range of different musical genres.
"I have a little bit of everything," he said. "Whenever I see something I want, I bring it home. I have so many records, I don't even remember what all I have!"
The majority of Heess's collection is made up of rock 'n' roll and country records.
"I like the old country the best," Heess said. "I like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Hank Stone, Eddie Arnold and those guys. I also have a lot of Beatles records, the Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley. I've got everything I was listening to when I was growing up."
Heess also has a number of contemporary albums in his collection.
"I like the newer stuff, too," he said. "I have a few Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen records."
Heess also collects musical memorabilia featuring a number of his favorite performers.
"I've got a lot of the old country guys' pictures with their signatures on them. I went to their shows and got their signed pictures. I've got a lot of shirts with their pictures on them, too. It's a big collection. I have all kinds of things."
Heess said the majority of his records come from yard sales, but many are brought directly to his home.
"I'll put an ad in the store that says 'Records Wanted' and a lot of people bring me their old records," Heess said. "There's even a garbage truck around here and the driver sometimes drops off old records that people have thrown away. I got about 50 new records from him just last week. They're all real nice; hardly played."
Heess said he first noticed that vinyl records were coming back when he saw stores selling brand-new record players.
"They said a long time ago that vinyl was going to be coming back. I was surprised to hear it. Then I started seeing record players advertised and I saw that Sears had some record players on sale. I guess everybody likes the old music so they're going to buy a record player."
Given his passion for records, the return of vinyl records is a trend Heess understands.
"I think records are better than CDs," Heess said. "They sound better. It's nice to have the big cover art, too. I don't buy records unless they have their original covers with them. I do own CDs, but I really only listen to them in the car."
Heess and his wife, Janet, live in Lincoln Falls, Sullivan County, where they oversee the family farm.
"I've lived around here all my life. I started farming early. My dad had the farm and I helped him. It was a dairy farm and now we have beef. We have about 20 beef cows and we still plant corn and hay. It's a real 'Old McDonald' farm," Heess said, with a laugh.
According to Heess, he's still adding to his collection.
"I'll buy new records when I find something that I don't have," he said. "Sometimes I pick up duplicates. That way if somebody wants one, I've got an extra copy."
Heess said Janet likes his record collection and has even helped him add to it.
"We're both in on it," Heess said. "She likes it as much as I do."
Despite his love of music, Heess is not a musician himself. "I played when I was younger, but I kind of got away from it when I started farming," Heess said. "I don't regret it because I've still got the music!"
Considering the size of his still-growing collection, Heess has enough music to last a lifetime.
If you, or someone you know has a collection that should be featured in an upcoming edition, contact Dana Borick at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 326-1551, ext. 3108.
Stories about local collectors are published on the last Sunday of each month in the Sunday Lifestyle section.