The Vinylist: Roger Woodgate – rarities and records

Roger Woodgate explains how his haul of rarities and records grew to over 1,000…

How did you catch the collecting bug? What was the first record you bought?

It was Christmas 1963 and my mum said I could have one of two possible presents she’d found (second-hand) in the local paper: a plastic toy film projector or a record player. I went for the latter. She said I could also choose one 45rpm record to play on it. I chose The Beatles’ Please Please Me. On Christmas Day, I unwrapped the present to reveal a red and cream case housing the record player. I played The Beatles’ song 25 times in succession – the family were very tolerant. I was hooked.
It was 1969 before I could actually afford to buy a record with my own money. I bought the heaviest-sounding band I could. It was Edgar Broughton Band’s Wasa Wasa. A heavy fuzz tone and wah-wah guitar heralded the opener, Death Of An Electric Citizen.

What genres or artists are you most interested in collecting?

My era is 1968 to ’73, my formative years, where songs had special resonance for me. So my collection revolves around (multiple) copies of the same album.

I have 10 copies of The Beatles’ ‘White Album’, which include Japanese, German, UK mono, stereo, MFSL… but the prize is the white-vinyl German pressing that was direct-metal mastered some years and has the most thunderous bass.

I also have a big collection of CSNY, with emphasis on Neil Young. The most prized is my test pressing of Zuma. I did have a test press of Graham Nash’s Songs For Beginners, but I traded it with him for a piece of artwork he created for me. I also go for label collections; I love the early pink-label Island pressings.

How many records do you have?

About 1,000. I thinned the collection down from many more. There’s only so much time, and I wanted to concentrate on the stuff I still listen to.

What’s the most valuable record in your collection, and do you have any special rarities?

I think The Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric Ladyland first pressing, with larger photos on the inside and the blue lettering. I’ve seen that for £800 or £900. I also have a very rare cardboard poster advertising the album, with Jimi embossed over the naked ladies. I have Hunky Dory with the laminated sleeve (the very first run). I think only 5,000 of these were made and the LP didn’t sell very well at first.Pink Floyd’s rare The Nile Song (French picture sleeve) was a pretty nice find.
But my most valuable ‘stuff’ is actually around my room and on my walls. The rarest is the in-store ‘standee’ for The Rolling Stones’ Black And Blue LP. Only four of these standees are said to exist. The woman who adorns the cardboard standee was personally tied up by Mick. There was a big outcry about the piece and it was withdrawn.
The Italian promo poster for ‘The Pink Floyd’, advertising their 1969 tour is another rare piece, beautifully printed on fine Italian paper by a famous Milan printing house.

What’s the Holy Grail record that you’d most like to own?

The ‘White Album’ numbered under 10! Followed by the white-label promo in mono of Sticky Fingers.

What’s your listening setup?

Naim 135 Monoblocks, Naim SuperCap, Naim 52 preamp; Linn Sondek, which has been upgraded over the years: the latest upgrades being Keel and the Radikal. The arm is a Naim ARO with Dynavector XX cartridge. The phono stage is a Tom Evans Groove, and the speakers are Linn Kabers, tri-wired.