The Vinylist: Craig Burles

He started out collecting hip hop and switched allegiances to classic rock. A loyal soul, Craig Burles has been buying his vinyl in the same local record shop in Leigh-on-Sea for years.
Craig Burles
What was the first record that you bought?
“De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising in 1989, which I still have. My interest in collecting started when I was 15, and I became a big collector in the 90s. I did work experience at a local record shop called Fives in Leigh-on-Sea, which has just celebrated its 40th year, and I still get most of my new vinyl from them. My dad had an old stack system and I always remember him playing rock records when I was growing up, and my mum was a massive Beatles fan.”
Which artists and genres are you most interested in?
“My favourite band is probably Foo Fighters. I listen to almost any music, and my taste has varied over the years. I was into hip hop and rap in my teens, and as a result have a big collection including Public Enemy, Ice T, Jungle Brothers, LL Cool J, Run-DMC and so on, but now I tend to prefer rock. Some of my favourites include Alice In Chains, Biffy, Black Label Society, Blind Melon, Blur, Oasis, The Breeders, The Cure and so on. I also love the classics, like The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, The Doors, Bob Dylan and David Bowie.”
How many records do you have?
“I think I have around 1,200 or so at home. Most of my collection is albums in the 12″ format, but I also have a smaller collection of 7″, 10″ and 78s. I’ve recently been scanning onto Discogs, and so far have reached 847, so I’ve got a little way to go yet. I recently inherited a collection of records from my late granddad, some of which were still-sealed jazz from the late 50s (such as Joe Fingers Carr and Bob Scobey’s Frisco Band) and a copy of Elvis Presley’s Love Me Tender on a Shellac 78 from 1957.”
What’s the most valuable record in your collection?
“I have a multitude of first pressings from the 90s, and take valuations from Discogs, according to which my most valuable one is the George Michael Older LP from 1996, which has recently sold for £760 – mine is in mint condition. Other first-pressing LPs I have are Smashing Pumpkins (Mellon Collie… and Siamese Dream), the entire Cure back catalogue, The Presidents Of The United States Of America, Blind Melon, Pulp (Different Class), Green Day’s Dookie (green numbered vinyl), Elastica, Garbage… all of which are into triple figures.”
What’s the Holy Grail record you’d most like to own?
“I currently have 76 on my want list and I’m constantly adding to it. I missed out on getting a copy of Bowie’s Blackstar on clear vinyl, so that’s on the top of my list. I’d also love to own a copy of Prince The Black Album, but I’d have to take out another mortgage to get one of those! I’m always after signed records as well and recently met Wilko Johnson and band at the local store and got the new LP signed.”
What’s your listening setup?
“I had a Sharp Optonica SM-5100 integrated stereo amp, from the early 80s, which had a great sound,but it stopped working recently.  My current setup is a SoundLAB DLP-12S belt-drive turntable, Cambridge Audio Topaz SR10 stereo receiver and a pair of Piano Black Yamaha NX-E300 bookshelf speakers. I would like to upgrade to a Technics SL1200G, as I’ve always loved the Technics decks since my school days.”