Vinylist Steve Hampshire interviewed

It started with Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline and it’s just kept going…

What was the first record you bought?
“I was a 90s child, and CDs were the future, right? My first LP was Nashville Skyline, bought when I was 18 in 1997 from a vintage shop in Exmouth. At that time, I had only heard the usual Dylan songs, such as, Mr. Tambourine Man and Blowin’ In The Wind, but one listen to this and I was gobsmacked! Such a personal and intimate record, with Bob embracing country heartbreak on the duet with Johnny Cash Girl From The North Country, alongside songs such as Lay Lady Lay and I Threw It All Away. It’s still my most played record ever!”
Which artists and genres are you most interested in?
“The two artists which can do no wrong in my eyes are Bill Callahan (Smog) and David Berman (Silver Jews, Purple Mountains), the latter who so tragically took his own life earlier this year. I also love soul and Motown, The Velvet Underground, Lee Hazelwood, Sweetheart Of The Rodeo-era Byrds, alongside American lo-fi indie such as Yo La Tengo, Low and Beat Happening. Recently,I have also been swept away by the wonky, Welsh weirdness of Cate Le Bon, Sweet Baboo, H Hawkline and Meilyr Jones.”
How many records do you have?
“Recently, I thought I should do the grown-up thing and look into insuring my records separately, and it was the first time I had ever counted them. It is approximately 1,000 LPs, which is growing at a pretty pace, with so many brilliant releases this year.”
What’s the most valuable record in your collection?
“I am not into checking the prices on Discogs. At a guess, I would say the Nick Drake boxset Fruit Tree must be fairly valuable. Or maybe one of the recent Record Store Day releases, like the Lost In Translation soundtrack which everyone was scrabbling around after.”
What’s the holy grail record that you’d most like to own?
“For the past couple of years, I have searched high and wide for Sweet Baboo’s The Marc Riley BBC Sessions to no avail. Money is waiting for any kind person out there who’s willing to part.”
What’s your listening setup?
“I am a genuine Luddite and tend to stick to vintage turntables and speakers, which in my opinion adds to that warm, fuzzy tone, although that might just be because my record player is old and knackered. For the last five years I have had a Sony HMP-20 from the late 70s, and am dreading the day it finally gives up the ghost.”