The winner of CL's Indie Record Shopping Spree, Safety Harbor wife and mother Christi Atkins, purchased the package as a surprise birthday gift for her husband, Jeff Mahar. She wanted to keep it secret until the day we actually went shopping Saturday, January 9, shortly after Jeffs actual birth date and so we communicated solely via e-mail so he wouldnt catch wind of the plans. [All photos by Phil Bardi.]
In the weeks leading up to the excursion, I learned from our exchanges that Jeff was a man who already had a healthy collection of vinyl more than 5,000 records according to Christi. (Hopefully you will be able to find some stuff he doesnt have should be fun trying!!) He was an audiophile who primarily listened to vinyl and owned at least one record player already. (I found out later it was two, excluding the ones that were broken.) I also surmised that he was a Gen X-er born in the mid-to-late 60s and his preference for high-quality classic rock, pop, blues, roots and folk reflected it; Christis list of some of his faves included the Grateful Dead, Warren Zevon, Son Seals, Jackson Browne, Steely Dan, Bob Dylan, CSNY, Traffic and George Harrison. He was also a fan of more contemporary artists like Son Volt, Elvis Costello and Wilco.
I could already tell wed get along just fine, but I was a tad concerned that Jeffs expanded record collection might make it difficult to turn him onto something new or to find something he didnt already own. Not that I wasn't up to the challenge...
We arranged to meet at Audio Visions South in the mid-afternoon, where Christi would reveal her surprise to Jeff, pick up the turntable, and from there, wed embark on our three-store vinyl shopping spree. Audio Visions president/owner George Liu [pictured above, far right, with Christi and Jeff] had hooked up the vintage refurbished Thorens TD turntable theyd won to one of his fabulous stereo systems and was playing a record on it when they walked in. Very classy.