- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The needle drops with a slight hiss and the heads start to bob.

Some are over folded arms, others as they browse the stacks of records set in front of them. They are bobbing almost in unison and a few legs are now starting to twitch.

The song is “Pop Muzik” by M. Released in 1979, it is a bouncing precursor to the danceable music with a synthesizer bent that would come to dominate the 1980s. The cover features a gigantic baby beneath graffiti-like text.

The track was brought to you by Don McKee, owner of Phoenix Books and Music and host of the monthly Knights of the Turntable gatherings.

Held on the first Thursday of every month, Knights of the Turntable is a free-flowing and open group for vinyl and music enthusiasts.

The theme for January’s gathering is “Guilty Pleasures,” but often there is no theme - just a bunch of people standing around and listening to music together. That in itself is a near-dead practice in 2015 and something McKee takes pride in keeping alive.

“Group listening to music in any format is a lost art. Coming to Knights of the Turntable is the opposite of wearing ear buds,” he said.

Early versions of the group were much more structured, amounting to one person giving a lecture.

Today, the group is much less formal. Visitors bring three songs they like, or songs that are relevant to the topic, and offer a brief intro. But occasionally, they just hit play, McKee said.

“That said, the amount of music knowledge in the room is just staggering,” McKee said.

Adam Moon is one of the founders of the group and has been a regular face at the gatherings.

Tonight he brought “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough,” a single by Cyndi Lauper, among others from his collection, which he said totals about 6,000 albums.

He agreed there is some definite nerding-out that goes on, but said that shouldn’t prevent anyone from coming.

“We are a very welcoming group that is totally OK with the dollar bin finds and the more common stuff,” he said. “We love to find those common interests in music and make friends. We are like a family here.”

That dynamic is readily apparent in the time after the songs start playing.

The sleeve for each album is passed around the room, and comments or questions are occasionally passed up for answer.

Jokes are made and heads continue to bob.

It’s all done under McKee’s impressive system, which offers a rich, almost live venue atmosphere to the proceedings.

McKee said interest in vinyl records has grown over the last few years. He has added stock and space in the format to match that trend.

“In the last 10 years, sales have gone up and it is still possible to go out there and find a good collection for sale to look through,” he said. “It will probably continue to go up because most of the people buying them are younger, 15 to 30 years old, discovering classic rock and wanting it in vinyl.”

Ernie November manager Keith Coombes said he enjoyed coming out and “getting schooled” during the sessions.

“It’s fun to get together with people that still appreciate listening and collecting vinyl records,” he said.

___

Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, https://www.wyomingnews.com


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