Vinyl Revival

Tim Tucker
Tim Tucker. Photo by Kevin Gomez.

Tim Tucker—owner of OUTSIDE THE BOX MUSIC, which specializes in vintage, unique and hard-to-find records—has been obsessed with collecting vinyl since he was 4 years old. “My godmother used to take me to The Salvation Army Thrift Store in Oakland,” says Tucker. “She’d give me two bucks and just plop me in front of this big square bin full of 10-cent 45s, and she’d wander off. I would sit there and go through that bin until she came over and got me. I knew the Motown label, the Tamla label, the Atlantic Records label, and the Soul label. I knew those labels had good music on them even if I couldn’t read. So I would always go looking for those.”

This, Tucker says, is why he loves 45s. “With vinyl, people have that nostalgia, that tactile experience of actually handling and touching and seeing it and reading all the information.” That childhood obsession became a fulltime livelihood of selling vinyl through his online shop. The most popular music on his site? Vintage soul, R&B and funk. “There’s so much music that’s not been transferred over to streaming,” he says. “There’s a lot of older music out there from these little mom-and-pops—a lot of them could only afford to record a single as opposed to a whole album. At one point, all people were doing was releasing singles.”

Much of this music is undiscovered, says Tucker, who has created a boutique experience with audio clips from available offerings, mostly 45s, LPs and 78s. “I encourage people to ask questions,” he says. “The great thing about vinyl is that there’s just so much of it. You literally can spend days and months exploring all these styles of music.”

The thrill of vinyl is in the hunt. Tucker is not afraid to take a chance on unknown stuff. He searches thrift stores and flea markets and procures material from other sources as well. “A guy brought me a box of records, and I paid him 50 bucks. As I’m putting it in the trunk, I saw this one record and something in my head said that’s worth money. And it was mint—I mean, it was stone-cold mint! I look it up online, and it was this rare jazz-acid-fusion-funk like thing, but there was no price on it. I put up an audio clip on my website and within about 15 minutes that record sold for like 900 bucks! I could go on and on with stories like that. You just never know what you’re gonna find. And that’s what’s fun about it!”

Dig through for the latest cool vinyl finds and tasty audio clips.