Playing the classics

Flea market music collection includes thousands of records

CHAD PLAUCHE-ADKINS The Marietta Times Jason McNutt looks for his new favorite record among the 2,000 available at Music and More in the Rinky Dink Flea Market on Friday.

Tucked into the corner of the Rinky Dink Flea Market in Marietta is a time machine that transports its visitors to an era before digital music. It doesn’t need a flux capacitor to work, just a plug to power the vintage stereos and turntables that produce the sounds of the thousands of vinyl records sold there.

The flea market houses approximately 40 vendors in the old Rinks building on Fort Harmar Drive. The vendors sell a wide variety of new and used products to include crafts, video games, collectibles, tools and furniture.

Ron Bowling, originally from Ripley, W.Va., owner of the two-month-old Music and More at the flea market, said he has been collecting albums since he was 10 years old.

“My mother was reluctant to let me listen to the music I liked,” he said. “It kind of clashed with her religious beliefs.”

Bowling said having to wait until his mother turned her back to be able to listen to the Temptations and the Rolling Stones helped him form a bond with music that led to him collecting more than 20,000 albums.

“I have around 2,000 of them for sale in the booth right now,” he said.

Bowling said he began alphabetizing his records in the booth, but isn’t sure if he is going to complete the task.

“If somebody comes in looking for Led Zeppelin they will go right to it, get it and leave,” he said. “But if they have to search, they will come across three other great albums and totally forget about what they came in for.”

Bowling said he has almost every genre of music available to include classical, Motown, country, ’80s music and classic rock. Bowling said listening to the vintage albums through equipment designed in their era is the best way to hear them.

“What was once old is new again. Analog equipment sounds so much better,” he said. “I’ve never had a CD player hooked up in my life.”

Jason McNutt, 49, of Marietta, said he agrees with Bowling’s assessment of the sound quality of the vintage amps, turntables and speakers also available at Music and More.

“They are a lot better than anything you can buy now,” he said. “There is no comparison in the sound quality.”

McNutt said he has just recently started collecting vintage albums and stereo equipment strictly due to Bowling and his store.

“I was stumbling through the flea market when I came up to his record wall,” he said. “I went in and asked him if he had any Thin Lizzy.”

After purchasing two of the band’s albums, McNutt said he was hooked. On Friday, McNutt said he was there to purchase his third sound system from Bowling.

Bowling said he still loves playing the music that makes him tap his toes and made his mother’s heart skip a beat.

“I listen to vinyl every night,” he said.