360°Sound’s CD Junkies series continues to spotlight fascinating CD collectors from around the world. Our latest CD junkie is Ian Wobble, a 42-year-old post-punk and reggae enthusiast based in Perth, Western Australia. Wobble hosts the online Jamaican music show Ital Galore on tune1.com.au every Sunday.
360°Sound: How long have you been collecting CDs?
Ian Wobble: I have been buying music since my early teens on both vinyl and CD. But the collecting has only really been for about the last 15 years.
About how many CDs do you have in your collection?
I have been slowly adding them to Discogs, and I’m currently looking at just under 450.
What do you love about the CD format?
I love both vinyl and CD and don’t believe one is better than the other. They both sound great, especially when compared to a streaming service. With CDs, you don’t get any noise, and it sounds great on a modest system. You need to spend a bit on a turntable and cartridge before you get truly decent sound. The great thing is you just press play and away you go. The detail that goes into booklets, especially on reissues, is amazing and seems to be getting better.
What are some of your favorite types of music?
My taste is constantly growing. I have always been a fan of New Order so that of course led to Joy Division, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Public Image Ltd, and the band I flew across the world for: The Fall. Being the nerd I am, that led to a never-ending rabbit hole of punk and post-punk and all the weird offshoots. I ended up getting into Amebix, The Birthday Party and Alien Sex Fiend and pretty much anything that could come under the banner of indie or alternative music, be it REM or Dinosaur Jr, up until Sleaford Mods or Amyl and the Sniffers.
Being really into bands like The Clash and The Slits eventually led me to another endless rabbit hole of reggae, especially UK acts like Steel Pulse and Linton Kwesi Johnson. I ended up with a love of the Jamaican toasters Prince Far I, Dr. Alimantado, Prince Jazzbo, etc. On top of that, I have been really getting into jazz in recent times. Blue Note has been putting out really affordable 3 Essential Albums CD sets that are worth checking out.
What are your favorite online and brick-and-mortar retailers that you buy CDs from regularly?
In Perth, only one store still has a good CD selection and that is Dada Records. Apart from that, all online – WOW HD, Ebay and Discogs.
Do you buy box sets and deluxe editions? If so, what are some of your favorites from the last few years, and what made them so special?
Beggars Banquet’s Omnibus Edition of The Fall’s This Nation’s Saving Grace and The Wonderful And Frightening World Of… The Fall stand out as possible favorites. The presentation, the booklet, and sound are unbelievable. I loved Greensleeves Records’ Evolution Of Dub box’s excellent value of hard-to-find dub albums. I think they ended up releasing 8 of them. I still have a couple to get.
Ape House did an amazing job on XTC’s English Settlement the “Original Master Edition.” It’s available on a deluxe vinyl box and single CD. It may be the best sounding disc I have ever heard.
Are there some labels that come to mind that are currently doing great CD releases?
Cherry Red Records reggae imprint Doctor Bird is really doing a good job on reggae reissues. The recent Prince Far I compilation of four albums he released on Trojan really stands out. And anything on Reggae Archive Records, especially The Midlands Roots Explosion (volumes one and two). They have been out for a while but are still easy to find. It’s a great exploration of long-forgotten UK reggae.
Lastly, what do you think of the future of the CD?
I was surprised when I asked some friends recently how many of them still buy CDs and they all said yes. Vinyl is getting a lot of press recently, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s all a push from record labels to sell more. I think it will continue to be a niche market. I can’t see it disappearing altogether for some time anyway.
I think a lot of people are reconsidering CD at the moment. Streaming is great for discovering music, but you only have to notice albums disappearing on a regular basis due to constant licensing changes. I don’t want to be signed to five different streaming services because I listen to more than one genre of music. Plus, I love having this stuff around me.