Nova Scotia man's 8,000-record legacy finds new home
Amanda Jackson searched for a buyer who would keep her dad's record collection intact
A Nova Scotian's massive collection of country music records is heading west to live out its days on a cattle ranch in central B.C.
Murray Deal spent nearly six decades lovingly collecting and meticulously cataloguing roughly 8,000 records, which he kept in a music room in his basement.
Deal died last year, and his daughter, Amanda Jackson, began searching for a buyer who would appreciate the collection the way its creator did.
"I think he'd be happy to know that it's going to somebody that's really excited about it and is going to show it off," Jackson said.
That person is Dan Mott, a record collector from Burnaby, B.C., who has ties to Nova Scotia.
Mott travelled to Nova Scotia last week and spent two days carefully boxing up the records so they can be shipped to his home.
"We were sort of gobsmacked, I guess you could say, when we first walked in and looked at the collection. It was really quite remarkable," said Mott.
Like Deal, the 65-year-old has been collecting vinyl since he was a teenager. He now has a few thousand records from various musical genres in a 1,400 square-foot listening room on a ranch where he spends half the year.
With big speakers and no neighbours in sight, he said it's the perfect place to listen to music, although Mott admits he'll have to build some extra shelves now.
Deal's eclectic collection includes old-school country artists like Waylon Jennings, George Jones and Johnny Cash, and crossover artists like Gordon Lightfoot and Anne Murray.
Records 'are absolutely pristine'
Mott estimates there are about a thousand records just of Canadian country music.
"These covers are in spotless condition, most of them in a plastic sleeve. And then the records inside are absolutely pristine," he said. "I'd be very surprised if I found any or many that had any kind of significant scratching or wear on them that would affect the sound."
Deal not only included notes about each artist, but he also burned a copy of every record onto CD so he'd have a backup, Mott said.
'Emotional to see it go'
Mott said he'll honour Jackson's wishes and keep the collection intact.
"You just wouldn't ever want to split it up and my kids certainly won't … I think it's quite remarkable to keep it altogether and have the history of the Deal family and how he built it up," Mott said.
Along with the records, Mott also bought some of Deal's photographs and other country music memorabilia.
Jackson said it's comforting to know there will be shrine to her father — and his love of all things country music — on the other side of the country.
The first spin?
"It's emotional to see it go, but it's good. I'm glad it's going to a good place and it's going to live on," she said.
And what will be the first record that Mott plays? He said there's only one choice: Hank Williams, the father of country music and Deal's favourite artist.
"Hopefully, [Deal] flies in once in a while in spirit and sits back and taps his toes and listens to the music. I'm really looking forward to that," said Mott.
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With files from CBC's Mainstreet