Thursday, December 14, 2017

Avenues Thrift Store

I've driven past this place so many damn times and wanted to stop in but never did.  This is largely because traffic on Touhy is a bit scary, there aren't quite 2 lanes in each direction, but there isn't quite a parking lane either.  Traffic moves fast and even if you can park in front, its pretty tight.  But I threw caution to the wind and finally paid them a long deserved visit.

I found one neat rack nestled towards the back of the shop.  I know of Steve Arrington's work with Slave through one of his biggest fans, Dam Funk.  And I as well am a fan of Dam - I actually got his autograph on a piece of vinyl years ago at a street fest in Chicago! I didn't have a smartphone at the time, I wish I had gotten a selfie with him.  But I do value the vinyl, even if the sharpie I brought with was dying at the time.

Also worthy of note was a single Engelbert record with some extensive notes on a post-it (no other vinyl in the bin had such notes).  Glad to see someone celebrating this great album!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Goodwill, Skokie

Not sure how I never hit this place even once before over the years.  Granted I don't get out there that often but it isn't very far from my standard stomping grounds.

Just a singular, clean bin with a handful of interesting finds as displayed here.  The Paul Young album is one shy of his big hit which followed up.  This one is notable for a Joy Division cover at a time that surely no one in the pop realm could have been familiar.  The Al Dimeola record...oh man, I'd be all over that.  But (did you guess it yet?) the jacket was empty with the wax nowhere to be found.  Damn!

At lower left you see some 60s garage rock.  I already have this (and mine is mono).  I was shocked to just see that it was almost a year and a half ago that I copped it, I swore that had to be this last summer.  Time flies... 

Last up is an electro-funk 12" not to be confused with the delightfully cute female garage rock group from decades before.  Interesting enough for me to have put it up front for the photo but it ends there.  As did my visit to Goodwill.  I have actually been back to the area twice since, in just a few weeks.  I'll swing back through before long in search of hot new warez...

Sunday, December 3, 2017

St. Peter's Gate (and four year anniversary!)

Had a hell ride down in Hazelwood just outside of STL.  I was staying in St. Peter which is about 10-15 miles away if memory serves.  I spent about 14.5 hours working and driving on day #2 but day #1 was just a 5 hour jaunt down to my destination.  This of course left room for some further exploration of Missouri and plenty of time to dig in St. Peter!

First up was a St. V, one of the nicest I've ever been to.  Spacious and well organized and with a wealth of records....from Brazil! And Panama? Yes indeed!

Videos hosted on blogspot never worked in the past but looks like they've made some upgrades.  Check out this South American gold below.


Did some kind of copyright legal crap prevent Mr. Ocean from singing his hit as written?
I should have bought this just to confirm, now it's driving me crazy.

I haven't stopped into a Savers in a while but there was one almost spitting distance from St. Vincent.  Found the same old wire wacks of vinyl that I've seen in every other store around the country.  This bin featured some more ethnic music as well as a friend who perused the racks alongside me.  Didn't pull anything out of there but had fun taking a gander at things.

A virtuoso? Whoa...I don't think most people even know what a taragot is (I didn't)

Proud to knock out another year with this blog! Up to almost 350 posts and 1900 photos! It's been hard work but a ton of fun and I have no thoughts of stopping anytime soon.  Upward and onward!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

McComb Thrift Store [McComb OH]

It has been over 2 1/2 years since I first visited (what was at that time) Community Thrift in tiny downtown McComb Ohio.  Looks like it has changed names but otherwise looks the same as it always has.

I wonder if my old friend Terry is still stocking the shelves.  Found some interesting gems which I placed up front for the next smart shopper.

Late For The Sky - this one just makes me think of the scene in Taxi Driver where he knocks the TV off its milk crate and has such disappointment.  Such a sad scene in a movie I don't think people ever equate 'sad' with.

10 Years Of Barbershop Champions - I remember picking this one up at St. Vincent in Appleton like it was yesterday.

Sweet As Candy - compilation from a Philly radio station, apparently they put out quite a few different comps back in the 70s

We Believe In Toledo - another weird promotional item, this one much more local 

The best part of this trip was the cat running around the store.  He darted away when he first laid eyes on me.  But I played it cool and got him to sit for a photo.  If you know anything about cat behavior (not saying I am an expert, but I have some experience), it says something that he woudl even do this.  Wish I could have pet that cute cat.  Maybe next time.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Beverly Records SECRET GARAGE!

I don't know what people think that record collecting is all about.  Or being out and about and searching for records.  Probably seems very much 'on the surface', like just sticking my mitts in those crates is all that matters.  But the real peak experiences come when you supersede that stuff and hit into something more, and talk to people and forge relationships.

On a Sunday morning I filled my thermos with coffee and drove down to Hegewisch.  I parked on Baltimore around 134th and just relaxed.  I sat there and drank my coffee in a light rain and watched people go about their business.  A time for reflection.  As I designed my day, I figured I ought to head over to Beverly Records and have a look around.  I knew at minimum I could raid the Tom Jones and Englebert 45 bins for promos, something I've been meaning to do for a while.

I have been to Beverly Records a handful of times.  My first time was way back in '13.  I should start off by saying that I was sad to see the St. Vincent on 99th is closed.  So is the Beverly Woods resturant next door which I had always wanted to check out.  Looks like it has been about three years since my last visit!

Beverly hasn't changed really at all.  Same old record dump.  I had a nice dig.  I dug out a total of five Parrot promos, none of which I had and a few of which I had to add to discogs myself.  So that was nice. [When There's No YouThe Young New Mexican PuppeteerTillMemories Don't Leave Like People DoAin't No Love].

They have things organized by some odd genres, like 'male vocals' (as soon as you walk in) and 'female vocals' (way the hell in the back).  I ventured back there as I have before, the lights were off.  I don't know where the switch is so I just dug around using my phone as a flashlight.  What do I care.

I was looking for Joni Mitchell back there and finally found it.  I found a copy of the live album I paid $20 for (or was it $25?), then again that was a promo and quite mint.  Still for $5 I'm cheap enough to have considered the option, if somehow in another dimension I have the choices side by side.  But that fantasy aside, I found what I was looking for.  There were two copies actually - I grabbed the one that was still shrinked, the original gatefold still never opened.  And yes - the vinyl and even inner sleeve look to never have seen oxygen before.  Well done.

I was back there digging and looking for polka.  I know they stash all their odd genres back here but I couldn't find it even in the dark.  Then I was truly taken aback, even more so as it was in the pitchblack and viewed with a flashlight.  This looked way too familiar, not just the rack but even the individual records.

I knew at a glance I had everything there I wanted.  But odd they had that there.  Why? I'd soon find out.

I kept figuring they would see me back there and turn the lights on.  Or at least come to see what the hell I was doing creeping around in the dark.  I eventually gave up and came to the counter to ask where the polka was.  The old timer told me that (with a laugh) that they don't get many requests for polka.  He said they were 'in the garage'.  I was probably trembling and imagining where the garage might be.  Was it nearby? Far away? How much polka was in there? What else was in there?

The other fella behind the counter said 'come with me' and I followed him outside.  He led me through the 'parking lot' (the empty lot north of the building) and towards the alley.  This was ironic because this was the first time I had ever come from that direction.  We went around back and he unlocked a padlock on the back gate and took me literally to the garage.  He unlocked it and....

The backyard was filled with spare milk crates piled up high and some other junk.  As soon as the door opened I think I gasped when I saw all that vinyl.  We both stepped inside to take a look around for the polka section but it was just inside the door!

BANG! I was deep in the game!  The selection was out of control.  It was a 'polka' section but might have been labeled 'Chicago polka' because 90% was from Chicago.

I saw so many rarities and classics that I began to lose count and my eyes swam.  I started making a pile but knew before long I'd have to return at least a couple to the shelf lest I need a milk crate to cart the stuff home.

Lorraine And The SonatonesChicago's Famous Polkas

I picked up a 45 from Bel Aire a while back and I love it.  I know there are two LPs and Bel Aire had one (don't remember which), glad to score this one.  And guess what else??? AUTOGRAPHED!

There were numerous Versatones records and a few (including doubles!) of some of the really early stuff.  This would be their third.  I saw two copies of their fourth and I was going to grab it until I saw there was a different record inside.  Then I started to play that weird game where you track down that jacket, but there is yet ANOTHER wrong record in there.  After a short time I decided to call it quits.

Positively love The Tones, grabbed their other two LPs at Bel Aire on separate trips.  They never had this one, in fact I've only seen this on ebay one time (they guy wanted $15).  Took me forever just to find photos and a track listing.  Delighted to finally pick this up.

This is a real piece of crap but I couldn't resist.  It is a 2xLP compilation that I've never seen before.  It is really low quality jacket and the records themselves inexplicably skip like crazy even though the vinyl looks ok.  It looks like they forgot to put the artist name on the jacket so they applied stickers after the jackets were already printed.  Real professional stuff!

There were a couple full aisles filled with fully stacked shelves.  Mostly classical and other useless genres.  Back to the polka - nearly every Marion Lush album were there, saw a ton of Lenny Gomulka including one I had never seen before, which I photographed for the db.  It was just balls out insane! And all through this I am left alone in this quiet, cold and amazing garage with the keys and the place to myself.  What a privilege!

I locked everything up and made my way back to the store to check out.  As I made that short trek I couldn't believe I was sitting here with a stack of vinyl and the keys to the place all on the honor system.  Again, not something I take lightly or casually.  What a feeling that was!

When I got back to the counter and had a chat with my finds with the guy who had brought me out there, he did divulge that the Bel Aire store in Bridgeview had closed on October 1st.  That really hit me hard.  First thought was that I am really glad I got in there, bought stuff, took pics, chatted with people and saw the history.  But the larger looming thought is that Bel Aire was a place that will never be replaced.  It is kind of like an old relative who has been sick for a long time.  When they pass away you aren't surprised, but you know that void will never be filled.  No one is going to open another polka record store, ever.  That was the last vestige of Eddie's legacy.  Thank god I have crates of old vinyl to really relish the times gone by.  But this explains the familiar rack in the back of the store, he bought the whole damn thing for probably $20 or something crazy.

So I got taken a bit with the price but that is to be expected.  And having just discussed the closing of Bel Aire it makes you realize that while you can buy your vinyl on the internet for super cheap, because the sellers have no overhead, keeping a giant building (and garage!) like this open - taxes, electric bill, etc. - costs some serious coin.  So I'm glad to contribute to keeping a place like this open as long as I can.  I couldn't be happier with the stash I walked out of there with and it is a memorable day I will hang onto for a long time.