Sunday, March 11, 2018

Vinyl Giant [Fargo ND]

I've been to Fargo at least five times now, but it was almost four years between visits.  In that time my record collecting got more serious and this blog materialized.  I am typing this now from Hector Airport here in town, a few hours before my flight.  I'm kind of shocked that I even got the chance to return.  Back then, my work related travel was nothing like it is now, I think some of these flights up north were some of the first (for work), period.

I got into town on Friday evening and made time to hit up a local Savers.  I always try to do something like that - I knew I'd have more time but you have to assume you won't.  At least then I got to see something.  But as planned, I had a good chunk of Saturday afternoon free as well.

I got to the job site around 9am.  We were done by 1pm.  The customer asked if I wanted to go get 'a beer' and some lunch and I said sure.  The whole time, records were on my mind.  I did want lunch (and a beer, maybe two) but I was ready to bail out of there and get on my way.

Well these guys were just ordering beers and putting them in front of me so I ended up having more than two.  All these guys were cranking Busch Lights but snob that I am, I was drinking Odells IPA which for some reason came in a 20oz draft by default, and unbeknwonest to me was 7%.  So I had three of those then begged for just a Coors.  Then I abruptly left.

All I could think about now was a nap so I decided to only hit Vinyl Giant (I had half a plan to hit some others as well).  Vinyl Giant was a neat and orderly space with a decent jazz bin.  A couple other people were scoping the scene and doing some digging of their own.  I should add that it is almost easy to miss, there is a sign (as seen above), but it is easily obscured by parked cars.  So I ended up parking on a side street on the other side of 13th and walking over.

The pricing was a bit off and a little on the high side for a few releases.  But ironically the only one that really tickled my fancy was under $10 so that was a no brainer.  Had to lay these two side by side for the contrast.  I don't know how many millions of copies of the one on the left were pressed but that surely drives the price down (not to mention the general dislike for the artist).  But 'the artist' isn't such a bad guy - I should know! This leaves only one additional release in the 3000 series 'alternate cover' list, and I just got two of the four in less than a month in states on the other side of the map! Nice!

I got back to my hotel and slept about 2 hours, then got up and ate some Indian food and took a shower.  I hate day drinking so much and I can't believe I got suckered into it by a bunch of townies.  See you in another five years, Fargo.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Savers [Fargo ND]

This was maybe the most run down Savers I've been to, at least from the outside.  In a shady darkened parking lot, their neighbor had moved out.  Not sure who Savers got this building from, it is huge and the exterior looks like hell.  I've also never seen that slogan 'The Thrift Department Store" before that I remember.

Inside the familliar old record bin was filled with childrens books.  Heartbroken, I went to glance at the Pyrex and they actually had a few pieces.  I did grab one (its been a long time since I saw anything worth buying).  I wandered back towards the front to check out.

And what do I see at the counter? A magazine rack half filled with vinyl.  Maybe only 15 LPs in there but still worth a very brief dig.  That Bright Productions polka record was nice to come across, that is something you'd only find way up north round these parts.  I must have added nearly half of the Bright Productions/Roger Bright releases to discogs myself so it was nice to come across one in the wild.  I left it behind as I don't prefer German polka (I prefer Polish, even though I am German, and not Polish).  Glad I got to swing through a quick stop and check ND off my list!

That makes state #29!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Best of 2017

Here are my favorite ten piece of vinyl I accrued in 2017 from all the heaps I dug through and the smaller heaps I actually purchased.  These are not in any particular order.

Return To Forever - 30-Minute Radio Special

I bought this on discogs, and I got it largely for collection purposes.  But it is actually really interesting.  It is mostly a one sided interview with Chick interspersed with bits of music.  He has a really relaxing way about him and its nice to listen to and he does share some cool insights about the band.

I got this at Goodwill in Dyer Indiana.  I have found a lot of great stuff there and this was yet another huge surprise.  I really wasn't 100% positive what the hell it was until I got it home and put it on, well it is comedy as I suspected.  It would be classified as 'blue' and it even has some of that kind of racial humor that is legitimately racist because it is so nonchalant about it.  It is dated in a good way, it screams of an era from a long time ago that is only in TV shows and history books.  One of a kind.

I found this in Goodwill in Plainfield Indiana.  This is a like poor mans Bossa Nova.  I don't feel like the band is super tight and the arrangements aren't amazing.  It only makes it more endearing, like the toilet paper quality card stock they used for the jacket.  This is a great score.

Possibly the biggest find of the year.  Got this on Record Store Day at a new store I had never been to called Record Wonderland in Roselle, down the street from my parents house.  I had been looking for this for a while and I not only found it, it is a promo and it is in beautiful condition.  Best of all the owner told me it came from his uncle's collection which he inherited or something and put into the store's inventory.

I had already been to Bel-Aire (which closed in 2017, RIP) but on my second visit I really got grimy and started digging deep.  I found a few of this 7" and I was glad to grab it.  I was already aware of the artist and the LP this came from.  I wanted the LP badly because I had no idea there was a single with the two songs I wanted most (Englebert made both famous, amongst many other artists).  I have since grabbed the OTHER LP and I'm still on the lookout for this one.

I swore I'd never find this, I almost swore it did not exist even though I had seen the cover before.  I found it on ebay, I think I only paid about $10 and somehow by the grace of god another one came up a few weeks later, so I grabbed that one too.  I am pretty sure that I own the largest collection of barbershop vinyl in the world (I welcome all comers who want to try and steal my crown, with evidence) and this is a gem.  One of the most celebrated quartets of all time, performing with a band, with arrangements by Brian Beck.  I still can't believe I own it.

Another piece of barbershop vinyl I wasn't sure I'd ever see.  I've seen the CD a few times and I started to doubt the vinyl existed.  Got this one on ebay also.  I found the Harrington Brothers vinyl in a thrift store in Wisconsin a long time ago, it is nice to come full circle and grab this LP from some of the fam many years later.

Hard to believe this was in 2017.    I earned this one by giving a 'talk' at a record fair about how I have built my record shelving.  The guy who invited me gave me $20 credit at a booth and I found this pretty quickly (I think it was $15).  I am pretty sure it was my first Blue Note vinyl (I've gotten a couple since) and I have given it a couple spins.  I had a few Jimmy Smith LPs before this and I've grabbed a couple more since.

I've listened to a bunch of Versatones a little bit but only a couple a lot.  I bought this on vinyl and CD at Bel Aire on separate trips and I've listened to it a few times in the truck just in the past week of me writing this.  "Hey Pretty Girl" is such a great example of Chicago Push to anyone who wants to know more about the genre and "Left Handed Oberek" swings so hard it's like getting hit with a baseball bat.  Great, great album.

I got this one as a gift - just as I got Volume 1 as a gift a few years before, both times from my girlfriend for Christmas (maybe Volume 1 was for my birthday?).  I've been cranking these since they came out on mp3, I read an article about them in the early 00s and downloaded the mp3s illegally many moons ago on Audiogalaxy (ever heard of that one?).  Highly recommended.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Replay Records [Hamden CT]

I made my first trip to New Haven a little over a year ago and made a return journey here in early 2018.  This time I took the bus north to Hamden to check out Replay Records.  First I walked west on Elm from my hotel and got on the 228 bus north on Whitney.  However Google Maps (my guide, as always) did not make the distinction between 228 and 228c, which veered off course about 75% of the way there.  I pulled the plug on this mission and grabbed an Uber for the rest of the way and finally arrived a short time later.

Replay Records is a pretty small spot and during my visit it was just me and a person behind the counter I presume was the owner.  He was in the process of organizing and putting away some new wares and we had a pleasant chat.  When I asked for Tom Jones vinyl, he said he didn't really have any ("it just doesn't sell"; fair enough) but he was educated enough to know of the alternate cover for It's Not Unusual.  Color me impressed! I told him I was a general Parrot records snob, we talked about Engelbert and he admitted he was partial to Tom.  I can respect that.

I dug the entire jazz section and came across some interesting finds but many were overpriced or just too expensive for my wallet.  I did quickly find another 3000 series I was glad to scoop for $5.  I later had a look in the lower bins which held 'bargain' platters and came across a CTI boxset I've seen online but never in person.  I paid only $4 for the 2xLP, but later was saddened to find that mine was missing a booklet (couldn't understand the purpose of the box instead of a simple gatefold).  No matter, the vinyl looks pristine.  I recently grabbed a CD reissue set and immediately fell in love with track B2 and I'm glad to now have the original issue.  Speaking of CTI (sort of) boxsets, I did see another but the price was prohibitive.

Afterwards I stood out in the rain, and later under an awning of a beauty salon waiting for my bus.  I finally caught it and made it back to thaw/dry out in my hotel before I headed out again for even more pizza.  Another productive day of circular treats!

Atticus Vinyl [New Haven CT]

Back in Connecticut, got surprised by the chalkboard outside this place.  I was excited for a minute, until I entered and found that their inventory consisted solely of fancy new reissues.  I did take the time to go through them then I got the hell out of there.