Monday, March 30, 2015

Thrift & Thrive Revisited

I last visited T&T last summer.  I've learned to be patient with my favorite thrift stores, you have to allow for the goods to rotate and be purchased, and new stuff to get in.  Otherwise you just beat the hell out of the place and yourself constantly digging and digging when there is nothing there to have.

Bored on a Sunday, I broke the above rule by checking out Savers in Franklin Park after getting coffee that morning.  Of course, there was nothing to be had.  My girlfriend recommended Thrift & Thrive - she had been along for my initial visit about a year ago - and it was a great idea. 

Thrift and Thrive is in the upper echelon of private thrift stores because of the goods they stock and the service they provide.  If this place existed a few miles east, it would be loaded with idiots and the prices could (and would) be twice as high.  But it seems like there is some jazz aficionado in the area who slowly disperses his crates into this place because I continue to pull out scores time and time again. 

I've tried to stay away from Return To Forever solo projects because there would just be too many.  That being said, I do have one Stanley Clarke album (picked up at Thrift and Fish Co. - RIP).  And I do have every Twennynine album (including a sweet promo version).  And I guess I do have a small pile of Chick albums.  So now that I think about it, Al was the neglected step child of my collection and I'm glad to undo that child abuse with this purchase.

I picked up a CTI 7000 series album and oh man does it swing! This is really accessible stuff and really enjoyable.  Don't be intimidated by the 11 minute jams (there are only two songs per side!), it just grooves and gives you a nice soundtrack to whatever you might be doing around the house.  I also scooped an 80s jam because the condition was stellar and my uncle had this when I was a kid.  I used to stare at the cover and just be blown away.  Kind of redundant since I should have fulfilled this need with the 7" picture sleeve I grabbed a while back.

My girl grabbed a heap of records too, more than me....the only one that comes to mind is an 80s classic I almost had to fight her for.  All the records we got are in deliciously wonderful shape.  She got some other non-record stuff too....we are both glad to give our dough to the people at T&T.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Indiana Goodwill 2-fer

Did some work in Avon Indiana and had a chance to hit two Goodwills in quick succession to great results. 


Did not find the familiar white bin I see at Goodwills across the Midwest. The stash was stored vertically in a long - probably five feet - row. 

Things started quite tame but before long I came up on some nice records. Not one but two records long needed to help fulfill those respective discographies. But most exciting was something I found inside the latter.  I got back to my hotel and was just going over them and I could feel there was something extra inside.  I don't know how I did not notice this at the store but it was quite apparent here.  It was a note, folded up the way that teenage girls have been folding them forever (or at least as long as I have been alive).  It is of an overtly sexual and flirty nature and I can only think that 'Patrick' saved it for those reasons, most titillating to a teenager.

I also dug out more Rog and even the last of a country comp trio I've been working on for probably a year. 


Only 5 miles away laid another store and another atypical rack.  This was a 5-tier reminiscent of Savers. I pulled one score out of one of the excess stacks piled on top. When I grabbed it it felt heavy. I thought there might be an excess record stuck in there but it was actually a smashed 78!

I was lucky enough to find a weird and local (local to home, not Avon) sound effects album. There was actually two and both were mint and autographed. I just read a record blog extolling the virtues of this genre and I was certainly influenced. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Redemption In Louisville

Perhaps I took things a bit far to try and get records in three states in two days. Perhaps I am a glutton for punishment...sometimes, I just don't know. 

Approaching Louisville from the south, I thought I'd stop in Elizabethtown first. My long commute from the Gulf of Mexico plus the time zone change was getting me into town late and I figured I might have a better shot at some stores if I could get there the 30 minutes early that E-town could provide. I got off to a really bad start as I missed my exit and had to add 20 miles to my trip waiting for an exit to turn around at. 

Detour aside, I got to E-town. Besides death and taxes, every Goodwill has vinyl and these are simple truths in life. Or were, because this one did not. Undeterred, I carried on. 

I raced over to a St. Vincent having just a few minutes to inspect their stash before closing time. But they decided to close up early, so my racing was useless. 

A smarter man would have called it quits and gotten back on the highway at this point, because I still had a Goodwill in Shepardsville near my hotel to check out. But I refused to let this city beat me down. 

I rolled back across town to Salvation Army. And it simply did not exist, the address Google provided was bogus. I checked my phone again...there was another location BACK OVER NEAR ST VINCENT.  I took a deep breath and retraced my steps. And of course, they were closed as well. 

Regaining my composure after this most epic of failures - perhaps a personal low - was difficult at first. But I relied on the fact that when you give up or slow down is when you stop really digging and are just a casual observer. A fool on the sidelines; an amateur lost amidst the play of the big leagues. And these things, surely, I am not. 

I continued driving, now pushing 10 hours. I made S-ville with haste. I found my Goodwill, I found my bin, and I started over and worked towards what I always seek, and what had come undone moments earlier but now forgotten. 

I found a Corey Hart album I would have considered had there been more to buy (besides a lonely, empty jacket). I found perhaps the most tattered album I've ever seen (depicted below). I found a copy of Eng's debut (not mono unfortunately). I found some nice 8-tracks.  I found another copy is a very pleasant A&M comp of which I already own doppelgängers.  And then I found what I was destined to find, here, so far from home. 

Just the other day I had complained at finding Mr. Miller's third in stereo yet again. Apparently I complained loud enough for the Puppet Master who runs this show to hear and I have now been silenced. 

Mobile Alabama Run

Got into Alabama late so I focused on two stores in close proximity I knew I'd have time to get in and out of before they closed.


Second Goodwill in a day that his their vinyl deep in a corner. I became frantic, searching before my anxiety was allayed. 

A number of the records were water damaged including the one I purchased but it was minimal enough and seemed to be confined to the jacket. Best of all, I have a streak of top 10 quartet albums starting in 1959 so it would have been easy to find a dupe....but '63 is new by me!


I didn't pull anything out of here but found the peculiar 7" below which came with an insert that seemed to outline some kind of dance steps. Also: Charley Pride album with a chunk missing and an Epic era Eng single still in its company sleeve which I almost grabbed. 

They used the detestable magazine racks but they had much rack space and little records so bending was not required. 

The hunt did not take long and I moved onto a couple dozen oysters at Wintzell's before I hit the sack. En route to Louisville  in 3, 2, 1.....

Monday, March 23, 2015

Charlotte Thrift Store Assault

I was scheduled to lay over in Charlotte on my way to Mobile Alabama. Plans were derailed by horrid Chicago snow which delayed my departure and caused me to miss my connection.

Without a moments hesitation I left the airport in search of vinyl. With over four hours to spare I knew I had time to do some serious diggin'. 

A glance at the map revealed three stores in less than a half mile radius. Took me about 20 minutes to tear through them all. The first two were adjacent to one another in a large strip mall. 


I hate this style of rack so much...clearly designed for magazines, it forces you to bend the vinyls to see what is in the back. Didn't buy anything but found the three up front which I own....these are NOT normal thrift store finds and gave me great confidence and zeal for my remaining hunt. 


Located directly next door, this was a big place and full of volunteers rooting through giant bins of used clothing, sorting like mad. But while I immediately found the CDs and books (the usual neighbors of vinyl in every thrift store), there was no vinyl to speak of!

I eventually did find the bin way in the back...and it was loaded with funds!  I don't generally look at used 45s unless they are well organized but there was a nice stash of jacketed 7 inches mixed in with the usual scuffed stacks. I grabbed two, largely because they were in their original label sleeves. One by the other not named Diamond, and a second by Dan/John. 

But the Engelbert rarities continued and culminated with the early 80s double disc, never before seen in a record or thrift store. Original inner sleeves and generally excellent condition to boot! I also found Roger's third in stereo (mint!) but alas I already own it. Catch and release!


Taking its name from one of my all time favorite stores (a little closer to home), I did not buy anything here but contemplated one and marveled at another (as seen below).  Just had to manually add the comp which causes me further regret for having left behind.  Ouch.

They had an air tight policy on bringing bags into the store. I have no problem with this and have often offered my bag without being asked.  While they didn't use clothes pins, they fully padlocked my bag in a cabinet and gave me a ticket to prove its mine!

I'll be in Mobile in a few hours and hopefully can pull off the rare feat of vinyl hunting in two noncontiguous states in one day. Stay tuned....

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Goodwill 3-Way

Antsy and full of java on a Sunday morn, my girl and I lamented the fact that we were desperate to root around in a thrift store but we had worn out are usual haunts to epic levels.  As usual, I headed to Google maps to tell the tale and point me somewhere new and exciting.  The best I could come up with was the Goodwill in Westchester which I had visited once before long ago (and my girl never had at all).  We saddled up and headed out.  I have been through so many Goodwills it is mind boggling but at least you know they always have records without fail.  

At Westchester we both left empty handed but I almost grabbed a couple.  I was unsure on if I had these variants or not and did not have my phone in my possession to check the database.  Of course, now that I am at home and checked my physical records and compared to the DB, I am pretty sure I passed on one record I should have scooped.  I have the TJ Brass debut (and everything else through 1971) now seems that I had the mono version of that album in my hands while my copy at home is stereo.  Damn.  I had the exact same dilemma with an album I grabbed at a garage sale long before this blog existed but my research here at home in the archives proves that this would have been a dupe.  Last up was the Roger Miller album I was just complaining about last week. I have the mono version, I found a second copy (also mono) for my girlfriend months ago, and here I had found yet a third just a few days ago.  My prayers were answered when I found the stereo version here but in true Goodwill style, it was long gone from its jacket.

I was so disappointed that I considered not even blogging about the event.  I didn't have my phone was a very pathetic situation.  But I pulled myself together and asked my girl to borrow her phone to snap one shot for a brief blog (which I am now expanding upon in bulk).  But now another patron (I always suspect these people don't even collect records and then justify in my mind that they are then not allowed the touch them) was elbows deep in the bin.  So I took my snap from outside on the sidewalk.  Say cheese!

Refusing to be beaten down, I found another Goodwill neither of us had ever been to in nearby Willowbrook.  My girl knew the area and we cruised over where we.....found nothing.  I would have liked to raise some hell in celebration of the discovery of something of interest but none was there to be found. (The title I just referenced appears to be - upon further research after the fact - to be barbershop music). Moving on...

We were gluttons for abuse on this afternoon so we decided to hit one last Goodwill, another which neither of us had ever been to in Downers Grove.  I was delighted by the display of records they had set up, especially the three excellent Tom Jones records they had in the mix.

Without a milligram of irony, it was one of those three which I needed for my nearly done Parrot collection.  I came across an interesting local 7" which I photographed for a potential add to the db but it had been entered long ago.  

We each had a good case of 'the madness' brought on my screaming kids, horrible records and pointless driving and sped home to relax.  

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Estate Sale, Norwood Park

I unsubscribed from alerts last fall, and today one one of the first days of 'spring' (not sure if the season has officially changed or not) that I was able to get a good bike ride in.  I went to work for a couple hours then had breakfast with a co-workers.  I brought my bike along and rode home the ~6 miles from the restaurant when I came across a sign.  I slammed on the brakes and followed the arrows to my destination, with the hopes there would be a grimy stack of vinyl in there somewhere.

There was - unbelievably, it doesn't look like there are any other estate/garage sales in Chicago today (not that there are that many, this time of year) that have any records on gsalr so I really got lucky.  I was not so lucky in that I could not find anything of interest, but a couple pics and another blog post is enough for me.

I added the top LP in the stack to discogs when I got back....I rifled through the 45s for a minute then gave up.  Hopefully this kind of luck is a sign of things to come as the weather improves and more and more garage sales pop up.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Crossing Thrift Store, Quincy IL

Originally I had planned to stop in Columbia Missouri on my way back from Kansas but I got there by early afternoon and decided to log some more miles.  After taking a look at the map and making some new hotel arrangments, I drove to Quincy.  I called every thrift store in town during the 2 1/2 hours I had additional behind the wheel but while just about all had records, I knew I would not make the 5pm close time for any of them (though I'd only miss it by minutes).

The only store that would still be open (and they were open until 8pm!) was The Crossing Thrift Store.  Indeed, they had vinyl.

Unfortunately, my streak of bad luck from Topeka and Emporia followed me and I walked away with nothing.  I did see a couple interesting releases that I almost feel bad about leaving behind.  One appealed to my state of mind at the time.  Another looked really good but I already have a couple releases from the artist I am I don't deserve another.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Topeka Run

Got a rare chance to travel a bit outside of my normal territory for work.  Made a drive to Kansas and stopped in Quincy Illinois on the way back.  Did about 1200 miles in 3 days and dug through seemingly as many vinyls.

First stop was Goodwill in Topeka.  I knew things were going to be odd when I found a bunch of Sage Francis albums...the weirdness (for a Goodwill) culminated with the green record in the pic below.  What a score! Paid $1 and it was already in a plastic sleeve and is totally pristine.

I stumbled out of there when I noticed that alas there was another thrift store directly adjacent! I left my car in the parking lot where it sat and wandered around front and checked out the lay of the land.  God's Store House offered 3-4 crates of oldies and even some goodies in the form of many duplicate and mint condition Engelbert albums.  I left them behind for the next hunter and moved on.

Next up was the Salvation Army a few miles away.  I pulled an early 80s soft rock classic out of there for half a buck and passed (again) on a 12" single as depicted below.  And yes, even more copies of Eng's first and sixth albums.  Eng aside, the former (which I did purchase) has turned out to be such a consistent album of great quality which has already brought me great enjoyment.  The latter (which I did not) I will not pass up again...I run across it (or a variant) time to time and I believe its truly one of the best speaker check tracks ever.  Great mix.

Three stores down - still not done.  I could feel my constitution draining as I had been in the truck for about 9 hours and still hadn't even checked into my hotel but I will likely only be out this way once.  Maj-R-Thrift was an independent thrift store and I always call those in advance to make sure they indeed have records.  They gave me a resounding 'yes' and they did not exaggerate.  No less then 5 giant Rubbermaid totes stuffed with platters plus a large bookshelf also ready to fail under the strain.  Sadly, I found nothing...not even any solid candidates for purchase.

With four of Topeka's finest thrift stores under my belt and two new records for my bins back home, I grabbed a bite to eat and hit the rack.  The next morning I drove about an hour to Emporia.  Between breakfast and my drive to the job site, I found another Salvation Army just around the block.  I walked over and found a lonely plastic tote stuffed with records.  Disappointingly enough, yet again left with a bunch of junk.  An early 70s comp marginally attracted me but of course the vinyl was missing from its jacket, orphaned somewhere far away.  I moved on with my scores in tow and left for Quincy later that day.

Goodwill Topeka