Monday, June 29, 2015

Bloomington/Normal Run

A year or two ago, I got a record gifted to me from a professional colleague.  There was a sticker for The Waiting Room inside and my friend mentioned that downtown Normal had record stores 'up and down the street'.  I had trouble believing him at the time, but he was basically correct.  Inexplicably, there are two record stores almost next door to one another.  I visited the area and checked out another shop a while back - I had been en route to The Waiting Room but slammed on the brakes when I saw another store (I was not disappointed).  I didn't have as good of luck here, but it was still worth the trip.

Approaching the strip from my parking spot, first up was North Street Records.  Despite my introduction above, I was unaware as I strolled down the street that there were two stores in the same block.  Some confusion ensued as I had to check, if this is North Street Records, then where the hell is the Waiting Room? Once I worked that out, I stepped inside.

I was greeted just inside the door was a $1 bin - always a welcome sight to this record hunter who is much more comfortable in a thrift store setting.  I found some more copies of a sound effects record I grabbed a while back.  Mine was autographed and a note on the rear jacket states that this was standard practice if you purchased via mail order from the artist.  I was somewhat glad to find two copies in the dollar bin - one autographed, one not.  Nice to know that EVERY copy isn't autographed.  I feel so special now! In the adjoining blue crate on the floor I did find a 12" classic (as opposed to 2x10") and also a Kudu platter - both of which I already own.  Nothing to buy but at least they have good taste.  I prowled around the rest of the shop...didn't buy anything but the place was really well organized and a comfortable enviornment to shop in.


Make this the third card in my collection that uses the same template...

And at least, The Waiting Room, whom I had heard so much about and waited so long to see.  Again, I was greeted with the dollar bin just inside the door - positively nothing of interest there.

Did some wandering around the store....they probably had at least 1/3rd of the inventory in CD not vinyl and what vinyl they had was wildly overpriced at times.  If I want to buy some 90s punk on vinyl it won't be an album this late in a band's career.  Earlier stuff....MAYBE.

So I left empty handed but I got two more business cards and I got to blog about it take some pics - long ago became my 'consolation prize' in lieu of the record(s) I don't really want.  Two nice shops - glad I checked them out.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Savers FP check-in

If I didn't have 150+ other posts on this blog I'd feel a little more guilty about posting about the same place four times (even if it is over more than a year).  And I'd feel guiltier still (in fact, I wouldn't even bother posting at all) if I had worse luck at the place.  But the truth is I don't and it is magnificently ironic that my closest thrift store (about 2 miles) seems to have not only the best turnover but also a selection sent from the heavens above.

Let's quickly recap my past scores:

April 2014: Most Of All - 'Rainy Night In Georgia' makes this worthwhile if nothing else

July 2014: Association, The Greatest Hits! - too many hits to pass up here, I come across this one often and I'm glad I already own it

September 2014: I'm A Man - alright, I'll admit it: I bought this largely for its novelty value.  Though I have spun it, it is quite ridiculous and I do not regret it one iota.

March 2015: Enter Center StageLets' Hear A PolkaPolka Festival.  The barbershop album is for my girl....its rarity is VERY high and I can't believe I found it at all, anywhere.  The polka albums were a real treat to come across and I'll buy any Eddie B. that crosses my path.

I may have visited one or two times additional (at most) in this period but I did not come across anything interesting or buy anything so I did not blog about it.  Still - to find this group of vinyls here is just insane.  Today was perhaps the most bombastic yet.

I have let my cycling get behind...I strive for 200 miles a month minimum, not counting my normal commutes to/from work.  But the heat has been wearing on me and I've been kind of lazy I must admit.  I was so beat down after work I had a bite to eat and just laid down for a nap.  I swore I'd get up after an hour and do at least 5 miles but 90 minutes passed and I strongly considered just sleeping 12 hours until the next morning.  But I summoned the strength and just ran out the door before I could think about it too much.  My initial destination was Target so I could grab a Method dish soap refill.  Then I stopped at nearby Work N' Gear and spent $40 on their knock off of the famous Dickies Eisenhour jacket.  We just got our company logo on file at a local embroiderer and I intend to have it done soon (hopefully drop it off tomorrow).  Then I went way out of my way to Savers before coming back east on Grand to form the full loop.

As outlined above, I have found a variety of Engelbert albums here, but they come and go.  I always seem to find new, different albums entirely or at least different copies of the same album (yes, I can tell).  Today I found a wild array of Engelbert albums, much of his later Epic years releases which are far more scarce (though not quite 'rare') than his Parrot discography.  

Weirder still was that the Enge albums were cataloged with little label maker numbers.  In another bin, I also found a big chunk of John Denver's discography, also numbered.
To find two copies at once is like lightning striking twice - I found mine in Ohio!

I am far from a Dylan fan but I found two Dylan albums - both mono! Both appeared to be in good shape also - this is the kind of stuff you can buy for $1 from Savers then take down to your local record store and use as trade fodder for store credit, every idiot who wakes up one morning and fancies himself a 'record collector' would be glad to pay 10x the price.  And that aside, honestly speaking and regardless of my own opinion, they are classic albums.  I have had Al Koopers biography for over a decade and worn it out I've read it so many times...his stories about the recording to the lead track on side A made this an easy buy.  Better yet, I seem to have somehow snagged an obscure variation.  It was hard to leave the 2xLP behind but I mustered the courage and moved on.

I also came across an interesting lot of 80s hard rock records.  There was an Autograph album which did NOT contain their biggest hit (would have passed regardless) then two really obsure others.  The first looked foreign - but the group is from Arizona.  The second (which I could not resist) is British to the bone.  I am cranking up the second side now and it is a real treat - not disappointing at all!

Lastly was an album that I just could not take seriously - I might have bought it anyway but the jacket was pretty warped and the bottom seam was totally split.  

So I eventually narrowed it down to four albums - the second Dylan as already discussed was easier to catch and release, the other is bothering me a bit but we all must have limits.
So I walked out with the two and I am very pleased with both.  Their uniqueness and also their music meet my quality standards - I need to stop into this place more often!

Salvation Army, South Holland

I was last out in NW Indiana back in January - I had a blast and came home with a load of records.  This time around, I tried to see what I could hit on my way back.  Initially I went for a Savers in Dolton but when I arrived there was only a Food 4 Less.  Don't know if they moved out or Google maps was just wrong.  Back to the drawing board - I found a SA South Holland and off I went.

This is the nicest SA I've ever been to - it was clearly built just for them unlike many/most of their other buildings which are 'generic' structures, this was a beauty!

I found a sign that seems to show that they have possibly only been there since last fall.  It shows - the place is clean and well organized.  The building has many features not standard to a SA - like the 'Replenishing Station'.

But onto the records - there were not many, just one lonely stack.  I did come across a mint condition Ray Price reissue (I already have the original press) which I passed on.  Outside that I found a strange funk/soul record that was beat to hell, another from 'Mister' and a very odd Yugoslavian folk music album which I have just the slightest affection for now and of course regret letting go.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Stars Resale Shop, Wheaton

I noticed Stars on the way out to Something Else a few weeks ago.  Super close to the College Ave stop, I made a mental note to call and see if they had records.  Indeed they did - and the trip was on.  This makes trip #3 for records along the Union Pacific West line including the record store from a couple months ago.  I have already located not one but two more stores, both of which I have confirmed to have records (Gather and Collect; Treasure House), just a few steps from the Glen Elyn stop.  Though both are closed on Sunday.  Stay tuned....

I've had a string of shithole shops lately full of pure junk.  It was bordering on consolation prize status but I did grab a Chicago polka record which I continue to collect.  My girl grabbed a kind of obscure Cat Stevens platter notable (to me) only for the appearance of my man Chick.  I came across a really eye catching Christian pop album, I did some research and ended up adding the photos I grabbed.  I had a feeling it might not be on was but sans images, which I then added.  I ended up adding the rest of the releases I could find info about and basically completing the artist discography, I'm pretty proud of it.  Obviously I have no interest in manufactured pop music, espically that which also contains a religious slant but my organizational demons are sated by exercises such as this.  Those same devils led me to exhaustively explore (and enjoy, unlike Prism) barbershop quartet music.  It are these niche segments of music that drive me wild with the potential for research and critical listening.  Though I won't be buying any Christian albums anytime soon - the reading is enough for me.

The time and date are absolutely false - I do not shop on weekdays and not at 9:30am.

Hillcrest Thrift Store [Kansas City MO]

Found myself on an overnight in Kansas City after a visit to nearby Lenexa.  After being deposited at my hotel, I hailed an Uber and had him truck me over to Hillcrest.  I had called previously to inquire about records, they said they did indeed have them and that they would be 'downstairs'.  Indeed they were correct.

Perhaps records are covered by the 'vintage' umbrella as seen on the table of contents displayed on the wall.  I made my way down there as precious time ticked off the clock - I was cutting it really close to get my work completed before they threw me out.

I located the bins as seen below but I was shortsided due to my obsession with the time...after finding absolutely nothing of value or interest in the bin on the left I actually got up to walk away when I noticed there was another tote just 2' away.  Unfortunately it too yielded nothing as interesting as the laid back sounds enjoyed by Parrotheads the world over.  Even sadder, I couldn't care less about that vinyl either.  Though it might have been fun to torture someone with 'Fins' ad naseum at high volumes.
They literally shut the lights off as I was still checking the last bin and they were still due to be open another 5-10 minutes.  I made my way back upstairs and got outside where a dramatic downpour had begun.  With no vehicle and far from my hotel, all I could do was wait it out.  Worse yet, my phone's battery was running dangerously low as I bolted from my hotel in a hurry to get into this dump, then depleted it further with the pics you see here.  Eventually the rain slowed enough to run out of there and over to an Asian restaurant where I devoured some green Thai curry and grabbed a pad Thai to go.  Then across the street to Hy-Vee I grabbed the obligatory local Boulevard brews (4 pack of Tank 7) before I called another Uber to take me back.  You can guess the rest: drank the beers, watched the Hawks win Cup #3 as I sat wracked with nervousness, then ate the noodles and hit the rack.  No records but a fun day and another exploration in a foreign land.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Goodwill, Lombard

I don't know how a local Goodwill was left which I had not already visited (this makes #24!) but there it was, just around the corner.  Not much to dig but I did come out of there with a killer Jose Feliciano album in PRISTINE shape for a few cents.  My girl took my advice and grabbed a real nice copy of Herb's wife's first (I have it already - along with her other three - as a promo).

Resale Connection, Lisle

Ran across this place on the way back from a day trip to Naperville.  Saw it on the way out and made that old familliar call: 'do you have any records?'.  Indeed they did, so I stopped on the way back.

This isn't actually a thrift store per se; it is a large, divided consignment shop.  There are essentially 'booths' that contain a particular sellers items (could be anything), and they are marked so when they get rang up the seller gets paid (after the store takes their cut).  I visited a much larger place in Ohio a while back which was the same setup (and had many more booths with records).

I first found a booth in the end of the room opposite the front door, they had a large amount of records, this seller 'specialized' in them...I think it was the only items available there and they were well organized and bagged.

Unfortunately, there was nothing of interest and I moved on.  I took a look at some Pyrex at various booths (I dabble in those collectibles as well, though I use them).  Then I found one booth had just a handful of records along with their bowls and glasses, etc.

In the end, I didn't come up on anything at all but it was worth a stop.  Nice to see someone in a venue such as this organize their vinyl so well.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Garage Sale Twenty Miler

With only to guide me, I embarked from my girlfriend's house on a Saturday morn in search of vinyl.  I started out by going a bit out of my way to get to the Prarie Path bike trail which I took a few miles west to Villa Park.  I got off at Villa Ave and took that further south to the first of what would become a number of stops on this very long journey.

I found a scant two boxes filled with vinyl....quickly, I located what I can only presume is near first pressing (based on the age of the rest of the records) of a late 60s psyche jam...but alas the sleeve held nothing, the platter somewhere misplaced.   A Pickwick compilation of dubious sources (I left this behind as I believe it to be orchestral 'pops' versions of the songs listed, not the originals) caught my eye then was quickly forgotten.  The country classic shown below was tantalizing for a moment, but it passed quickly, as it so often does with garage sale fodder of fleeting desirability.  

Lastly however was a truly odd 'documentary album' of boot camp.  The packaging was very nice and odder still was the stencil someone had used for something....the font harkens military themes and I could not figure out if it was a strange bonus with the album? What were its origins? I will never know - I threw it back and left with nothing.  

Next I set out on a much longer journey, from Villa Park all the way to Schiller Park.  I arrived only to be told that the approximately '2000 45s' and '1000 LPs' were all purchased at once by someone else.  They did have a very large amount of casettes, CDs and even 8-tracks so I almost believed those wild numbers, but not quite.  Either way, there was nothing there for me so I moved on.

I stopped at 7-11 to refuel after my 15 miles plus already covered and plot my next move.  Unsatisfied with one bad gar(b)age sale and another devoid of vinyl in general, I went back to  I found another sale with vinyl in the general vicinity of my home.  It would only add a couple miles to my trip home and would also allow me to stop at the grocery store.  So I headed east on Irving Park with my fingers crossed.


I was firmly excited to find three large totes of records and motherlode of solid rock records - no 'documentary albums' here.  I grabbed an early VH album for myself, as well as the mate to a fusion album I grabbed at a pawn shop a couple months ago.  (Both albums have proven to be so of my best musical discoveries in the past year or more).  In the last bin I found a huge stash of Engelbert albums - almost all post-Parrot years.  I picked up my favorite of the bunch for my girl (I already have them all).  I chatted briefly with the owner then grabbed some taco makings and went home.  With now twenty miles under my belt, I was exhausted.  I ate some tacos and hydrated before a very brief nap and gloated in the fun of the day.  Don't give up kids - the best bins are just around the corner.

Rainbow Records, Barrington

Impromptu stop was warranted by my observant colleague (pictured above) noticing the sign (pictured below) as we burned down NW Hwy on our way to Cary.  Be damned the fact that I was starving by the time we were headed back in the other direction and I was only delaying our late (already 2pm) lunch further, I had to swing through.

Well organized store with a friendly proprietor behind the register almost scoffed at my inquiry regarding barbershop quartet music but I continued on nonetheless.  I couldn't seem to find anything that tickled my fancy and while recently I have matured enough to leave a venue without a 'consolation prize' (awarded to myself), I decided I would not leave empty handed today.  I rooted around in the jazz bin to no avail and finally relegated myself to the dollar bin on the floor.  There I found a copy of a Mahavishnu (the man, not the band) side project I have long owned as a digital album.  I already know the music isn't that mind blowing but the gatefold was illustrative enough to draw me in (along with the price).

It seemed like the owner had a helper who stopped in...he was instructed to add plastic sleeves to a stack of new vinyl sans those which were 'not collectible', though that determination it seemed could only be made by the owner himself.  A chorus of "collectible?" followed; it culminated as I stood at the register paying when he asked that question of a 70s soft rock slightly-under-the-radar LP.  I immediately spoke up: 'Sky High' and the man behind the counter casually commended by knowledge.  Funny because this very well could have been a different album - the album is named after that cut but the cover does not betray that fact, it appears self titled.  Lucky guess.

I knew this business card looked familiar....

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Salvation Army, Marquette Park

Swung through on a Thursday afternoon to find a bevy of vinyl but none worth grabbing. Reminiscent of the album I found long ago in Mundelien (and still regret not buying), I found at least 15-20 copies of what must be a local group; sealed (pink!) vinyl.  I was convinced from the Asian characters on the cover and strange name it was foreign and likely electronic music.  Discogs lists it as funk/soul and of course it is not driving me nuts - I don't know if/when I'll ever get back that way but if I do, I'll grab one for sure.