Saturday, September 26, 2015

Winfield Antique Mall

I feel like at this rate the Sunday morning desperation will only lead to a trip 100s of miles away as we continue to dominate a larger and larger radius of record stashes across Chicagoland.  This one only took us to Winfield which was closer than it sounded and it was a worthwhile trip at a wonderful antique mall with great service!

As seen elsewhere, there were records hiding around every corner and the obligatory vendor/booth with a motherlode.

I ended up finding all three of my scores for the day in this singular booth.  I was tempted elsewhere but not sufficiently to warrant a sale.  Here, I grabbed yet another mono edition of Herb's first as well as another debut, but this one stereo.  Somehow the dual channel version seemed to have proliferated more greatly and its been torturing me for ages.  Lastly #8 from Mr. James - and a promo version to boot. My girl grabbed some nice Pyrex but I did not find anything for myself.  No worries - three records is fine with me!
A wonderful antique mall ritual - the clothespin marks your box of scores at the register.

I don't know that the fellas needed to autograph their crotches but to each their own.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Funk Trunk, Rogers Park

I booked out of AA (no not the meeting) to make it to Funk Trunk before they closed at 7.  A light rain had been falling for hours but I stayed dry and warm enough to feel pleasant.  As I approached I couldn't figure out where the store would be as it was nothing but huge condos then there it was - Funk Trunk!

Easily one of (if not the) smallest store I have ever been to but loaded with scores and some of the most unique record racks I've ever seen.  I've built my own so I know a thing about construction but these I could not figure out - I love them.  The owner Quinn was more than happy to chat about his bins, music, records...anything! Being one-on-one with the clerk in a quiet record store can be awkward but I wanted to get some brews and crank tunes in here all night long! But alas, I did have some hunting to do.


I saw not one but two Lenny White albums which tempted me but I declined both.  In fact, I saw so many RTF related albums it was hard to keep up with.  I have the obligatory 'School Days' already but long ago my uncle (who introduced me to RTF in general, via a particular album, one of my all time faves) made me a mix tape with with title cut from a different album on it, showing his good taste by not going to the opener. I think about that song sometimes and I miss it.  I always thought that was Jeff Beck on the solo (as he plays on the next track) but it looks like it isn't.  But who knew about all the other sidemen on this album? Damn - I should have grabbed it: Mahavishnu, Steve Gadd,! Just the opening with those natural harmonics....I must have thought that was a keyboard when I was cranking this one back in the day (maybe I was 16?). Which guitar solo is better? The restrained first or the triumphant second? Maybe I should write a blog just about that song!

I left my records at the counter when I walked in and told Quinn to look through the bag.  We got to talking about Nu Shooz and he said that he too had just picked up the picture sleeve 12"...I came across it a short time later in a bin and he offered to trade me! Whoa!

But besides the stuff I did NOT grab, what did I get?

Pat Metheny - Works - just a compliation of his solo and group work (99% of which I already have) but I couldn't resist

Chick Corea - Friends - Quinn gave this one to me for free from the dollar bin as a new customer (A good policy seen elsewhere.  If this free record is as good, I'll be in good shape).  

Luiz Henrique And Walter Wanderley - Popcorn - I don't walk away from any WW albums, especially if they are from the Verve era.  Never seen this or even heard of it.  Well worth the $10 and I haven't even listened to it yet.

Gary Burton - Chick Corea* - Crystal Silence - This comes up on everyone's best of lists so I couldn't resist.  It's a little beat up but not so bad I can't trip out on the new arrangement on the opener for vibes/piano when I am so used to the ensemble version.

To pull this many good albums out of such a small store is just an impossibility. Funk Trunk makes dreams come true! Thanks Quinn!

more stores need custom brown paper bags....a small but potent touch!

Audio Archeology, Rogers Park

If anyone read this blog, maybe they would meet me face to face and discuss it with me.  And they would probably criticize me for running a blog with 'chicagovinyl' as the subdomain when half of the posts are in other cities or even states.  And I'd tell them to get lost.  But luckily I won't have to be rude to anyone anytime soon as they only exist in my warped mind!

Audio Archaeology is one of those few remaining Chicago spots that I never get to as there is no good means of transportation besides a very long bus ride.  But I like to go see some live music once a year or so and as the show was up in Rogers Park (Red Line Tap) I knew that this was my chance.  They close at 7 so I left work a little early to run home, take a shower and change and head out again.  I took the Pace 331 to the Cumberland Blue line, which I then rode all the way to the Loop.  After that I took the Red Line north to the Loyola stop.

I got up there with some time to spare and started walking south.  I was starved and walked past about 20 restaurants but records come before eating every time.  I already knew that AA was largely a stereo equipment store before a record store but I didn't care - I've gone further out of my way to dig through much, much less.

The small room wasn't so cluttered with stuff that you felt claustrophobic and some attention had been paid to how things were arranged with a clear path to the vinyl racks and bins.  The clerk (presumably John, the owner) greeted me without asking the worst of questions "what are you looking for?".  He got on with whatever he was doing while I did the same, in peace.  I promptly crawled around checking out the cheap stuff (record stores love to demean you in this way....I don't blame them.  At least I didn't have to crawl for a half an hour like I did once at Logan Hardware.  Worse yet that was on a tile floor in winter - nice and wet.)


At just about the last inch of the last vertical rack, I found a 12" single I have probably turned down 20 times.  (I just hunted through my old blog for 10 minutes trying to figure out where I saw it last.  Though that one was the picture sleeve.) Not this time! Long ago I knew a guy who owned a bar and he bought some monster PA speakers on craigslist.  After we got everything put in place and installed we threw that song on just as a random speaker check track.  Well turns out its perfect for that...the verse has such a crisp mix, the interplay between the vocals and rhythm guitar are awesome, and the palm muted riffs in the background are just addictive. I did not get the picture sleeve but I did get the company generic sleeve which makes me happy.

I was in a bit of a hurry to make another stop also before 7 so I kicked it into high gear as I inspected the 7"s.  I quickly found a picture sleeve for a song I already have the LP on - which matters not to me!

Wish I had more time to inspect the rest of the goods and if I ever need a tuner or a new turntable, I know where I'll be checking in!

Bad Garage Sale and Imminent Redemption

Easily one of the most awkward record transactions I have ever attempted to take part in.  Had to run to the store and scoped this spot above on and it was basically on the way so we swung through.  In fact, there were only two sales on the site which listed records in the description this entire weekend and the other was far, far away.  So we arrived, took a glance around - no vinyl.  So I asked - as I always do - 'so I heard you had some records?'.  They both kind of looked at me and I mentioned that I had seen it online advertised that way.  The husband immediately responded that they did not advertise online.  I just kind of stared at can be damn sure that someone had advertised! His wife quickly copped to it so he admitted that he did have some vinyl, but it was in the house.  I had that happen to me once long ago however those people were so warm and inviting and had tons of great vinyl - none of that applies here.  He didn't invite me in to look but that's fair so I waited for him to return.  In the meantime his wife commented that 'those records are his', apparently meaning that she didn't care about them and worse yet had possibly listed them for sale on the internet without his permission.

He came back with the most pitiful stack of records ever, less than 10 and I think 6 were from UFO.  Now I am almost kicking myself as the live album seen below was likely a German import - it was never released in the USA at all and in the UK only on some really small and unknown labels.  And the one on the left....just wow.

I tried to be polite and commented 'wow you must really like UFO' as I handed the stack back to him.  He said that he had them all on CD now so he didn't need the vinyl.  Sad, but reasonable.  I want to be clear however that I don't dislike the guy because of his taste in music - to drag me out to your home, invite me to look at records when a) you only have 8 of them, and b) they aren't really for sale is a bit unfair.  Total waste of time.  My girlfriend made a $5 offer on some kind of $10 children's craft kit and the wife immediately said 'I cant take less than $8'.  Well enjoy bringing all your old junk back in the house tomorrow.


So needless to say, I was bummed.  We headed back and my girl recommended that we stop at Goodwill Elmhurst.  I hate this place...its so bombed out and the records never seem to turn at all.  But I gave in and we headed in.

Well suffice to say, I scored big time and had some close calls that still tantalize me.  I found my fourth (hey, its one of my favorite albums of all time) copy of the 'Red Album', this one with a cool promo sticker on the front.  No real promos exist for these old Parrot LPs but this is cool enough for me and the jacket and vinyl look great.  But that would have barely qualified to be more than a consolation prize...there was more in store.

Barbershop mania! There was a 5th as well - which I purchased!

Brighten The Corner (Where You Are) - pre-1970 quartets don't interest me much, and pre-1965 (or so) even less.  But I might have grabbed this anyway if the record was in the jacket! I even went through the entire bin a second time looking for 'naked' records and came up with nothing.

Together! With The Buffalo Bills - I was all over this one - but the vinyl was also MIA! This is a live album...I added the promo version to the discogs DB a while back and this almost never comes up even on ebay.  This isn't the promo (just added that too) and I am still disturbed wondering where that poor record ended up...

Barber Shop! Featuring The Buffalo Bills With Banjo - easily one of the most popular barbershop albums of all time, but it holds no interest for me.  Still cool to see another piece of what is obviously someone's collection here.

The Top Ten Barbershop Quartets of 1960 - This is a huge find, except I already have it. I was eagerly scanning my collection online hoping I needed this one but apparently I got it about 6 months ago.  I have upwards of ten 'top ten' albums and its too much to memorize.  If the Town & Country Four have an LP, I've still never found evidence of it despite my massive research.  So this will be a keen score for someone else, one of only 5 appearances ever for that quartet.

The Suntones - Keep America Singing - I now have 3 of 9 LPs from what is probably the world's most famous quartet.  I can do without this patriotic subject material (not a political slant - just that the singular angle gets a bit tiring) but the harmonies are there.  I still find it strange that the guys would release an album on another label halfway through their discography (all the others are on their own label) and the mystery will abound for sometime. Even stranger is that on the rear jacket someone has made a small notation with pen:

Did they know Bill? He died back in 2004 (RIP). There is otherwise no credits anywhere on the album or anyway to know who the members were unless you can recognize them facially.  Interesting...

I also found a local barbershop chorus record I've seen before.  Someone had a nice collection! I remain quite happy with my two scores and it was a hell of a way to come back after a dreadful garage sale.  To find all this barbershop in a store I normally disdain is a good reminder to leave no stone unturned!

Goodwill [Kalamazoo MI]

On my way into town after stopping at New Life in Wyoming I just wanted to head to my hotel but I drove right by this place, so I got my swerve on and tore into the parking lot.  This was a unique could almost see whatever business it used to be before they bought the building and turned it into a thrift store.

I swear on my life I took a pic of the record rack and it mysteriously did not save in my phone (that's never happened before).  So I'll describe it: four tiered metal rack with plastic milk crates, two to a shelf.  I instantly came across yet another mono copy of Roger's debut....still haven't ever seen a stereo copy.  This was a sign of things to come however as shortly thereafter I found another platter from Mr. Miller. I don't need to be buying compilations (I now have 13 Roger Miller records) but it was only 99 cents and I couldn't resist.

New Life Thrift Store [Wyoming MI]

Up in GR for three weeks in a row and I continued my tradition of stopping in a single store before heading to K-Zoo.  First up was SA, next was St. V's and now another new one I had somehow previously missed.

To prevent another bummer, I called in advance to assure they had some platters around.  Indeed they claimed they did so I headed out.  It consisted of a single bin of junk, junk and more junk.  Worthy of note was Enge's debut - I already have 6 copies (mono and stereo combined) so there wasn't much that can cause me to grab a 7th.  But the POS sticker on there was hysterical...'Crazy Larry' (is it this guy?)must really be crazy because I can't figure when in this records lifetime that it was worth that, even new.  When it came out in 1967 it couldn't have cost more than $4 or 5 and despite inflation, it has never really increased in value, even sealed (this one wasn't but maybe the poor sap who bought it from old Lar' and donated it later to New Life got it sealed).

I did get a Pyrex 501 for only 50 cents so it was worthy the trip.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


I've been approaching 600 LPs for a while but I never thought it would come via such a strange route.  I decided a while ago that 600 would be the end of the road for me.  Not for collecting in general of course - but basically my upper limit.  I have been planning to 'trim the hedges' for a while and pull out some of the really silly stuff I've grabbed over the years so it can be donated to a local thrift store (or sold on discogs if its actually valuable...but if that's the case it probably wouldn't be a candidate to leave the collection in the first place).

A big part of this I must admit is just simple weight.  If I have 600 records I'll bet that it weighs closer to 700 lbs.  Now add in the 100+ 7"s I have, plus their wooden bin.  Then the two piece bin and hutch which I already know weigh over 150 lbs each.  I am easily at 1000 lbs there in just a 5' x 2' (ballpark) area of a room and I live in a second floor condo.  I'm sure its safe at current levels but that hutch can easily hold enough records to get me to 1000 I think and then we are getting closer to a solid ton of vinyl! And there is no way I think that is safe.  And more importantly, its about clutter.  As time has gone on, I have become more mature about what I grab and not satisfying myself with 'consolation prizes' so often but for a long time I did.  So I know I can prune back the collection without getting rid of good stuff but the truth is that I just do not listen to a lot of these and maybe never have! Maybe I can justify that on some level by saying that I am a 'collector' after all but I do prize myself on the fact that I do listen to so many of these records...I don't just buy stuff because 'oh I've heard of this person' and nonsense like that.  At any rate I have reached my limit but that does not mean that any of this stops, my interest (obsession) is as strong as ever and I think it is a natural progression to find a reasonable stopping point and let yourself be more intimate with the vinyl you have, rather than bringing in arm loads of new stuff 'just because'.

Or maybe all of this is just a way for me to rationalize my decision.

Either way I found myself confronted with #600 in the most unique way.  I had taken a weekend to drive out west to the town my girlfriend is from which is a few hundred miles away.  We have made the journey before and its fun to hang out and crank back beers in her mom's garage and run the grill.  This weekend was special because there was a large annual festival in town as well as an organized bike ride so I had my bike, disassembled in the trunk, in tow.

When we got out there, my girl told me that someone she knew had offered her some records they got from the estate of a deceased friend.  Apparently they had a couple hundred at least so they asked what styles/artists/etc we might be interested in. 

To be able to fulfill that strange order seems difficult but it was easily done! While we were away, a delivery was made of four records:

Release Me - I have many copies of this, three of them mono in varying conditions.  What we have here is a very clean mono copy - very jealous though it was only sensible to let my girl have it.

Say You'll Stay Until Tomorrow - Tom's second album after leaving Parrot.  I still haven't finished the Parrot collection (still waiting to find the 2xLP I need) but no way I was going to turn this one away.

I (Who Have Nothing) - I scooped this one a while back (at Terry's) so I let my girl have it, she has at least one other Tom album already.  This one is only in stereo as well so no chance this was a variant I needed.

Home Is Where The Heart Is - I guess that pretty much every 'old record collection' has some Tom and Eng in it so I guess I shouldn't be so pleased with the above results.  But the 'barbershop quartet' request usually gets a blank stare in response.  Not this time - somehow the planets aligned and yes indeed my 600th album is this Buffalo Bills mid-career classic in great shape.

I guess it is a toss up of which of these is technically #600 since I got them at the same time but for honorary reasons if nothing else, I'm going to choose the close harmony LP.  And just like that, the milestone has come and gone, far from home in a garage, with records delivered by an unseen person.  But there would be more!

My girl's connection sent another communication saying that we could look through the entire collection if we wanted.  We offered instantly to come to whereever that was (it had to be near) but she offered to bring them all to us! I couldn't understand that until I learned that this was basically a way to dump them all on us, so we could take what we liked and bring the rest to Goodwill or the garbage dump.  So once again, while we were away on a day trip, we returned to vinyl greeting us.  But this time it wasn't just four records, or even four boxes.  It was much, much more.

What could be more fun than digging through crates of records that were delivered just for you? Not much.  I was controlled however and pulled out only three more records - I knew I had broken the threshold and needed to be controlled.

4 Kings Of Country Music - I grabbed this primarily for the Roger Miller but the whole thing is a delight.  Hearing mid 60s George Jones is something else - that voice - and the more I dig into Jimmy Dean the more I like.  I read a book not too long ago about the Bakersfield Sound which focuses strongly on Buck Owens so I'm glad to have some recordings (albeit only two tracks) to connect with that.  The Roger Miller is kind of ridicolous - to hear him (try to) sing straight ahead 'heartbreak' country songs without even a modicum of the comedic genius he is known for seems flippant.  But I guess we all have to get started somewhere.

Toto IV - I am a Jeff Porcaro fan before I am a 'Rosanna' fan or even a Toto fan.  A little bit of guilty pleasure here as well as in....

....Escape - I have a strange connection to this one.  I have the 2nd place world record for the Atari game of the same name.  I have a number of ranking scores for the Atari 2600 and other platforms but this one required that I play for a couple hours non stop of extremely tedious, repetitive gameplay.  More importantly, my record is bookended by two gamers that are in the annals of video game history.

My girl pulled out a huge stack of stuff including a monster Elvis boxset and a MINT copy of the Grease soundtrack that still had an order form inside to buy a mail order T-shirt! My girl's brother in law stopped by and pulled out a handful and he doesn't even collect.  When we left, my girl grabbed a full milk crate stuffed with candidates for another friend back home.  So probably 50 platters got snatched in a couple hours - its a beautiful thing.

Dusty old vinyl and garages go hand in hand.  I considered taking this one just because but let my girl have it instead.

Satellite Records [Kalamazoo MI]

I forgot to get a simple exterior shot so I held up traffic on my way out and snapped this one through the van.

I had purposely held out on stopping at Satellite on my previous trips to K-Zoo as I knew I'd soon be back.  A comfortable store; it did not disappoint.

After some digging, I did my shopping on a budget.  I picked up at picture sleeve for a song who'd melody has enraptured me of late (and millions of others, over the years).  I never could understand much of the lyrics but are they ever positive! Who knew? They also make me think of a now destroyed (except for the sign) landmark in a decrepit part of town down in Kississimee where I took a bike ride a couple years ago.

I was having trouble finding anything else of interest and buying just a 7" seemed silly (but not as silly as the idea that you must buy full size records to be a good customer!).  Finally in the dollar bin I found a used copy of yet another Bob James record, this one part of his duets with Earl Klugh.

Otherwise it wasn't exactly a noteworthy visit.  I am bereft of memories to write about but I guess at least I don't remember anything bad.  They did have an expansive 7" bin which was well organized and reminded me of the bins at Corner Record Shop. So stop in today and cop something nice for yourself!

Now this is just weird...I have never seen this in a record store before and obviously I've been to a few.  But now I see that both of the stores in K-Zoo, just a couple miles apart are doing the same system? You can see its actually the same exact card.  (I didn't even spend $5 on my two records so I didn't get any stamps).

I did what I could to make this readable.  Funny when I actually asked for a receipt, I can only imagine what this guy thought I wanted this illegible piece of scrap paper for.

Big bonus points on having stickers (they were free, but I would have paid).  Another to add to my locking record crate (for my prized vinyl)...I'll have to snap a pic soon, I've got some good ones on there.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

St. Vincent [Grand Rapids MI]

As I did last week when I found myself in the same neck of the woods, I figured I'd hit a single GR thrift store before I headed to K-Zoo.  So I busted out the trusty Google Maps to figure out what was closest or most convienent - I've essentially been to them all already.  Or had I?

The second hit in the list was St. V's right here I town.  That did not kindle a memory so I checked my blog.  And I'll be damned - I hadn't been there before! So I headed over and after some peeking around corners, I found a huge rack of vinyl!

The heat was sweltering in there but I got to work.  Tons of polka - I kept thinking that there had to be at least one Eddie B. record in there and alas there was - grabbed it instantly!  Shortly thereafter, I found a barbershop compilation which seems to be listed on ebay every day but which I do not own.  Better yet, it was the original pressing on Decca, and in mono.  Score!

I found another Bel-Aire record as well and was tempted to buy it but figured I'd better draw the line so I did a catch and release.

I think if your name is Stan, you have to be a polka fan.

Green Light Music [Kalamazoo MI]

In my first night staying in K-Zoo instead of GR (in two days trip #3 will be on the books), I was delighted to find good food (Schwarma King), booze (Drake Party Center) and Green Light Music all next door to one another - and all just a couple miles from my hotel.

I opted to shop before I ate, and I was hungry.  But I already had quite a haul from my thrifting so I didn't intend/expect to find much, kind of just wanted to case the place.  The place was quiet - I was certain the guy behind the counter was the owner and I kind of felt his eyes on me as I walked around, typically overwhelmed (I am much more at home in a thrift store or a garage sale).  He kindly asked if I needed assistance (I declined) and I hunted on.

I avoided the 45 bin even though it was alphabetized, little did I know I'd soon be immersed.  In the meantime, I found one Kai record while looking for another.  The price was a bit prohibitive for me (though fairly priced) so I left it behind while I thought about it.  I found yet another Bob James record to add to the list and I grabbed it right away.

I eventually found the dollar bin and immersed in the junk I gasped and had to catch my breath.  A record I'd been looking for for a long time was there, in my face, for a buck and in really clean condition to boot! Yet another Bossa Nova exploitation record from the era when such things were profitable and acceptable, thought the group's members do offer some decent connections to more legitimate aspects of the scene.  At first couple listens it isn't mind blowing but still above average and I'm proud to have it.

I made my way to the 45s and started in the 'H' and 'J' bin but soon branched out and found much more. (As well as what I had been looking for initially):

 I'm A Better Man (For Having Loved You) / Cafe
I checked about 18 times on my phone to make sure I did not already have this...I still can't believe I found an Eng single I don't have, as you see the same handful everywhere you go and its been a long time since I was able to add to that collection.

Daughter Of Darkness
Same goes for Tom, but this is a promo.  (I do have the standard issue)

One On One 
Scooped one of my favorite songs of all time in a really clean picture sleeve.  

Breaking Us In Two
Joe has such a mess of picture sleeves in the first 4-5 years of his discography and I want them all.  Glad to add this one.

Key Largo
No picture sleeve here - just a classic example of hardcore 80s Yacht Rock at its finest.

You Got It All
I did not get a picture sleeve with this, but I did get the matching RCA 'rainbow' company sleeve which is good enough for me.  I see other Jets singles all the time and I've been holding out for this one.  When I got out of the store I freaked because as I carried my stack I saw a jukebox strip falling out.  Alas, it was a strip for another single (by a very intriguing artist who I had otherwise not heard of).  Oh well!

Answering Machine
Of course the titular cut can be found in 7" format in every corner of the earth.  But this is legitimately one of my favorite albums of the year and this one of the best songs - and quite underrated at that.  Even the B-side is good.  Big find!

I went back and scooped the Verve record I had previously admired and headed to the counter.  Turns out the guy I thought might own the place could barely run the register.  Eventually he called someone from the back - maybe he was the Wizard of Oz? Who knows.

I get that I am not supposed to take their silly little sticker seriously, but I was pretty offended by that.  I also wanted it badly as I only have the 'regular' version.  I held out.  It was 'fantastically' difficult.

This album had a rare form of corner-itis, asymmetrical type.  Ouch.  It is since in recovery.

Caught this deep cut on FM radio just a day after I bought the 45 - how fitting.