Monday, October 16, 2017

St. Vincent [Ruskin FL]

I first visited the Gibsonton/Apollo Beach area in April of 2016.  On my last day I wanted to stop here but had trouble finding it.  Well I ended up going back about 1 1/2 years later to work at the same place and this time I went in on my first day when I still had time.  Little did I know just how bad that week would be.  Glad I had a few moments of enjoyment before I descended into Hell.  Even more glad I am done with it.  Ironically, as I type this I am now on vacation in Orlando, barely an hour away.

I don't remember ever being at a St. Vincent's that had so much marking with signs etc.  Even the building is marked THRIFT STORE in huge letters that you just can't miss.  However the record selection was slim, though they did have a classic barbershop album and a really cool homemade record bin.  Reminds me very much of one I built myself long ago (mine is only two levels).

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Garage Sale [Pleasant Prarie WI]

Had a horrible 5am on site starttime in Kenosha for a job that could not have gone anymore badly.  Worse yet, it was finally rescheduled for completion weeks later and I could not go as I was elsewhere.  My colleague went in my stead and screwed things up so royally that he had to return the following day to make amends.  Despite all this madness, I came up relatively big at a local garage sale!

This was probably the most records I've ever seen at a garage sale.  I came up on a number of scores and had a chat with the proprietor.  He told me a few times that this was just the 'junk' from his collection (and much if it did indeed qualify as that).  I ended up buying four records.  Two of them were worth it, the other two I sort of blew it on.

Narada Michael Walden - Garden Of Love Light 
I knew Mr. Narada from his work with Mahivishnu Orchestra (in their later years, not the early albums I already own).  I knew this couldn't be very bad and I was right, it is some solid fusion.

Genesis - Seconds Out
This is a 2xLP live album.  The jacket is super water damaged and chewed up but the records look good.  The owner actually jumped from his lawn chair when he saw me with it, thinking an album had mistakenly gotten mixed up with the 'junk'.  When he saw the condition he said it was a double.  But I blew it because I thought this was early work from the group with Peter Gabriel on vocals based on the track list.  But indeed it is Phil Collins on the mic.

Anita Baker - Rapture
My mom had this on cassette when I was growing up and she listened to it a lot on a boom box.  I hated it then but this is some solid R&B and this was well worth my money.  Already ran through it quite a bit.

Unknown Artist - Music From The Motion Picture FM
If I had seen on discogs that this was credited to 'unknown artist' I would have known better but in my haste I grabbed it.  Yes indeed, it is some random musicians cranking through the setlist, including the Steely Dan title cut.  The vocalist on that one is an odd bird, it is hard to define what he was going for but it is not true to the original.  Great cover art though.

I should have grabbed this! I took a pic because the cover is outrageous (back cover is just as good),
but now I see I already own 10 albums with Mr. Baretto's performances!
Worse yet this record even seems to have some small value.  Damn!
I think he wanted $10 for the 4 records.  I offered him a $20 and told him to keep the change.  I offered that he let me inside to see his larger collection for 10 minutes.  If I found anything I wanted, he picks the price, if he doesn't want to sell it, then we let it be.  He wouldn't budge.

The below photos were taken from and uploaded by the seller and seem to perhaps evidence his hoarder behaviors.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Hog Days 2017 Flea Market, Kewanee IL

Always a highlight of my summer, Hog Days did not disappoint this year.  In between the metric ton of pork I consumed, there was actually a record vendor at the flea market! Very nice collection, everything was bagged and individually priced and they had a 'premium' section with some nice wares as well.  I didn't grab anything, and I eventually left the vinyl below behind which I have come to greatly regret.  The title and cover art caught my eye, I was convinced it was a band but this is actually a compilation of no-name metal bands from the early 80s.  Looks like it is also part of a series which contains further releases of no-name metal bands from the early 80s.  This one here seems to also be the first release from this label.  Should have grabbed it!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Garage Sale, Belvidere IL

Rubbermaid totes and laundry baskets are the earmarks for a solid junk sale.  I found this one via my old amigo on a Friday afternoon, way out in this rural area of NW Illinois.  As I perused the crap I could hear rifle report way in the distance, somewhere beyond the seemingly infinite cornfields all around me.  As the ad states above, this place was filled with crap that must have taken the guy days to haul out and roughly arrange.  Luckily the records were prominently placed on a rusty old cart, with the lower shelf holding two tool boxes with 45s banging around inside, most sans paper sleeves.  I found another cardboard box just behind that held more empty loot.  I got the standard offer to buy them all which is ironic given I actually bought nothing.

Salvation Army, Belvidere IL

I ended up being 'lucky' enough to go back to Belvidere four times in just a few weeks and I wouldn't be surprised if I get another call soon.  On one trip I brought my bike as I had so few tools to bring there was plenty of room in the truck.  I hadn't planned to search for vinyl but when I was whizzing down the road I saw a SA so I slammed on the brakes and headed in.  They had a nice load of vinyl but it was all stacked for maximum ring wear and minimum navigability.  I bent my neck and read the spines for a while until I got bored and headed back out again.  Hopefully my friend above scored something nice.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Bemidji Burn Out


I visited Bemidji once before not long ago.  As I returned it was warmer out and again I had some free time.  This would be a recipe for a solid hunt if I didn't feel like I had already dug pretty thoroughly.  But that is always a lie! You have never dug sufficiently! Get back into the trenches you child!

I ended up finding an array of spots all along the same main drag.  I started in my old haunt, Books N More.  Again, it seems they generate the most of their income by duplicating CDs on the numerous units behind the counter.  As they whirred, I checked out their bins but wasn't impressed.  Didn't look like anything had turned in there since my last visit.  So I got ready to walk west on 3rd down to Economy Shop, a second hand store that looked like it might have vinyl.  But before I could get there I encountered another spot just across the street which hadn't shown up on the map (as it was not listed as a thrift store).  This is Secondhand Splendor!

As I stepped through the small foyer I was greeted with an odd sign.
Can't imagine being homeless in a place that gets quite this cold.
Inside, I found a crappy bin of 78s.  I figured all was lost, there was nothing more to see here.  Maybe they have some Pyrex at least.  And then....

Never before have I seen a record rack of this proportion outside of a record store.  They were actually even individually priced, and outrageously so! It only added to my fun as I sorted through each and everyone.  I found some real gems and others that were just, well...real.  I had to look these guys up, the cover is trying so hard to be edgy and failing, I wasn't surprised to see it was a Christian oriented group that fancied themselves as 'punk'.  I checked out some of their music on YouTube.  'Hard rock' would be almost a stretch but far more realistic than 'punk'.  If you can't see from here, that guitar neck has a bunch of knock off Swatch watches on it (in their own defense, this was 1989).

Just one quick example to illustrate just how ridiculous the prices there were.
You can find this in many Goodwill stores for a buck or maybe less.
Even sealed, I think you'd be hard pressed to get $10 for it.
And before you cry foul and say that is just a sticker from this records previous life in another store long ago,
this was NEVER selling for that much, and that is the same sticker I saw on all the releases.
But if you think those prices are gnarly, you still haven't checked out the 'premium section' at Secondhand Splendor! They had one small rack and then this weird screen thing that held some more vinyl.  No doubt these were some classic records and some are worth a few bucks.  I should have checked the prices more closely, but when I zoom in on the original hi-res shot of the screen, the only two I can make out are the Zepplin records in the lower left hand - both are $129 each!

I've seen my share of defaced records before but this one might be tops.  Even more wild is that it actually did contain a Buddy Holly 2xLP greatest hits.  And for all this, only $7.99!
My work done there, I finally trudged westward to my original destination before I was sidetracked.  And just within spittin' distance was the Economy Shop!

This place specialized in country music it would seem, or it just worked out that way. For a moment I was astounded that a thrift store could have so much Johnny Cash and I entertained thoughts of buying it all and immediately selling it for triple.  That was until I quickly figured out that it was a carefully strategized move to take some cash off some suckers.  They were all individually priced and while not quite as bad as their neighbor, let's just say it wasn't thrift store prices.  They probably bought these on ebay or from a record store with the sole idea of marking them up and reselling.

And just a few yards from there I found a tub with some more bogus old vinyl with questionable prices.  And a few yards from there, the door.  And a few hours from there, back home in Chicago with another trip under my belt.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The ghosts of barbershop's past.....

I am fairly confident I have the biggest and/or best collection of barbershop vinyl on the planet.  It started so long ago as it often does, in Michigan.  That state is home to some of the best quartets the world has ever known.  After waiting years and begging, discogs added barbershop as a style which led to some serious retrofitting of existing releases in the database. So at this point I have added 372 barbershop releases to the database.  But it also allows me to search my own collection, which looks like it is at 122 at the moment.  Not bad!  I have a mostly complete list at that shows where I grabbed the individual platters.

This afternoon I recieved an interesting PM on discogs.  It was from a person who was aching to hear a specific (and relatively obscure) barbershop LP,. because a loved on performed on it so long ago and alas, they are no longer with us.  This has happend once before.  In both instances, the original request was to see if I would sell the LP.  I'd probably say no regardless but in both instances they were super rare LPs that I fought long and hard to attain.  But because I truly feel full of joy to share the music, I offered to rip the vinyl and put it in Google Drive so it could be downloaded.

Today's requester comes from eastern Ohio and has an interest in a Chord records quartet.  I have the entire Chord discography (including the 'handsome leather embossed album folder' which was available with series I) and this LP was one of the toughest to find.  I doubt I've ever even put it on but I did today.  Then I did a quick rip of the live songs performed on the annual competition albums.  Luckily, I do own all three that they performed on, I recorded these as a quick continuous mix.

I had to ask this person for some info on why they were so interested in this record and got an interesting response:

As I said above, this came up once before, at the beginning of the year.  I gladly ripped the album, the live competition songs and shared them at once to much delight of the person asking.  I recently found out that this quartet has another LP and even more recently I got a copy.  I sent the person a PM asking if they were interested but got no response.  No doubt, with their mission fulfilled, they have abandoned their discogs account.

I have over 700 LPs, no doubt people have many more than that, but even someone with half of what I own will be hard pressed to listen to them all.  So it is an easy wish to grant, to help someone who earnestly seems to miss someone and this old album, carefully bagged and organized on my shelf is the only link.  In the case of the album discussed today, it is over 50 years old! How many others are still in circulation? Very few, surely.  Glad I could immortalize it for someone special.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

St. Vincent [Livonia MI]

Ah yes, your typical bombed out St. V's, a spot I checked out during my brief stay in lovely Livonia.  This is the 25th post tagged for St. Vincent so I guess I've been to damn near that many.  But yet after all these years, not much has changed.  And that is fine with me.

When in doubt, just find the books or DVDs or old videotapes.  If there are records, they are close at hand.  I didn't find anything here as I dug around in the dirt on my hands and knees.  Due to the weight of vinyl, they often find their way closer to the floor so they don't fight gravity (and an old busted up shelf) so much.  This means you really have to pay for it if you want to dig, because I assure you they don't mop in a place like this very often.

And they pulled the old trick on me of having additional vinyl behind me on another shelf.  Just when I try to leave, they pull me back in! Nothing there either, but that's par for the course.  Still a fun sidetrip on my trip towards eastern Michigan.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Goodwill [Livonia MI]

Maybe I was due for some good fortune.  I wasn't off to a good start when I saw all the vinyl stacked bookshelf style but I craned my neck and checked them out as best as I could.  But in the final grouping I spied with my little eye a CTI classic (as my eye was, in turn, spied by the jacket!), who's mate I memorably got in a record store next to a train station.  I never listened to that one much but I put this one on right away, and as far as I can tell anyone would love this.  The jacket is in great condition and the vinyl seems legit as well.  All for the staggering price of 50 cents.  Can't beat that.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

St. Vincent [Mississauga Ontario]

I've already outlined how exhausting my day was going to Ric's (albeit very rewarding).  But before I decided to pull the trigger on going way out to Port Credit, as I weighed the pros and cons in that shopping mall, knowing that there was a St. Vincent just down the street definitely helped to influence my decision.

Alas, they did not have anything of value or interest but I did dig through each and everyone one of these.  Afterwards, I walked down to Hiawatha Park and sat on the rocks for a while with my scores (from Ric's), and let the Lake Ontario surf break and mist on me (I carefully turned the plastic sleeves on my vinyl so they didn't get wet).  It was a nice side trip and a good way to take advantage of being in Ontario.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Ric's Recollections [Mississauga Ontario]

My trip to Ric's started with a real tourist type 'fail'.  I looked at the map and saw a Sunrise Records within a radius I estimated was about $10 via Uber.  So I hauled over there but as I got close I saw that the area just didn't look conducive to a record store, or any kind of real culture at all.  Turned out that Sunrise is a pretty big chain (I kind of already knew this) and this location was inside of about the biggest and most modern shopping mall I've ever been in.  They did have vinyl, but only new vinyl, stupid 180g reissues and corny, trendy modern 'music'.  I was having some gut issues that day and hadn't wanted to even do this.  I already hit Value Village and checked off Ontario from my list, I didn't need to do anything else.  I was tired and felt weak, and I came over here for nothing.  So I sat on a big chair in the middle of the mall for at least 30 minutes trying to figure out what to do next.  I could turn back to my hotel, or.....

I saw Ric's on the map, but it was the opposite direction, further away from my home base.  And again, I was really tired and now I was running up some substantial Uber fares.  But I pulled myself together, and reminded myself I had very limited time here in Canada and as always, take advantage of it no matter what state you are in.  So I headed further east toward the Port Credit neighborhood right on Lake Ontario.  This area had some culture and felt far more comfortable.  And inside, things only got better.

Ric's is a very clean and well organized space.  The selection is excellent, and even better for me as almost everything in there is a Canadian pressing.  The store was totally empty and one of Canada's most famous artist was on the turntable, albeit it one of his most obscure albums. As I listened to track A3 I knew I was going to ask 'what the hell is this?'.  It certainly didn't sound like Neil Young, hell, it wasn't even very good! I did approach the fellow behind the counter and he laughed and did a quick rundown of the ridiculous lyrics ('got mashed potatoes/ain't got no T-bone', repeated for 9 minutes over a meandering rock beat) and we both had a laugh.  Then apparently the universe shined down on me (or both of us), as he then put on one of my favorite albums of all time, and one on which I consider myself an expert (on the artist in general, but especially this album).  I took a deep breath and we began a righteous discussion on the merits of Steely Dan and their early work.

Ric knew his stuff as well as I and there was no pretentiousness (as often found in such places), just two guys having a chat about a classic LP.  In the meantime, I hadn't stopped digging.  Back in Connecticut a few months ago, I found a Kai Winding record I had been looking for.  I still really wanted the alternate titled release and alas I found it.  Not only did I find it, I found the mono Canadian pressing! No way I would have walked away from this one, even for triple the price.

I was tempted to grab some Max Webster or Kim Mitchell because I am a silly American, and it would have been exciting to get Canadian pressings for such quintessential Canadian artists.  But I determined that I already have the best Kim Mitchell album (and the club version) and I have enough Max Webster...for now.  I did come across a live album I've wanted for a long time.  A few years ago I borrowed my dad's car and he had this CD in the player and I got hooked on it.  Glad to have it on vinyl (another Canada press, to boot).

Now that I'm home and I take a closer look at Ric's website I see that he is basically a Port Credit icon, who has basically devoted his whole life to vinyl.  I'm proud of my blog but I can't hold a candle to someone like this, it was a privilege to talk vinyl with someone like that, in their castle.  I could smell the class on this guy and even solicited him for a selfie, something I've never done before on this blog.  He was a good sport and you can see the delight in my eyes, being in a place like this.

Speaking of selfies (not something I regularly take part in), a few days later I finally flew home.  As I boarded the plane and waited to slowly snake my way to the back of the plane, I was temporarily standing in first class.  I noticed the guy in front of me had stopped to talk to someone already seated and something about it seemed odd.  I couldn't see the person sitting, but once the guy in front of me moved I recognized him instantly.  It was Kenny G!  I had about 3 steps before I got close to him and by then I already had my phone out, with the camera turned on, in selfie mode.  I quietly mumbled some off the cuff madness in the spur of the moment and it went something like this:

Me: Holy shit, its fucking Kenny G! How are you man?!
Kenny G: uh, I'm good, thanks
Me: You are the motherfucking man....I had Duotones in about 7th grade, I played that thing to death
Kenny G: Oh wow, that's really cool, thanks man
Me: Hey bro, do you mind if I get a selfie real quick?
Kenny G: No problem!

He was such a good sport I couldn't believe it, he was so nice and the above exchange took less than 10 seconds, I was conscious of the fact that the guy probably just wants to get where he's going and not be bothered by everyone on the plane.  I was totally babbling (and yes I did curse that much for some reason, nervous habit I guess) like a star struck teenage girl.  This is the most hilarious selfie of all time, he was obviously terrified of me.  What I told him about Duotones was totally true, I did have that on tape though I can't for the life of me figure out how or why I bought that or got it as a gift.  If I hadn't played that tape so many damn times I might not have cared enough to say hello (in my weird and obnoxious way).  Anyway, this has nothing to do with this post or this blog at all, but I had to share it.  Made my day.