Sunday, December 31, 2017

Time Capsule [Seekonk MA]

It was very exciting to come to work in Seekonk because it would allow me to check Massachusetts off of my list.  So I made plans to stop on the way from Logan airport because I assumed that there was nothing in Seekonk, and even if there was, I might not have time to stop.

Well I finished up early and as I got into my rental to drive away, not 1/2 mile from my point of origin I drove past Time Capsule and saw the sign that they had vinyl! Yet another toy/comic book store that carries vinyl! I slammed on the brakes HARD and swerved into the tiny parking lot so I could get inside and have a look.

They had a ton of vinyl and a nice jazz section where I concentrated.  I struck gold once I took a look at the jazz 'new arrivals' section and quickly pulled out two gems for really good prices.  I've always got my eyes wide for a particular Paul Desmond record, one of the last 3000 series vinyls I still need.  I didn't find that, but I did find a very nice 6000 series record from Mr. Desmond.

I have a nice bunch of Wes Mongomery jukebox EPs and I've long been looking for the LP version of the last one I needed.  Hell, I'm always looking for Wes Montgomery vinyl but especially Verve stuff.  Glad to find this one in beautiful shape, again, for a great price.  That makes eleven 6000 series platters in my collection.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Attleboro Attack!

I visited Rhode Island a while back on a personal getaway with my dad.  I actually had business plans to travel to Seekonk which is just across the border from Providence.  This was great because I knew I'd be able to check Massachusetts off my list.  But flights to Boston were much cheaper than Providence so I flew there.  I ended up not looking at any records in Boston proper (there were no shops in South Boston near where I was staying, and I got into town late).  But during my initial drive from Logan airport to RI I decided ahead of time to stop in Attleboro as I saw they had a Goodwill and a Savers right near each other, and it was all on my way.

First up was Savers.  Ah yes, the familiar, comforting old white wire rack that they have at every shop in the country (and beyond!).  I'd have scooped that Paul Revere record in a second but alas the jacket was empty.  Saw a fairly rare Engelbert vinyl and seeing some legit Chicago polka this far from home was very nice indeed!

After that it was just down the road to Goodwill.  They had a unique sign with a strange logo that I had never seen before.  But inside, same old stuff.  Nothing of note except for a very obscure 45 with a personalized autograph from the artist.  I did snag a CD for the rental car, an extremely worn copy of Candlebox debut.  The CD was mint but the insert was yellowed with age.  A really great album - that I seem to have accidentally left in the rental car! Well that is $3 down the drain, unless you figure I had $3 worth of enjoyment giving that album a spin while I drove around Massachusetts.  I think I did.

This is now state #27! I don't think I've hit a new state since I went to Connecticut almost a year ago! Vermont, New Jersey and Delaware are killing me.  I should have had a shot at Vermont during my trips to NH but never had time or was close enough.  It will be nice to tackle the entire east coast.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

MPC 1000 Stand

I purchased an MPC Studio about 3 months ago and I've been using it regularly and having a lot of fun.  I really started to want an older standalone MPC and decided that the 1000 would be perfect.  After watching many auctions on ebay and making offers, I finally bagged one.  I am pretty low on space (I have almost zero desk space).  I can disconnect the Studio when I use the 1000 but it is just like musical chairs.  I also looked at some cool stands for the 1000 that affected the angle so you can read the LCD more easily.  So I decided I'd build a standing 'holder' for the unit so it would be at good eye level when sitting and also add a few degrees of incline to make it more viewable.

I decided early on that I'd use a 4x4 for the main stand then I started grappling with different ideas on how to build feet.  As always, I have a ton of 2x6 so I figured I'd use those somehow.  So I cut four legs about 10" long and clamped them to the bottom trying to decide how to mount them.  I figured the Kreg would be helpful, figured I'd screw them all to each other, then I could drive some additional screws in to actually connect the feet to the 4x4.  

I got the clamps on after I drilled my pocket holes and blasted the whole thing together.  When I removed the clamps I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was so much compression it was actually squeezing the 4x4 so tight I didn't need any additional screws!  I'm sure I could bang it off with a hammer but it wouldn't be easy and as this joint will undergo zero stress, I was glad that I did not have to deface it with screw heads that weren't needed.


I ended up putting a 15 degree onto the other end of the 4x4 where I would mount the holder for the MPC.  I didn't test this or anything, but I knew that I didn't need much angle.  I also knew that the angle was related to the height: the lower the stand, the more obtuse the angle could be.  The higher, the more acute it would have to be.  I have been using the 1000 on  an old wooded TV tray table and it looked like my 4x4 was about that tall.  So I cut off the end and then got to work on the top holder.


Instead of starting with a piece of flat stock like plywood, I took some random 3/4" thick boards I had and Kreg'd them together.  I've never used the Kreg like this, to make one continuously flat piece of stock but I had seen people do it online.  Worked great though I did get confused a few times and put my pocket holes in the wrong direction.  Oh well.  The unit is 9" wide and my three boards added up to about 7 1/2", a little short but I didn't see how that would matter (it did, just a little, more on that later). I also left the back open for cables and the power cord.


After that I went and spent a few bucks on the only hardware I needed, one long lag bolt and a big washer.  I think it is a 3/8" lag, 4" long.  And I got the biggest washer they had for that diameter.  I figured if I was only going to use a single point of contact to fasten the top to the 'stem', it had better be strong.  I didn't think about it initially but once I got the drill out I realized I had to try and drill my hole at the same angle (15 degrees) as the cut on the end.  I did this freehand but by all accounts looks like I nailed it (lucky).  I countersunk the lag bolt head and washer with a forester bit while constantly measuring to make sure I did not shear away any more than was necessary.  Came out perfect! I bought two different washers (as you can see on the receipt below) because I was unsure on what size forester I had back at the shop.  And of course a Mountain Dew to stay fired up for these evening projects.


I should add that I did cut and screw on sides and then a front piece to keep the unit from sliding onto the floor.  I knew I wanted to avoid the headphone jack and CF card but as I was building without the unit in front of me to measure, so I built it to about half way across.  I figured that it didn't have to be super secured in this direction, not like it is going to funnel through the open side and fall out or shift.  So that night I did paint the top holder and left it to dry overnight while I brainstormed on further modifications or improvements.


The next morning I was very excited to get back to work.  I decided that I'd cut the legs on an angle just for cosmetics sake, that excess wood contributes little to stability.  I hacked one corner off free hand then used it as a guide for the rest.  Then I realized I had a red and blue can of spray paint just sitting there (left over from other projects) and thought it would be fun to paint the 'tips' of the legs alternating red/blue to match the classic colors of the 1000 (at least the one that I have).  So I taped it off and threw a couple quick coats on each foot.


Overnight I also had my OCD kick in and I decided that I needed to have something to fill the gap in the front.  I had left this open for the headphone jack, etc.  But it bothered me so much, I did some measuring and saw I had about 3/4" to the bottom of the CF slot.  I don't have any stock that small but I was able to carefully rip a piece down to that size and sand the hell out of it.  Just used two nails to fasten it.  Should have just done one continuous piece across the whole width.  And the piece I did use is useless anyway as since it is smaller than the stock next to it, it isn't even in contact with the MPC.  I would have had to mount it further back which would have destroyed that flatness I desired in the front.  Goes to show you that so much of my builds are functional but other parts are just references to my state of mental health! The really silly part is that I have no plans of using more than one CF card so I don't care of the slot is obscured.  Not like I couldn't briefly lift it out of the holder anyway.  And I bought enough cabling to make the MPC a permanent link between my mixer and the receiver/amplifier that feeds my PC.  This offers a number of benefits.  I can constantly use the same input on the receiver now, whether I am playing/sampling vinyl or playing back/editing the sample (or just playing a sequence, etc).  I was wondering if I could do this, my question was would the MPC pass the signal through (because with this hookup, I need it to if I am just listening to a record and not working on a song).  Turns out when it is in record standby mode, it does.  So I'll need to power up the MPC and put it in stand by if I am listening to vinyl.  Which is fine with me.  But back on topic, my work to keep the headphone jack is pointless because there is no reason I will ever be using headphones with the unit when I am at home.

I had planned to paint it black from the beginning as I had some left over black paint from another project (not vinyl related).  So after a ton of sanding (especially on that gnarly old 4x4) I layered on a few coats.  In the end I decided that it was way too high so I went home and took a measurement on my TV tray table.  I decided I would reduce the height of my new stand to 30" so I pulled out the lag bolt and cut another 15 degree about 4-5" down and drilled a new hole.  Came out great! Very happy with this.

My excitement in bringing my baby home was overwhelming.  The only issue was that I did not account for the rubber feet when I decided to make the holder a bit narrow.  I didn't care if an inch of the MPC hung off of the back, but if the rubber feet don't make contact then it won't sit flat and also might constrict the unit's ability to lose heat out of the bottom.  I didn't know until I brought the stand home (could not find dimensions for rubber feet centers on line).  So I peeled the back two feet off and stuck them back on again about 1 1/2" further forward.  And I already found a source for more feet ( sells them also).

The whole set up, including my turntable stand which I also built a long time ago.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Avenues Thrift Store

I've driven past this place so many damn times and wanted to stop in but never did.  This is largely because traffic on Touhy is a bit scary, there aren't quite 2 lanes in each direction, but there isn't quite a parking lane either.  Traffic moves fast and even if you can park in front, its pretty tight.  But I threw caution to the wind and finally paid them a long deserved visit.

I found one neat rack nestled towards the back of the shop.  I know of Steve Arrington's work with Slave through one of his biggest fans, Dam Funk.  And I as well am a fan of Dam - I actually got his autograph on a piece of vinyl years ago at a street fest in Chicago! I didn't have a smartphone at the time, I wish I had gotten a selfie with him.  But I do value the vinyl, even if the sharpie I brought with was dying at the time.

Also worthy of note was a single Engelbert record with some extensive notes on a post-it (no other vinyl in the bin had such notes).  Glad to see someone celebrating this great album!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Goodwill, Skokie

Not sure how I never hit this place even once before over the years.  Granted I don't get out there that often but it isn't very far from my standard stomping grounds.

Just a singular, clean bin with a handful of interesting finds as displayed here.  The Paul Young album is one shy of his big hit which followed up.  This one is notable for a Joy Division cover at a time that surely no one in the pop realm could have been familiar.  The Al Dimeola record...oh man, I'd be all over that.  But (did you guess it yet?) the jacket was empty with the wax nowhere to be found.  Damn!

At lower left you see some 60s garage rock.  I already have this (and mine is mono).  I was shocked to just see that it was almost a year and a half ago that I copped it, I swore that had to be this last summer.  Time flies... 

Last up is an electro-funk 12" not to be confused with the delightfully cute female garage rock group from decades before.  Interesting enough for me to have put it up front for the photo but it ends there.  As did my visit to Goodwill.  I have actually been back to the area twice since, in just a few weeks.  I'll swing back through before long in search of hot new warez...

Sunday, December 3, 2017

St. Peter's Gate (and four year anniversary!)

Had a hell ride down in Hazelwood just outside of STL.  I was staying in St. Peter which is about 10-15 miles away if memory serves.  I spent about 14.5 hours working and driving on day #2 but day #1 was just a 5 hour jaunt down to my destination.  This of course left room for some further exploration of Missouri and plenty of time to dig in St. Peter!

First up was a St. V, one of the nicest I've ever been to.  Spacious and well organized and with a wealth of records....from Brazil! And Panama? Yes indeed!

Videos hosted on blogspot never worked in the past but looks like they've made some upgrades.  Check out this South American gold below.


Did some kind of copyright legal crap prevent Mr. Ocean from singing his hit as written?
I should have bought this just to confirm, now it's driving me crazy.

I haven't stopped into a Savers in a while but there was one almost spitting distance from St. Vincent.  Found the same old wire wacks of vinyl that I've seen in every other store around the country.  This bin featured some more ethnic music as well as a friend who perused the racks alongside me.  Didn't pull anything out of there but had fun taking a gander at things.

A virtuoso? Whoa...I don't think most people even know what a taragot is (I didn't)

Proud to knock out another year with this blog! Up to almost 350 posts and 1900 photos! It's been hard work but a ton of fun and I have no thoughts of stopping anytime soon.  Upward and onward!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

McComb Thrift Store [McComb OH]

It has been over 2 1/2 years since I first visited (what was at that time) Community Thrift in tiny downtown McComb Ohio.  Looks like it has changed names but otherwise looks the same as it always has.

I wonder if my old friend Terry is still stocking the shelves.  Found some interesting gems which I placed up front for the next smart shopper.

Late For The Sky - this one just makes me think of the scene in Taxi Driver where he knocks the TV off its milk crate and has such disappointment.  Such a sad scene in a movie I don't think people ever equate 'sad' with.

10 Years Of Barbershop Champions - I remember picking this one up at St. Vincent in Appleton like it was yesterday.

Sweet As Candy - compilation from a Philly radio station, apparently they put out quite a few different comps back in the 70s

We Believe In Toledo - another weird promotional item, this one much more local 

The best part of this trip was the cat running around the store.  He darted away when he first laid eyes on me.  But I played it cool and got him to sit for a photo.  If you know anything about cat behavior (not saying I am an expert, but I have some experience), it says something that he woudl even do this.  Wish I could have pet that cute cat.  Maybe next time.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Beverly Records SECRET GARAGE!

I don't know what people think that record collecting is all about.  Or being out and about and searching for records.  Probably seems very much 'on the surface', like just sticking my mitts in those crates is all that matters.  But the real peak experiences come when you supersede that stuff and hit into something more, and talk to people and forge relationships.

On a Sunday morning I filled my thermos with coffee and drove down to Hegewisch.  I parked on Baltimore around 134th and just relaxed.  I sat there and drank my coffee in a light rain and watched people go about their business.  A time for reflection.  As I designed my day, I figured I ought to head over to Beverly Records and have a look around.  I knew at minimum I could raid the Tom Jones and Englebert 45 bins for promos, something I've been meaning to do for a while.

I have been to Beverly Records a handful of times.  My first time was way back in '13.  I should start off by saying that I was sad to see the St. Vincent on 99th is closed.  So is the Beverly Woods resturant next door which I had always wanted to check out.  Looks like it has been about three years since my last visit!

Beverly hasn't changed really at all.  Same old record dump.  I had a nice dig.  I dug out a total of five Parrot promos, none of which I had and a few of which I had to add to discogs myself.  So that was nice. [When There's No YouThe Young New Mexican PuppeteerTillMemories Don't Leave Like People DoAin't No Love].

They have things organized by some odd genres, like 'male vocals' (as soon as you walk in) and 'female vocals' (way the hell in the back).  I ventured back there as I have before, the lights were off.  I don't know where the switch is so I just dug around using my phone as a flashlight.  What do I care.

I was looking for Joni Mitchell back there and finally found it.  I found a copy of the live album I paid $20 for (or was it $25?), then again that was a promo and quite mint.  Still for $5 I'm cheap enough to have considered the option, if somehow in another dimension I have the choices side by side.  But that fantasy aside, I found what I was looking for.  There were two copies actually - I grabbed the one that was still shrinked, the original gatefold still never opened.  And yes - the vinyl and even inner sleeve look to never have seen oxygen before.  Well done.

I was back there digging and looking for polka.  I know they stash all their odd genres back here but I couldn't find it even in the dark.  Then I was truly taken aback, even more so as it was in the pitchblack and viewed with a flashlight.  This looked way too familiar, not just the rack but even the individual records.

I knew at a glance I had everything there I wanted.  But odd they had that there.  Why? I'd soon find out.

I kept figuring they would see me back there and turn the lights on.  Or at least come to see what the hell I was doing creeping around in the dark.  I eventually gave up and came to the counter to ask where the polka was.  The old timer told me that (with a laugh) that they don't get many requests for polka.  He said they were 'in the garage'.  I was probably trembling and imagining where the garage might be.  Was it nearby? Far away? How much polka was in there? What else was in there?

The other fella behind the counter said 'come with me' and I followed him outside.  He led me through the 'parking lot' (the empty lot north of the building) and towards the alley.  This was ironic because this was the first time I had ever come from that direction.  We went around back and he unlocked a padlock on the back gate and took me literally to the garage.  He unlocked it and....

The backyard was filled with spare milk crates piled up high and some other junk.  As soon as the door opened I think I gasped when I saw all that vinyl.  We both stepped inside to take a look around for the polka section but it was just inside the door!

BANG! I was deep in the game!  The selection was out of control.  It was a 'polka' section but might have been labeled 'Chicago polka' because 90% was from Chicago.

I saw so many rarities and classics that I began to lose count and my eyes swam.  I started making a pile but knew before long I'd have to return at least a couple to the shelf lest I need a milk crate to cart the stuff home.

Lorraine And The SonatonesChicago's Famous Polkas

I picked up a 45 from Bel Aire a while back and I love it.  I know there are two LPs and Bel Aire had one (don't remember which), glad to score this one.  And guess what else??? AUTOGRAPHED!

There were numerous Versatones records and a few (including doubles!) of some of the really early stuff.  This would be their third.  I saw two copies of their fourth and I was going to grab it until I saw there was a different record inside.  Then I started to play that weird game where you track down that jacket, but there is yet ANOTHER wrong record in there.  After a short time I decided to call it quits.

Positively love The Tones, grabbed their other two LPs at Bel Aire on separate trips.  They never had this one, in fact I've only seen this on ebay one time (they guy wanted $15).  Took me forever just to find photos and a track listing.  Delighted to finally pick this up.

This is a real piece of crap but I couldn't resist.  It is a 2xLP compilation that I've never seen before.  It is really low quality jacket and the records themselves inexplicably skip like crazy even though the vinyl looks ok.  It looks like they forgot to put the artist name on the jacket so they applied stickers after the jackets were already printed.  Real professional stuff!

There were a couple full aisles filled with fully stacked shelves.  Mostly classical and other useless genres.  Back to the polka - nearly every Marion Lush album were there, saw a ton of Lenny Gomulka including one I had never seen before, which I photographed for the db.  It was just balls out insane! And all through this I am left alone in this quiet, cold and amazing garage with the keys and the place to myself.  What a privilege!

I locked everything up and made my way back to the store to check out.  As I made that short trek I couldn't believe I was sitting here with a stack of vinyl and the keys to the place all on the honor system.  Again, not something I take lightly or casually.  What a feeling that was!

When I got back to the counter and had a chat with my finds with the guy who had brought me out there, he did divulge that the Bel Aire store in Bridgeview had closed on October 1st.  That really hit me hard.  First thought was that I am really glad I got in there, bought stuff, took pics, chatted with people and saw the history.  But the larger looming thought is that Bel Aire was a place that will never be replaced.  It is kind of like an old relative who has been sick for a long time.  When they pass away you aren't surprised, but you know that void will never be filled.  No one is going to open another polka record store, ever.  That was the last vestige of Eddie's legacy.  Thank god I have crates of old vinyl to really relish the times gone by.  But this explains the familiar rack in the back of the store, he bought the whole damn thing for probably $20 or something crazy.

So I got taken a bit with the price but that is to be expected.  And having just discussed the closing of Bel Aire it makes you realize that while you can buy your vinyl on the internet for super cheap, because the sellers have no overhead, keeping a giant building (and garage!) like this open - taxes, electric bill, etc. - costs some serious coin.  So I'm glad to contribute to keeping a place like this open as long as I can.  I couldn't be happier with the stash I walked out of there with and it is a memorable day I will hang onto for a long time.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Asbestos crate (#4 of 4)

My girlfriend hates her kitchen floor.  And now, we find ourselves here.

She hated that floor and complained about it all the time.  Until she struck a deal with a friend of a friend who does remodeling (and put a new roof on her house), and they came to an agreement of barter for labor, if she would buy the tile.  Her and I headed to the store and bought 90 tiles (those were heavy!) and a few weeks later, he put them in.

This left behind a large amount of scrap which included not just the old crappy peel/stick linoleum but two separate subfloors (replaced with cement board) and two more layers of old tile beyond that from god knows when.  I agreed to help dispose of this at a (legal) site I have access to so I dragged the stuff away.

This was the 'farewell' photo I sent to my girlfriend as I dumped the refuse into the bin.
After I dumped it and somehow avoided getting stuck with the literally thousands of 6" nails that stuck through the bottom of the plywood, I got to thinking about how I wished I could have salvaged some of it.  I salvage lumber all the time and this was a lot, but alas it was coated with old tile and had so many nails and staples in it I didn't know where to begin.

Then I got to thinking about how maybe I could salvage just enough to build a crate.  How bad could that be? You can probably guess the answer ("pretty bad").  Also, long ago I began a series of four crates.  I never made the fourth because I got a hold of a nice locking box and that filled the last spot in the shelf.  So really, I don't even have a place for this.  But my OCD was intense that day, so off to work I went.

I figured I needed roughly five pieces 12" x 12" which would give me more than enough to work with.  The contractor had taken a circular saw and set the depth to go through all of this mess down to the joists and he cut it into random pieces but many were probably double what I was looking for.  So I pulled out enough square footage and got to work.

Notice the distinct layers: the thick original subfloor, covered with blue, then white tile.  Then the second subfloor with the newest white tile.
First thing, I decided what I really wanted was the old, original subfloor.  This was some kind of really old and really thick plywood.  So I bashed a crowbar between that and the second (much thinner and crappier) subfloor and pried them apart.  Of course there was so many nails and staples holding it together it did not come apart cleanly so I did my best then picked the bits and pieces off.

Next step was to try and remove the nails.  The nails were used through this old subfloor (which may have been from the 40s or 50s) down into the joists.  Then two layers of tile (which I wanted, more or less) was laid on top of it.  So I could tap the nails out but it would crack like perfect bullet holes through the tile.  So after a spell, I got all those out.

Next were the staples, if you want to call them that.  Someone must have had a (at the time) new fangled staple/brad gun and just went berzerk, blasting thousands of the things through and they were LONG.  For a time, I gave up on it and decided they could stay.  But it drove me crazy so I eventually figured out a method using a very thin screwdriver and a hammer, and another larger screwdriver and a pilers.  I would work the staple out just enough that I could grab it with the pliers, then use the larger screwdriver handle as leverage to pry it out.  This led to me smashing my knuckles on the wood about 200 times when the staple would fly out.  Many of them broke and had to have their individual tines ripped out one at a time.  I thought it would never end.  But like all things, it eventually did.

The rest came easy.  I cut it into my shapes as I have done so many times before with a sawzall.  Then I used my Kreg jig to screw them all together.  I did some minor sanding (not on the tiled side) as well.  I elected to keep the tiled sides on the inside for the back and bottom so they would be seen.  The rest I did on the outside.  Funny since no one will likely ever see this thing but myself.

But funniest of all is that when it was done I was showing it off to a coworker and he mentioned that the old tile might have asbestos on it.  I commented that I wasnt' worried, it isn't like I rubbed it all over my body or something.  He said he agreed, it was only really dangerous once it becomes airborn.

Like if you sand or cut it with a saw.   Yikes.