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.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Value Village [Mississauga Ontario]

I have finally been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take this blog international! I had 4 nights spent in Mississauga while I worked in nearby Brampton.  My first stop here at Value Village was a pleasant accident.

I was told we would be working somewhere between 11am-11pm everyday so I wanted to make sure I had beer available to myself because the last thing you want to do after a 12 hour shift like that is to find out that there are no nearby places to get alcohol.  So I got off the plane and immediately took an Uber toward the nearest Beer Store.  I stopped for a delicious lunch I will not soon forget (and often miss) at Watan Kebab.  Then as I rounded the corner into the strip mall which housed the Beer Store, I saw Value Village.  I had already laid out a couple places on the map that I planned to try and make time to see but somehow I had missed this.  I wasn't even 100% sure that it was a thrift store initially.  And even if it was, did they have vinyl? I'd learn quite a few things pretty quickly.

Yes, it was a thrift store.  I had a hunch that this place was somehow affiliated with Savers and I later found that I was correct.  In fact, there are actually a handful of Value Village stores in the USA.  I also just realized I have been to one before, in North Carolina a couple years ago.  And as you can see above, yes, they have records and plenty of them!  Most interesting were what I immediately recognized as Canadian pressings of two vinyls I already own.  I was tempted to buy one or both of them but left them both behind, to some small amount of regret I still continue to be haunted by.

The pseudo hype sticker on the Roger Miller album immediately made it stand out to me.
Same for the yellow A&M box logo on Whipped Cream.  Both Canadian, through and through.
At a level not recently seen, or perhaps ever, this place had so many Goddamned Engelbert albums it was staggering.  Because I have some sick form of OCD I had to lay them all out on the floor in order.  The fact not revealed by this photo is that there was heavy traffic all around me as I attempted to first lay them out, in as close to order as I could conjure up under the circumstance, then to back away enough to get the angle I wanted.  No one said a word but no doubt they were inconvenienced for my sick pleasure which is this blog!

And as a footnote, his non-Parrot releases, save for the live album which I have of course categorized incorrectly.  You NEVER see 'Love Letters' in the wild, this was overwhelming to find.  Bear in mind these were all scattered through the bins so I don't know that a singular donor brought them here, perhaps all of Ontario just loves Enge that much? Does Enge love them right back, just as much? With the close proximity of vinyl, beer and kebabs, I know I do.