Monday, April 28, 2014

Knick Knack investigation #556

Kelly and David @ my favorite thrift store in the world call me whenever they get new vinyl and David has become a rabid collector in his own right.  I have returned many times to cop wax but today was unique.

I had stopped at the EP post office because they are open late (to mail records, of course) then swung through Super Low (aftershave). I was walking to the bus stop and lamenting the fact I was a little pressed for time and couldn't stop in to say hello whe just as I walked by, David walked out to their famous yellow Hummer parked outside.  I said hello and he just kind of laughed and shook his head.  Before I could ask what that reaction meant he swung the door open - revealing a stash of fresh vinyl!

I didn't have much time to search properly so I didn't find anything.  Kelly walked out and just laughed, asking 'do you have radar or something?'.

They have just expanded - stop in today and say hello and find something to buy! 
7444 W. Grand Ave. in Elmwood Park!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Thrift n' Thrive, Portage Park

Was disappointed to again come across Engelbert releases that had mysteriously disappeared from their jackets! While it may have been a compilation, Golden Love Songs contained a copy of a Peter Frampton album!

Still, an impressive amount of vinyl for a thrift store.  A worthwhile hunt - I pulled out a nice copy of Friends & Love.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Goodwill, Westchester

Got a tip this location had a 'plethora' of Eng.  My CI didn't lie; they never do.

1) live album - bought it, though I found the jacket empty....
2) in time - one of my most wanted, still in the shrink, bought it
3) sweetheart - already have it
4) EH - already have it
5) miracles - would have bought it, but the vinyl was missing, jacket contained the live album!
6) the last waltz - already have it
7) Christmas tyme - would have bought it, empty jacket
8) a man without love - already have it

I even went back through the whole bin a second time looking for orphaned platters - no dice.  Still a big score!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Raffe's Record Riot, Portage Park

For Record Store Day I figured I should go check out somewhere new.  At the CHIRP Record Fair, I was given a card by an employee - the only such gesture amongst a bevy of booths and vendors.  I held onto it and remembered on the morn of the 19th.  I set out via bike and was soon headed north on Cicero Ave.

I did the math in my head as I rode and determined that the store must be just south of Montrose.  My mind's eye visualized a bar right on the southwest corner that used to be called Memories (now under a different moniker).  Suddenly it came to me - I knew this record store! I had performed in Memories a handful of times and seen others perform there at least as many as well.  Nothing dictates standing outside, loafing about, more than being in a band or seeing your friend's bands play.  I remembered the signs in the CTA turnabout and always wondered if the store was really open or not (they looked old).  I can only imagine how long this place has been around.

As it was Record Store Day, the place was packed, mostly (so it seemed) with people who only came out to 'browse',. not serious collectors.  Far from it for me to appear elite, or claim you need a resume to look at a bunch of old records - not at all.  But in a store so small, it was an inconvienence to deal with a breed of folks who only came out to get in the way.  

I darted between them for the jazz bin in the back of the shop.  I found a trove of scores here, nearly unprecedented levels.  I purchased some, and left others behind for another day:

Artie Butler - Have You Met Miss Jones? - One of the more rare CTI 3000 series releases, never came across this before.  I already knew of Artie's background as an arranger and that this album was 'rare' in his list of professional credits.  The liner notes are hysterical and the music matches the description given there as 'happy jazz'.  

Pat Metheny Group - American Garage - Pat Metheny is just about my most fond jazz discovery in the past 12 months.  After this, the only other album I seek to complete the group's 70s-80s discography is the double album Travels.  I have yet to be disappointed with any release I've purchased.

Culture Club - Kissing To Be Clever - I picked up Colour by Numbers the week before (and the picture disc more recently) and needed this to complete the duo of albums to launch the group's career.  Unfortunately it seems to be riddled with scratches.  Luckily I had already dubbed a friend's copy - less fortunate however that I paid 3.99 for such a common album (and a bad copy of one at that).

They also had all three of Paul Desmond's 3000 series releases (including a couple copies of the last): SummertimeFrom The Hot Afternoon and Bridge Over Troubled Water.  This was difficult: for one, I'd be spending over $40 to walk out with the three releases above plus these three.  But more importantly is that I ruin the chance for future hunts.  What fun is it to collect something and just buy the whole collection at once (or nearly so)?  I initially tried to compromise and figure out which single release I'd feel contented to leave with but fell into an 'all or nothing' mindset and abandoned them all.  I'll be back before long to grab one (or more!).

The line was long and compounded by the fact that the 'line' blocks the entry to the store.  Worse yet, old Raffe (I assume this is him) was having some trouble with the credit card machine.  I kept my rage blackout at bay and tried to relax while he got things together and I eventually checked out.  An old school store - they don't make 'em like this anymore! Glad to have visited and grateful still to have chosen it as my RSD shop.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Record Store Day!

Went for a 20 mile round trip and picked up 5 records on the way:

Stopped at Raffe's Record Riot and scored 3 vinyls;
Segued to Roscoe Village and Village Records where I just browsed (and ate a Bahn Mi);
Headed back west towards home and stopped into see my friends Kelly and David at Knick Knack Paddy Wack where I grabbed 2 more platters!

Village Records, Roscoe Village

Small but clean and well organized store.  Nice spot.

Salvation Army, Albany Park

Didn't buy anything, but two classics were found....

Almost bought the Sandpipers disc....

Savers, Downers Grove

While out getting my hair cut, I stopped at a nearby Savers to scope their vinyl.  I was pleased to find that they had almost double the amount of records of the Franklin Park store I visited recently.  It was in total disarray and used the same horrible style of bins FP did.  That being said - I pulled out some gems!

David Gates - First - I am a pretty big fan of Bread, and I think David Gates has one of the most underrated voices in American music in the past 30 years.  His falsetto is effortless and his ability to turn dour subject matter into something seemingly upbeat is par excellence.  I long ago downloaded his entire solo discography (to go with the entire Bread discography I already had) and this is the only album I really got into.  The song 'Suite: Clouds, Rain' is just an epic soft rock classic, and totally unknown to the majority of the world.  I have probably played that song 5000 times in my work van as I travel through the midwest and enjoy David's lament about being away from home himself.  Best of all - the record was still wrapped, so the gatefold had never actually been opened!

Gino Vannelli - Nightwalker - I have a shockingly awesome and complete directory of 100s of soft rock/easy listening/'yacht rock' mp3s I've acquired for most of a decade and 'Living Inside Myself' has long resided in that folder.  I passed on some awesome soft rock LPs at the record fair last week and I'm still kind of mad at myself, I bought this and I won't pass them up anymore.  And I am totally on the lookout for the Benny Mardones record I let go!

My comrade in arms pulled out a variety of 45s including a complete picture sleeve copy of "Arthur's Theme" that I passed on (and kind of regret).  And best of all a bizarre (and crazy good condition) copy of a promotional LP of traditional Greek music for Greektown mainstay The Parthenon.  This isn't yet on (shocking!) but they actually mention it on their website in the 'history' section for 1975!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

CHIRP Record Fair

Concerned in Schaumburg writes:
And so the plan was born! Early bird tickets got you in for the first 2 hours starting at 8am, and then they were half price for the first week or so! Only $12 - what a deal!

A standard Friday nights bevy of beers and big eats led to a general feeling of desperate malaise come 0600 hours the next morn, but I struggled through it with an apple, a cup of coffee and early morning reruns of 'Land of the Lost' as I sat on the couch totally stupefied.

The cruise into the West Loop was brief and without incident of impediment; parking was free and copious.  We arrived within 10 minutes of the gate opening, there was a short line and then our entry.

Now surely this was a highly organized event and the involved vendors took some effort to bring their best stuff - and I was within only a few moments of the doors becoming unlocked....but never before have I found such good fortune in a hunt.  The very first booth I visited I pulled out  Audio Master Plus Series Sampler Vol. 1 - another in my CTI 3000 series collection.  I have at least 50% of these tracks on their original releases already, but being a completest is a full time job.

It becomes a blur after that.  The Richard Barbary and Tamiko Jones releases are anomalies within the aforementioned CTI series - soul rather than jazz, perhaps a precursor to the Kudu label Mr. Taylor would start years later.  I have never seen either in a store - but on this day found both almost back to back in a bin.  Furthermore, both were promo copies and even marked (yet unverified) as mono.  Stunning! 'Soul Machine' I enjoy very much even while this is not my genre of choice, but the release by Miss Jones (yes, a veiled reference to Artie Butler) is a bit similar to Aretha Franklin or something else of that ilk, or perhaps I just enjoy male vocals within this style a bit more.  Neither is my favorite - but I'll be damned before either leave my bins!

Extremely envious of my friend's copy of Colour by Numbers, I found this, Kissing to be Clever and Waking Up With The House On Fire all in a row.  I grabbed the debut for my friend and without an ounce of irony, found that she had already scooped me a copy of their sophomore effort elsewhere within the fair. Awwwww!! (I passed on their mid 80s comeback).

Always careful to search for additional jazz in 'Latin' bins, I came across yet another WW album to add to my growing subset as well as the second Jobim album I was dying to grab.  Having already passed on it more than once, I found a copy of The Other Side Of Abbey Road.  But while it was only $3 (and in time capsule style mint condition), my biggest score of the day had to be my fourth Azymuth album, Tightrope Walker.  While I must admit, I have held some disappointment since the tremendous grooves in Telecommunication and Pieces Of Ipanema first graced my ears, this and Flame have grown on me in short order since their arrival at my homestead.

Having passed it once already, I returned to the same booth where I grabbed the Culture Club album to pick up a beautiful (and $4) copy of the Iron Eagle Soundtrack.  This is not a novelty release to me - this is a movie I have watched religiously for the past 25 years and one with a supreme soundtrack.  The selection speaks of its era so articulately and 'Road of the Gypsy' makes it worthwhile by itself.  That is, if you don't already own a copy of the LP!

After a little over 90 minutes inside (seemed like 15) I was drained of my lifeforce and we made a swift exit to breakfast in Oak Park on the way home.  Wheelbarrow style scores at the Record Fair - see ya next year!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Savers, Franklin Park IL

I took a bike ride to Bank of America to deposit some cash (it actually counts the bills! So cool).  My plan was then to ride to the grocery store 1/2 block away, then hit the liquor store on the way home.  Abscent minded, I just left the bank and started heading home.  I remember right away so I swerved down some side streets to find my way back.

I did and when I came out in the parking lot I remembered (and saw) that the old K-Mart was now a Big Lots and a Savers.  I vaguely remembered "isn't Savers a thrift store....?" when I saw that it was on the sign.  Was shocked to see that there was a rack of record just inside the door!  

Above it was a bunch of 8-tracks including a 3-tape Engelbert set.  There were 2 others as well for a grand total of 5 tapes and 3 total compilations.  But back to the vinyl.  I ended up leaving with a B.J. Thomas record for $1.07 with tax and its in great shape and is excellent musically.  The top seam needs to be reglued but thats no problem.

Totally unexpected vinyl search that paid dividends and was a lot of fun!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Jeffrey's Antiques [Findlay OH]

Stranded for a day in/around NW Ohio, my thoughts turned to records.  After a largely disappointing trip to Bowling Green, I headed back to my hotel in Findlay to catch a nap before I finally completed the work I had come out to do, that night.

On the way down the highway to Bowling Green, I spotted this behemoth on the side of the road.  I felt a twinge for optimism but immediately forgot about it as the miles went by.  However, on the way back I spotted it again and jumped off at the following exit.  Are records included with 'Antiques'? I'd find out, in a hurry.

I entered the complex of 'booths' and randomly chose one of the many tendrils of pathways that led through the maze.  Just about 50' from the entrance, I found this motherlode.

The place was quiet, just a subtle hint of soft country music piped in to keep me company.  The scents of old books, records and yes, 'antiques' was overwhelming, calming and delicious.  I pulled out a Stan Getz compilation from the late 60s and felt that familliar rush of relief, knowing that I had a prize no matter what else happend.  Little did I know how many more records I'd sort through that day - surely in the thousands. That aside, this first booth was the cleanest and had one of the best selections.  I even got down on my knees to admire the handiwork of the record bin.

One of the many super polite and helpful employees that wander through the complex approached and asked 'So, you like records?'.  I answered that I surely did, and quizzed were there more?  Her answer: "Oh yeah....lots".  

She ran off to get me a notepad and a tiny golf pencil to keep notes.  I silently scoffed at her genorosity - the place couldn't be THAT big.  Could it?                                         
It was, and then some.  I don't know how long I was in there, but I'll let the pics do the talking.  After a while I got overwhelmed and I did not take pics of every single bin I sorted through, but nearly all.  I pulled out a number of gems besides 'The Sound' as described above:

1) Elvis - Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite: Many years ago, I caught some of this performance on VH-1.  Already aware of Elvis at the time - and having relegated him to novelty status in my mind - I was utterly blown away by the concert.  When the show ended, I departed for nearby Best Buy.  My mission: to purchase the album.  If they did not have it, I would purchase nothing else and my fascination with The King would wane forever more.  Well they did have it, and I've since listened to it 1000s of times.  I also have a DVD of the show, a Hong Kong bootleg purchased on eBay long ago, before an official copy of the concert existed on that format.  However, one of the two discs looks like someone pinched it with a pliers, and put the most unique warp in the edge I've ever seen.  As a result, the first 2-3 tracks on each side are unplayable - the coutour is so radical that the needle will literally jump, like a skateboarder on a launch ramp.  The packaging however is near mint besides  asmall tear forming in the upper seam.  I paid $11 - I saw a (ripoff) copy for $40 moments later in another booth's bin.

2) Joe Jackson - Look Sharp! - I got into Joe via 'Steppin Out' and 'Night and Day'  long ago.  I intuited that if I liked this album so much, I'd surely like more of his work and I set out to explore.  Logically I started at the beginning and downloaded this album.  I took a long train ride to Western Springs a short time later where I really got to know the record - and I fell deeply in love.  I long ago purchased the special edition 2x10"  - to me still one of the coolest format decisions - and it was only fair that I snag this standard 12" when I came across it.  The vinyl and jacket are in far better condition than the beat up old rag I got at Reckless long ago.

I also grabbed a copy of 'Colour by Numbers' for a friend.  I threw it on when I got home and realized this was no joke - I dubbed it and since have already found myself a copy.  I topped it off with a vintage 8x10 promo shot of Engelbert which I gifted the same friend immediately.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Goodwill [Bowling Green OH]

Found a couple bins of records, the only possible candidate being 'French Kiss' by Bob Welch (RIP).

It was hard to walk away from this one, however.

Finders Records [Bowling Green OH]

Had a layover at work and a day with nothing to do.  Was mildly disappointed that they only sold new vinyl but it was a beautiful store.

Did find Neko Case 'Middle Cyclone' but was not prepared to pay $30 for it.

Did find the picture disc version of one of my favorite albums in the $5 off bin - walked away for under $10 with tax.  Even the clerk (who told me 'not at the moment' when I asked if they had any used vinyl at all) commented 'why is this priced so low.  Intelligently he did not dare to not honor the price.