Sunday, August 24, 2014

North Side Thrift Store Extravaganza

Headed out on a burning hot Sunday afternoon to burn off the barrel of beer I drank the night before.  Figured I'd stop into Thrift n' Thrive....visited once before months previous with some success.  Vinyl rotation (no pun intended) happens on a semi-regular basis in thrift stores across the world and the time was nigh to take a peek.

All I could think of from my previous visit was the Engelbert compilation I found....with the wrong vinyl inside the jacket.  It was nowhere to be found but other familiar albums like numerous Dave Brubeck albums which had been the victims of intense abuses still made their residence on Irving Park Rd (looked at the sad copy of this one last time) .  I came across a copy of an Engelbert comp I picked up in May (at my return to Dave's Records) first visit to this store was in April so it must have been a new addition to their crates.

I ended up walking out with nothing, only barely interested in one release by Chuck's brother. (Ironically I picked up a double live album from his younger bro last time around).  I checked the map and found a store only about 1.5 miles away, at Lawrence/Central.

I headed up there...and I could even see the albums in their rack inside the door at Penny Pinchers.  It sits just next to what was once upon a time 'Super Cup', a haunt of my long deceased grandfather.  Both he and I (with my family) grew up just about 1/2 mile west of there.  Inexplicably, they were closed despite the hours clearly marked on the door showing that they should be open.  I'll  be back.........

Again - back to the map.  This time it led me in the opposite direction, a mile south of Thrift and Thrive on the same street.  I called this time to be sure they had vinyl (the answer was yes) and I sped away.

I arrived at Windy City Thrift a short time later....and oh my lord what a dump! I don't use the term 'junk store' to describe thrift stores because I don't like them or anything like that, it doesn't even necessarily describe their wares.  But it describes (in this case) the massive chaos contained inside the tiny four walls.

I found 4 crates on the floor and a nice sized bookshelf stuffed with vinyl amongst the toys and other crap all around.  Nothing but junk and beat down at that....still worth the fun of the hunt but I'd recommend burning the place to the ground to 'clean it up'.  What a dump!

"if you're looking for calcium supplements, you'll find those in the record section, thanks"

Still not content I went back to the map one last time.  I found a destination I never I set out I slammed on the brakes as I headed east on Belmont at Chicago's Hidden Treasures.

I asked the clerk if he had vinyl and he did! Unbelievable luck today finding new stores.  I found two crates on a table and two on the floor.  And while once again I walked out with nothing (nil for the day), I was happy with my hunt but a tad disappointed at the prospects unfulfilled.

1) Bridge Over Troubled Water - I texted my girlfriend to confirm that this is something she was looking for.  It was, but I did not buy it.  At some point someone had bound this record with a rubber band (presumably to another record(s)).  The rubber had broken down and somehow embedded itself into the jacket.  I started to pick it out before I kicked it to the curb.

2)  Golden Hits - again, my girlfriend would love to have a copy of this phenomenal compilation.  But quite literally, it appeared that the dog had gotten a hold of it.  The top right corner of the jacket was raggedly torn away.  I didn't even check the vinyl.  I am the furthest thing from a snob (as is she) but this is just too much.  What a shame.

3) More Than A New Discovery - this was the most troubling of all.  Laura Nyro has been on my mind for a long time as not only are her compositions widely covered, those are amongst some of my favorite songs whether we are talking about BS&T or the 5th Dimension.  This contained a couple of those hits and I am eager to experience the remainder.  But here is where it gets odd: When I found the record (in the last bin, I had to pin myself between a desk and some other furniture to reach it at all.  The clerk offered to pull it out (that was nice) but I told him I was OK), the paper sleeve was sticking out like the ruffles on a swashbucklers shirt.  I paid that little mind - I have stacks of new ones and bad conditions are nothing new to me.  I went to check the vinyl and found there was two records inside. I was confused....I did not initially notice that this was a 2xLP.  It wasn't - there was two copies of the same album inside. Alrighty least I get to pick the better of the two.  The jacket wasn't totally gnarly...but both copies of the vinyl were.  both had apparent, deep scratches through numerous songs (including 'Wedding Bell Blues').  Had to pass but now I am determined to go pick this up at an actual record store.

In the end, I hit 4 stores (only 3 open) in a couple hours amongst a 14.5 mile bike ride in sweltering temps.  Sounds like a successful day to me!

ADDENDUM: The 4th (closed) store I vaguely referenced above I returned to today, 9/26.  That store - Penny Pinchers (Lawrence/Central) was now totally abondonded.  Sadly, I could even see the rack of records through the window when last I visited, unable to enter.  Now they are forever out of reach!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Garage Sale, Dunning

Last minute find yielded an Engelbert compilation I did not have as well as a Baja Marimba Band album.

I was totally unsure if I had this Eng comp or not, many of them get combined in my brain.  I did NOT have it luckily - the cardboard sleeve is of the utmost poor quality I've ever seen.  I did not realize until I got home that it was actually a 2xLP....I had checked inside in the garage to make sure the right album was inside, but I did not count the vinyls.  Thank god - the other was hiding inside.  Also came across a mint copy of 'After The Lovin' that was hard not to buy, even though I already have it.

I have long hesitated to start collecting all the Baja Marimba Band albums but today may have been the jumping off point.  Could not pass on this 60s gem, still in wrapper.

They also had an old local polka album, totally sealed.  Something about it screamed out to me, begging for purchase.  I regretted immediately not buying it but I have to draw the line somewhere before I end up on an episode of 'Hoarders'.

In less than an hour I biked 7 miles, hit the garage sale, and the grocery store.  Still not even 11am and all is well.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

All Night Flea Market 2014, DuPage County Fairgrounds, Wheaton IL

I first attended this annual event last year, right around the time that I started this blog.  As such, it was not chronicled here but remains one of the best nights of all of 2013.  I could not wait to return this year and the days were painstakingly counted down until the night arrived.

My memory of the night is a mix of excitement and 'madness' - the event is just SO big and there are so many vendors and other people that before long a mix of claustrophobia and overall anxiety sets in.  The goal is to have rooted around in enough bins of records to find some scores before your time runs out.

one of the first vendors with vinyl we encountered.  exactly 33% childrens albums.  yikes.
Our initial investigations yielded 2/3rds junk and 1/3 stuff I do not want or have.  I started feeling lucky when a vendor with a single bin of about 15 records had copies of the first Pat Metheny record as well as Spiro Gyra's best seller.  Unfortunately - I have both.  I trudged on and tried to balance my anticipation that the best was yet to come, with the thought that I might come out with nothing, so I ought to enjoy the experience as a whole.

another vendor right near the gate.  4 crates, but nothing doing.
Flea market record shopping is always the epitome of hit or miss but at a flea market this large, the randomization of what (and how much of it) you find is staggering.  Many vendors will have a single bin, some don't even have the bin - just a heap of records on the gravel encrusted ground.  Others might have 3-4 bins mixed in with their other wares; some still have entire booths devoted only to vinyl.  Ironically, the latter can be a disappointment...if I wanted to go to a record store, I would.

freaked the hell out when i found these mint condition reel to reel tapes. was difficult to not buy them, even though id never play them.
Finally hit pay dirt at a mostly record devoted vendor with 5-6 well organized bins of good (to excellent) condition vinyl.  I came across a beat up copy of an early 60s Coltrane release for $12 but ended up putting it back in its bin.  I was able to add to my growing near novelty level American bossa nova releases and then even pulled a long wanted release which contains no shortage of excellent side men:   Rick Marotta, Eric Gale, Grover Washington Jr., Chuck Rainey, Toots Thielemans, Bob James, Joe Farrell...WOW!.  $13 worth of vinyl - only $10.  Not bad.

picked up two excellent jazz records here.  super cool vendor gave me the second record ($3 value) for nothing with the purchase of the other ($10 value).  didnt even have to bargain with him.
At this point the madness was setting in after finding less and less records, and only poor selections at that.  As according to your standard fairy tale, when all hope was lost we came upon the motherlode.  I am beginning to regret not grabbing that copy of 'Meddle' for $12 but I did grab two others.  Backstory follows....

this bin contained nothing but classic country.  my girlfriend pulled out a waylon jennings but passed on a ray price compliation.  nice vinyl.
A couple months ago, I bought some 7" records from a shady online distributor and to meet his minimum order requirement, I picked up a copy of Neil Sedaka's 70s re-release of his signature song.  I needed a record my girlfriend had and I knew this would entice her.  The only problem was that I had now become infatuated with the Neil Sedaka record...I already loved the song but it came in the original generic Rocket Record Company sleeve and the green label on the vinyl with the smiling locomotive...oh my.  I controlled my emotions and made the deal happen.  But I vowed to get myself a copy - of the entire LP! The glue on both the outer and (heavy duty) inner sleeve had totally rotted away.  Easy fix and only cost $3.

I closed out my night with a record I never knew I wanted...but oh, did I want it! Had it on cassette as a kid and know every song.  Uncanny mint condition, also three bucks.  What a deal.

our savior - we were actually doing some 'catch and release' at this booth due to overwhelming amounts of awesome records.
Bailed the hell out of that mess (Pro Tip: don't waste your time with that chaotic parking lot...park around 100 S. Hazelton ya dingus!) and headed back east towards home.  Part of the tradition is to stop at Malloy Liquors on Roosevelt Road so as soon as I got home I chucked two big bottles of saison into the freezer along with a frozen pizza.  I got into some cheap German beers (already chilled) and some bourbon while I threw down the mix below - constructed from the records myself and my girlfriend had purchased at the fair.  Perhaps the best souvenir of all.

Dupage County 'All Night' Flea Market Mix by Satan165 on Mixcloud


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Beyond The Limit, Norridge

When I was a teenager (or even in my 20s), Beyond the Limit was a place I frequented for a variety of stuff.  They had a ton of bootleg VHS tapes...I remember one of my friends got a taped concert of Jane's Addiction playing in Italy, we watched that one again and again.

Apparently they are still somehow skirting the law and operating a small time head shop in a back room.  I did indeed buy a pipe there and also I believe a hitter box/dugout once upon a time.  They have a variety of t-shirts and posters and we used to just go through the stuff and look at them.

It had crossed my mind that they might carry some records and that I should swing through.  On my way back from a long bike ride originating at Korean Fest I found myself in the area and decided to duck inside.

They did indeed have a small rack of records to go along with a good portion of CDs.  There were probably 30 records max (7 and 12") scattered across it and at least 1/3rd were new/sealed.  (notice the new(er) Bold compilation bottom right.  I wonder if I'd get a discount for having the tattoo?)


The first records I looked through were grindcore or black metal or I don't know what.  I was getting discouraged when I came across a late 90s punk/ska 7" on a small Chicago label I was familiar with.  Score!

Dyslexic Records only had a handful of releases which include the first offering from The Monsignors.  I discovered that band at literally the first punk show I ever went to.  It was at a Knights of Columbus hall (in Arlington Heights I believe) and I got to see 30 Seconds Deep, The Monsignors, Herbal Flesh Tea and perhaps one other band.  It was an easy sell and that show eventually led to me learning to play the guitar (bass originally) and forming a number of bands, including one which released 7 full length albums and played 100 shows of our own.  Some of those shows were eventually with a band (booked randomly) called The Rules Of Attraction, which included 3 members of The Monsignors.  One can imagine how earth shatteringly awesome this was and I was quick to pay my respects to the guys in person and tell them how influential their music was to me and how much of a fan I had been.  

Back in the day, I never owned the first 7" ('Doin it For the Man') but a friend did.  As the years went by, I was jealous I never picked up my own copy.  I did have their 2x7" on Harmless Records but the four songs I was missing from the white vinyl on Dyslexic had haunted me for years.  On a whim, I asked Mike (The singer/guitarist of ROFA and guitarist from The Monsignors) if he somehow had an old copy laying around.  He did - and gifted it to me.  He apologized because it did not have the insert (oh well) but he did not mention one other quality that made it VERY unique.  It was mislabeled (double stamped) making one side unplayable.  I didn't mind as I had a dub of it already (from that old friend that purchased it himself 15 years earlier) and I was ecstatic to now have such a rare copy of a record I had wanted for so long.  I can't even believe he was willing to give it up - something I don't take lightly.  One of the most valued (for many reasons) items in my collection.

But I have digressed....suffice to say I already owned one album on the label, and here I had found another.  I had ironically reviewed the Dyslexic roster not long ago and this one did catch my eye due to the cover and even just the band name.  It turns out to be that breed of punk (ska punk in this case) written and performed by a group of guys young enough to not know or care to portray themselves in a 'cooler' way.  It's like amateur porn, and its a rare thing, and its beautiful.  A great score.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Return to Raffe's

On Sunday's I generally try to do a giant bike ride.  I cycle every single day year round, and I almost always add miles just for fun but Sunday is my day to pile them on. I do this because its a free day with nothing to do (usually) and also because I am usually at that point so full of poisons of the horrible foods I've eaten since Friday night and a giant barrel of booze that I have consumed.  And I hope/think I can somehow burn it off.  

So I did just under 20 miles on Sunday and without planning found myself in Raffe's hood.  I had planned to return since my Record Store Day visit because I liked the store so much.  But also, because they had a couple Paul Desmond records I wanted.  In fact, there were three available on Record Store Day and I was forced to walk away with only one.  So I knew I'd be back to reclaim that which should be mine!

After an extended dig, I also decided on another Ray Price album.  I was intent on getting some Roger Miller besides the simple compilation I already own.  There were 3-4 albums to choose from surprisingly but all contained 2-3 tracks from the comp which diminished their potency.  I probably should have grabbed one...maybe its something about this place that keeps dragging me back.  Though passing on a record and then wanting it is the headline in every record collectors biography.

Estate Sale, Norridge

Caught wind of this Friday/Saturday estate sale at 6:20am Thursday morning - when I read my emails as soon as my alarm sounds.  Knew I wouldn't be able to make it on Friday but planned to get there first thing at 9am on Saturday.

Took things way too far Friday night and woke up with a murderous hangover.  Eventually shook it enough to tough out the 4 mile bike ride.  I encountered the vinyl about 10' inside the front door.  A solid collection of about 40 records with plenty of interesting platters to choose from.

I walked away with four (for $4!) which is a hell of a haul for a garage sale/estate sale/thrift store.  I think the entire Johnny Mathis discography was in there, possibly duplicated even.  Plenty of Jack Jones as well...but lots of other good, smooth, immortal easy listening music.

1. Sergio Mendes And Brasil '77* - Love Music - minus live albums, I have 5 of 9 LPs at this point.  Not to mention my other stash of Sergio solo, Brasil 65/66, etc.... the list goes on and on.  Enjoyed this album right off the bat, put it on casually in the background as I whipped up some dinner.  Sounds so much like Fool on the Hill, vocally (as it should).  And best part of all? THEY AREN'T WEARING BRAS.

2. José Feliciano - Feliciano! - Don't even know where to begin with this one.  I am infatuated currently with Mr. Feliciano.  Everyone knows 'Light My Fire' but when you see how much it is NOT a novelty by listening to the rest of the album, its a revelation.  What a singer....its just addicting.  My copy is 'well loved' to say the least but plays just fine.  Been consuming all kinds of Jose youtube vids and anything else I can read or find.  Best random score in a long time.

3. Claudine Longet - The Look Of Love and Claudine- My girlfriend got me one of her later albums after she left A&M a while back.  I had been interested in checking out her material for a while as she is such a big part of the 60s A&M roster.  I never even put on the LP I had been gifted, then I found this one (and below) so I grabbed 'em both.  Well I've checked em out, and I think there is potential for it to grow on me but man is that voice high pitched! So it is a bit grating.  But the quiet arrangements are pleasant and there is redeeming quality there even if it is for historic reasons primarily.