Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Flea Market 2014, DuPage County Fairgrounds, Wheaton IL

For the second year in a row I hit both of the major Zurko flea markets at the Dupage County Fairgrounds.  They comprise a bi-annual ritual I have committed to for the rest of my lifetime.  The All-Nighter being a rite of summer; and this, of autumn.  Both events have proven rich with vinyl and fun for a full two years.

I picked up a few nice items but I'll let the pictures below tell the story.  A quick outline of what I scored:

Glen Campbell - Wichita Lineman - I actually saw this item (a reel-to-reel tape) back at the All-Nighter (and even posted a pic of it then!).  The same vendor had their booth in the same spot and alas, there it was.  Of course I have no use for it but I could not resist.  Had to add this one to discogs myself as it did not already exist.

Engelbert Humperdinck - Christmas Tyme - My girlfriend scored this at an estate sale not 2 blocks from my house earlier this year.  She got into the bin before me - finders keepers.  Now I have two of the three Epic Christmas albums - still on the lookout for number three!

Ray Price - "It Must Have Been The Rain" / Say I Do - an obscure album which is oddly titled differently on the jacket and vinyl label.  Got some weird vibes from track B5.

My girl grabbed an array of stuff including a great soundtrack (I passed due to condition but still covet it just a bit) and another album from Ray I finally acquired recently - for a higher price! Damn!

And of course - the requisite mix of our spoils.

Been trying to scoop up these pocket gatefold comps when I can - of course this one had no record inside!

This bin produced the album in the foreground (a reprint of an older version I already have - this was for my girl).  I also found my Ray Price album in here and I distinctly remember going through this bin (with different vinyl) at the All-Nighter.

I actually asked this guy if I could get a pic and he was more than happy to oblige me.  Truly horrifying.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Terry's Treasure Trove

When I first made my acquaintance (via telephone) with Terry, I knew I'd be back in his neck of the woods but honestly did not know if I would ever be able to make the visit happen.  I felt like it was all a lie, or it would fall through, or maybe I would feel too awkward to meet some stranger and poke around in his records.

As the time approached and we made our arrangements over a number of phone calls, the itinerary changed from picking up some records he had 'set aside' for me at the thrift store, to maybe meeting him there, to coming to his house.  And as I drove there again the negativity crept in.  Would there even be anything good there? What if it was all junk? Or in horrible condition? How much did he really have?  Then I pulled into the driveway and realized I had to put all that aside, because I was there and the time had arrived.

Terry met me outside and carried a box of about 15 records with him.  There were a couple Engelbert records in there and some other stuff.  There were two copies of 'Dream On' and I quickly texted my girlfriend to ask if she had it (she did).  I was desperate to buy anything of even relative value because I was terrified at the notion of this person opening their home to me and then buying nothing because it was all junk.  I scooped the Eng records even though they were doubles, something I'd never do otherwise.

He had four boxes set aside for me in the garage.  Three were in the open and we chatted as he drank a Mountain Dew (something I thought unique for a man of his age) and I got to diggin'.  

The fourth, he apologized, was obscured behind some junk and he left it up to me to decide if I wanted to climb in there.  I said no problem and dug it out.  You'll have to forgive me because I do not remember exactly what records I pulled out of these initial boxes and you'll see why shortly.  I do have a comprehensive list of everything at the end of this post.  After I flipped through box #4 he began to point out other boxes with greater frequency, offering to let me browse.  They seemed to be everywhere, and we were still in the garage (large as it was).

I could tell that we were feeling each other out - him perhaps moreso than I, and for good reason as I was in his home.  But he then did invite me 'upstairs'.  Keep in mind we are in a garage, not a house.  But yes, this is a multilevel garage.  Even as we crept up the stairs, he pointed out stacks that lingered on the staircase.  


And so far, everything was in at least passage condition, no ruined records.  And a great variety but still no Mantovani or other thrift store filler.  Little did I know that I had barely scratched the surface.  And even at the end of my tour, I had still done little in the way of comprehensively looking through everything.  It is hard to explain the vast number of records I saw, much less looked through.  And it is harder still to articulate it to others, that fact not assisted by the fact that even as the writer and story teller I know that if I was on the other end of these tales I would believe none of it.  All I have are some pictures to support my preposterous arguement but still I will stick with this story, because it is the truth.

As we entered the next level of this castle we encountered immediately a stack of Beatles records.  I recognized a couple copies in there of 'A Hard Days Night' and also both the 'Trunk Cover' and original (with sticker removed) copies of 'Yesterday and Today'.  I had no interest and despite the seeming random placement of these records, I got the idea they probably were not for sale.  

As we turned about face, I saw the famed elevator of which I had been told by the proprietor of Community Thrift so many months ago.  As I ventured on I would see how it was important to not only the transport of the immense stacks of records but the other wonderful items in Terry's collection - some of them quite heavy.  From there I helped him clear an area to move forward and then we came to the real heart of the records in this building.

There were so many boxes and boxes of 78s I couldn't believe it.  I saw endless amount of shellac records, some 1/4" thick, some with bizarre spindle holes of unknown use.  I saw a file cabinet so full of records I don't know how it did not tip over.  And through it all I hunted and hunted some more.  

There was a bookshelf with probably hundreds of Elvis Presley records in it.  
Perioically Terry would ask if I was tired and had enough.  I continually told him 'no', as I wasn't, and even if I was I would have pushed myself harder.  I saw a large china cabinet with an unknown number of 7" records in stacks.  Another file cabinet - this one with drawer after drawer of 8-track tapes.  


And in the final room, a grid of record crates probably 10' wide and taller than me.
But yet this giant building had yet another level.  This one held no music - just ancient radios, Edison cylinder machines, Victrolas (some of them huge!) and even a giant cabinet stuffed with paper tapes for a player piano (buried under 8 tracks on the floor below us).  I remember pulling out a copy of 'King Of Hearts' for my girlfriend and I knew we were at the end of the road.  Then he asked if I wanted to see the 'other building'.

The property is this giant garage connected to the house and another smaller 'building' about 200' away.  The building appears to have been perhaps a small house long ago, now it is much similar to a garage as it holds other things (mostly records, of course) but has no garage door so it could never accommodate a car.  Inside corridors had been created by the sheer mass of vinyl (in their containers) which could have only taken years (decades?) to accumulate and bring inside.  It was a network of small lockers like you might see at a train station (about 2'x1').  And of course the obligatory wall/grids of crates stacked up to the ceiling here and there.  The dimensions inside seemed to belie the small structure seen from the outside.  How could this be?

At the end of the day I had 30+ records.  My initial thought to grab everything I could was silly, I had no issue in finding plenty that I would want.  I sorted through and attempted to return some back to the trove to lighten my load.  I came away with still 20+ including a handful for my girl.  

Ready for the ride home.  Buckle up, Eng!
I read Al Kooper's book many years ago and enjoyed it very much.  Also, I always liked a certain Beastie Boys song which samples a track from this record.  Overall that track is not representative of the album which is eclectic to say the least.  Great cover and love to grab any 60s stuff on Verve or any of their imprints.

This is my poor man's (for now) version of the '#1' album which I have found a few times either slightly or totally beat, or in great condition and far outside my budget.  This is essentially just a split live LP with no real collaboration (or Tom Jobim!) but it is in great condition and I grab any Bossa Nova I can get my hands on.

This is probably the biggest score for me.  Not rare by any means but by far my favorite Priest album.  I long felt I was suffering at its 'weak' guitar tone and rock (metal did not exist in 1977) nuances but in time I grew to love it for all of the things it is not (as outlined above) and all the things it is.  This was the only damaged record I bought, it had been clearly water damaged at some point and looks like the water got to about 2-3" from the bottom - a scary thought.  I never had to do this kind of surgery on a record before but I did here and I am happy for it.  First I cleaned the record which was totally moldy.  My home made record cleaner (distilled water and high percentage alcohol....shhh!) got that off no problem and the record plays great (must have listened to it 2-3 times all the way though all ready).  The inner sleeve was totally moldy - it went into the bin and was replaced with a fresh sleeve.  The jacket itself was the worst of all.  The bottom seam had delaminated but there was nothing left to reglue.  The seam was still intact but the back cover at the bottom had eroded away! I trimmed off what was left of that mess and used a single piece of clear tape to put it back together.  Looks great and should serve me well for years to come!

This was an impulse buy.  I own one other Shep Fields record I purchased long ago and I couldn't resist adding to the small discography.

Along with the two albums I already have, I feel like these four make up the most well known albums by Mr. Campbell.  My fandom increases almost daily and I have eyeballed both many times before.  I ran across more than a few others but held off.

The first is a compilation I do not have so that was a straight forward score.  The other two are doubles but I wanted to be nice initially (as explained earlier).  'Release Me' was in the first box Terry handed me when he approached me on his front porch, and the last of the three is something you can never own too many copies of (I already have one sealed copy and another for playback.  Now it has a mate).

I was urged by a friend to start collecting the Tom Jones Parrot releases and I have dove in headfirst.  I put back more than a few others because I felt like I was sucking all fun out of the hunt if I acquired the entire discography in a single day! I haven't gone through them much but 'Fever Zone' is excellent and 'Tom' is pretty bad.  Still eager to continue the obsession.

I have left out many minute details because I feel it is painful to even try to vomit up all that went on in the 60-90 minutes I spent with Terry.  And I also wish to respect his privacy as much as possible.  I will close with the fact (revealed to be late in our meeting) that in a nearby town is a storage unit stuffed with even more vinyl and presumably simpler to access and peruse.  I'll be back.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Microgroove [Tampa FL]

I found just a quick break in my rushed day in Tampa to speed over on the #1 bus down Florida Ave. to Microgroove.  I was not disappointed.  I think this is the reasonable dream of every record collector, to own a store like this.  It wasn't filled with hundreds of expensive records but also made great use of its space and did not waste it on bins of junk records.  Better yet, it works well in a very industrial space that appears to at one time been the home of perhaps an automotive mechanic.  Located in a quiet and almost barren stretch of road, it is clearly marked and hard to miss.

I roamed about and probably looked through 50% of the stores discography along with a couple other customers as some typically obscure music provided the soundtrack to my hunt.  I was running out of options and worried I would leave empty handed when I decided to grab a Jose Feliciano album.  The one I already have has proven to be one of my most listened to platters this summer and I am always open to more.  This one comes in a really cool die cut cover that reveals cartoons on the inner sleeve and was also defaced with a giant promo sticker (this is a good thing in my book).  It also is littered with guest musicians and writers that show Jose's awesome fan base among his peers.  I was still only marginally happy with this when I turned up a Roger Miller album I have seen a few times before for triple the price, I paid only $3 here and I have no idea why.  Great fortune I guess for my hard work to make my way out there.  Then with a stroke of huge luck, I found a copy of the world's greatest trombone duo's release for Mr. Taylor circa mid 70s.  I found my copy on my birthday last year and my girlfriend has long coveted it - covet no longer!

Highly recommended if you do take the bus out of the Marion Street Transit Center is to eat at the MTC Downtown Cafe next door.  Now you probably will not heed my recommendation when you see the array of beggars and homeless people around and even in the cafe, but I was so famished at that moment I did not care.  They gave me a huge plate rice and beans and a giant roasted chicken hindquarter along with a can of Coke for $8 and I devoured it.  I look forward to visiting them again next year as part of my pilgrimage to Microgroove.

Rock N' Roll Heaven [Orlando FL]

Continuing back to my point of origination on my record store bike tour of NE Orlando, I finished things off at Rock N' Heaven.  The outside decor was eyecatching to say the least but offered no glipse of what was inside.

When I entered I found a large store with many racks of vinyl.  A second room housed some Latin, hiphop, dance, etc... as well as a CD player pumping out 'Rappers Delight' replete with many, many skips on a badly damaged disc.  I did find a nice copy of a Bossa Nova classic but passed on it due to price.

Once I got the lay of the land, I went to the 'A' section and started to make my way through.  I did not have to go far to find the answer to the question posed by the potential client at the store I had previously visited.  At Retro Records an elderly man had been looking for Acker Bilk - and here I found a couple releases immediately.  Wish I had a way to contact him.  I told the tale to the two proprieters there and they laughed and educated me on Mr. Bilk's (apparently how he prefers to be addressed) biggest hit, 'Stranger On The Shore'.  They assured me that I knew the song but indeed I do not, upon a review of the track.  Andy Williams also did a rendition with lyrics which I will have to give a listen to.

I continued through the alphabet until I reached the 'H' and found another large trove of Engelbert.  I wish I could only find such a selection locally back at home! I passed on the delicious selection as most of the releases (some sealed, some imports) were not cheap, yet still reasonable considering their condition and rarity.

Never came across this Euro version of the 'EH' album before in the flesh.  A bit rich for my blood ($20 I think).

I continued to encounter 'high end' prices on some nice releases around the store and I began to dig into the country section.  I was about to try to be contented with my 'consolation prize' of a 60s Glen Campbell album when I found a very odd Roger Miller record that I have never seen before.  I wasn't sure if it was a compilation or what but for $10 I scooped it up.  It turns out to be intriguing indeed as it contains none of the humor and lighthearted material (or even vocal delivery) that Rog is known for.  Still, it contains a number of interesting renditions of tracks and works well as some relaxing music for a quiet night.

I ran across that Glen Campbell record again recently and it continues to haunt the completist in me as it uses the same cover template as 'Wichita Lineman' and 'Gentle On My Mind'.  I passed on it a second time but I will not on the third.  Looks like there is at least one more with an identical layout.

But country classics aside, Rock N' Roll Heaven is a clean well kept place that I recommend and will be returning to next summer!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Goodwill [Waseon OH]

Someone just unloaded about 30+ bad hip hop 12" singles. At least they are all mint condition. Almost no 'thrift store' records to speak of. 

That is, except the bizarre polka album I found and subsequently added to discogs.  This one will be in my dreams (or nightmares) for ages, probably should have grabbed it.  I have uncovered some interesting research regarding the 'record label'/manufacturing facility/studio

Track B4 has real potential for US airplay.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Retro Records [Orlando FL]

Far from a knock on Park Ave CDs, but I was ready for a record store like this after that experience.  A simple room with no partitions, worn and well used.  I must presume the two clerks I encountered were owners.  I had a brief (2-3 miles) bike ride but in the heat I was sweating for a moment as I recovered while digging through the jazz bins.  I noticed that my forehead continued to gush sweat long after I should have been recovered and before long I attributed to this to the apparent lack of air conditioning.  Tampa even in fall, in a building with no ventilation otherwise gets warm quickly.  Both clerks wandered by at varying times and despite my own experience with BO, and my tolerance for it, it was not difficult to take notice of their own.  At one point, one of them dared to reach to a nearby bin with his ass aloft near me.  The odor was reminiscent of ripened rind washed cheese! 

I initially grabbed a Joe Farrell release (this is driving me nuts because I cannot remember what album it was) and later another Pat Metheny solo album I still don't have.  I wasn't quite excited about either but would have purchased them as a 'consolation prize'.  It was not until I glanced at the 'Country' area that I found a Ray Price album I have long since wanted.  While I could have purchased it online for a reasonable sum, I had yet to encounter it in the wild.  I quickly grabbed it for $10.

I bought one other Engelbert album (see below) and as I was readying to leave an old timer came in to attempt to sell a load of 78s.  I did hear them offer him $14 for a stack of records (he accepted) when he asked if they had any releases from Acker Bilk.  I was previously unfamiliar with this artist and it was not until after the day had ended that I learned more.  In vain, the owners looked for anything to offer the gentlemen but were not even sure where to look.  They began in the jazz section (looking back, this was accurate) then moved to 'easy listening' per the old timers recommendation (this is actually what urged me to look for Engelbert records so I am thankful).

It sticks with me, that with only a modicum of  humor the old timer mentioned that he wanted the record so they could play it when he 'takes the big sleep'.  He mentioned that he had no record player any longer and I took the opportunity to jump into the conversation, commenting that while they were unwieldy (record players) that they did get the job done as well as they always had.

It was not until I left that I learned more, and my education in 'Mister' would continue at the next store I visited, Rock N Roll Records.

One of two owners, I presume

I've never come across such a mess of rare Engelbert records in one place.  It was difficult not to buy them all.  I did buy the one depicted on the left - the Decca version of his 2nd album.  It contains three additional tracks and hopefully has a different mix as I found on the UK release of 'We Made It Happen' (which my girlfriend possesses).  

'Take My Heart' is a two disc compilation that jacks the cover of one of his later Parrot releases.  Always been aware of its existence - never seen in the wild.  'Love Letters' includes some unreleased tracks amidst some old hits (though those same songs are included also on...).  

'A Time For Us' also borrows a cover (this time from 'Engelbert Sings For You') and this proves to be the most rare of the bunch.  At the time, the white track suit threw me off and I was convinced I was looking at 'Sings For You'. An analysis of the track list shows that Side A is identical and Side D is quite similar.  However, the rest is entirely different; out of order with substituted tracks. Who knows when I'll come across this one again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Park Ave CDs [Orlando FL]


So I began what became a 7.5 mile bike ride at Park Ave. CDs.  While Rock N' Roll Heaven (detailed in a separate post) was just feet away from my jumping off point at Retro Cycles I decided to hit that last.  Park Ave. was just a few miles away.

I would pedigree this as an upper end record store, bins were filled with plenty of $30-50 (or more) records which does not exactly define it as a place that I feel fully comfortable in.  Once I got the lay of the land, I dug deeper into the jazz section.  I pulled out a late 60s release from Sergio I was not familiar with ($12 - and seems to be at least partially a compliation, assuming these are not exclusive re-recordings) as well as something from Cal Tjader I found in the 'cheap' bin ($3).

Had a brief convo with the clerk who alerted me to the 'new arrivals' section.  We had an awkward (but well meaning) moment after I had already paid as he insisted on showing me where it was located in the store, shortly after which it became apparent to all parties that I would not be making any additional purchases.  I also had a well meaning (I think?) employee ask me if I wanted to leave my bag at the front.  She did it with such a gracious style and wide smile that I don't know if she was enforcing standard record store protocol (which embarrassingly I must admit, of which I was already aware) or being passive aggressive.

A quality store that really cares and has an excellent selection of wares.  I shall visit again!