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.


  1. These pictures of this vinyl wonderland make my mouth water. I'd give anything to grub around in these stacks for a day (or 2.) Great job finding this connection, talking to the right people, and actually following up on a seemingly crazy idea. Although I'm very jealous, I too scored a few gems as a result of your adventure, so I can't complain :)

    1. oh...ill be back. hopefully in the spring and not when its freezing cold - though if im out there, ill be giving terry a call for sure. youd love it!