Saturday, January 24, 2015
Stopped in after spending a hellish week at St. Alexius Hospital down the street. Had a family member spend 4 nights in there - thankfully they are now resting at home.
I had noticed the Goodwill nearly next door early in the week but was not in the mood for record shopping. Stopped in about 30 min before close on Thursday night and picked up a couple scores.
I used to balk at collecting Baja Marimba Band albums as I felt I could not handle that and my TJ Brass albums discographies at once. As I recently completed the latter, I've been looking and already have 3 of 10 albums including my newest score.
I also grabbed an early 80s compilation of which I am VERY satisfied. I am listening now and just relaxing to music who's comfort is largely its familiarity. Side B does not have the promise that Side A does but track B3 shall be the great redeemer - in fact it was a large reason I sprung for this one in the first place.
Friday, January 16, 2015
Found myself up in Waukegan again for the first time in a couple weeks. This day trip was a fluke; I'm guessing now I won't be out that way again for a couple years. Last time it was so cold out I only had time to hit the Salvation Army (which didn't turn out too bad) but this time I had much less work to do so I took a closer look at the map. Lake Forest housed a trio of thrift stores in a mile or two radius, and it was generally on my way (south) towards home. I headed down Sheridan Road to see what I could find. First up was what turned out to be the most fruitful and pleasant of my stops: Forest and Found.
|I was guided to a bookshelf of DVDs and records when I asked for the vinyl upon my entrance.|
|I took my coat off and sat crosslegged on the floor to get down to business when the very kind woman who ran the store came back carrying yet another box of vinyl for me! How nice!|
I dug and initially came up on a country compilation that contained the original versions of one of my favorite songs all time. I saw the original artists name on the cover and silently promised to buy it if his appearance was to play the song I liked. The song is 'Gentle On My Mind' and the artist is John Hartford. But I elected to return it to its place for the next buyer. Looking back, the Lorne Green, Roger Miller and Mike Nesmith all interest me. Maybe next time.
I had just caught my first (partial) episode of The Monkees a few days prior with my girl who is a fan of the group themselves and their music. I found myself really enjoying the two songs I saw in the latter part of the show and she commented that she had the record with at least one of them. I didn't think much of it again until I was at her house a few days later and she put the record on (she said she had the song stuck in her head since we saw it on TV). She actually had two copies: one was a little beat up so she 'upgraded' when she found a replacement. Both were mono and she gave me her old one. What is my point? I found ANOTHER copy here - now to replace my own beat up copy, recently gifted - and this was the stereo version! So now I have both. Now I just have to find the 'beard version'...
Lastly I found another - sealed - copy of an old A&M compilation, replete with promotional stickers from the label on the wrapper. Very nice, scooped it. Then I moved onto the 45s:
The A-side gives me weird feels from my childhood...but the B-side is solid gold. Larry let's us have it with a solo near par with 'Kid Charlemagne'. Only thing better would be the UK version...
Two great songs from this early 80s soft rock giant. Still in original Elektra/Asylum 'Spun Gold' generic sleeve (same as the Mike Post release above).
My favorite song from the LP by far, and in a mint picture sleeve to boot. Could not pass up this gem - Toots harping is not to be missed and the lyrics are more poignant than he gets credit for. The title says it all.
My 'cool uncle' had this LP when I was a kid. I love the little guitar break in the middle. No, wait...I love it all. Mint picture sleeve.
Again, mint picture sleeve....could not resist. What the hell is that B-side? Couldn't have included the 'Rockford Files' theme or something?
Scooped the LP a while back...somewhere. My oldest memory as a kid was my other uncle (he's still pretty damn cool) had another Gino album on 8-track.
This was a hell of a haul for such a small store, couldn't have been happier. But it was time to move.
Next up was the 'Second Time Around' thrift store which I found is located in the Church of the Holy Sprit on Westminster Ave. As if this did not make me uncomfortable enough, school was in session and the place was overrun by soccer mom's in nice cars picking up their kids. I think even God is less intimidating than that.
I found my way inside and felt way out of place but was determined to 'heed the call' of the vinyl. I first walked into some kind of small religious book store and realized it almost instantly. I tried to be cool and pretend like I have just stopped by to pick up a novella detailing how to build my relationship with 'Him', then I darted out.
I found the thrift store then across the hallway but alas, they did not have any vinyl. Still worth the stop.
Last up was the simply named Lake Forest Resale Shop. Situated down the glorified alley which is Bank St., I parked elsewhere and strolled over. I asked for the vinyl and found it in a bin and a bag, next to the world's tiniest rocking chair.
There was nothing noteworthy here save a duet album. However, a similar duet album I looked high and low for, then was disappointed with greatly, rang in my ears. So I let it be and called it a day.
As often happens to collectors of all sizes and shapes no doubt, after my first visit to Oak Park Records (or should I say my first successful visit) I left a record behind, and it ate at me. At the time I wasn't sure if it was legitimately rare, or if it was something so common that I had overlooked it. I did some research when I got home and instantly knew I had to have it. Well it took about 6 weeks but I finally went back and thank god, my record was still there.
The last time I had been in the area, I had walked by an odd thrift store. It is a giant mansion of a house, which has been turned into a multi level thrift store. The Economy Shop is only open a couple days a month and they announce it in advance on their website or via email should you be on their list. I had begun to think that I wouldn't get there until the spring. When their next sale was on a weekday, even with the notice I'd have to take the day off of work. And while a bike ride to Oak Park is great fun, it is no fun at all in this weather. As I rode the train, I somehow remembered that I had just deleted the newest notice a couple days ago. I navigated to my 'Trash' and found it - the same was going on that day!
I checked the time and determined if I moved fast and everything went right, I would be able to stop at Economy Shop on the way and still make it to Oak Park Records before they closed.
I entered the building and was immediately intimidated, I had no idea where to start. I glanced at a map they had at the front desk and saw the books were in the basement so I headed down there - records are very often near the books everywhere you go. I got down there and realized even the basement was comprised of a number of different areas; I asked for assistance and I was pointed in the right direction.
I found a wonderfully large bin, meticulously organized with a couple shoe boxes of 45s off to the side. I was in super hunt mode so I flipped through in a way that only my years of training could allow - Oak Park Records is notorious for closing when they feel like it and I was not about to let my entire impetus for coming down here be destroyed - I had to go get that record! I spent about half my hunt with another guy at elbow length. I can't fairly hold that against him but the guy was literally taking out like every other record and putting it into a pile, he must have grabbed 10 or more. I even went through every 45...in the end I found almost nothing of interest but settled on a copy of a an old Gord album to satisfy myself. The first song on the flip side is one of my favorite Gord deep cuts. I paid 50 cents and moved on.
I skirted into OP Records and made a bee line for the jazz section - alas my holy grail was still waiting for me! Not only that but its excellent musically. Music aside, Pat's brief introductions and general banter between songs is exactly what I expected from him based on interviews and such. It's just a great record. Ecstatic to own it.
I still had some time so I kept on rooting around in the place and came out with a stack of great vinyl.
The only other LP I picked up. According to my entirely independent research, it looks like in 1979 the S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A. changed from a top 10/single LP to a top 20/double LP system. This one I am specifically excited about because it contains Center Stage (who finished second that year). This is truly a great speaker checking album. Not only is this great music, but it is live and seems to be a top notch recording.
Then I grabbed a stack of 45s:
I noticed the label first and recognized it as the people that put out one of my favorite funky fusion albums of the 90s (which I discovered aurally in another record store). Upon a closer look, there was another link - my man Mamao on the drums.
Promo only release I knew existed but could find almost nothing about in terms of info or a picture. I did not know it was even a promo until I held this in my hand. Cannot believe I found this, especially when I found almost zero other Parrot stuff out of 100s of 7"s.
I could not resist the perfect little picture sleeve on this one. The brash B-side is a nice foil to 'Steppin Out' - I've owned the LP that houses both for years.
Positively one of my favorite songs ever - I was a bit disgusted however that this is a radio edit. Couldn't resist it, in it's original Columbia generic sleeve.
...and same here, also in its original (Smash Records) sleeve. I do not know the B-side and don't believe I have it on an LP (maybe its exclusive to the single).
I also scooped up a mint picture sleeve for my girlfriend. She was pleased - ironically I also grabbed her the LP earlier this summer. All in all, a more than worthwhile trip on a weekday evening.
Monday, January 12, 2015
Made my 14th trip to Grand Rapids and finally was able to hit up all the record stores the city had to offer. Some new ones and an (not very) old haunt.
After my work was done near Wyoming, I went downtown to have a burger and some chili at Stella's. I longed to head to my hotel for a shower and a nap but that would come later. The other two record stores (besides Corner Record Store) I had been wanting to check out were just around the corner so I decided to take care of that straight away.
First up was Dodds Record Store. A glance online for info on the place reveals an interesting history. Apparently the place has been around for decades and is recently reopened with new owners after being closed for some length of time. The Google and Yelp reviews are 'interesting' (Google still shows them as 'permanently closed') if not hilariously bad - not that those things would deter me, especially considering it was 0.3 miles from the table where I was eating lunch.
|It is quite small inside and loaded with vinyl - including giant stacks everywhere on the floor.|
|This makes it hard to navigate their inventory and often times difficult even to move around.|
After being totally unable to figure out where any genre was placed or began/ended I asked for help and was steered towards the Engelbert vinyl.
There was a variety of import compilations which bordered on overpriced. I was staggered to find that many of them appeared to be still new in wrapper but was really puzzled when I found one with clear water damage and warping. Surely shrink wrap may not always be totally water proof but it still seemed suspect. The online reviews I mentioned earlier tell the tale - it seems the previous proprietors would actually re-wrap every release that came in! I have never heard of such a thing and in this business it could be honestly considered as fraud. I am not talking about plastic sleeves - I am talking about heat shrunk wrappers as they come from the manufacturer! I decided against any of them only because I determined I have enough Enge compilations. I can't imagine how angry I would have been to spend $10 on a crappy import comp I didn't really want anyway, only to find it is not new/sealed as it seems.
A few feet away, I found a giant mound of copies of 'Release Me' on the floor. I found one in mono and grabbed it. A friend recently told me - sage advice - that you ought to buy releases like that whenever you see them (I have three now - but still searching for his sophomore release in same format). It was also wrapped as new - however in this case I got lucky (I did not know of the previous managements propensity for plastic until I was writing this post!).
|I know now that it is legitimately a sealed copy as it has a giant promo sticker on the outside.|
I sorted through their small jazz and country sections as well - nothing doing. I made some small talk with a man who seemed to be the owner regarding the avant garde Coltrane that played on the jazz radio station. My knowledge (and even interest) of Trane is largely periphery in terms of the actual material but I have the wherewithal to have made myself abreast of such an important icon. One of my biggest vinyl splurges ever was the boxset of my favorite album of his - and one of my favorites in general.
I had also grabbed a copy of one of Tom Jones last Parrot LPs - I was convinced it was some kind of special release. Turns out it is just the album minus the outer sleeve (that album came with an elaborate, heavy card stock INNER sleeve that visually doubles as the actual release's packaging) and he seemed to arbitrarily choose the pricing on my two albums (neither were marked). His 'partner' - a woman who frantically ran around trying to somehow organize the chaos - commented that "he doesn't let me throw away anything" as she directed me in response to my questions. I also caught bits of an interesting exchange between them behind the counter, as he reviewed a stack of vinyl and repeatedly made the demand that she 'set that aside' for display behind the counter. I don't own a record store and never will, and I don't know anything about running a business at all. But I've spent a lot of time inside record stores and this place is a mess. Still, I'd be back if I was downtown.
After that debacle, I made the stroll south down Division. Let me be perfectly open and disclose that I got moderately beaten up a few blocks away a couple years ago in what I presume would have been a mugging had I not 'defended myself' and gotten the hell out of there. Now temper that statement with the fact that I was born in one of the largest cities in the USA (Chicago) and spent most of my formative years doing things and going places I should not have throughout all geographic areas of said city. I spent 5 years working for the telephone company where no nook or cranny of the cities north, west or south sides were off limits. My point is that I am largely immune to the other half and I do not come from the upper crust or some other such nonsense.
That walk down Division caused me to want to rename it 'Skid Row'. I did not get mugged by homeless people in the aforementioned episode but downtown Grand Rapids leaves much to be desired as when you are not looking over your shoulder (in an area you've been to countless times) you are consistently being solicited by someone(s) looking for donations to their personal finances you are simply surrounded by all types of unsavory characters. Worse yet was that it was raining/sleeting but I had work to do. I dodged the bums in my path and made a bee line to the front door.
Vertigo records is a clean, white walled place with a large amount of vinyl. They lean towards new/sealed/contemporary vinyl but maybe 1/3rd of their inventory is used. It seems to be sort of scattered in terms of artists/genres....it is well organized but does not seem to well represent common/standard stuff.
The used jazz section is well sized, behind which sits 4-5 bins of $1 vinyl. I had trouble finding anything of interest and I went through the entire jazz section. I glanced through the dollar records but I was ready to go - I decided on a Mary Robbins greatest hits (in mono, again) to go with the Volume III I already have. There is no compilation released that is clearly labeled as 'Volume II' but I assume this is it - eyes are peeled.
From there I bailed out to take care of the nap/shower previously scheduled. I woke up feeling beyond refreshed and headed out to Grandville to return to Corner Record store - one of my favorite record stores in the world and obviously one of the best.
My first business upon arrival was to take another look at their massive room of 45s. While my Parrot Records 45 collecting was once limited to jukebox EPs and picture sleeves, now I have expanded to every Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck single there is. I am also open to promos when I come across them. I came away with three new Enge 45s plus a promo. I also scooped up two more Tom Jones 7" records. I spent some more time in there looking at this and that when I came upon a real gem - a TJ Brass jukebox EP! It's one of many but I'll take them when I find them!
I darted upstairs to where I spent so much time during my first visit. The place was barren of humanity and the previously 'under construction' status was now completed. Besides the giant bin of 'male vocals', there were some more rare Enge and Tom LPs in a seperate area, I almost walked out with a UK copy of 'Body And Soul'.
Back in the main room I walked out with an array of LPs:
t's kind of scary but I remember where I got the other two albums in the 'hit triology' (all their big songs are contained on three main albums). I grabbed the last album first, at an estate sale a few blocks from my house. The middle album showed up at a local bookstore. Like a steel trap I tell you!
Manhattan Transfer, The - - I had a late 80s album as a kid (grabbed it last year on my birthday on vinyl). I'll admit it - I picked this up for 'Birdland' and I've listened to side A on repeat many times since I brought this home. Very happy with this purchase - track A3 is phenomenal!
That is about as much record shopping as I figure one person can rightfully do in a half a day and I am thrilled with my scores. Ironically I'd rather go back to Dobbs because a dump is more fun then an antiseptic laboratory full of new hipster vinyl. And Corner Records....well I wouldn't miss that for anything.
Sunday, January 11, 2015
I awoke Saturday morning out in Roselle, feeling dejected that I couldn't go out and look for records.
I've covered my thrift store run in the area more than once, (most recently on Thanksgiving) and I know that isn't enough elapsed time for any kind of stock rotation to occur and I don't feel like looking through the same old junk again so soon.
Refusing to give up, I did some quick research to see if there was still anywhere I had missed. I found that there was a second Quake Collectibles store (I visited the first long ago) just around the corner. While not a record or thrift store (its a toy store for 'grown ups' - see pic below), the Lincoln Square location had vinyl and the Google reviews for this location showed they also had some. Better yet, it was around the corner from the Shelter thrift store where I have had good luck in the past.
I only had about 30 minutes to hit both as I had to pick up my brother at the train station so I flew over and ran inside the Shelter. I was pleased and amazed to see that it seemed they had turned over their entire bin of records - I had a bunch of candidates but decided on the last TJ Brass album to complete their discography through the initial lineups breakup in 1971 (its been a good week for those guys). I also scooped up a really odd Bob James promo that proved to be far more rare than it's 45 cent pricetag would imply.
Ironically my visit to Quake becomes the footnote to this story. At least 50% of their stock was brand new vinyl, largely reissues and vastly overpriced.
Interesting of note was a handful of Elliot Smith vinyl - specifically one crappy compilation that caught my eye for all the wrong reasons. For one thing, I don't understand why you'd spend even $1 on a compilation much less $20+. Especially when it contains none of the songs from his debut (which I am proud to own, got as a gift last year) and has such an embarrassing name. Maybe they should have called it 'Beginners Guide to Elliot Smith'.
I have always had such excellent luck at The Shelter - I grabbed an awesome A&M compilation I've never come across otherwise as well as a jazz platter that holds no logic to explain its presence in such a place. Truly a blessed shop and one I will continue to frequent.
Friday, January 9, 2015
Saw a copy of 'Release Me' and 'We Made It Happen' and little else. Almost bought my 427th copy of the latter before I began to see myself in a future episode of 'Hoarders'.
I left it and got the hell out of there.
Monday, January 5, 2015
Encountered a unique situation at this shop. The records were totally obscured by a small card table filled with board games. Worse yet, the games were all on edge, apparently to display them to would be buyers. This made moving the table difficult or impossible, perhaps even with help. So I had to fit my giant frame between the bookshelf and the card table and be careful not to pull a 'bull in the china shop' type situation.
Largely junk orchestral music...did find a couple TJ Brass albums, including one I needed. I now have everything through about 1970, when Herb broke the band up. I still need the Christmas album and I'll grab the next one I encounter (I've blown off the opportunity to purchase a copy more than once).
I also grabbed a copy of Roger Miller's second album....mint condition and its the mono version. Couldn't let a record that nice sit in there even if I already have it. I can gift it to my girlfriend if nothing else. I also grabbed her a very nice copy of a mid-60s trombone record....she became infatuated with the sound of JJ and/or K after being exposed to my copy of the CTI 3000 series classic (which I bought on my birthday).
Made it out of there for about 50 cents each...well worth it considering the condition of the latter two; both MINT.
Friday, January 2, 2015
One of two Goodwills in GR (still haven't been to the other one), I stopped in quickly to peruse their single bin of vinyl.
Almost scooped a John Klemmer album then decided I don't even like the one I already have. Instead, grabbed a Jimmy Dean record and got the hell out of there. Still have to hit the one on 28th. Soon I shall.