Friday, July 24, 2015

Garage Sale, Elmhurst

There is truly nothing better than an impromptu garage sale on a Sunday morning, and one so close you can ride your bike there.  The weather was perfect and I did not even have a hangover as I was so tired the night before I only made it through about three beers.  I did make it through probably two pounds of homemade nachos though and I slept in a near comatose state.  So after a couple cups of coffee, we decided to head out even without breakfast.  It was only a couple miles and we were rewarded greatly not just by our finds, but by the experience.

After kicking out the stands on our bikes in the driveway (behind a dilipadated but intact - and also for sale) Jaguar we headed towards the garage.  I knew the records were not out there and I then saw a sign inviting us into the home itself.


As soon as I walked in my eyes caught sight of a Crate half stack, a smaller Marshall combo and a couple guitars on the floor, all for sale.  But the records I had come for were actually behind me, nestled inside of an old but clean (and very large) entertainment center.

It was totally out of place and made no sense, but amongst the ancient classical music boxsets was a jazz fusion record I was more than glad to get my hands on.  I tend to feel like McLaughlin's group (and that's really all it is after the first album, which I've had for ages) doesn't have much to offer me as their discography goes on.  This album sort of backs that up, having now given it a good listening to but it is still chaotic and wild enough to warrant being owned, especially for a buck.  Someone really like jazz violin as I saw a solo release from the groups replacement on that instrument in there also.  Besides those two, my girl found one which was right up her alley so she was satisfied.

We toyed around with some of the other stuff for sale while a woman sat on a stool and monitored us (fair enough, we were hanging out in her living room) and presumably her daughter was frying some eggs in the kitchen.  A grand piano lurked in the background ominously along with a giant library of books on microbiology.  Back outside in the garage where we paid a young man evidence of someone who owned a Chinese restaurant were abound.  We squared up with the cashier and headed out, vinyl in tow on the vintage basket (on vintage bike) of my girlfriend's bike.  Which was of course, expertly reconditioned, by me.

From my obstructed view, I thought this was a coonskin cap.  When I saw it was a cat I almost shrieked.  Why is it so odd looking? Or so expensive? Yikes!

Gurnee (By way of Waukegan) Fly-By

Made a run up to Waukegan and found time to snoop around.  Last time I was in the vicinity, I headed towards the north shore and came away with a quite a haul.  This time I headed over to Gurnee and Community Thrift Store.  

The place was huge and it was packed with people, even during work hours on a weekday.  Thrifting knows no bounds! The records were junk - all religious and symphonic stuff with a couple Phase 4s thrown.  However I have never seen records packaged this way...or seen them packaged so well outside an actual record store.  


They were all in 'jackets', really just 12" bags.  The width fit fine but they were a bit long.  They were also a strange plastic that was really slippery.  Combine that with the big of bagginess and every time two rubbed together during your flipping and everything threatened to dump out onto the floor.  This was all exasperated by the fact that they were just in heaps.  The records themselves were removed from their jackets and laid inside the bag, sans inner sleeve.  I guess this was so you had a chance to examine their condition and confirm that you had the right record for its corresponding jacket.  At any rate as I said - all crap.  I did find a Pyrex bowl for my girlfriend, the lone piece they had in the store.  


I had to stand in line for a while to get out of there, one person ahead of me was making a purchase of a few items all in change.  They had a few cashiers working and they were doing well but there were just so many people in line! Never been in a thrift store this busy, ever.

When I had pulled up I had to park way the hell around the corner....this place was built to accommodate many customers at once.  Anyway, as I had rounded the corner behind the building I noticed a Salvation Army across the street.  As soon as I exited Community Thrift I made my move across the street.


As soon as I walked in my eyes darted left and right.  Where are the records? Where are the books? (the two are generally near one another...find the books and vinyl is near).  I either way something or just had a hunch about a small room just inside the entrance, to the left.  What I encountered is probably the biggest dump of records I have ever come across.  It was honestly innavigable even by someone with as much patience for filth as myself.  I'll let the pics tell some of the story.

Not 5 seconds before I snapped this pic, this person was bent over with their buttocks on full display.  Maybe they found a belt during their thrifting.  We can only hope.
Every time I thought I found all the vinyl, there was more.  The shopping cart just made the whole thing absurd....someone needs to light a match and burn all that Mantovani to Hades.  You'll be shocked to find out that I bought positively nothing once again.  In a way, this was a wasted jaunt (besides what I bought for my girlfriend) but I don't mind - once you give up on places like this, you have just given up on the whole thing and your passion has gone down the drain. However, this is one of the first posts in a long time (or ever) that I not only did not buy anything, I didn't even see anything remotely noteworthy to mention.  It is kind of depressing to write about and I find myself searching for words to be somehow entertaining at least and I know I'm coming up short.  Better luck next time!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

St. Vincent's, Addison IL

Been a while since I strolled through - they actually got a record bin a while back after originally using a crappy bookshelf.  Now, they have also added the backdrop which they can fill with records for display a la Pink Elephant. (I wouldn't mind having that U2 vinyl).

I have long held off on grabbing Bob James vinyl (well, I did grab a promo once at the Shelter) because once I start, it will be another 7-8 albums to the collection, minimum and another obsession.  But why else do I collect records anyway? I found this MINT condition copy of #6 and would have grabbed it regardless but I was pleased to find that it is actually the album that contains 'Angela' (I swore that was on a much earlier album).  It even has a fold out color insert with info on other new releases coming out on Columbia/Tappan Zee.  Initially I picked it up and weighed whether or not I would begin my Bob James journey with this record (ironically, I have 11 albums featuring Mr. James, not counting the promo I mentioned above).  I took a look at the credits on the inside and saw the familliar names and faces: Eric Gale, Ron Carter, Ralph McDonald - even Steve Gadd.  Funny that Earl Klugh is on a couple tracks but did not merit having his picture with the others in the gatefold.  Especially when you consider that a few years later, Bob and Earl would start an ongoing collaboration.

Goodwill, Addison

After the disgusting filth that is Goodwill Glendale Heights, it was refreshing to see this bin, which qualifies as easily the cleanest and most well organized Goodwill bin I have ever seen (and I've seen a few).

All junk save for the album I placed on top.  I almost bought it, only left it behind as I decided I did not need it.  Just found that I actually do have it with the alternate cover.  I also have one other Shep Fields record - which I outlined in the very first post on this blog many eons ago.

Nothing bought but worth it for that bin clean enough to eat out of.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Savers, Downers Grove

It has become a tradition to stop in after getting my haircut in nearby Oakbrook.  I've pulled some interesting scores out of here and it's been a while since I stopped in - my hair was quite long and unruly.

I got a trim today and made time to stop in and found they moved the record bins away from the wall and into a nearby aisle.  I didn't find much outside of the two records you see up front - one of which I of course own and the other (which I also own) was badly water damaged.  But so rare to come across a CTI classic like that in a thrift store like this.

But I did not walk away empty handed - been looking for a mono version of the first TJB album for a while.  I completed the entire discography a while ago and while I am not trying to acquire the mono version of everything, I thought this one would be nice to have as it is the debut and also one of the first A&M records, period.  I came across another stereo copy just a couple minutes before I found this one and was delighted when I saw the 'STEREO' missing from the lower right hand corner. Alas, I have now found that it is actually a reissue, two years after the initial release.  My eyes are peeled for the real deal!  Made the trip worthwhile for me!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Geneseo Go-To

Having exhaustively thrifted our way around town (and Morris, on the way), stir craziness set in after one night.  With a lazy Sunday upon us, I found an antique mall in nearby Geneseo, about 30 minutes away, and we set out.

As we came down Route 6, we screeched into the parking lot, caught off guard by what we now know was another totally unrelated antique mall just a few doors away from our actual destination.  C&S was peeking around the corner - but here we were at Antique Asylum!

In we went - even the foyer was filled with their wares.  We marched through and after a friendly greeting from the presumed proprietor we peeled our eyes in search for the goods we pursued.  Before long, I hit a two tiered shelf of records jammed in a bookshelf.  


The gods shone down upon me; after I complained recently about my girlfriend's copy of 'Look Around' with retail sticker, I found my own replacement copy with the shrink wrap (albeit opened) tight as a drum.  Far from a consolation prize...while it might not have been something new and exciting it would suffice if I could find nothing else.  But we were far from finished.

Pyrex was EVERYWHERE - I quickly made my decision on a beautiful 'Early American' refrigerator container which I have been eating my tempeh fried rice out of for two days now, back here at home.  My girl just seemed to find piece after piece, there was no end.  I almost lost interest in digging through records until she called me over to another booth to have a look at some stuff she thought I might be interested in.  She had set aside a copy of a Verve classic which had no price tag - I honestly considered leaving it behind lest I have to tolerate the clerk telling me it is $25 (which it very well may have been based on its condition and other details I would find out much later).  Still, I added it to my heap and figured I'd roll the dice, and turn it away if need be.  But as I looked over her shoulder, within this tiny stack of records (less than 10) I had to reach out and seize her - it was a copy of the proto-Fleetwood Mack record I have been looking at for years.  I've never seen a copy up close - at least not in a 'thrift' environment - and this one as well was not priced! I racked my brain to try and figure out if I was making a mistake and my memory had failed me - was this a reprint? I swore none existed. Unsure of its value or rarity I picked it up anyways.  This record was so out of the blue I had begun to question my own knowledge.  Time would tell I had no call to do so!

We looked at some other booths and records/Pyrex and then eventually made our way to the counter.  Usually antique malls work on clearly tagged items for the purpose of the consignment that brought them there: they will be marked with not only the price (set by the individual sellers, not on site, not the proprietor) and the booth#.  Antique asylum was a bit more hap hazard, unless I was misunderstanding this system had broken down to say the least.  When the clerk got to the records, he asked where I 'got' them.  I vaguely tried to reference the booth, or the vicinity, I told him 'there, in the back'.  The place is pretty big....the booths even were not clearly numbered (not that I feel this would be my responsibility to memorize - I've been to much larger and much more organized antique malls before).  

Then he asked the fateful question which would get these rarities into my bins at home, and the question that every collector of anything hopes to hear in such a situation, with such items:

"So these are $1, right?"

I can't say I lied - it isn't like I removed the price tag or something (though I am not necessarily above that, at least not in a junked out thrift store).  I half mumbled something about them not really being marked at all and before we knew it, he had charged us $3 for my three records plus a Monkees record my girl had grabbed for a total of about $45 which included the bulk of Pyrex we were carrying out.  

When I got home, I began to peruse the 25 different versions of the Verve record to figure out which was my own.  In overwhelming situations like this, I always immediately eliminate the non-US versions and any promos.  Of course, I very well may have a promo (or an import) but before I even begin to closely examine it I assume I do not.  Well I dug through the remaining 6 versions and was troubled by the fact that my copy did not seem to match any of them.  I was most troubled by the odd yellow center labels on the record itself - I own 8 other Verve records and they all have the trademarked black center labels.  Our of frustration, I pulled the record out of its sleeve (original inner sleeve in MINT condition) to have a closer look and noticed some very fine print at the bottom: DISC JOCKEY RECORD NOT FOR SALE.  Oh my lord - I did have the promo! (It is mono as well).  Perhaps best of all, once I gave it a listen I confirmed what I already had figured to know: it is MINT! The jacket has so little wear it is almost concerning but when you drop the needle and hear not a crack or pop you know you have something special when the record will be 50 years old in 12 months. Score of a lifetime! Best of all is the succinct (to say the least) review posted by a discogs user who's collection and reviews are all Jimmy Smith oriented (he may be biased). 

Quite simply, one of the best jazz albums of all time.

The Buckingham-Nicks album took even longer to figure out which version I had (there are 30).  By no means do I rely on the discogs marketplace to value my collection (nor do I collect for value anyways) but it is nice to see the last copy sold for $20 and someone has one up now for $85.  The cheapest copy from any version is $20 and it quickly escalates from there.  I knew all this all along - which is why I did not and still cannot believe I got it for a buck.  I must admit the jacket has some water damage but the vinyl is pristine.  Hell of a buy.


After that we trudged on down the road to C&S.  The pyrex situation there was totally out of control - found full sets of so many bowls I could not believe it, many patterns I have never seen before.  But I am not in the market for sets, I want to build them myself so I did not buy any Pyrex.  I did not buy any records either as none of it interested me but my girl lost her mind over finding a Leonard Cohen classic she apparently has been hunting for a long time.  Like my stops in Kewanee, the initial hunt trumped the second one badly.  But I try to leave no stone unturned - if you tell me a place has nothing, I'll just go ahead and find out on my own.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Return to Kewanee

I don't know of a more colorful shop or more colorful proprietor than Fantastic Andy's in Kewanee IL.  I first visited last fall and I came away with a mountain of scores.  The place is touched by God I think - my luck continued and my spirits were generally lifted upon entering.

I now require only the debut from 5th Dimension after picking up this mint condition (I actually saw more than one copy!) copy of album #6.  Well, technically there are more albums in their discography but as I already have #7 and 8, I feel that best covers their 'golden years'.  Better yet, the gatefold remains unopened - the shrink is peeled back but the gatefold is still a closed gate.  I joked that when it opens you will get to breathe deeply of some wonderful 1970s air - my girlfriend's 7 year old daughter was quite interested by this proposition and begged me to tear it off.  No no my dear - not today, and maybe never at all! (I do have one other record I purchased in the same condition, it too remains sealed!)

I have long had an eye out for 'Super Session' - yet to come across a thrift store copy but I was plenty pleased to find the follow up with still original inner sleeves and generally great condition.  Already tore through disc #1 last night when I got home, I was not disappointed.

But like my time in Morris just a few hours earlier, I was patient enough to dig through the 45s once again.  The instrumental B-side is alternately hilarious, disturbing and evocative.  What production! But alas, it is a picture sleeve it seems and I purchased without.  Oh well.  I also scooped up a 7" to add to my roster of 80s soft rock hits, great use of falsetto here.

I found these 'special order' slips mixed in with the 45s, dated circa 1985.  Shirley Hudson - I respect your love for music and vinyl!
She grabbed the Ray Price album visible above her head - as a spare for framing.

After initially leaving it behind due to condition (please leave your Pyrex out of the dishwasher people!), I went back grabbed the green 403 I need to complete my second 'Multi Color' set of nesting round bowls.  And already used it to help cook tonight's dinner.  My girlfriend came away with an equally beat up casserole that we used to bake a truly perfect fritatta (and I've eaten and cooked my share) the next morning, as well as a really obscure pattern 404 ('Americana').

I had heard about the 'other building' but did not visit last fall as it is not heated.  It was indeed filled with things of no use to me but genuinely added to the delight of the day's hunt.  

I got one of these flyers with a gifted record years ago, before I even had this blog.  It still sits in the outer sleeve of that platter - don't know how I bothered not to grab one last fall and scan for that post!
I had to start taking notes on the back of the flyer from Andy's to keep track of all the places we hit and the scores we grabbed! (notice we did hit Goodwill in Kewanee but I did not mention it here.  A scant ~15 records, none purchased, all junk - it would only insult the important part of my visit chronicled above!

Morris Run Through

Made a stop for lunch in Morris Illinois on my way to Kewanee another 90 minutes down the road.  After some Swedish meatballs at R' Place, we quickly made a jaunt over to St. Vincent's and Goodwill to hunt for some treasures.

St. V's was up first...I don't think I've ever seen a collection of vinyl so carefully oriented towards a singular genre/style: country.  It had to be 99% and as the collection was not very big, that meant only 1-2 records did not qualify.  Obviously, the LP in the front of the bin did not make the cut in that regard, but it was then followed up by a nice segment of Alabama's discography.  I passed on 'Mountain Music' and my girl grabbed it - I regretted it within the hour.  It was in really prime shape.

Another wonderful anomaly about this place was the 45 bin.  I usually don't waste my time digging through 100 scratched 'naked' records without jackets but I don't think there were more than one or two (out of at least 30) that were left uncovered.  My eye caught a Ray Price 7" but I let it go as I was not familiar with either the A or B side.  As the vast majority of his resume is on Columbia, I did not know if the odd record label here was distinguishing this as being from perhaps the mid 80s or what.  I continued leafing through the basket and quickly found another: same obscure record label and again two more tracks I did not know.  Again, I left it behind.  Just moments later I found a third, and struck gold with the B side which is one of my favorite tracks on 'For The Good Times' (which I own in Quadraphonic - and got for free!).  As I had not found an LP yet to purchase and most of the 45s were not interesting enough, I had been setting the Ray Price 45s aside 'just in case'.  When I was done I noticed that all three had jukebox strips lodged in the paper sleeve! So I did indeed buy all of them.  


The song that drew me in is however re-recorded there in the early 80s (that font was a dead giveaway...I wasn't far off with my initial guess).  This arrangement is in a lower key and had some slightly over the top fiddle in the first verse and even a marimba in the 3rd verse!  The higher pitch of the original is fitting for the lyrical content which I always though bordered on cocky, which was even better given the tracks that proceeded it on the Quad album previously mentioned, which are anything but.

As we were standing in line (my girlfriend also got some Pyrex/Corningware) I noticed a small shoe rack.  I was wearing a pair of Nike Presto slipons that I have had for at least 10 years.  At one time, I had as many as 4 different pairs - these were great shoes.  This pair was still wearable but the smell inside was becoming unbearable - too many bike rides in the rain had created some serious wet dog smell to emanate from inside.  Ironically, I had just Febreezed them to pretty good results the day before, for the first time.  But there was a pair of white slip ons (no name brand) which were brand new with tags.  We asked the clerk how much and after a moment the 'boss' emerged from the backroom to tell me only $3.99! I promptly changed my shoes and left them outside and put the new ones on.  I have made a habit of leaving my used shoes in a place someone can find them when I feel they have run their course.  As long as they are decent, maybe someone else might like to use them, or need them even.

After that magical shopping expidition, we made a very quick fly by at Goodwill - there were only a handful of records in the peculiar shared (CD/LP) bin...and they all sucked.  No Pyrex either - we got back on the road, with hopes of more scores in store (our optimism was rewarded!)