Sunday, August 30, 2015

Kalamazoo Thrift Store Circuit

I've torn up Grand Rapids a number of times as I've made many trips there over the years.  I was headed up yet again and had some serious problems finding a hotel (I must admit, I am particular with where I will stay) so I booked in Kalamazoo instead.  I was due to complete my work as soon as I arrived (around lunch time) so I was able to get into town, do what I had to do, then head out for a bite to eat and get into Kalamazoo in time to hit up a few shops in the area before evening.  On the way out of GR, I stopped at the Kentwood SA.  I figured I might as well stop at one of the many stores in town quickly as I headed off into the sunset and I chose this one as I've had good luck there in the past.  But it was nothing doing - just a bunch of junk, so I headed south.

When I reached my destination, I made my first stop at St. Vincent's but I got there about 15 minutes after they closed.  Bummer!  I made it a solid trifecta of failed thriftings when I swung through Goodwill - another garbage dump.  Now I started seriously thinking about just getting to my hotel and taking a nap because this was all a waste of time.  But this is where the wheat gets seperated from the chaff, and you have to buckle down and make it happen.

I was getting very annoyed so I called ahead to my next stop - Nuway Thrift.  I asked if they had records and they said 'oh yeah...we have a ton'.  This is the type of answer I always get and its an exaggeration more often than not.  Even if its accurate, it can easily be even more JUNK.

The store was cramped with tons of dishes and clothes.  I wandered around looking for my beacon...I found some VHS tapes and there was a sign on the wall with prices for all the media, records included.  It would have been just my luck if they had decided that morning to just shit can all the vinyl and I prepared myself for a dumpster dive.  I kept wandering and was about to ask for help when I ducked behind another rack of clothes right along the front wall of the building.  And there it was - my vinyl, and yes, they did have 'a ton'.

Unfortunately, it was all stored vertically which makes browsing difficult and worse yet often times they get stuck in backwards - and I am not about to reorganize hundreds of titles to see what is in there.  But before I had to wrangle with any of that mess, the first shelf I approached had a disheveled stack atop it.  A glance told me it was all 70s-80s contemporary jazz - right up my alley.  I instantly pulled out a duet of sorts as I continued my hunt for the discography of the latter artist.  I was tantalized by a nice stack of Spyro Gyra records...I have one and it is kind of beat up, I wouldn't mind replacing it and grabbing the rest but I held off.  And of course, sort of regret it now.  My heart skipped a beat when I thought I found the last Eng Epic album I need but it was another Xmas record I already have.  Damn.

I was feeling burned out now but mustered the strength to hit just one more shop before I turned in for the day.  The Salvation Army just outside city limits in Portage was close enough for me so I headed over.  Before I could find the records, I grabbed a Cinderella Pyrex for $5 that I needed (now have 2 of 4 pieces in that set).  My luck with glassware carried on to the record rack and I found a few candidates.  The Canadian rock record was a no brainer - the Kim Mitchell LP I grabbed a while back in the same state never disappointed and this has truly been a joy as well.  The Bob James I decided to catch and release (I do not see myself collecting this deep into his discography, ever) and the last prog rock epic was a tough call but I decided to leave it behind as well.  I wonder if a displaced Ontarian dumped his collection in this store - I had never heard of Saga before and had to look it up.  Five stops and only two records might have seemed like a poor showing to me in another time.  But I've learned to be patient and hold off on the 'consolation prizes' whenever possible.  Best of all I hope to be back in town this week!

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Shook my hangover and headed out to greet the day Sunday morning. had only two sales anywhere in the area with records and they were in opposite directions.  Not being ambitious enough to try and hit both, I chose one on the north side and headed out around 10am.

Just a bunch of the usual suspects (Mantovani, etc) save one disco record I almost scooped. 

On the way over, I had seen some signs for an estate sale around Foster and Harlem.  I headed back first to the grocery store at that same intersection.  I ate a chicken salad sandwich and drank a bottle of watermelon/pineapple juice under the shade of a tree.  I thought about the awesome flea market at this same intersection on a very hot day long ago.  Then I found that sign and headed up to the estate sale.

Of course I had no idea if there would be any records at all but alas there were.  Exclusively symphonic/classical stuff - no interest at all.  I leafed through it all anyway and glanced at the other wares then headed out.

At this point I started to head home and when I got to Lawrence Ave I was stricken with inspiration and decided to jaunt all the way over to the other garage sale with records.  I knew it was at least 10 miles away but it was still early and wasn't very hot.  So off I went.

I don't know if '100s' of records was quite accurate and anyway most were really old 78s without any jackets at all.  The LPs were junk too besides one I grabbed for my girlfriend, or myself if she had it (I wasn't sure at the time; she does not have it I have since confirmed so her's it is).  I continued my trek through some really bad roads (potholes) and bad neighboorhoods (Maywood) as I took the Prarie Path back to 1st Ave for my journey home.  Been having some trouble with my GPS logging app so I was only able to successfully log the trip above (10 miles) but I estimate I did over 20.  And when I got home I rested for a moment, then switched bikes and headed out to grab groceries so I could cook/eat/cook/eat/repeat then nap.  An intense morning and a Sunday well spent!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Carol stream loop de loop

This was SUPPOSED to be a post about the All-Night Flea Market, and how it was my third year going, and how exciting it was and all the great stuff I picked up.  But it is not, because the flea market was a bust.  I got some intel a couple hours before we were set to leave that claimed the lines just to get inside were 'hours' long.  I attributed this to exaggeration and I didn't care how long they might have been - there was no way I was going to walk away from something I had literally been waiting a full year to do without seeing it for myself.

As we got close I noticed that the traffic had built up outside the area it usually does in years past.  Then we got caught in a straight up traffic jam - I bragged about my 'secret' parking place in blogs past....we parked 2-3 blocks beyond it, cars everywhere.  We walked over to the grounds and alas, the line just to pay admission and get in was at least 150 people deep.  There was just no way I was going to deal with that and we bailed.  We headed over to a friends house nearby in Wheaton (she was also bummed) and I was rewarded with an OG press of a punk classic she had scored at Savers Downers Grove.  Not a bad consolation prize at all!

But enough of failed flea markets - Sunday morning came around and once again I was able to drum up a nice round of shops via Google maps.  I made a quick list and we were off!


We started with two standbys: Marklund and St. Vincent.  Both had junk vinyl (nothing new there) so we got into the real 'meat' of our trip with a gang of new stores we hadn't been to before, or at least not recently.

I only visited Savers Carol Stream once before - I pulled out a bunch of vinyl including a sweet Eng comp for my girlfriend which had a concert program tucked inside unbeknownst to me! Still sour about that but I got some stuff of my own on that stop.  This time my luck was even better - they had shuffled the store around and now the books and vinyl were not near the door as they were before, they were way on the otherside.  But I grabbed two barbershop classics out of there! Unreal! I would also give the vinyl back if I could meet the person who donated those.  The second album is far older than the first and truly a classic - very rare! Beyond those I also grabbed the full length from Double.  You might not know the group but you know their song.  I see now there is a blue vinyl variant - that would be a really nice pickup, if you can find it.

These folks wouldn't get out of my way so I made them famous!

Next up was Goodwill Bloomingdale.  This puts me at close to 30 different Goodwills around the midwest and beyond I have stopped in at.  My luck continued - I grabbed a nice Eng comp I only saw in a shop once before last summer.  I also grabbed a polka record that looked enticing - very happy with this upon doing some research of the artist.  And without a grain of 'guilty pleasure' in my motives, I grabbed an 80s classic I have probably passed up 10,000 times.  And I've listened to it at length since I grabbed it! They also had a wild stack of K-Tel comps - I've been tempted a few times since I grabbed such a nice one early this year but I passed.  I almost went for a Realistic (Radio Shack brand) slipmat but the jacket was empty.


Next up was another Goodwill I never visited before - Carol Stream.  I thought my luck might continue but I tapped out.  I almost scooped a Bossa Nova platter but I decided I'd only be buying it to keep my 'luck' going, I didn't really want it or need it.  So after a catch and release on that one, we headed out as the thrift store madness began to set in.

We checked out Family Tree Resale in Wheaton (not to be confused with Family Tree Thrift, also in Wheaton, which I have never been to) but they had no records - mostly clothes.  Google showed there is another store in the same strip mall called 'Second Chance' but it had become a dance studio.  Still too stupid to call it a day, we drove over to Wise Penny in downtown Wheaton just to find out they were closed.  We considered hitting up New Uses back on North Ave on the way back but now we were so worn out we decided to call it quits.

My girl had picked up a mint complete Battleship game and we played a couple games when we got back then fell into a deep comatose nap.  When we woke up I convinced her to do a 2-for-2 trade on two Verve classics both of us had - except I recently discovered she had the promos for both! With some convincing she gave in.  So I had a hell of a haul that day to lug home but it was worth it.  Another productive Sunday.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Goodwill, Naperville

On my last trip back from Naperville I hit up a nearby antique mall.  This time things were running a bit late and I was eager to get home so I just went about a mile to the nearby Goodwill.  It was mobbed but I made my rounds, as usual.

Seemed like the entire Kenny Loggins discography was in there except the album with 'Heart To Heart', which might have enticed me.  In a twist of cruel irony, that early 80s album is devoid of other hits, whereas his late 70s work is more robust with classics but sans the cut I am looking for.  I keep coming across that Gino album it seems like...I have the following album and really need to pick this one up, I don't know why I continue to 'catch and release' but I won't the next time we cross paths.  Continuing the soft rock parade is Sir Richard (he has been knighted, yes?)....this contains the (sort of) deep cut 'Little In Love', again, should have grabbed it.  Easy to pass over though, considering (not a joke) this is his 41st full length album according to discogs.  Of course the UK gets the gatefold and the much sillier cover art.  Cliff in the US is serious business!

At this point I should admit that I did not purchase anything but the modified copy of 'Gaveston' made my day.  Not only did someone want to edit the cover, they took special care (via some scotch tape and well thought placement) to cover up the evidence of what things once were.  But with that artist and that cover....I don't know how well Perry might do in the Texas heat.  The punchline is that inside was....the standard copy of the Glen Campbell classic.  go figure.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Peru Antique Mall

Saw this place prominently advertised to and fro a couple trips out west over the past handful of weekends.  Made time on the latest return trip to stop in and was well rewarded!

One of the bigger antique malls I've been in and very clean and well organized - no shoddy booths here.  We got in late in the day and were pretty worn out....we were well abreast of the closing time so we sped over and knew our hunt would be somewhat limited.  Still we were bringing piles of records and Pyrex to the front counter (standard antique mall protocol) periodically so I think we demonstrated as serious shoppers.  Still, I must have been 'warned' about 5 times by a gentlemen who worked there that 'we are closing in X minutes' where X is a constantly reducing number of which I was already aware.  The pressure did disrupt my enjoyment substantially....he was unrelenting in his updates and eventually I had to mention 'I'm aware, you have told me 3 or 4 times now'.  Still, even then I don't think he understood the depth of his horrid customer service.

We also hit a bump in the road when we had to ask to have a case unlocked.  Apparently (as we do not work there, and had never been there before) we relayed incorrect information to designate what key the employee should bring to unlock the case.  She scolded us in a curtly condescending way that "in the future, this [referencing one of various codes printed on the door]".  Not one to allow a single curt moment to go unreturned, my girlfriend told her that would 'be no next time' and walked away.  As she opened the case, her attitude changed as she likely realized she was talking to two 40 year olds like 15 year olds and was out of order.

When we rang up our scores everyone was very pleasant, they wrapped all our Pyrex very carefully and wanted to chat and perhaps make up for the rude behavior we tolerated throughout our visit.  I'd lay a bet that a fair amount of people that visit a place like this just rummage around and buy nothing or spend $5 on a knick knack.  No doubt serious collectors like ourselves come through regularly but I just don't understand the crappy treatment for a couple people who were clearly 'on a mission' and gave them a substantial sale just before close.

At any rate, I copped three records. I picked up a vinyl I saw well overpriced not long ago - my patience paid dividends as I brought this one home for only $3.  It is in staggeringly mint condition with original inner sleeve and lyric sheet.  

I recently did an 80 minute country mix for my girlfriend's mom....without the restraints from Mixcloud I was able to play infinite number of tracks from the same artist repeatedly...I listened to it a couple times over many beers and some pork chops the night before our moment in the antique mall and old Rog was fresh in my mind.  The first booth I came to (first in the list below) I instantly looked under 'M' and came across this beauty. A glance at the track list seems to reveal that this does not seem to include the usual comedic silliness he is often known for.  Also, like his second album which also goes by an AKA (I'd still like to score the former), this one too has another moniker.  Still need #4 to them complete his first six.  But I am always on the lookout for more mono/stereo versions, to compliment those I already scooped.

I've tried to head off my Phase 4 addiction before it becomes problematic but I could not resist this one for only $2.25.  I had long tried to limit my fascination with the Decca series to this artist (though Mr. Ros did not disappoint) and only records that were orchestral 'pops' and this certainly qualifies.  Those jackets are just too irresistible, like delicious pieces of hard candy, colorful and tasty.  A nice cherry on top to a short jaunt through Peru.