Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Garage Sale, Elmhurst

On a rainy Saturday afternoon, I was very pleased to find that of the 3 garage sales that had the word 'records' in their descriptions on, one of them was just a couple blocks from my girlfriends house. (the other two were 10-20 miles away).  So I sped over on my bike through the increasing rain fall.

I wandered up the driveway to find a round older man with a cane, sitting in a lawn chair just inside his garage which was quite filled with junk.  The driveway was littered with wares, most of them soaked and probably had been out since the night before.  A couple other junk pickers were doing what they do as I peered about for the vinyl.  I wasted little time before approaching the proprietor to inquire and he mumbled something then got up.  Apparently, it was intended that I follow him.

He walked onto the deck and opened the back door.  As he had still not given me any verbal instructions I figured I should be polite and I asked if I should follow him inside.  He replied that I should 'if I want to see the records!', with a distinct note of rancor in his throat.  Meekly, I followed.

Through the kitchen and into the living room he led; there I found 4 large red bins stuffed with vinyl.  Scores!!!

The Top Ten Barbershop Quartets Of 1969 - Of course I have this already, I distinctly remember getting it at Savers a while back.  The orange and black theme cover always reminds me that this is the year Mark IV won.  If you asked me who won in 69, I'd have to guess.  But if you show me that cover with the text obscured, I'd know right away.

Now I saw it and knew I had it, but I hoped perhaps it was the mono version.  It was not - it was something better! It was a reissue on MCA from 1973! I had no idea that MCA reissued any of these Decca albums but now I must assume there are more.  I knew they reissued the world's most famous barbershop comp but I didn't know they dabbled in the annual releases as well.  I will have to keep my eyes peeled for more.

Breakfast At Tiffany's - one of my all time favorite movies, I've seen this soundtrack a few times but it was always beat to hell.  This one is pretty clean so I scooped it.  I have one other Henry Mancini album I got from a deceased relative long ago, I'm building quite the collection!

Polka Party - I recently donated about 30 albums to the local St. V's.  Since then, I had been thinking I need to dump my handful of Lil' Wally records so I can focus on Big Ed. (No, not him).  But I just couldn't resist this one.  If I keep grabbing both, I'll need a new home for just my polka collection.

The Best Of Berlin In Barbershop - This one was just staggering.  I already have it, but I got it on ebay and I've only seen that one copy on there ever after checking followed searches 100s and 100s of times.  This one is in crazy mint condition too - no way I was going to pass it up, even if it was a duplicate.

He kind of wandered in and out of the house while I was searching.  When I was done, he was sitting on the stairs waiting for me.  He asked to see what I had and I worried he was going to try and pull some Antiques Road Show type pricing on me but he just asked for $8.  $2/each is fair but I threw the old guy a tenner and told him we'd call it even.  He shook my hand and asked my name, and asked if I lived around the area.  When we parted ways, I distinctly thought I'd miss him.  What a nice guy.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Goodwill [Oshkosh WI]

Not much going on here....maybe 12 records stuffed next to a bunch of old video tapes.  I did find a cookbook I needed but I guess that is a bit outside the realm of what we do here, at this blog.  Any Debbie Gibson collectors however - now you know where to go.

Metropolitan Ministries Thrift Store [Tampa FL]

Last year on my day trip to Tampa I hit a local (and excellent) record store.  I was pleased to find that there was a thrift store within walking distance and when I called they confirmed the presence of vinyl.

I walked north on Florida Ave. from downtown and watched things get progressively more dicey in short order.  I walked by a couple homeless shelters and saw more than a few people just crashed out on the pavement at midday.  I started to question my own obsession and bizarre motives that brought me here.

Sweating pretty well, I arrived and wandered around the small and crowded shop for a few moments before I located the records near the front, adjacent to the register.

I didn't find anything - just the usual thrift store fodder.  So a two mile walk in the Florida heat through a questionable neighboorhood wasn't worth it...or was it? Does a heap of records mean 'success'? If so, based on my career stats, I am a loser.  Proud to be.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

O-Town Jaunt (Post #200)

So I set out on another 20 miler to hit some old and new spots on a Tuesday afternoon.  I took link 50 all the way into the city down I-4 with my bike in tow so I could cruse around.  I had hopes to top things off with a nice lunch near the station before I got back on the bus.  I studied the map the night before to plot a course as best I could, knowing full well some improv would be necessary.

Retro Records was the only of the three stores I hit last year that I had any interest in visiting again.  Conveniently, it was right on my route.  However, they did not open until 11am and I wanted to get started earlier.  I considered going counter clockwise around the loop but Goodwill opened the earliest and I wanted to get that out of the way.  So I skipped over it...I considered going back at the end but after over 20 miles, I was done.  Not to mention I had a couple scores at that point anyway so I was ready to head out.  I did leave one nice one behind last year and I was tempted to see if it still was there.  But no need to revisit old haunts when there are plenty of new one around!

Like yesterday, I made the commitment to go WAY out of my way to hit a Goodwill knowing full well it might be a ton of garbage.  Well they did not disappoint in that regard.  But at least I got some silly pics to prove I wasted part of my day/life riding the 7 miles over there.

this single needed moar beard

I guess this was someones intention to cash in on the 'Licensed to Ill' excitement as it is from approximately that era, but I just gave it a listen and it is the most obnoxious thing I have ever heard.  Man, that's bad.

found this label attached to another ridiculous late 80s release, I can't help but assume that DJ ___ ___ (I can't read that nonsense) was the owner of all three of these vinyls

Somehow this one slipped past me during my research last year. Or maybe I decided it was too far south to check out (I did not have a bike last year).  Either way, it was the spot I was most excited about and while it disappointed in many regards, I'm happy with what I pulled out of there.

The shop keeper was kind and we chatted a bit.  Someone visited him (I never turned around) who apparently is a musician and going to play a show opening for Jon Anderson of Yes.  Then this mystery person bragged about how he knew Chris Squire before he died, etc... Being a serious Yes fan, I was a little impressed but it also reeked of exaggeration.  Things got worse when I left when the shop keeper told me about how he had personally sold Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones a record worth $2000 that he paid $3 for.


But I don't go to hunt for records to make friends so I can let all this nonsense go.  But I cannot let go a messy shop with boxes of records everywhere, most unmarked and a wild arrangement of vinyl racks that leave off then pick up on the other side of the small space.  I was in the final bins when I finally found something interesting for a fair price ($12)...when I saw it was an original issue on blue vinyl, it was an easy decision.


I have no idea what this place is called, it doesn't seem to have a name and did not appear in Google maps at all.  I was en route to my next stop when I saw the big sign above and hit the brakes to check it out.

Unbelievably, they did have some vinyl. The 7" records were all without sleeves so that did not interest me at all.  The 10-12 LPs were all junk except for one which was pretty beat.  The bottom seam was blown out on both the jacket and inner sleeve but the platter itself was pristine.  I couldn't not pass up this opportunity to put my M.O. discography to rest forever (no other releases besides the two I already have really interest me).

So I brought it up and pointed out that no prices were marked and that the record was pretty jacked up...I offered the shop keeper a buck.  He didn't even glance at the vinyl and was adamant that 'LPs are $2 and 45s are $1'.  I can't believe I paid him, but I am ashamed to admit I tolerated his tone and paid the man.  It will be my pleasure to never return.


I called the day before to ask if this place had any vinyl.  The person that answered (likely pictured below) instantly answered that she did not want to buy any vinyl because the demand is so low.  I had to cut her diatribe short and tell her that I wasn't looking to sell anything - I wanted to see the vinyl and buy it! She said she had some but 'not much'.  Good enough for me.

Well the place was a real hell hole.  I have been in so many thrift stores it boggles the mind and I've seen some warzone type dumps of junk all over the land.  But this may take the truly could not easily walk around.  Much of it was clothes, there were some housewares along one wall.  There were just garbage bags of unknown goods piled up high 'Hoarders' style behind the register!

I wandered around for a while trying to find the damn records and was itching to get the hell out of there.  Finally I had to identify myself as the gentleman caller from the day before and they directed me to the corner of the store where the box was totally hidden under yet another overloaded rack of clothes.  All junk, save one, which I own and love.  I hope someone can pick it up and appreciate it one day.

Also I am extremely proud to mention that this is post #200! Next month will also be the two year anniversary of this blog.  It's been an intense couple years and I'm proud of the work I've done and the stories I have to tell.  Here's to one hundred more!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Goodwill [Orlando FL]

I've only been in one other Goodwill store like this but apparently some stores sell literally by the pound.  Everything is stuffed into huge tubs and its 90% clothes.  While last time around I hit it big, I found about 5 records this time and it was all junk.  Worse yet I went far out of my way to check this place out on a day that I ended up doing 25 miles.  But that's the price you pay I guess.

R' n 'R Records [Orlando FL]

A year ago, I conquered a trio of O-Town record stores all within a triangle near the Lynx Central Station.  Frustrated with the lack of thrift stores, I searched Google again, much as someone looks into their empty fridge, hoping some scrap of food might miraculously appear.

Well one did for me, but it was quite odd.  No website, no store hours, no Google reviews and only one Yelp review.  Even the Yelp review was about 8 months old.  What was I getting myself into? I had to find out.

Turns out that the shop is inside the Artegon mall.  I got there a bit before the mall opened and had to bide my time outside, watching person after person try to open a locked door, as if the previously person didn't try hard enough.

I got inside and checked the touch screen directory to see where the place lurked.  I had a sinking feeling it might not show up at all. It did!

I got to work in the jazz section right away.  I came across a George Benson album right away and figured this might be the best thing I'd find.  But I rolled the dice and put it back to see what else I could find.

Kind of strange was that while although there was a bin for 7" records, some were literally bundled with LPs by the same artist.
It is worth $6 because its also autographed.  Just kidding - but only about the autograph.
All the Eng was overpriced and I had it all anyway.  I didn't see any mono Tom Jones albums I needed or even the damn live album I have been searching for forever.  What I did find was one of the 6 UK Tom Jones albums, of which I have exactly zero.  That is until now, I grabbed mine for the super undervalued price of $6.  That may not be undervalued on the world market but it is for this store.  I had to check it over about 20 times to be sure I wasn't just confused because I couldn't believe it.  What a grab!

I glanced through the country and the 45s.  The shop keeper pointed out another bin that 'might have some jazz' and I looked through there but I was happy with what I had and at that point only would have grabbed something I really needed.  So I went to ring up.

Turns out the $6 included tax so that became a bit more digestible.  Then things got really cool.  I saw some business cards and was about to ask for one for my collection when he gave me one.  Then he gave me a sleeve for the record and a hand written carbon copy reciept (my favorite).  After all that it went into another plastic bag which he carefully taped a postcard style advertisement to.  But that isn't all.

Then he gave me a mint piece of chocolate! I don't even know what to say...this just became the coolest record store visit of all times and well worth the 25 mile round trip bike ride it took to get there.  Not to mention Too Short was playing quietly the entire time I was in there.  That didn't hurt.  I am here all week and I have three stores on deck for tomorrow: a new thrift store, a new record store and a record store I previously visited.  It will be post #200 - stay tuned!

Run Through MN

Started off at the Goodwill in Eagan MN.  I got into town a few hours before my colleague so I grabbed the rental car we were sharing and headed over.

I instantly hit it big with some polka platters and even some barbershop! As I have done more than once, when I start seeing a lot of polka, I always hope for some of the homegrown variety.  And my prayers were answered with not one but two, neither of which I have been able to add to the discogs database previously.  Neither show dates but based on catalog numbers they are both likely from 1974 and are in supreme condition.

I started noticing some barbershop and jumped with delight.  I have so many of the Decca 'Top Quartets' albums but I knew I had this one without checking - the Mark IV song is one of my all time favorites.  This is the final year before the SPEBSQSA took over the release of the albums.  I will admit to buying some on ebay but I actually found this one at a thrift store as well.

But I knew (like with the polka) that where there's smoke, there's fire! And I hit the jackpot about 30 seconds later...I have 2 of the 3 Sidewinders albums already and I could not believe I happened to find the only one I needed.  This is at least 10 years older than the polka albums I seam was torn but I couldn't care less.

Unfortunately the rest of my trip was not quite as good as this beginning.  I stopped by the Goodwill in Hudson WI where we were staying - they were using magazine racks and they were JAMMED.  Some of them were so far in the corner I couldn't even reach in there.  I did my best and probably checked 50% - all junk - so I rolled out of there.

Almost not even worthy of mention was my 30 second stop inside the Salvation Army in Hastings MN where we were working.  One crate - all religious and/or junk.  Yuck.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Albany NY Circuit

If my time in Atlanta was limited, Albany even more so.  Most would have said 'forget it' and given up on digging for records at all.  I didn't even have a car! I was stuck at my hotel but guess what: Goodwill was only about 1.5 miles away! So I headed out.

As I walked down the road I immediately encountered a Habitat For Humanity store.  I am familiar with these but I think they mostly sell furniture and not household items.  But what the hell, it was on the way.

As you can see, they did indeed have a nice stash of records.  But alas - junk! So I moved onward.

I stopped for lunch a little further up the road and I noticed a sign in the road.  I quickly consulted the map; unfortunately this place was close to 5 miles away.  Kind of odd they would advertise so far from home - this one would have to be skipped.

I arrived at Goodwill shortly thereafter.  They had a nice stash of records, around the corner and just inside the door.  I dug and dug and as I always do, I finally redeemed myself.

In my lifetime I must have touched or held at least 500 Engelbert records.  According to discogs, I have 80 appearances or credits and a large amount of those are his own releases in LP or single format.  I came upon a small stash in one of the final crates and I just kept on flipping because there is almost nothing left anymore that I want or need.  But my eye caught something....the catalog number on the cover looked odd.

Eng's first two records are the only ones available in both stereo and mono.  The stereo version catalog numbers begin with 'PAS' and the mono versions 'PA'.  Now besides that there are 'XPAS' versions which are also stereo and I am unable to figure out exactly what makes those different.  Well I came across a copy of 'The Last Waltz' and as I have both stereo/mono versions I just kept flipping, then I did a double take.  I went back and saw that the catalog number on the cover (an XPAS in this case) had a black background.  Very odd.  I had never seen anything like that before and I examined the rest of it for evidence to explain this oddity.  I instinctively ran my fingers over it thinking it was painted/drawn on with a pen or marker or was some kind of sticker, it was not.  I could find none but no matter - I was going to buy it for certain.  When I got back I discovered this was indeed the Canadian pressing! I guess I was close enough to the border.  I also had been seeing a number of polka records laced throughout the crates...whenever this happens I think 'I hope I can find some Eddie B. in here'.  So far from home it seemed like a long shot but there it was! I paid 50 cents but you can buy NOS direct from the label for only $2.

I guess the lyrics were free of charge but I left them behind.  Still waiting for Engelbert's rendition.


St. Vincent, Addison

I come in here pretty regularly but I don't blog about it often.  Seems like I've had worse luck here than at other St. V's I've been to only one time.  I did pull a Tappan Zee LP out of here not too long ago....and today, and Eng comp - really the last one I need.  And it cost me half a buck - well worth it!


1) goodwill hiram
2) st v Dallas
3) goodwill smyrna
4) goodwill marietta (a classy flea)
5) furkids thrift (Marietta antique mall)
6) book nook

Another all too brief whirlwind tour of a major metropolis - Atlanta was on deck recently with limited time and massive intent.  Hit a full circuit in a short time per my usual MO.

Landed in Atlanta and made my way towards Powder Springs.  On the way, hit up Goodwill in Hiram.  Nothing much to see here (though I did pick up an old cookbook).


I snuck over to St. Vincent in Dallas (Georgia) afterwards and was greeted with some Rubbermade totes containing nothing of interest or so I thought.  Little did I know one of the two gents on the cover is none other than Jay Graydon.  According to discogs, I own 7 releases that have his performances/credits on them.  I do have a soft spot for 80s soft rock anyway....damn, shouldn't have let this one go.  Looks like its worth a couple bucks so must not be too many around.


After that we did our business in Powder Springs then made our way to our hotel in Marietta.  Once we were checked in...what to do? Thrift again, and again! I headed to another Goodwill, this one in nearby Smyrna.  Nothing here but some old Johnny Mathis joints and other stuff.


Then I headed back across town towards Marietta where I hit my third Goodwill in 2 days! This place was odd...I couldn't find any vinyl and was about to throw in the towel when I found them.  They had a nice stack at every register so you'd see them on the way out.  Don't know how many impulse buys you are going to get on old country platters but I commend the thought.   I did dip through an antique mall in the same strip called 'A Classy Flea'...came up empty again!


Just down the street was another strip mall containing Furkids Thrift and the Marietta Antique mall.  I didn't hit the antique mall as I was getting pressed for time but I did stop into furkids.  My my...what a bunch of useless old vinyl.  Another strike!

It was becoming almost laughable how bad things were going for me...I got desperate and started searching for record stores instead of thrift stores.  One place came up, just down the road...'Book Nook'.  I've been in book stores that held records before...I didn't feel I had a guarantee they would have anything but it was close enough to just leave the car parked and walk.  So off I set.

Whoa! I couldn't believe what I found.  Loads of vinyl.  I can believe even less that I bought nothing after I dug through that entire mass of vinyl.  Or maybe it is believable....sometimes a trip just doesn't work out, or maybe I have better self control than I used to.  Still worth the trip and the pics are my evidence!