Monday, November 23, 2015

The Record-ation of Independence (MO) + Two Year Anniversary

This is my third trip to the KC area.  The first was years ago but the second was just a couple months ago.  However during that trip my time and mobility were limited.  This time, I had a full solid evening to myself with a rental car.  I was working in Independance but I was staying out towards the airport for a swift trip in the morning.

When I was driving to the job site, I drove right past Thrift World.  I considered ducking in before I even went to work but decided that would be cheap - it should be a reward.  So as soon as I was done, I headed over.  I did a full roundabout of the entire shop before I found the records but there were some gems.

The Dave Mason album is surely not common thrift store fodder but it was someone's abandoned jazz platters that really caught my attention.  I have both - but this is high quality stuff you just don't see laying around for a buck.  Neither is valuable but someone sure had good taste in music! I have way too much Herbie Mann - more than I listen to - but this one I have spun a few times to good results.  I am positively a PMG freak and while their debut isn't my favorite you never come across this outside a record store.  I bought nothing but it is nice to flip through some good stuff for once.

Next up was Frugal's Thrift.  Just a couple miles away in a dark and almost desolate end of a strip mall.  It was getting later now so I called to make sure they were open and make sure they had records.  I got the green light on both questions so I headed over.

Somehow I forgot to take a picture of the rack but they had a substantial amount of records.  They were lodged in a big bookshelf with 12"x12" cubes, they were stored vertically but as the bins were so short laterally you had to kind of look around a corner.  I kept finding more and more Eng - even the albums you just don't see very often: In Time, UK reissue of the live album (which I just got recently) and My Love.  I have all of those but what I do not have is the UK import of the 'Sings For You' compilation - how this gem found it's way to Missouri I shall never know but it made it home with me safe and sounds and I am delighted!

At this point I had my prize and was content to call it a night.  I had at least a 30 minute drive to get back to my hotel and I was getting hungry.  I decided I could not hold out so I made a note to stop at a 7-11 if I saw one to grab some beer and a sandwich to munch on as I drove.  Not five minutes from Frugal's, I blew right by yet another thrift store! I was so torn trying to decide if I should stop or not...but I decided not to swerve into the lot and to just keep on going.  However, my 7-11 was not 1/4 mile beyond.  So I stopped there and as I ate a chicken salad sandwich in the car (stale bread on top, mushy bread on bottom) washed down with the other half of a bottle of water I had bought 7 hours before, I decided I had to go back.

Charity Thriftmart is a big place and once again I seemed to encounter the records last on my circuit through the shop.  I found a Goodwill style bin plus 4 long bins on the floor below - hundreds of records! And I knew I was off to a good start when laying right square on top were two 45s of great relevance to my interests: a picture sleeve for 'Evergreen' and a Deodato single.  I must admit to not remembering what the Deodato single was and as it was in a Columbia sleeve my OCD rejected any notion of it's purchase.  But allow me for a moment to extol Barbara's work on this song and film.

When I was a kid my mom used to play Barbara Streisand around the house - I hated it.  Zero interest.  I don't remember why I decided to seek out 'A Star Is Born' (the film, that is) a few years back but I loved it.  It is so maligned I think as every thrift store has a beat up copy - it must be a piece of junk, right? But the film is just excellent, I find myself when I watch it feeling sorry for Kris Kristofferson's character and even feeling bad for condescending to him when I remember that it's just a story.  He has the look and mannerisms of someone so beat down by life, so pathetic that he is just counting the day's until he can 'punch out', even trying to expedite things by self destruction.  Barbara on the other hand is at her prime and so attractive that I am stunned constantly by her.  I read somewhere that she only wears her own wardrobe in the film and her outfits are amazing.  And if you want to look past the story and the acting, you can focus on the music.  And it is excellent! I actually dubbed the version of 'Evergreen' from the film into an mp3 as it is performed 'live' for the film and is not a lip sync studio track.  So I do indeed have the LP soundtrack on vinyl which I purchased on eBay years before I used to root around in filthy thrift stores and I have listened to it many times.  I have never come across this picture sleeve, but then again I often ignore 7" records altogether.  Unfortunately, the A-side has a series of what may be intentional scratches rendering it largely unplayable but as my girlfriend noted last night, it will be much easier to find a replacement 45 then another intact copy of the sleeve.

But alas, the long paragraph penned above which drips of excitement at the release I found laying atop everything else is just the beginning! Because as I searched I found not one but two additional releases which I bought reflexively, without any hint of trepidation or analysis.  If you could look over my shoulder (silently, please) as I hunted in these places you'd hear the sound I make when I find a barbershop record.  I think it is something like a whispered 'whoa' but I am not sure as I can't control it.  That sound was audible in this corner of the world when I found my fourth Suntones album.  I am already disappointed with the eponymous medley on side B; I am so accustomed to the version I know and love that I can find no comparison, even from such a historically important quartet.  However, their rendition of the David Gates classic on track B2 makes up for it.  I often feel 'cheap' enjoying barbershop arrangements of pop songs as usually they are bereft of anything technical.  I do not require 7th chords and other tricks to entertain me but I question why I like the song: because I love the original? Or something else? Then I remind myself that four voices that well in tune with one another is quite an accomplishment in itself. The late great Gene Cokeroft does not struggle even one iota with the soaring falsettos Gates laid so carefully into his composition.

Then I found an excellent record in some excellent packaging.  Harry Chapin's second album comes in a die cut gatefold - the die cut goes all the way through the front half of the front flap and then contains a 'folio' with all the lyrics and some excellent glossy, color pics.  I did a small repair job with some scotch tape as the die cut had gotten its flap caught on another junk record in the bins during its travels - excited to report that the vinyl itself is pristine.

found a bunch of eng singles- had to check, but i already had them all

Tony's brother?

$2.15 for these three excellent records (even if one is damaged) is highway robbery.  But my wonderful cashier let me 'keep the change' and just gave me $3 back on a fin.  Insanity! Then she told me of an upcoming sale and stamped the back of the receipt with the date of said sale in case I forgot.  What service! A great way to close out my hunts for the night and my trifecta of KC area shops!

I made the first ever post on this blog exactly two years ago.  When I started, I saw a very finite life to things...I figured I'd hit every single record store in Chicago and maybe beyond, post about them all like a checklist and be done.  But then I got thrift store mania...started going to garage sales, started going out of state....time flies and I am far from done - it never ends.  Stay tuned for much, much more!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

St. Vincent, Libertyville

I've been to a bunch of St. Vincent thrift stores, in a bunch of different states. And it is really difficult to find a straightforward list of stores, because it seems that someone can open a thrift store as sort of a franchisee.  

If you check the national St. Vincent website, you will find a searchable page that gives you some results. It shows 11 stores in Illinois but I have trouble believing that this is complete as there is nothing south of Joilet.

If you check the St. Vincent Chicago website, they will claim there are only three stores: I have now been to two of them (one chronicled below).

If you check the St. Vincent Joilet website, you get a lot of overlap with the national website, but some stores are missing and others are strangely included (Addison seems to be a ways from Joilet!)

In the interest of first trying to attack the 'big 3' on the Chicago website, we drove way up north to Libertyville.  We tried to do this last weekend but got sidetracked, hit some other stores and just went home. 

Now that looks like one awfully sad bunch of records, especially given the long distance to drive for it.  Would you believe that I found some stuff? I did! I found another Eddie B. record which I am delighted about, for starters. But then I found a couple really odd 10" records.  One was clearly hiphop, the other was a total mystery.  I jumped on my phone and saw that it took was indeed abstract hiphop.  Then I saw its value and how many people had it on their want list: that record was for sale on discogs before I even paid the $1 for it.  I even gave it a listen - I understand the idea of just running with hip hop as an art medium but employing truly 0% of its aesthetic and just rhyming about nonsense doesnt appeal to me.  But hopefully I can sell it for a 1500% profit!

We stopped at Goodwill Mundelein on the way back which is still messing with my brain as I am certain they moved the record bin - I visited here almost exactly a year ago.  Just a bunch of junk but jockeying for position with someone in the bin was a situation I have not encountered (in a Goodwill, at least) for so long I don't even remember.  And I am referring to the man in the purple shirt, not the little girl in the red pants.  She grabbed a couple hot vinyls and went for the register before I had a chance at her scores.  Damn!



About a year ago, I followed a lead on to a listing that claimed they had piles and piles of records.  It was about a 5 mile ride, and it wasn't very nice out: windy and cold, late fall Chicago.  But I soldiered through it as thoughts of big scores and a library of vinyl danced in my mind.

But when I arrived, I was all alone.  No signs, no flags, no....anything.  I checked the address and double checked it.  I went down the alley - no people, no open doors.  Normally I'd dismiss this instantly but as the sale was described, it was too good to walk away from that easily.

So I decided I wasn't going to leave without some kind of closure, or attempt at it, and I knocked on the front door. A man answered and we spoke awkwardly through the screen door.  He explained that he did have some records but the sale was 'postponed' and that if I wanted to give him my number, he would let me know when it was rescheduled for.  He handed me a paper and pen through a tiny crack in the door and of course I gave him my info.  But I was sure he would never call - I get these kind of BS offers all the time.  It never keeps me from offering to network but I am usually pretty sure that it is a load of nonsense and false promises.  He gave me his number also though I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do with it.  Call him in a few days and beg to see the vinyl? I programmed him into my phone as 'Dave Records' and forgot about it.

Well I'll be damned if my phone didn't ring a few weeks ago and it was him! He said that he was ready to show me the goods and we exchanged email addresses.  I threw together a small want list but assured him I wanted to see whatever he had regardless, at whatever time and place he chose.  But I was leaving for vacation in just a few days and he said he was planning to go out of town soon as well. 

So finally after a few weeks he offered me a date and I took it.  I had a murderous hangover for no good reason on a chilly Saturday morning and I dragged myself onto the bike and off I went.  He let me into his back porch and offered me a coffee which I gladly accepted while I looked through his stash.  I grabbed six records:

Little River Band - Diamantina Cocktail - I swore that I had enough of the LRB discography already but I couldn't resist adding to the trilogy.  This album came out just before they hit their stride with a long string of giant hits but there are some decent singles on this one as well.  I tried to leave it behind but as I dug through the crates I kept finding more and more of their stuff which only reminded me.

Poco (3) - Legend - a pleasure to add this to my Yacht Rock collection, everyone knows the two big hits but the whole thing just feels nice.  I swore Jim Messina was always in the band but it looks like his involvement was short and limited.  You learn something new everyday!

Sérgio Mendes & Brasil '66 - Equinox - I already have this of course, but not the mono version.  I actually have the stereo and TWO mono versions of the debut which came out just before this one.  Really clean condition too.

Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True - my girlfriend's mom has a big framed posted of this album hanging in the spare bedroom I sleep in when I visit.  I also have a obsession with the book 'Less Than Zero' which leads me to be further interested in Elvis Costello.  Something just called out to me to have this and I am already very happy I grabbed it.  It has such a similar feel as another new wave classic I have studied and played to death (and own in a couple formats as well).  The idea of NOT having bought this is disturbing to me.

Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms - I actually found copies of this one, I grabbed one which was still in its (opened) shrink.  I came straight to my girlfriend's after this escapade and we listened to this a few times.  She immediately expressed her jealousy and I told her to just have it.  I can live without it, I have 600 records as it is (many of which I cannot humanly listen to) and I'm always looking to show some self control and scale back where I can.  

Gerry Rafferty - Night Owl - this one I bought specifically for her.  There was one other LP as well but I left it behind as it was further along in the chronology and largely irrelevant, I decided.  She is a fan of Gerry and I'm realizing that I have bought every release she has for her.  I got her a picture sleeve 7" in Oak Park and I got the LP with the same hit at a garage sale in Franklin Park.  I remember that sale well but it seems it was in the time before I began to blog about garage sales.  I know I picked up an Eng record then which while not valuable I have never come across again (it sucks, actually).

So he had the two crates you see above plus another stack which he said were his "step son's ex-girlfriend's".  That makes my head hurt a bit to think about but they are not depicted and were of no interest to me.  So I had 6 records and I offered him $10.  He said he was looking for $2 each but I did not have exact change.  So I offered him all the money I had on me - $23 - and said to just give me back a $10 which would be simple and we would call it even at $13.  This seemed to please him and we said our goodbyes. He promised to stay in touch and said he would have more vinyl - but it might not be until the spring.  That seemed like a long way away ( is!) but I thanked him and we both promised to stay in touch.  So I am sure I will be blogging about my friend Dave again!

He told me he sells records on ebay and gave me the coolest business card I have ever seen.  Click here to be taken to his eBay store!

GR run

Never give up kids; never give up.  I have been to Grand Rapids upwards of 25 times and I've been searching for records for a couple years up there.  Yet I still continue to find places to dig in.  Whether or not I find anything up there to actually buy and hopefully spin on a turntable is another story.

First up I pulled off the highway up in Lansing Illinois, right on the Indiana border.  I found one of the largest Goodwill stores I've ever been in.  And they had a giant stash of vinyl to boot.  First I noticed the standard two tiered (six tiers, technically) rack that I've seen before.

Then a moment later I saw that there was a continuing trail of milk crates and more along the floor to my right!

But alas, it was all junk.  Still fun to dig around in.  As the universe tipped it's hat to the many bins of junk, the trail led to the bathrooms to the right which I desperately needed to use.  

Lansing doesn't have any good records.  But Lansing has Marco and that is almost as good.
I would have sworn that I hadn't been there before but I visited the Wyoming Goodwill just a little over a year ago.  While they had less than 10 records back then, they have marginally expanded the quantity but surely not the quality.  That being said, I did dig up some odd alternative rock and some....well I don't know what it is.  But apparently everybody can afford to press vinyl of late.  But both were left to the denizens of Wyoming to spin at their leisure.

Now I was certain that there was nowhere to go but to my hotel.  But because I have some serious problems with obsession apparently, I checked the map yet again.  And yet again, I found MORE.  Off I went - to Upscale Thrift in Kentwood.

Upscale Thrift's selection was quite limited.  It took me longer to find the vinyl then to peruse all of it, which again to my dismay contained not a damned thing I was interested in.

Final stop: Rustic Market in GR.  No, it isn't a grocery store, its a thrift store.  Here I found a small plastic rack loaded up with children's coloring books and a scant couple handfuls of platters.  Are you seeing a trend here? Can you guess what comes next? Yes...I struck out again.  0 for 4 - but there will be a next time and I am not hardly discouraged! Better yet, I'd rather look through junk records than much else when it comes to just killing time.  So mission accomplished!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Findlay Fiasco

On the way out to McComb, I made an array of stops at some old haunts and some new ones as well.
A year ago I had stopped at a Goodwill in Waseon OH (I swore it was a Salvation Army which led to great confusion on my part in attempting to retrace my steps.  Good thing I have this blog to hold all the memories my brain cannot).  I had seen a bizarre release there which bothered me for the full year and I hoped it would still be there.  No shocker to know that indeed, it was not there at all.  Probably tossed into the trash heap when no one turned up to take it home, like a forlorn orphan.

Community Thrift in McComb is one of my favorite anywhere but alas they are closed on Monday.  There was probably no need to bother with the place as I know the guy that provides the supply of vinyl but I just can't help it.  Anyway, I hoped I'd have a chance to stop in on Tuesday before I headed back towards home but as I drove by Monday they were open! This worked out well as Tuesday got hectic and there would have been no one for me to stop in.  I didn't see anything I wanted but the old woman who has eternally watched over the place assured me that new records would be in soon and I had ought to stop back in! I thanked her and bid my farewell.


Back in Findlay the only place that came up was a Salvation Army.  But when I got there, I remembered the place.  Again, I checked my own blog as a guidebook to figure out what I had seen in there.  I could find no entry for this shop.  My previous trip was a year earlier, October 2014.  Before that, I was around in the late spring of that year and this is when I had come to check out the store.  I remember sitting in the parking lot before they opened talking to my girlfriend before I headed to Bowling Green.  The only thing I can think is that I either never bothered to go inside, or I did and couldn't find the records (don't know that this has ever happened before).  So I was going to pass it up again but for whatever reason I defied my own impulses and checked it out.  Tons of vinyl!

I almost jumped on the Guess Who album over track B3 which is one of the finest and most indepth tribute songs to another artist I've ever heard.  The Mahavishnu album would have been a treat if I didn't score it earlier this summer. And old Urel Albert caught my eye so I snapped some pics and added it to the DB myself later that night.  Anyway, I ended up leaving empty handed (and contentedly so) but I am glad I took the chance on stepping inside when everything told me not to bother.

Now content with a few stores under my belt, I just wanted to head to my hotel for a few beers and some shut eye.  But as has happened before, all of a sudden there was a Goodwill so I swerved in and parked.  I swear I had checked and could not find one in Google Maps but this did look like a new store.


The place was new but the 'media' section was pretty bombed out.  The books were sparse and a mess.  As the vinyl usually resides near them, I felt my heart sink when I saw them nowhere in sight.  Then, along the back wall, I saw a giant heap of trash amongst which was a small stack of vinyl!

And my prayers were answered - a classic barbershop record! I hoped wildly that another was further in the stack but nothing doing; still, I was happy with what I had. A trip well explored pays dividends!

Terry's Musty Stash Part II

Two classic records - one I have, the other I'd be game for but it wasn't in the sleeve.
A year and a half ago, I was out in McComb Ohio and I stopped at a tiny thrift store where I examined some records.  After paying for my scores, I chatted with the elderly woman behind the counter who told me fantastical claims about the person that stocks the records there on consignment: "he has a barn full of records....the barn even has an elevator....he has 100,000 records".  Not clear on the accuracy of her tales, but unwilling to risk the chance that they might be true and I'd miss my shot at this mythical 'barn', I left my name and number to pass onto the mystery man.

I got a call from him a short time later...I met him the next time I went to McComb about a year ago and I saw the barn.  Turns out, what the lady told me was largely quite true. But there was more than a barn...there was a garage 100' away also stocked with vinyl to the ceiling.  But Terry (the propietor of this empire) told me had yet more records, in a storage facility in nearby Findlay.  I told him I'd stay in touch and let him know when I'd be back around his way.

That time came, almost exactly a year later.  And we met up in Findlay, and I saw his records and it was epic.

I never had so much trouble trying to figure out how to photograph everything, it doesn't do it justice and it doesn't really illustrate how many records were in there.  Here is some very rough math I came up with:

-4 shelves per rack
-6 boxes wide per shelf
-3 layers of boxes per shelf
-18 boxes per shelf
-72 boxes per rack

And as you can see, there are two racks with an aisle between them, so that is a gross (144) of boxes.

Terry claimed that he could get 100 records in each box, but I'll be a bit more conservative and say there are 75 in each - that would be 10,800 records.  Even if there are only 50, that is still 7200.  He told me he used french fry boxes because they are free and you can get them at any fast food resturant - imagine how many boxes of fries McDonalds uses in a day? And they must be like 12 1/4" wide - they are almost exactly the right size to just barely squeeze records in there without damaging them of stuffing them in.

And whatever estimate I can come up with that does not include the numerous Rubbermaid tubs in the aisle or the long wooden boxes on the lowest shelf.  And up at the top were loads of 7".  He told me he had just sold "30,000 45s".  Again - if it was anyone else, I likely would call BS, but if you saw what I saw in that barn a year ago, and in this storage space this week...or even maybe just these pics, you know it is quite possible.

Ray Price - Love Life - one day I'll stop buying every Ray Price album I see.  Currently up to 19 combined LP/7".  This one is mono.
The 5th Dimension* - Up, Up And Away - This completes their first 8 albums for me, that collection is now complete.
Jimmy Smith - Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? - this one is a little dog eared with some ring wear but I'll grab just about any Verve stuff I can find (especially if its mono)
Woodstock - Music From The Original Soundtrack And More - I am really looking forward to cranking up 'I'm Going Home'
The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Bossa Nova U.S.A. - the only Dave Brubeck I ever seem to come across has been to hell and back.  I suppose that's because if it was in decent shape and a decent record, it wouldn't be in a thrift store or in a storage facility in rural Ohio.  Not that this one is rare by any stretch but glad to scoop it. And AGAIN - mono.
Tears For Fears - Songs From The Big Chair - When I was a kid I was so fascinated with this album.  Not just for the hits but for the title of the group and the album.  No way I was going to pass this up, in great shape too.
Ghostbusters (Original Soundtrack Album) - When I was real small, the kid across the street had this soundtrack on tape.  We used to crank that thing again and again.  Really nice shape here - this was a no brainer.
Engelbert Humperdinck - Live At The Riviera - British import version.  I remember finding this on eBay a year ago and I freaked out and was about to add it to discogs when I realized it was a reissue of the Parrot live record.  I have long ago nearly run out of Eng records that I don't have, I never come across them.  I would have paid a few dollars at least for this, mint condition too.

I don't usually mess with 45s but when he said they were up top and I'd have to climb that rickety ladder, I knew I had to go up just for the story.

                        This was taken almost 20' up in the air.                         
Metallica - One - when I was a kid, my Uncle Rick brought me to a party at this friend's house.  I don't remember the occassion or where it was but it seemed far away (probably wasn't).  I do remember it was a huge mansion in a subdivision on a man made lake.  My uncle has always had impeccable taste (he dubbed the Tears for Fears album above for me around this time) and always had loads of vinyl.  Anyways, his friend who lived there and apparently was a big collector because my uncle called me over to see something in particular - it was the 12" version of this single.  At that time in my life (around 7th-8th grade) I pretty much listened to Metallica, Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies non stop.  I couldn't wrap my brain around what the hell this thing was.  I had never seen that cover.  It makes even less sense now because as I search I see that the 12" version was only released in the UK and/or Europe.  Well way up high on this ladder were tons of junk 45s crammed in boxes but one box in particular seemed to have records in sleeves, some of them picture sleeves.  While hanging onto that ladder for dear life (Terry recommended I just climb up there "It will hold you") I flipped with the other hand.  This is in prime shape as well and looks like its worth near $20.  Not that I intend to sell this bizarre relic of my childhood and my evening in Findlay.

Larry Carlton - Smiles And Smiles To Go - promo white label with identical B-side AND it comes (inexplicably) in the mint condition picture sleeve.  I have no words for this!

Once I decided I had enough, he locked up but not before mentioning he had some more stuff in both the cab and rear of his pickup truck.  So we took a good look at that stuff but I found nothing of interest.

The barbershop album Terry is holding in the first pic in this post was interesting.  After I had rooted around in 5-6 boxes Terry was scolding me for jumping around here and there and said I should just pick a shelf and go through 'em one by one.  I told him to pick a box and he casually pointed to one just a couple feet away from him on the floor.  Wouldn't you know - that classic barbershop album was right there, first record in the case, the only barbershop I saw all day.

Somebody called him while I was hunting.  I hunted a little quieter so I could try to eavesdrop and figure out the other side of the conversation.  It was another guy, just like me, apparently referred by the person that had just bought the truck load of 45s.  It seemed like the guy was asking too many questions, what was there to talk about besides picking a time to dig? Some people like like to hear themselves speak.  I honestly considered asking Terry to give me the phone, I wanted to say "I'm sure you are a serious collector, I'm sure you've been around and seen a lot.  Well, you've never seen anything like this, because it doesn't exist anywhere else.  There are so many thousands of records beyond what you could ever possibly fathom you need to just make an appointment and get down here".  I probably should have.

Terry only wanted $10 for all those records - I gave him a $20 and told him to keep it for his trouble.  I don't know when I'll be back...if I did my job right during this last visit, it will be another year.  If I come back any sooner, it will be because something didn't work right, maybe my fault, maybe not.  Until then I have some serious memories, a great story and a stack of new vinyl

This picture screams of a back alley, late night, incognito record deal.  Black market style.

I love finding strange things inside albums.  I found an awesome sexy love letter once, here I found this odd note inside my Woodstock 3xLP.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Sunday Drive

At this moment, I am drinking a beer with the Blackhawks game on behind me.  Just got done taking a shower and shaving, after dinner.  I completed a lengthy and overdue post on my two day adventure in New Hampshire recently and I know that today has been damn near perfect.

How many times have I blogged about waking up on a Sunday, anxious for more unknown territories but with so little left to explore?   Well we continue to find more, so apparently more remains.

Our original plan was to head up to St. Vincent in Libertyville.  We headed up that way and before long I saw that Goodwill Buffalo Grove was more or less on the way.  But when we got there I saw that I had misread Google Maps - this location was only a drop box, not a thrift store.  I was determined to hit somewhere new on the way to St. V's so I rerouted us to the nearby Palatine Goodwill.

The still in shrink (but opened) Eng was tempting but I already have a combined three copies: my standard issue which I got as a gift (sourced at Andy's) and which sparked my interest in Eng; a sealed copy I got at the record dump and the UK version (eBay).  So I had to pass on that.  There was also a copy of 'FFFF' hanging out with its jacket nowhere to be found.  And that copy of 'Bridge' was totally unglued - it was in decent shape but needed a glue stick-ing badly.  Seams weren't ripped at all, just clearly pulled apart.

Neither of those Brasil '66 albums are mono: I already have stereo and mono for the debut; I need a mono copy for the second.  (I also have a funky reissue with alternate cover for the second as well, but that is another story).

At this point we had gone a bit off track and I detemined that going all the way to Libertyville would just be too much.  We had Sonic for lunch and then stopped at Goodwill Arlington Heights.  I have meant to stop here so many times but never have.

First I was greeted with this unknown album - oh so carefully lined with tin foil and taped on meticulously.  The record otherwise bore no explanation of the music contained therein (though I didn't care enough to check the center labels.


Even better is this WW classic made into a record sandwich.  Who treats their vinyl like this? My copy is well cared for. And why should we not put them in a concentration camp somewhere? So rare to see any WW in a Goodwill - this one is too far gone.  How sad.


What was not sad however was that I found something: I now have stereo and mono for each of Roger Miller's first three albums.  I did some research and came up with a chart to show where I got each.  THIS is the fun of record collecting: These records aren't worth much, but it took me about a year and I found the six records in four different states!

But I'm still not done: I need the alternate cover for the debut and I want it BAD.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

{N(o) H(elp) [(N)eeded, (H)a!]}

Had a whirlwind early week headed out east to run through Portsmouth New Hampshire.  I flew from Chicago to Philly on an early flight where I laid over on the final leg to Manchester.  I could have flown direct with United (my preferred carrier) but they wanted double the price which was well outside the reasonable limits my employer allows.

My colleague picked me up at the airport and we made a few stops before he deposited me in Exeter where I was staying the night.  In search of food and beer (the usual suspects), I checked my phone and found a thrift store within walking distance.  I called to confirm they had vinyl and got the green light.  So I headed out.

It was about a mile I think and I came upon Wonderland Thrift in part of a strip mall shared with an Auto Zone and some other varied businesses.  I was just outside Exeter - in Stratham.  I found the book section quickly enough but my tunnel vision somehow backfired on me and for a few moments I became frantic wondering 'where are the records??'.  

Then I came upon them, right under my nose.  I found a large contingent of not only Canadian musicans/vinyl, but specifically French Canadian.  I remain very intrigued by a private press release from the east coast of Canada which I added myself to the discogs database.  For once I did turn back a Ray Price album with some trepidation; my real regrets are saved for the Verve release I left behind.  Freddy Fender has one of the best heads of hair I've seen around - is his music as good? I still do not know; I left his debut behind.

Besides the decent vinyl selection, their incoming donations sat in a true landfill just inside the front door.  Crucial times!

I stopped into BK and munched a chicken sandwich up with a glass of water, then stopped into an EXCELLENT deli next door to Wonderland called Great East Butcher Company.  I got a Reuben to go along with a 4 pack of Moat Mountain Oktoberfest brew.  More importantly, I got some awesome intel from the cook, Donavan: he told me he had been the sous chef at a place in Manchester called Republic Cafe and that I should check it out.  I made a mental note and thanked him and headed back to my hotel for a relaxing evening with the above bag of consumables and some trash on the idiot box.

The next morning my colleague picked me up at my hotel and we headed out to Portsmouth to conduct the business that brought me there.  Afterwards, he drove me back to Manchester where I had another room for the night, this time one with a 24 hour shuttle to the hotel.  But before we left town, I had him stop at the Savers in Porsmouth where I checked out their wares.  Nothing doing - not much to see.  They had stuffed the upper tier with magazines so they basically had half as many records as every other Savers in the nation.

I think I got back to Manchester about 5pm - we had to make another stop and also paused for a bite to eat.  I was feeling tired but I knew it was my only chance to get out and hit up whatever I could while I had time.  There were a Savers and a Goodwill but it would end up to be at least a 5 mile round trip.  So I took an Uber to the Savers and figured I'd walk back.

At my second Savers of the day I found a much neater, tidy bin stuffed with platters.  It was here I made my bones in New Hampshire: two Roger Miller records.  The first totally new to me, the second an alternate cover of an album I scored last summer in Florida.

I've seen these signs in Savers a handful of other times, it's usually some archaic and comical junk they have stashed like bricks of gold.  This time it looked like they only had one.  I can't imagine what they wanted for it...I can only laugh as I only paid $1 for mine.

I trudged on towards Goodwill, beginning to think I had bitten off a bit more than I could chew.  It wouldn't be fair to complain about jet lag on such a short flight(s) but I had never really recovered from getting up at 4:30am on Monday.  But I had far to go, despite the fact that dusk was setting in and it was getting cold.  But as I walked down Route 28 I saw something so far out of the corner of my eye I can only credit divine intervention or perhaps the years of experience and intuition I had developed.  I saw the marquee for a comic book store in the distance in a strip mall.  I was at least 1/8th mile away so I could see nothing but the sign but I knew that sometimes comic book stores carry vinyl.  I don't have any experience with such a store to attest to that but again: intuition.  Not wanting to walk down there for nothing, I checked my phone and jackpot - they have records.  So I crossed and headed down the ramp.

Newbury Comics is much more than a comic book store or a record store, or even the sum of those parts.  They have tons of books, magazines, memorabilia, T-shirts and more.  But I care about none of it, not even the 'more' - I was there for vinyl.

I flipped through their discs, many of them new and sealed and didn't find much.  I did have the slightly awkward moment of checking my parcel of Roger Miller records at the counter when I entered.  As I refused a bag at Savers, they were bare so the clerk was very confused initially and wondering if perhaps I wanted to sell them.  It was only a few minutes after that introduction that our relationship concluded as I retrieved my country classics and moved on.

My last stop was of course Goodwill.  They had one of the nicest record bins I've ever seen in a Goodwill, or anywhere.  This would be a joy for anyone to have in their home.  I wanted to discard those old box sets into a bonfire or a trash compactor as they worked hard to destroy the otherwise flawless aesthetic this wonderful bin shared with the world.  But alas, it is just a container and what matters is the filling of that sandwich, which was of course rubbish.  

Goodwill Manchester

Very odd...they had these 2 boxes stuffed with LPs in heavy cardboard sleeves.  I can only guess that they came upon a big load of unsleeved albums and made the investment themselves to pretty them up for prospective buyers.
Not desiring a repeat of my awkward moment in Newbury, I abandoned my vinyl leaning against a rock outside while I shopped.  I was scared someone would steal or otherwise deface my $2 of property but thank goodness, they were safe after the 7 minutes I spent inside.
I only wanted to get back to my room so my pace became hurried, I was hungry and tired and once again, had overdone it and pushed myself harder and futher, for reasons I never knew and still don't.  But the universe was not done with me, and I laughed uproariously as I saw the sign below right on my path, just a few blocks from my hotel.

I'm not sure if I should be grateful or sad, but I found the one in a million sign pasted to the front door.  Don't know if I'll ever be back in Manchester (or New Hampshire in general), but if I am, I'll make a stop.

With all possibilities of thrifting or digging through records exhausted, my mind moved to its usual places: food and beer.Something inside my screamed to 'take it easy' and go next door to 99 (a regional restaurant/bar, I had just been to one in Albany a few weeks previous.  But I still wanted to heed Donavan's advice from the day before.  Somehow, I got it together and hailed an Uber.  

I had some saganaki and a couple beers at Republic and found it to be a wonderful place that I think would excel in a number of larger markets outside NH.  But those couple beers were good so I had three more.  After 5 beers, I made some friends at the bar and we headed over to another night spot called Cotton where I had two martinis.  Surely this is where I went off the rails....not to be outdone, we went to yet another bar close to where I wanted to eat my dinner (the saganaki was just a snack).  I somehow muscled down a couple more brews in a daze where I was discussing baseball (!!!) with a townie.  I walked over to the Red Arrow Diner where I mashed in some kind of mess that was supposed to be 'prime rib' in alot of gravy with potatoes (should have had an omelette).  I was able to hail an Uber with 1% left on my cell phone battery and got to bed about 11pm - my alarm was set for 5am.  6 hours of sleep should have been enough but you never sleep very well when you are that drunk.  When I got up, I felt like I had taken a 5 minute nap. Somehow I dragged myself down to the shuttle and through security before I enjoyed two flights (the second in the middle of three seats, the first where I had to take a brisk walk to the lavatory when the nausea hit Defcon 2 (it was a false alarm, thank god)).  

I made it back in one piece, barely and slept double digits of hours that night, recovered and lived to tell the tale.  Hope you enjoyed it.