I checked this place out pre-construction on my last trip out to Terre Haute. After I took a leak in an outhouse outside (and wondered why there was an outhouse outside) I strolled in to be greeted by a bunch of construction workers. I vowed to return and after wrestling with myself for a few hours previous, I swerved and found my way inside.
They must have just opened a week or two ago because it was packed. Surprisingly (for a new store), they had a TON of vinyl!
I initially found something I know I have (in fact, I very quickly remember exactly where I got it) but I thought I'd be a good boyfriend and check if my girlfriend needed it.
With that done, I kept searching and very quickly came up with a Chicago polka record I needed! No surprise I added this one to the db myself. But it was a good news/bad news type situation:
Good news: THE JACKET IS AUTOGRAPHED BY EDDIE BLAZONCZYK!
Bad news: there was a Perry Como album inside!
This was ironic because I almost didn't even bother to check inside as I saw the tufts of the crappy plastic inner sleeve hanging out, which I know Bel Aire used in the 90s. But once I checked, I was extremely torn. Could I buy just a jacket? It seemed so stupid. I half wondered if somehow they would give me a hardtime at the counter when they noticed it was empty. Would they notice the autograph and decide to keep it? Who knows.
But I had already found one other really odd record. You have to learn to sniff out the really out of place stuff when you dig, even if it's something you know nothing about you have to be able to tell when something doesn't fit - maybe it is worth a few bucks. The record I am referring to is a proto-house recording by a Chicago duo. It is historic to say the least and discogs showed 2 had it and 12 wanted it. I put it up for sale immediately as the grooves look really clean and there is only one other copy for sale (in the UK and in 'good' condition). No buyers - yet.
Have you figured out where I am headed with this yet? I discarded the Perry Como LP and stuffed the Z-Factor inside. In the photo of the rack above, you can see an empty generic outer sleeve with Eng peeking through - that is the original jacket. The funniest part is that it was 1/2 off that day so I paid only 50 cents for this 'package'. I also got my girlfriend a bag of cherry candy since they had a huge display of all the flavors of Claey's hard candy (look it up, good stuff) so my bill was closer to $2 but I'm so wealthy I can pay that. And as I was driving home from central Indiana on a Saturday at 2pm, you do the math on my OT. That's right - cherry candy and used records all day long. I'M RICH!!!
I have long wanted to return to Bel Aire and this might be my chance. I checked out all my pics to see if they had this record for sale and while I can disqualify all of the obscured jackets I am going to hold out just a little hope that I missed one. The crazy thing is that on that rotating magazine rack there are seven LPs with only the rear jacket exposed. I know it is not any of those because 'Another Polka Celebration' is ironically the first Versatones album NOT to have the Bel-Aire catalog on it. The albums in the record rack are pretty easily recognizable but maybe one is buried. Maybe? Please? I hope so. Either way I want to go back to buy Grolsch and grab those Tones albums.