Sunday, November 26, 2017

McComb Thrift Store [McComb OH]

It has been over 2 1/2 years since I first visited (what was at that time) Community Thrift in tiny downtown McComb Ohio.  Looks like it has changed names but otherwise looks the same as it always has.

I wonder if my old friend Terry is still stocking the shelves.  Found some interesting gems which I placed up front for the next smart shopper.

Late For The Sky - this one just makes me think of the scene in Taxi Driver where he knocks the TV off its milk crate and has such disappointment.  Such a sad scene in a movie I don't think people ever equate 'sad' with.

10 Years Of Barbershop Champions - I remember picking this one up at St. Vincent in Appleton like it was yesterday.

Sweet As Candy - compilation from a Philly radio station, apparently they put out quite a few different comps back in the 70s

We Believe In Toledo - another weird promotional item, this one much more local 

The best part of this trip was the cat running around the store.  He darted away when he first laid eyes on me.  But I played it cool and got him to sit for a photo.  If you know anything about cat behavior (not saying I am an expert, but I have some experience), it says something that he woudl even do this.  Wish I could have pet that cute cat.  Maybe next time.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Beverly Records SECRET GARAGE!

I don't know what people think that record collecting is all about.  Or being out and about and searching for records.  Probably seems very much 'on the surface', like just sticking my mitts in those crates is all that matters.  But the real peak experiences come when you supersede that stuff and hit into something more, and talk to people and forge relationships.

On a Sunday morning I filled my thermos with coffee and drove down to Hegewisch.  I parked on Baltimore around 134th and just relaxed.  I sat there and drank my coffee in a light rain and watched people go about their business.  A time for reflection.  As I designed my day, I figured I ought to head over to Beverly Records and have a look around.  I knew at minimum I could raid the Tom Jones and Englebert 45 bins for promos, something I've been meaning to do for a while.

I have been to Beverly Records a handful of times.  My first time was way back in '13.  I should start off by saying that I was sad to see the St. Vincent on 99th is closed.  So is the Beverly Woods resturant next door which I had always wanted to check out.  Looks like it has been about three years since my last visit!

Beverly hasn't changed really at all.  Same old record dump.  I had a nice dig.  I dug out a total of five Parrot promos, none of which I had and a few of which I had to add to discogs myself.  So that was nice. [When There's No YouThe Young New Mexican PuppeteerTillMemories Don't Leave Like People DoAin't No Love].

They have things organized by some odd genres, like 'male vocals' (as soon as you walk in) and 'female vocals' (way the hell in the back).  I ventured back there as I have before, the lights were off.  I don't know where the switch is so I just dug around using my phone as a flashlight.  What do I care.

I was looking for Joni Mitchell back there and finally found it.  I found a copy of the live album I paid $20 for (or was it $25?), then again that was a promo and quite mint.  Still for $5 I'm cheap enough to have considered the option, if somehow in another dimension I have the choices side by side.  But that fantasy aside, I found what I was looking for.  There were two copies actually - I grabbed the one that was still shrinked, the original gatefold still never opened.  And yes - the vinyl and even inner sleeve look to never have seen oxygen before.  Well done.

I was back there digging and looking for polka.  I know they stash all their odd genres back here but I couldn't find it even in the dark.  Then I was truly taken aback, even more so as it was in the pitchblack and viewed with a flashlight.  This looked way too familiar, not just the rack but even the individual records.

I knew at a glance I had everything there I wanted.  But odd they had that there.  Why? I'd soon find out.

I kept figuring they would see me back there and turn the lights on.  Or at least come to see what the hell I was doing creeping around in the dark.  I eventually gave up and came to the counter to ask where the polka was.  The old timer told me that (with a laugh) that they don't get many requests for polka.  He said they were 'in the garage'.  I was probably trembling and imagining where the garage might be.  Was it nearby? Far away? How much polka was in there? What else was in there?

The other fella behind the counter said 'come with me' and I followed him outside.  He led me through the 'parking lot' (the empty lot north of the building) and towards the alley.  This was ironic because this was the first time I had ever come from that direction.  We went around back and he unlocked a padlock on the back gate and took me literally to the garage.  He unlocked it and....

The backyard was filled with spare milk crates piled up high and some other junk.  As soon as the door opened I think I gasped when I saw all that vinyl.  We both stepped inside to take a look around for the polka section but it was just inside the door!

BANG! I was deep in the game!  The selection was out of control.  It was a 'polka' section but might have been labeled 'Chicago polka' because 90% was from Chicago.

I saw so many rarities and classics that I began to lose count and my eyes swam.  I started making a pile but knew before long I'd have to return at least a couple to the shelf lest I need a milk crate to cart the stuff home.

Lorraine And The SonatonesChicago's Famous Polkas

I picked up a 45 from Bel Aire a while back and I love it.  I know there are two LPs and Bel Aire had one (don't remember which), glad to score this one.  And guess what else??? AUTOGRAPHED!

There were numerous Versatones records and a few (including doubles!) of some of the really early stuff.  This would be their third.  I saw two copies of their fourth and I was going to grab it until I saw there was a different record inside.  Then I started to play that weird game where you track down that jacket, but there is yet ANOTHER wrong record in there.  After a short time I decided to call it quits.

Positively love The Tones, grabbed their other two LPs at Bel Aire on separate trips.  They never had this one, in fact I've only seen this on ebay one time (they guy wanted $15).  Took me forever just to find photos and a track listing.  Delighted to finally pick this up.

This is a real piece of crap but I couldn't resist.  It is a 2xLP compilation that I've never seen before.  It is really low quality jacket and the records themselves inexplicably skip like crazy even though the vinyl looks ok.  It looks like they forgot to put the artist name on the jacket so they applied stickers after the jackets were already printed.  Real professional stuff!

There were a couple full aisles filled with fully stacked shelves.  Mostly classical and other useless genres.  Back to the polka - nearly every Marion Lush album were there, saw a ton of Lenny Gomulka including one I had never seen before, which I photographed for the db.  It was just balls out insane! And all through this I am left alone in this quiet, cold and amazing garage with the keys and the place to myself.  What a privilege!

I locked everything up and made my way back to the store to check out.  As I made that short trek I couldn't believe I was sitting here with a stack of vinyl and the keys to the place all on the honor system.  Again, not something I take lightly or casually.  What a feeling that was!

When I got back to the counter and had a chat with my finds with the guy who had brought me out there, he did divulge that the Bel Aire store in Bridgeview had closed on October 1st.  That really hit me hard.  First thought was that I am really glad I got in there, bought stuff, took pics, chatted with people and saw the history.  But the larger looming thought is that Bel Aire was a place that will never be replaced.  It is kind of like an old relative who has been sick for a long time.  When they pass away you aren't surprised, but you know that void will never be filled.  No one is going to open another polka record store, ever.  That was the last vestige of Eddie's legacy.  Thank god I have crates of old vinyl to really relish the times gone by.  But this explains the familiar rack in the back of the store, he bought the whole damn thing for probably $20 or something crazy.

So I got taken a bit with the price but that is to be expected.  And having just discussed the closing of Bel Aire it makes you realize that while you can buy your vinyl on the internet for super cheap, because the sellers have no overhead, keeping a giant building (and garage!) like this open - taxes, electric bill, etc. - costs some serious coin.  So I'm glad to contribute to keeping a place like this open as long as I can.  I couldn't be happier with the stash I walked out of there with and it is a memorable day I will hang onto for a long time.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Asbestos crate (#4 of 4)

My girlfriend hates her kitchen floor.  And now, we find ourselves here.

She hated that floor and complained about it all the time.  Until she struck a deal with a friend of a friend who does remodeling (and put a new roof on her house), and they came to an agreement of barter for labor, if she would buy the tile.  Her and I headed to the store and bought 90 tiles (those were heavy!) and a few weeks later, he put them in.

This left behind a large amount of scrap which included not just the old crappy peel/stick linoleum but two separate subfloors (replaced with cement board) and two more layers of old tile beyond that from god knows when.  I agreed to help dispose of this at a (legal) site I have access to so I dragged the stuff away.

This was the 'farewell' photo I sent to my girlfriend as I dumped the refuse into the bin.
After I dumped it and somehow avoided getting stuck with the literally thousands of 6" nails that stuck through the bottom of the plywood, I got to thinking about how I wished I could have salvaged some of it.  I salvage lumber all the time and this was a lot, but alas it was coated with old tile and had so many nails and staples in it I didn't know where to begin.

Then I got to thinking about how maybe I could salvage just enough to build a crate.  How bad could that be? You can probably guess the answer ("pretty bad").  Also, long ago I began a series of four crates.  I never made the fourth because I got a hold of a nice locking box and that filled the last spot in the shelf.  So really, I don't even have a place for this.  But my OCD was intense that day, so off to work I went.

I figured I needed roughly five pieces 12" x 12" which would give me more than enough to work with.  The contractor had taken a circular saw and set the depth to go through all of this mess down to the joists and he cut it into random pieces but many were probably double what I was looking for.  So I pulled out enough square footage and got to work.

Notice the distinct layers: the thick original subfloor, covered with blue, then white tile.  Then the second subfloor with the newest white tile.
First thing, I decided what I really wanted was the old, original subfloor.  This was some kind of really old and really thick plywood.  So I bashed a crowbar between that and the second (much thinner and crappier) subfloor and pried them apart.  Of course there was so many nails and staples holding it together it did not come apart cleanly so I did my best then picked the bits and pieces off.

Next step was to try and remove the nails.  The nails were used through this old subfloor (which may have been from the 40s or 50s) down into the joists.  Then two layers of tile (which I wanted, more or less) was laid on top of it.  So I could tap the nails out but it would crack like perfect bullet holes through the tile.  So after a spell, I got all those out.

Next were the staples, if you want to call them that.  Someone must have had a (at the time) new fangled staple/brad gun and just went berzerk, blasting thousands of the things through and they were LONG.  For a time, I gave up on it and decided they could stay.  But it drove me crazy so I eventually figured out a method using a very thin screwdriver and a hammer, and another larger screwdriver and a pilers.  I would work the staple out just enough that I could grab it with the pliers, then use the larger screwdriver handle as leverage to pry it out.  This led to me smashing my knuckles on the wood about 200 times when the staple would fly out.  Many of them broke and had to have their individual tines ripped out one at a time.  I thought it would never end.  But like all things, it eventually did.

The rest came easy.  I cut it into my shapes as I have done so many times before with a sawzall.  Then I used my Kreg jig to screw them all together.  I did some minor sanding (not on the tiled side) as well.  I elected to keep the tiled sides on the inside for the back and bottom so they would be seen.  The rest I did on the outside.  Funny since no one will likely ever see this thing but myself.

But funniest of all is that when it was done I was showing it off to a coworker and he mentioned that the old tile might have asbestos on it.  I commented that I wasnt' worried, it isn't like I rubbed it all over my body or something.  He said he agreed, it was only really dangerous once it becomes airborn.

Like if you sand or cut it with a saw.   Yikes.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

D'yer Maker

My history with the Dyer Goodwill runs deep.  Back before it was even fully constructed and I invited myself inside through the many polka records I have pulled out of here, and even some weird rarities I just went ahead and sold for profit.  Haven't been through since early spring so I enjoyed my trip out this way and of course again, it was filled with scores.

Who the hell is Bill Holliday? Well I can tell you he is dead, so you don't have to whisper when you ask such a question.  More on this later.

Heatwave and Lakeside caught my eye, I don't remember now but I think one of them was just an empty jacket.  I have to believe the same owner once had both of these.  Speaking of empty jackets, yes, sadly the Marvin Gaye was definately empty.  It also looked like a dog had been casually chewing on the jacket for years.

The Pala Brothers and Lil' Wally albums showed that there is still a stash of Chicago polka filtering through the store.  The Eng record is just for kicks but the Walter Wanderley is a real gem waiting for someone.  The jacket is tore up pretty bad but the vinyl looks listenable so I hope someone takes this home (I scored my own long ago).

That Bill Holliday album was just odd.  My Spidey sense was going haywire.  It seemed to be a comedy album but it reeked of something more sinister.  I did a couple quick searches on my phone for the record or at least some info on old Bill but found almost nothing.  It is super clean so I did end up buying it and I am not disappointed.  This is pure mid 60s comedy in a small club and Bill is just an obnoxious type of comic who just riffs on anything.  He slows starts to work some racist material into his act but to me it was just part of the larger persona which again, it purely abrasive and out of hand.  The crowd just eats it up.  This is truly a recording of another era, long gone by.  Glad I grabbed it.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Cocoa Beach Community Church Thrift Shop [Cocoa Beach FL]

There is nothing better than being out in the middle of nowhere on vacation, with your loved ones.  Better yet, stop at a quiet abondonded beach and run around in the ocean for an hour, then stop into a tiny church thrift store and look at some records!

This makes (I think) the 14th year consecutive I have spent in Orlando in the fall.  Coincidentally, I was just in Tampa for a week just a bit before, but that was for work.  I used to come out to Cocoa every year when I'd be in O-Town but I stopped years ago since I gave up on renting a car.  Well this year I did and it was well worth it, our dip in the ocean alone was rewarding enough and this little thrift store was everything such a place is supposed to be.

What an odd record, especially way down here in Florida.

Located at 133 S Orlando Ave, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931 - I did my dig, a total of three nice bins.  I did come out with something believe it or not! I have always loved the track since I was a kid and it was current.  Nice to have the 12" with the remixes.  This lady (below) was super loud and bordered on obnoxious but she meant well.  She did not know I took this photo but you'd swear she did.  Her personality shines through.

My biggest regret of all is not being able to attend the below.  A party - WITH SPAGETTI?!?! - at a church, a week before Halloween, with live music??? And not 1/4th mile from the ocean? This was of course the day we were leaving, by 5pm we were long since home.  I'll forever regret missing the Dave Counts Band but I'm certain a great time was had by all.