February 28

I don’t remember why, but I drug my girlfriend (now wife) 200 miles across Montana to see Joan Armatrading in concert. This was back in the late 1990’s and I wasn’t a big Armatrading fan, but there was one song that spurred on this action.

I have no idea what that song was…

So, when I found this Joan Armatrading – Me Myself I LP at a local thrift I brought it home.

Whatever my song was, it ain’t on this record, so Arma-trading-this-record-in-for-store-credit!

February 27

February 27

Speculation, part 2. Almost a month ago I wrote a bit about my plan to find and buy unique, interesting and clean vinyl LPs and trade them for “store credit” at my local record stores.


The end game of this plan would be a win,win,win… 1) I would get the fun of treasure hunting for awesome records AND end up with the records I want to complete “the collection”, 2) the Independent Record Store gets good LPs that keep regular customers coming back (and a profit to keep the doors open) and 3) shoppers at the Independent Record Store get to buy LPs to add to their own “collection”…

Now that I’ve had a month to work on this plan, how’s it going?

Let’s look at 1), first off, why is that thrift stores insist on locating their records on ground level shelves or in magazine racks that are nearly impossible to flip through? I’ve spent nearly as much time sorting and arranging thrift store records as I have on the hunt… mostly on my knees on a gross Goodwill floor! Second, somebody seriously needs to go through the records at these places and cull out the sleeveless, the coverless and the moldy and send it to the dumpster! Third, it’s way more competitive now than it was 15 years ago. I’ve stood in line several times to pick through a pile of records or seen someone with an arm full of LPs walking out while I’m walking in. I’ve struck up conversations with employees of some of these places who tell me there are others that come in daily to pick for vinyl. So, have I snagged anything for “the collection” over the past month? Well, yes! Actually, about half of the 50-some records I’ve blogged about have been from these thrift store adventures. Some I’ve flipped into the “store credit” and some I’ve wrapped in plastic and filed with my own stuff. Some of the Easter eggs I’ve found have yet to make an appearance in this blog…. Graceland, for instance, was on my list of must haves, and I actually found a copy!

So, it’s been (and still is) fun to dig for vinyl, it’s just more work than I remember it being.

As for 2), most of the stuff I’ve flipped I’ve given a buck or less for. Some I’ve had for years and never planned on listening to again. Some was new or newish and just needed a new home. So far I’ve accumulated just over $150 in store credit for trading in 43 records or nearly $3.50 per record. When you consider many of these were purchased for $0.05 or $0.25, it seems like a pretty good score! But I’ve seen many of these back on the record store shelves for $10 to $15… which, if they manage to sell them for that, would be a tidy profit indeed! A few of my old records have even made it into the personal collections of the record store owners, which feels like a compliment to me.

So, if I paid $0.05 (or $1.00) for a record which I trade for $3.50 of store credit, I’m happy with that, even if it sells for $15 tomorrow.

Now, 3) is harder to dissect. I don’t know if anyone found one of my old records in one of these record stores and was like “Hallelujah! I’ve been looking for this record for years!”, but I do know that I’ve purchased some stuff at these record stores that I’ve been looking for, and I can only assume that they came to be at that record store under much the same circumstance as my old records did.

All in all, I’m happy with the arrangement so far. Win, win, win… my store credit evaporates nearly as fast as it accumulates, but that’s point, right?

This brings us (661 words later) back to the first record I purchased speculatively, Shoes – Boomerang.

I shopped it around to our three Independent Record Stores. I told them in advance that I was blogging about it and just wanted get the sense of if I was on the right track or not. Here’s what it boiled down to:

Store A – Not interested in Shoes – Boomerang, unique, interesting and clean was not enough, there needed to be a market for the subject matter, and there just wasn’t one for Shoes. It wasn’t like the proprietor didn’t know who they were (like me pre-Wikipedia), he did, he just didn’t think he could make a profit on this particular record. He basically said that he can’t make $5 on a sale then it’s not worth his time and effort and shelf space. He was real upfront and honest and I’ve since sold him several LPs, mainly the Jazz and Blues variety.

Store B – Not interested in Shoes – Boomerang, as a matter of fact he seemed kind of annoyed that I was even standing in his store asking about it. Turns out that there many boxes of records had already come in that day and they all needed attention before my measly Shoes record did. I softened up over time and he eventually said a unique, interesting and clean record like mine would net me $0.50 to “maybe a couple of bucks” of store credit.

Store C – The most laid back of the bunch and the new kid on the block actually took an interest in my Shoes record. He looked it over, googled it and even used a phone a friend to get a second opinion. He was relying on the Discogs marketplace assessment of value as a baseline and then applying his local knowledge to set a price for items in his store.


His offer was $6 for my $1 Shoes – Boomerang speculation! Now, I don’t know the dynamic of this business… maybe this is the norm? Maybe, as a new store, they’re trying to build inventory? Maybe he knew I would take his $6 and spend another $20 before I left, who knows?

Regardless, I came home with my copy of Shoes – Boomerang, I’ve actually grown kind of fond of it over the past month and now it has a story too!

February 25

Today is George Harrison’s birthday. Happy birthday, George, I miss you.

In memoriam let’s have a listen to another wife find from Spokane Public Radio Recordings & Videos Sale: a gold-stamped-promo of Cloud Nine.

cloud 9

Released in 1987 after a five year hiatus, Cloud Nine was a precursor to the Traveling Wilburys era, owing in part to co-production credits to Jeff Lynne. Other dudes credited were Eric Clapton, Elton John, Gary Wright, Ringo Starr and Jim Keltner… wow!

I had this CD back in the day. Listening to it now, 25 years on, it holds up really well! The poppy hit stuff was like visiting an old friend, but one song, Wreck of the Hesperus, knocked me on my butt! It’s a self effacing takedown of celebrity combined with a scathing critique of pot-shot media and critics.

Some things never change…

February 24

When I started this endeavor I knew I was going to be both adding new vinyl to The Collection… but also culling out stuff that I no longer care about, or stuff that is and odd fit. What to cull, what to add?

I knew I wanted to expand certain genres… jazz/fusion, easy listening “cocktail party” music, classic country. I also made a list of artists and individual albums I wanted; things I thought I could listen critically to, maybe even over and over, and not get tired of. The Police, U2… but especially Dire Straits.

Dire Straits debut album is one of the few of my teenage collection that I still own. The cover is gone, the inner sleeve is torn and the vinyl is trashed, but I still have it. I’ve been a fan since the beginning and know that a more complete collection on LP is in my future.

This brings me to the next gem from the Spokane Public Radio Recordings & Videos SaleAlchemy: Dire Straits Live.

On the way in my wife and I worked out a plan: divide and conquer! I’d go left, she’d go right and we would keep an eye out for records for each other. In that first hour, I managed to find a half-dozen potential keepers… and then I saw her. My wife must’ve been packing around 50 records when we met to assess out loot!

One of these was a warped, musty, peeled copy of Alchemy. Great. “I know you are looking for Dire Straits” she said. Once I pried the vinyl out of the cover I saw that the vinyl was kept out of the mold by a couple of anti-static protectors. In the florescent light of the venue, they looked surprisingly good!

Anyway, this copy made the $3 cut and came home with us. After a bath, the moment of reckoning came… I dropped the needle on the lead-in grove and, silence! It’s always a great feeling when, against all odds, you find a used record that you really want and will enjoy for the rest of time that exceeds your expectations.

Normally, I’m not a big fan of live records, but in this case, the extended (10+ minutes) versions of Once Upon a Time in the West, Sultans of Swing, Tunnel of Love and Telegraph Road trump any negatives.

February 23

Journey is one of those bands that I love and hate at the same time. There was probably no bigger band in the early ‘80s than Journey. They were on MTV, the radio and in cassette decks everywhere. My favorite Journey memory was the spring of 1979. I had been given a bashed up 1967 VW beetle by my sister. A friend and I had banged the fenders out enough to get the thing to roll and pushed it up and down a long rural driveway about 100 times to get the thing to start. Once started we, drove the VW around and around on the property, like a go cart, blasting the meager radio… the song Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin was on heavy rotation.

Na na na na na na, Na na na na na, Na na na na na na, Na na na na na! Repeat seven times for one-and-one-half glorious minutes!

Recently, while at the local record store, Groove Merchants, we let it slip that we collected K-Tel records. The owner of the joint responded that we all gave in to guilty pleasures occasionally. His most recent was to take home a Journey album… I’ve been looking for good used copies ever since.

I found three at the local Spokane Public Radio Recordings & Videos Sale:


Departure, Escape and Frontiers were the band’s follow-ups to Infinity and Evolution, the first to feature Steve Perry as frontman. I had these albums back in the day, although on 8-track or cassette. In the CD era I owned the band’s Greatest Hits collections and lost touch with the concept of their albums. Listening to these albums, front to back, sequentially, I was struck by an odd fact… side #2 of Journey albums, well… suck! I would listen to these records, all strong out of the gate, and flip the record to side 2 and… yawn! I’d never heard most of these songs. Maybe I’d forgotten, maybe I’d fast forwarded through them… these were all new songs to me… and I was not a fan.

Sure, there were a couple of “hits”, Good Morning Girl, Open Arms, but nothing like the side ones! Here, judge for yourself:


1.    “Any Way You Want It” xy
2.    “Walks Like a Lady” z
3.    “Someday Soon”
4.    “People and Places”
5.    “Precious Time”
6.    “Where Were You”
7.    “I’m Cryin'”
8.    “Line of Fire”
9.    “Departure”
10.    “Good Morning Girl” yz
11.    “Stay Awhile” z
12.    “Homemade Love”


1.    “Don’t Stop Believin'” xy
2.    “Stone in Love” yz
3.    “Who’s Crying Now” xy
4.    “Keep on Runnin'”
5.    “Still They Ride” yz
6.    “Escape” yz
7.    “Lay It Down”
8.    “Dead or Alive”
9.    “Mother, Father” y
10.    “Open Arms” xy


1.    “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” x
2.    “Send Her My Love” xy
3.    “Chain Reaction” yz
4.    “After the Fall” yz
5.    “Faithfully” xy
6.    “Edge of the Blade”
7.    “Troubled Child”
8.    “Back Talk”
9.    “Frontiers”
10.    “Rubicon”

For comparison sake I also included a cross reference after each track name to indicate tracks that were included on Journey greatest hits compilation albums:

x= Greatest Hits 1988
y= The Essential Journey 2001
z= Greatest Hits 2 2011

As you can see, 11 of 15 (74%) side A tracks were included on greatest hits compilations while only 5 of 17 (29%) side B tracks were. I think I’ve uncovered a Journey conspiracy!

February 22

Here’s the first gem from the Spokane Public Radio Recordings & Videos Sale:


$3 for a second pressing of The Beatles White Album! Sweet!

Here’s where I should talk about how The Beatles are my favorite band and The White Album is my favorite Beatles album, even with Revolution 9, and how I’ve never seen one with the poster and all the pictures before and how the vinyl on this one is in pretty good shape, better than my current copy and that this record captures the seed of the eventual breakup of the band and their subsequent solo work, especially the Plastic Ono stuff and…

$3 for a second pressing of The Beatles White Album! Sweet!

February 21

Spokane has some great events… probably the best know event is Bloomsday, or the “Lilac Bloomsday Run”. First held in 1977 with just over 1000 runners, the event now hosts over 60000 entrants on the first Sunday in May, one of the largest timed races in the country. Spokane also boasts the “biggest 3-on-3 street basketball tournament on the planet”, Hoopfest, with over 7000 teams participating. From our Chamber of Commerce:  “Sports fans, art lovers, wine enthusiasts, outdoorsman and more flock to the Spokane region for phenomenal events. From Broadway shows and national artists touring the country to the highly acclaimed Farm Chicks and Custer’s Antique and Collectibles shows, the Spokane region serves as the ideal host for special events.”

My favorite event took place this weekend, the Spokane Public Radio 2015 Recordings & Videos Sale.


All year long Spokane Public Radio collects all kinds of media and equipment to be sold off in one weekend in February. 10s of thousands of records, CDs, cassettes, VHS and DVD, all donated, are sold for $3 (records) or $4 (CDs) to a crowd of collectors that travel miles to take part.

To boot, there’s a silent auction of donated stereo equipment… receivers, turntables, reel-to-reels, speakers, you name it!


The media is fairly broken out into categories… pop/rock, classical, jazz/blues, easy listening, opera, folk and new age/world for the music.  This year there were eight 8 foot folding tables filled with rock/pop records (the 2nd row from the right in this photo):


It was a bit of a battle to dig through these boxes, shoulder to shoulder with other diggers. Some people take this thing really seriously, and I saw many people with crates of records researching hundreds of records with online tools for potential re-sale. One guy even brought a little turntable and some earbuds to grade his records quality before committing to buy:


As for the equipment, there were several Thorens turntables, one Fons, a few Duals and a Grundig. Vintage Sony, Pioneer, Kenwood and Heathkit receivers, and more than one reel-to-reel. I bid on a vintage Philips 4 track… wish me luck!

We (yes my wife is now a digger too) did find a few gems, I’ll be blogging about them soon…

February 20

I’ve been trying to shake a cold all week. Today, I threw in the towel and took a sick day. Now I’m flipping through my records trying to find something that fits my mood… Straight up rock? No. Funky or soulful? Nope. Contemplative singer/songwriter? Na. Latin? Blues? No and no. How about a mix of all five? Now we’re talking!

Introducing Manassas second record Down The Road.

I picked up this record shortly after seeing Stephen Stills in what was probably the oddest concert venue I’ve been at.

It was in 1991 or 1992 and I was stationed in Colorado Springs. There was a Triple-A baseball team there in affiliation with the Milwaukee Brewers…the Sky Sox!

One weekend they played a daytime double-header. It was also hat day, so we all got free baseball caps and the entertainment between games was billed as Stephen Stills. Sure enough after the first game the teams left the field and they pulled what appeared to be a semi trailer out onto the field, just beyond second base. They ran a few extension cords out to it and pulled a tarp out of the way on the side and opened the access gate for the hundred or so of us that were interested.

The next thing I know I’m standing on the second base bag and Stephen Stills walks out on the semi trailer/stage, plugs in an acoustic guitar and plays a killer solo set! It wasn’t a long set, about 45 minutes, but he ended with my favorite Stills tune Treetop Flyer

So, for $12 I got a new hat, a double header and a Stephen Stills show! I’m feeling better already…

February 19

I used to think Richard Simmons and Leo Sayer were the same dude.


You’ll forgive my mistake, no?

I don’t have any Richard Simmons albums, but I do have a couple Leo Sayer albums (thanks to a recent delivery), 1977s Thunder in my Heart and 1979s Here.

These were both post super-hit You Make Me feel Like Dancing Leo Sayer, which came out in 1976. Thunder in my Heart was the super-hits follow up and sticks to the disco vibe, high falsetto formula of the Endless Flight record. But Here reaches back the more soulful, vaudevillian or rhythm and blues style of Sayer’s pre-disco hits like Long Tall Glasses and The Show Must Go On.

Will they be frequent guests on the turntable? After one listen I would say Here would be more so than Thunder in my Heart… but both were solid and entertaining records. I guess that is one thing I have been learning by thrifting for records, for a buck a throw I can afford to check out some of the more obscure releases from artists like Leo Sayer. I mean, he didn’t have 19 major label releases, 4 silver records, 5 gold records and one platinum record for nothing!