August 8

Occasionally when record digging you find yourself in unfamiliar territory. For me, one area of uncharted waters is vinyl singles… 7″ 45 RPM records. I just don’t care about them!

  1. I’ll never play them. It’s hassle enough to get up every 22 minutes or so and flip an LP. Every 3 minutes? Too much work.
  2. I don’t collect them so I’d have to become a record re-seller, list each individual 45, vouch for its grade and ship them out to those that do collect them. See the word “hassle” above.
  3. I don’t own a jukebox, or even one of those iconic 45 adapters for my TT, so I couldn’t really listen to the things even if I wanted to.
  4. Most that I see are a sleeveless, grungy mess! I don’t want to spend time cleaning that!

Then, all at once, I’m in my favorite thrift. Right by the checkout is an entire shopping cart of 45s! $1.00 each. I do a cursory dig and find many well known artists from the 50s through the 80s with picture sleeves. Prince, Bon Jovi, Olivia Newton John, etc. I amass a pile of a dozen or so when it dawns on me; “hey, this might be good fodder for record store credit!”

I ask the supervisor at the checkout what she would take for the whole lot. Without missing a beat she says “$20”. Sold! Then, she turns to a young volunteer at her side and says; “go out back and get that other shopping cart of records for this gentleman.” Bonus! Two shopping carts of 45s for a single $20 bill.

Today we took what we wanted, boxed the rest up and traded them in for a cool $40 at the local record store Groove Merchants.

45s

There is a local street fair in this neighborhood this weekend. He’s planning on selling these things four for $1 or some such thing. I made out OK, I hope he makes a mint and I hope that whoever comes across these and loads up for their jukebox is happy. A win, win, win… that’s what it is all about!

July 8

With the summer of my junior year of high school looming, I felt the need for a new soundtrack. MTV was a recent phenomenon in my sleepy suburban town and it was influential. Also new on the scene was our first pop radio station on the FM dial… FM 106, The Cat! Between MTV and the new FM pop station, there were two artists dominating airplay:

John Cougar was huge with his mega smash breakout American Fool:

…and MTV was still all atwitter with videos from the Go-Go’s:

Final exams were underway and I was lucky enough to have a late period study hall. We were warned that attendance in this study hall was mandatory and truancy would not be tolerated! But the weather was sunny, mild and calm… there was no way we weren’t going to take advantage of this perfect youthful day!

Someone had a Frisbee, someone else ran for food, there may have been some beer around and I stopped by the local music store and bought cassettes on both Beauty And The Beat and American Fool.

We met up at Hells Gate State Park on the banks of the mighty Snake River. I had my 6X9 Kraco speakers mounted in home built particle board boxes… with enough extra speaker wire to run them out the window and on to the vinyl top of my 1967 Mustang. We played, we ate, we drank, we reveled!

The soundtrack changed often over that summer, my last carefree one before college, the military, life would take over. I’ve reminisced about that afternoon many times on warm afternoons when I should be doing whatever task is at hand. I found these albums on vinyl at the Groove Merchants a few weeks back… maybe today would be a good day to re-wire my car stereo speakers and find a Frisbee?

July 3

One chore that is an important part of this endeavor is sorting through all the records in The Collection with an eye toward what stays and what has to go. I’ve moved at least 200 albums to the chopping block, boxed up and ready to trade in.

But I’m having trouble letting go.

Some of these things I’ve had for more than 30 years and, even though I can’t remember when they last saw the platter of a turntable, there was a reason I bought them, a reason I packed them all over the country (and beyond) and a reason I’ve kept them.

Many have a story.

Some still have price tags of long gone record stores, some were gifts, some were loaned and never returned. Most were thrift store or yard sale finds that I remember a surprising amount of detail about.

So, what’s in the go box?

1. All Greatest Hits: Aerosmith, The , The Mamas and the Papas, Jefferson Airplane, Jethro Tull, Meaty, Beaty, Big & Bouncy, etc. Most of these came from used record stores in the mid 80s. I was feeling around for classic rock that was “new” to me at the time and fished a lot of this stuff out of the $1 bins.

2. The Moody Blues: I just can’t stand that band. Why I bought them in the first place? Nights In White Satin I guess. I had Days Of Future Passed to Seventh Sojourn and everything in between.

3. Emerson, Lake and Palmer: See #2 above. I remember being influenced by an officer in the Air Force who was a big fan. I do really like the first 3/4 of the song From the Beginning… until the Keith Emerson synth bit at the end. Their eponymous debut through Brain Salad Surgery all go (plus an odd copy of Love Beach which I can’t recall ever listening to).


4. Odd 80s records: Mostly won from radio station giveaways or the like… Philip Bailey, Dan Hartman, etc. Un-cool, un-loved, un-played.


5. Scratched, dinged, dented or otherwise flawed albums from AC/DC to Neil Young. They’re all playable, and were fine back in the 80s, but I’d rather listen to clean AC/DC on CD or Spotify than on a scratchy old record. I’ll always have an eye out for clean vinyl copies of my favorite records… but these ain’t them.

These ~200 records netted $100 in store credit. They will overflow the discount bins at Groove Merchants for weeks, months, to come. I hope some 20 something airman with his/her first proper turntable scores big!

Footnote… Yes: Fragile to Yessongs and 90125. I tried, I really tried, to like these records as a 20-something, but they never really took hold. We’ve got tickets to see Yes and Toto this summer, and with the news of Chris Squire’s passing, I did pull these out of the go box… I’ll give them another try as a 50 year old.

May 31

One of my goals for this 365 Days of Vinyl was to trade in enough of my old, unwanted, records for store credit towards the newly re-issued Led Zeppelin LPs that started coming out last year. I am now halfway there!

Zeppelin

I recently ordered the first five Led Zeppelin re-issues from my local record store Groove Merchants. The cost delivered came in at $180 and I had amassed just over $200 in store credit since January first…

I opted for the Deluxe Edition Remastered versions on 180 gram vinyl. These releases include the original version of the album and a companion record of outtakes, alternate versions and the like.

According to Jimmy Page, the new remasters were created from 192 kHz/24 bit digital transfers of the original analogue tapes. Page stated in an interview on Sirius/XM radio that this remastering can now take advantage of significant advances in technology that have occurred since the last remastering took place in 1991. This technology allows him to create a distinct version of each album for each format available, vinyl, CD, hi-def download or MP3.

To make it over the top on my store credit account I took all of my scratchy but playable (we’ll just call them well loved) copies of Led Zeppelin vinyl… all nine studio albums and The Song Remains The Same soundtrack… as a trade in.

I love Led Zeppelin, but I came late to the party. I didn’t get my first LZ album until 1985… a bargain bin copy of IV on cassette. Since then I managed to collect all of their records. Some were thrift store/yard sale finds, a couple were given to me by a co-worker in the mid 90s, and I did by all the studio albums on CD when they first came out.

I won’t try to give you a critical review of the original albums here, except to say that they sound fantastic! What I thought I’d do is focus on the so called “companion disc” to see if those are worth the extra ~$20 over and above the price of the single record version.

It’s going to be a good week!

February 17

I first heard Rush on a high school lunch break in the spring of 1981. Massive powered, subwoofered, digital driven car stereos were science fiction in that era. The best you could hope for were a pair of 6×9 Jensen Triaxials on the rear deck of your high school hot rod.

Someone figured out that, if you could sneak your older brother’s tower stereo speakers out of his room, you could hook these up in place of your Jensen’s and rock the school parking lot until your battery went dead.

high school

This gave the smokers, the stoners, the jocks and the honor students something in common… the love of rock & roll and hacky sack!

We listened to Rush and played hacky sack every afternoon in 1981. A better physical education program could not have been invented. I believe that if our P.E. class would have consisted of whatever bogus “sport” out P.E. teacher cooked up out of thin air had been accompanied by a soundtrack of Rush, my class would have produced gold medalists in that sport for the U.S.A.!

Maybe that is the explanation for the X Games?

Anyway, my vinyl Rush collection consists of one severely beat up, original, copy of Moving Pictures. A recent trip to the local record store Groove Merchants netted the three LP Archives collection. This includes their first album Rush, their second Fly By Night and their third Caress Of Steel.

Having the day off meant I could finally devote the time to actually listen to the thing. All I can say is these records transport me back to those simple spring afternoons when my only worry was kicking a little leather pouch of plastic beads again, and again… and getting the brothers speakers back in his room without getting caught!

February 5

I like to say that I’ve got the greatest K-tel record collection in the world. Well, the greatest K-tel and Ronco record collection in the world. You know, those “as advertised on T.V.” compilations of “20 Original Hits! 20 Original Stars!” records?

ktel_ronco

I’ve got over 60. I’m sure someone somewhere has more, but, until I see proof, I’m sticking to my story.

My collection started as a joke. In the 90s you could have all of these things you wanted at any thrift store for a song. I gathered a few to use on a Saturday afternoon radio show I hosted. It was a lark, but people started calling in to the station saying how much fun they were having listening to Hot Chocolate doing I Believe in Miracles and Donna Summer doing Bad Girls while working in the garden or cleaning house.

I collected more and more until the DJ gig played itself out…

Recently, I was in the record store Groove Merchants with my wife. She found several K-tel records that were like brand new. I was sure I already had these albums, but, these she found were pristine. The price was right so we brought them home to replace the banged up copies I owned. Later, I was in another thrift store and came across a seemingly mint copy of the K-tel release Rebel Rouser, an all instrumental 20 song (natch) compilation of 50s and 60s guitar/surf songs. I passed…

“I got enough of this crap!” I told myself. When I told my wife about the pass she was a little disappointed, “You can’t tell people the you have the greatest K-tel record collection in the world if you pass up good copies of ones you don’t have!”, she reasoned.

I love that girl!

As expected, the LP was still there when I made it back to that same thrift store. I laid down my $1.00 and now can say, with confidence, that I have the greatest K-tel record collection in the world!

Now I just need a DJ gig to share the wealth with the world…

January 29

Speculation in vinyl records is a fool’s errand.

This fool has a hundred or more records he speculates will bring profitable “in store credit” to his account at a local independent Record Store. The theory is that if you find a unique, interesting, clean (hopefully all three) LP at a thrift store, garage sale, estate auction… whatever, for $1.00 or less your local independent Record Store will happily give you $1.00 (or more) in “in store credit” to spend as you see fit on records of your choice.

You see, since I have started this endeavor I have been buying apparently (to me anyway) unique, interesting and clean vinyl LPs by the box-full. Some deals have been too good to pass up, some have been a stretch. All in I’ve probably spent $300 on vinyl (sorry honey) this month. Some of these LPs will go into “the collection”, LPs I hope to play and cherish often in my home. But most will go in dribs and drabs to the three local Independent Record Stores we have here in Spokane, hopefully to net a small margin for me to expand “the collection”.

If this goes as planned, we all win, right? I mean, I get the records I want to complete “the collection”, the Independent Record Store gets good LPs that keep regular customers coming back and they also get to make a profit, shoppers at the Independent Record Store get to buy LPs to add to their own “collection”…

This is the first record I purchased speculatively, Shoes – Boomerang.

Mine is promo #214046. Honestly, I had never heard of Shoes, despite the fact that they were active during my formative years and had some MTV exposure. My copy of Boomerang was in a thrift store, visually graded as a VG+ vinyl and sleeve (complete with a protective jacket).

After a cleaning the record played very well, just a slight surface noise. The music was a great throwback to 1982… almost a mix between Oasis and the Knack.

Would I listen to Boomerang again over some other tried and true record in “the collection”? Probably not, but I’m glad I got to listen to it this one time. I’ll hope my speculation pans out… and I hope the Shoes fan in Spokane that finds this record at 4000 Holes, or Groove Merchants, or Recorded Memories, is as thrilled to have found a unique, interesting and clean copy of Boomerang as I was.

Either way, I’ll blog about it!