Sunday, March 29, 2015

Record Collecting In The Vinyl Revival

Since the report of vinyl sales that have gone up last year it obvious to me that every collector and scavenger is now out and about and plundering the used vinyl at the thrift stores, which will make the upcoming Madison trip a bit more challenging.  Certainly today's like minded individuals will be looking to see what they can find and then post their findings via certain record collecting social media outlets.  

In today's antique stores and record marts, I have noticed the big price markups on moldy album covers and records that don't justify their price.  To pay five dollars for a Ted Nugent album which looks like somebody left out on the highway. (not that I would buy Ted Nugent mind you but I have seen an album that looked like it was left out on the highway) or four bucks for a scratched up 45 really comes to wonderment if it's cost effective just to get a reference copy   But in this day and age, some folks do.  Or get ripped off at an EBAY seller site since the record advertised as VG mint was more like VG minus or poor grade.  Today's bargain hunter has to really do their homework and check out pictures and ratings before deciding to invest.  In my EBAY buys, the buyers I bought records from I can recommend.  In my previous years, I managed to revisit and reacquired 45s to replaced poor copies or records that got broke right off the bat due to me being younger than 5 years old.  It's really a shame that I never treated those records better or kept the sleeves.  But I did managed to find Gonna Send You Back To Walker 45 from the Animals (The first 45 that really caught my attention) or One Beer from Chuck Murphy.  Rock and roll bluffs don't care about the latter but since I grew up listening to a wide variety of records some do stand out for me enough to seek out better copies.  And still working on a trying to get Until I Found You from Don Hollinger for less than 40 dollars (good luck with that).

After eight months away from Madison, I think it is high time to revisit that city and the thrift stores that might have the elusive or lesser known 45 that might appeal to me.  Davenport has been fairly nice with some obscure stuff that the most keen eyed collectors out there overlooked but the weird stuff like The Charles Randolph Grean Sounde The Very Very Blue Danube (Ranwood R-1010  1974) or Carmen Cavallaro Just Say I Love Her (Decca 7-29735  1955) are going to sit there a while.  But in this bizarre world that I live in, if the record looks new, has a sleeve and doesn't skip all over the player then I'm more than willing to give it a spin and then donate it back if I don't like it enough.  And if I stay interested, then I'll research more via the net to learn more about Carmen Cavallaro, who was a big influence on Liberace or to a lesser extent Roger Williams.  Not exactly rock and roll.  And in the case of Charles Randolph Grean, he started out in the big band era, later produced a few country albums for The Sons Of The Pioneers and Eddie Arnold and in the 60s worked with Leonard Nemoy and The Mills Brothers (Cab Driver) before composing the number 11 1969 hit Quentin's Theme from the Dark Shadows soap opera show.  Grean also had a hand in writing Sweet Violets, a early 50s hit for Diana Shore and later done by The Demonstrators for Warner Brother in the 60s, which was close to rock and roll as Grean would ever get. The 1974 Blue Danube I think Grean tried to capitalize on the rock classical craze of Apollo 100's Joy but even then the classical rock craze didn't last very long.

But then again my life has always been the interest of the 45, and the origins of songs and where they come from and they continue to hold my attention more to this date.  It probably would have done my ex girl friends to come up with a box of records, sit them out and front of me and let me sort through the way to keep my attention. Yes, I kinda stopped once the CD boom came around in the 1990s and that year span up to 2002, till I found a decent turntable and once again picked up where I left off.  And up till 2014, I had the pick of the litter, till vinyl sales surged up and the scavengers begin to buy any and everything.  To which even the big finds of last August even shocked me and perhaps the majority of them slept late and yours truly crept in and added them to my collection at 10 cents apiece. To which I doubt I'll ever see the likes of that again.

Last weeks' treasure trove of finds was really not much if you look at it.  The majority of them were country 45s and most scavengers passed on, but since I grew up in that late 60s country music sound I managed to find some songs that eluded me for years.  I always liked the uptempo But You Know I Love You from Bill Anderson (Decca 7-32514) more than The First Edition's version and while classic country plays David Houston's Almost Persuaded, his best song was You Mean The World To Me (Epic  5-10224). There was plenty of Buck Owens to be had, I picked up Buckeroo and Tall Dark Stranger. Strangely though, who ever had the 45s didn't have any George Jones and the only Merle Haggard there was The Fugitive (Capitol 5803).  And plenty more others.

In the course of the last five years of 45's, the country side findings have been better than the rock side of things.  The old 60s of Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson RCA 45s have been more plentiful out there and the forgotten country stars of yesterday I have plenty of Faron Young, Roy Drusky and the late great Dave Dudley who recorded many albums for Mercury and only has a paltry 11 song best of to show for his tenure there.  There's not much demand for his I Keep Coming Back For More (Mercury 72818) single but since it was in fairly good shape, I thought why not.  While finding country 45s can be fun and rewarding, it is still the rock sides that I'm on the lookout for. Once in a while, I'll stumbled upon a box of sleeveless 45s of rock and roll but most of them are too scratched up or are overplayed jukebox copies.  Not all bad but it does comes down to wondering if I'll see a certain  45 if I should pick it up.  Which was the case of finding a G grade of Link Wray's Jack The Ripper (Swan 4137), but I did managed to clean it up with plenty of rubbing alcohol and a towel and getting the dirt out of the grooves.  Still having the scratches though but the sound has improved with a good cleaning. 

Today's collectors are getting more and more keen on things, going to estate sales, sucking up to the thrift store employees in order to get the cream of the crop, but sometimes something will fall through their greedy little mitts and comes into my attention.  Which somehow I managed to score a Mobile Fidelity copy of The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour, one of the sacred cows in the collector's world.  I'm not above paying big bucks for something that I really want but to find Magical Mystery Tour for 2.38 is why I collect.  The fun of finding something cheap and being happy to say I have a copy.  I could put this up for grabs on a FB record collecting site and quote a price but I have a feeling I'll be playing this from time to time.

And for the Madison bargain hunts is like the Arizona Bargain hunts.  The object is to have fun and see what's out there for the picking.  Nothing against the Antique Malls, they serve a purpose and everybody likes to makes money as well spend money.  I just don't see a need to blow on overpriced moldy and scratched up albums.  And if it's worth mentioning, I'll be sure to do that.  But I also keep a open mind, and knowing that somewhere in the past of the 50s pop recordings and 60s country, there's also good music in that. 

So get them boxes of 45s ready Mad City.  I'll be in your town soon. 

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