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Record Hunting in North California

PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:42 am
by Adam Blake
Up here in this quiet university town at the top of California there are three second hand record shops as well as thrift stores with piles of scratchy 45s and even a few 78s.

Bliss.

One of the most enjoyable aspects to record hunting so far from home is that the crap is different. There are dozens of beaten up Xavier Cugat or Prez Prado lps, or so and such "with strings", or vaguely religious themed records somehow associated with a vision of America that never made it to the UK and which I sense is no longer shared by the local populace. This being a prime retirement spot for original hippies who have been good and not sold out to to The Man, there are a great many beaten to unplayable copies of albums by such as Ten Years After or The Moody Blues as well as the inevitable Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service and suchlike. It's all great fun. Having invented the euphemism "going for a walk" I have now examined the entire inventory of two of these establishments in detail at my leisure and have confirmed my initial impression: they are very hip. The children and grandchildren of the hippies know their music inside out. Having been raised on a solid diet of psychedelia and blues, rural folk and roots country - and with the best marijuana in the western world more or less on tap, it is perhaps not surprising that dub reggae is extremely popular. Rap and techno too, but to a lesser extent than even only very recently. Everyone plays drums here, and this is reflected in the music that is popular. All the coolest world and reggae stuff is easily available but new minority interest cd's are not cheap in the US and besides, it's vintage vinyl that I'm after.

So far my investigations have yielded the following:

Bobbie Gentry: "Ode To Billie Joe" on Capitol. A 70s pressing but in excellent nick and for only $2.98!! Bobbie got lumped in with uncool MOR types and retired before she could shake off the stigma. Thus, in a place like this, you can find a gem like the above next to scratched up old "Glen Campbell at the Copa" type albums that are strictly landfill (not that Campbell didn't make some great records, just that he made a great many more crappy ones.)

The Johnny Shines Band - with Otis Spann, Walter Horton, Lee Jackson and Fred Below: "Masters Of Modern Blues Vol.1" on Testament. 1966 pressing. Mint condition. $12.99. 'Nuff said.

Cream: "Goodbye" on Atco. Original press. Somewhat water damaged sleeve but record remarkably good considering. I know, I know, but it was only $1.99 and the opening strains of "I'm So Glad" cause my friend and illustrious colleague's shoes to magically fall off by themselves which in itself is worth the price of admission.

Judy Collins: "The Judy Collins Concert" - an original 1st press on Elektra, in great nick for a mere $1.00. You see? I mean, I know I don't NEED a Judy Collins live album from 1964 in my life at this point but for a buck? 65p? Besides I like her voice, always have done and she's doing all sorts of "worthy" songs on it like "The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll", she looks great on the cover and the original inner sleeve and label make me stupidly happy.

Richard & Mimi Farina: "Celebrations For A Grey Day" - an original 1st press on Vanguard in excellent nick for $8.00. Why is this $8.00 when the Judy Collins is only $1.00 ?? Go figure. Relative rarity, I suppose. I picked this up for Norman but may end up keeping it if he passes. It looks gorgeous.

"The Best Of Cannonball Adderley" on Capitol for $4.00. Lovely late 60s/ early 70s edition with the psychedelic Capitol label and the inner sleeve exhorting us to buy records instead of those nasty musicassettes (I couldn't agree more). Great looking comp with "Work Song", "Jive Samba", "Dat Dere" on it - all the hits and more.

I haven't finished yet. The thrift store where I once had my finest moment as a vinyl anorak (an original and eminently playable 45 of Johnny Burnette Trio "Train Kept A Rolling"/ "Honey Hush" on Coral for 85c. 85c!!!) remains to be explored. I'll keep you posted. Oh, and the sun is shining too.

Re: Record Hunting in North California

PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:03 am
by AndyM
I hope you budgeted for extra luggage weight on the journey home.

Re: Record Hunting in North California

PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:54 am
by john poole
Adam Blake wrote:Richard & Mimi Farina: "Celebrations For A Grey Day" - an original 1st press on Vanguard in excellent nick for $8.00. Why is this $8.00 when the Judy Collins is only $1.00 ??

Richard died before he was thirty.

Re: Record Hunting in North California

PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 1:12 pm
by NormanD
Having invented the euphemism "going for a walk"
Sounds familiar from past stays with in-laws. After one such constitutional I came back with an LP by Rockin Sidney & The Dukes.

I'm afraid you won't end up keeping the Richard & Mimi LP as I definitely will not now pass, and thank you for thinking of me when you saw it. I'll lend you the David Hajdu book on FariƱa and Dylan if you've not read it.

Happy hunting.

Re: Record Hunting in North California

PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:01 pm
by garth cartwright
Great report! I love record hunting in foreign climes. See if you can find my any good Mexican music! Enjoy California, London overcast - I was going to call you and see if you fancied meeting for Carnival tomorrow but I now realise no need for such effort.

Re: Record Hunting in North California

PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:46 pm
by Adam Blake
john poole wrote:
Adam Blake wrote:Richard & Mimi Farina: "Celebrations For A Grey Day" - an original 1st press on Vanguard in excellent nick for $8.00. Why is this $8.00 when the Judy Collins is only $1.00 ??

Richard died before he was thirty.


Do I detect a deep cynicism here, John? By this rationale, if Farina had lived to be say, 43, and gone on to make a few overproduced boring albums in the 70s, might the record I found have been considerably cheaper?

Actually, there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to pricing here except that used albums are definitely on the cheap side (hooray!) New lp's and cd's are quite pricey, though.

Garth, sorry about the carnival. I tend to hide under the duvet until it's all over anyway. And I'm ashamed to admit I wouldn't know good Mexican music if it bit me in the arse! Good Mexican food, however...

Re: Record Hunting in North California

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:51 am
by Dominic
Adam Blake wrote:Good Mexican food, however...

...doesn't bite your arse, I hope!

Re: Record Hunting in North California

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:55 am
by Adam Blake
Just went to an open air gig outside a local bar and coffee shop. Honestly, the last time I saw a band like the one I just saw, the members of the one I just saw probably hadn't been born yet. I have no idea what they were called, they didn't introduce themselves. Two guitars, bass and drums and djembe, the djembe being inaudible. They followed a local samba drum and brass and dance troupe called Samba More who were very good. The whole event was very heartening to see and hear, context being everything. A more perfect slice of local culture it would be hard to imagine. But I did feel a bit sorry for these kids, with their dreads and bare feet and hula hoops, smiling and dancing and having themselves such an unselfconsciously good time; I mean, what do they have to rebel against?

Re: Record Hunting in North California

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:13 pm
by Ted
And the guitar shops?

Re: Record Hunting in North California

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:04 pm
by AndyM
Adam Blake wrote: But I did feel a bit sorry for these kids, with their dreads and bare feet and hula hoops, smiling and dancing and having themselves such an unselfconsciously good time; I mean, what do they have to rebel against?


Well if they were white kids with dreads, they are staging a heinous rebellion against taste.

But more generally, to rebel in that milieu probably means joining the junior wing of the Tea Party - horrible thought.

Re: Record Hunting in North California

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:42 pm
by Adam Blake
Popped in to the music shop for some strings and a slide. The $2,500 Les Paul that I should have bought on the never-never has long gone (although I still think about it from time to time). There are a couple of nice US made Strats but, naaaah.... No nice basses. My credit card is safe for the time being.