June 19, 2016 Everybody Loves Choosing

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Dean Martin, Everybody Loves Somebody, Reprise R-6130, 1964

Sometimes,you just get lucky.  At a church run thrift store, I found TWO copies of this classic Dean Martin album, both still in their original shrink wrap.  At $1 each, it was worthy to get both, but which one would be the best one to keep and which one would I re-gift?

The one on the left is a stereo copy, which would normally be the simple, easy answer.  Stereo copies are usually more rare and since they were more expensive, they were played fewer times by their more affluent original owners.  There are some color variations in the sleeves, but Reprise, like a most independent labels, used different manufacturing plants. Finding the same album made in different places has slight variants.

But there are some other things to look for though.

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The back covers are both very clean, but original owner Les Goff made sure his John Hancock was plainly visible.  Again, that would tend to make me favor the album on the left.

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The inner sleeves are also in excellent shape, but the left hand one is just a plain white sleeve, while the right is a 1964 era Reprise sleeve featuring the adult music stars that made up the bulk of their roster then. Score one for the right hand side record!

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The final decision, though comes down to the actual records.  The one on the left is the Reprise label from the late 60s, while the one on the right has the three colored 1964 label.  The record on the left is not the first pressing, and you always want to add an original record over a re-issue.  Even if that reissue is a clean, 48 year old stereo copy

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $1, $970 Remaing

June 18, 2016 Breaker $1

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C.W. McCall, Rubber Duck, Polydor PD-1-6094, 1976

Breaker One Nine, this here it the bargain bin, you got a copy of me ten-four?

As I mentioned a few days ago when discussing Lulu, an artist known for having just one big hit can have follow-up records with some real merit beyond what they will be remembered for.  Then there are “artists” like C.W.McCall who tend to bleed dry every ounce of their one hit into a never-ending stream more of the same.

This follow-up album to the wildly successful #1 single Convoy is not worthy of searching out unless you have a burning desire to find out more about the antics of the Rubber Duck, Suicide Jockey and Long Haired Friends Of Jesus.  And trust me, the story was fine just where you last heard about them.  The Convoy couldn’t plausibly head to Australia without a serious leap of faith in the abilities of a cab over Pete with a refer on.

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I don’t blame him for trying, because Convoy succeeded beyond all expectations, but the record buying public was maybe more caught up in novelty of the record a whole lot more than the person who made it.  Not to pick on anyone’s talent, but I don’t think people lined up to see The Hurt Locker because it was a Jessica Chastain movie.  Even though she was great in it, the role of the lead actor was superfluous to the story.

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In case you haven’t noticed, Bargain Bin record shoppers have to often take a leap of faith on the kind the records they find.  This album is a great example of this.  There is not way in the world that I or virtually anyone beside’s C.W. McCall’s descendants would ever search out this record, but on the other hand, when you find a Near Mint copy in a bin for $1, you also realize that you’ll never again be presented with this opportunity.  It’s so rare and so quirky, yet so cheap, that you may as well go for it.

As it turns out, I will never get the 33 minutes back that I spent listening to this record, but I never have to spend three seconds looking for it again should the need arise.  And when I need to make room for new records on the shelf, this one can make the trip back to where it came from before you can say Ten-Four Good Buddy.

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $1, $971 Remaining

June 17, 2016 Just In Time For Summer!

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Dr. Charles A. Bucher, Slimnastics, Decca 734546, 1959

No, Jane Fonda did not invent the workout record.  Richard Simmons was in grade school when Dr. Charles A. Bucher created the nonsense workout Slimnastics.  Make this record a must if you have a strong desire to touch your toes to public domain songs like Pop Goes The Weasel, and Tea For Two.  All played for meekly for you by an anonymous orchestra while the good doctor leads your through your paces.

A quick Google search for Dr. Charles A. Bucher tells me he was on President Eisenhower’s council for fitness.  This record came out in 1959, so he must have had some credentials to get the record deal with Decca.  Betty Draper probably had this record…

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Men and women each get their own side of the record, men on side one.  I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere, but I’ll let your imagination create your own.  This is all just the most basic fitness routine, and I can’t imagine anyone needing this record once they learn what a sit-up is.  And, oy, the music is just so corny.

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My absolute favorite part, though is the back cover.  The exercise tips are nothing more than the silliest common sense advice, especially my favorite, #7: “Include time for a shower or bath after your slimnastics”.

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I actually did the routine (for MEN, thank you very much) twice and felt no slimmer.  But I promise you, a record like this is amazing to have in your collection or frame for your workout area.  Just be sure to have enough room to do it (no obstructions)!

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $1, $972 Remaining

June 16, 2016 Born Nearly Free

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Andy Williams, Born Free, Columbia CS-9480, 1967

Goodwill record shoppers will also have the chance to collect as many Andy Williams records as they have room for.  Williams made a career out of singing lush arrangements of the hits of the day, cranking out an album every few months for 15 years at Columbia.  You can usually guess the year his records came out by seeing what’s on them and adding a few months.  Most of Born Free‘s trackless comes from 1966, and lo and behold, this album was released in April, 1967.

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Every one of his records is more lush than the one before, and the cardigans of the early 60s gave way to mod fashions by the 70s.  This one fits nicely in the middle with vocal versions of the title track and the impossibly catchy Music To Watch Girls By.  SO catchy in fact that it was used in a British Car commercial in 1999 and was re-issued there, where it zoomed to Number One!  If you have room for only one Andy Williams record (or have the intestinal fortitude to even listen to one), make sure you go with Born Free.

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My $1 copy, unfortunately, was fairly priced by Goodwill.  I should have known because it didn’t come with an inner sleeve.  It did look shinny, though, so I went for it.  This copy will hold a place in the Williams section until I run across it again.  It won’t take long I suspect.

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $1, $973 Remaining

June 15, 2016 New Routes To Goodwill

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Lulu, New Routes, Atco SD33-310, 1970

I really almost didn’t buy this record.  Lulu is close to one hit wonder status in the US, and this record came out three years after the hit.  The bottom seam is shot, and the record didn’t appear to be in great shape.  But as a blog writer, I was looking for a great example of ring wear to highlight for my reader(s), and this record has some of the most perfect ring wear I’ve ever seen!  So, yes fan(s), when you lay albums flat on their back instead of standing them up on their sides, the weight of the upper records presses their round shape into the covers of the lower records.  Usually the artwork presents a perfect circle from forming, but here, even the slightly raised center label ring was pressed into this cover!  I therefore present perfect ring wear for your enjoyment.

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I didn’t expect much, but I LOVED THIS RECORD!  I grabbed it in haste, so I missed the back’s liner notes telling me that not only was this the same Lulu who sang “To Sir With Love”-Duh!- but that it was recorded at the same Muscle Shoals record studio that turned out some of America’s best records of the late 1960-70s-Whoa!  Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and Lynyrd Skynyrd all made their hits there using the same backing band as Lulu did.  A guy named Dwayne Allman was the guitar player.

Arco is short for Atlantc Record Company, and the label was founded for records recorded for Atlantic that strayed from the R&B and Jazz that the parent company released. In the 1950s, the label you were on reflected the kind of act you were.  Bobby Darin was Atco’s first major star, while Ray Charles released records on Atlantic.  The back liner notes add that Lulu had just become Mrs. Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees, Atco’s leading act of 1969.  Perhaps getting signed to the label was no coincidence.

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The album contains songs that went on to become hits for others, namely Mr. Bojangles, and Feelin’ Alright, and there are two pretty cool Gibb Brothers originals included.

True to my suspicions, the record was in bad shape.  But at $1, I’m not really upset financially, and I’ll begin a search for a nicer copy online or at a shop.  This is a record I plan to really listen to.  I look forward to putting it one and having people say they really like it but have no idea who it’s by.

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It came with a nice period sleeve from Warner Brothers too.  I had no idea they had Don Rickles and Van Dyke Parks signed to them at the same time!  Still, this sleeve will probably end up one a later Perer, Paul & Mary record…

Today’s Summary:

Cost $1, $974 Remaining

June 14, 2016 Happy 50th Birthday!

theheadliners1.jpgVarious Artists, The Headliners ’66, Columbia Record Club DS 154, 1966

Imagine your surprise when you got your first shipment “at full club prices” of a record selected “just for you” and you find The Headliners ’66 in the envelope.  As great as it was to receive 9 albums for One Cent, paying $5.98 plus shipping and handling for this turkey must have made you really question your decision.

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Sure, it’s got some big names, and some songs you recognized (because other people made them famous), but there’s really no way anyone in their right mind would have bought this.  Joe Harnell?  About the only headline Joe Harnell might have made in 1966 would be “Area man dies of tedium from listening to a Joe Harnell record”.

This is the kind of record that hasn’t existed for decades.  Taking rejected or sub-standard tracks from your stable of artists and combining them into a “greatest hits” package just doesn’t happen anymore.  Virtually everyone here is way past their prime, and the material is really uninspiring.  Moon River, Moon Song, and Moon Love all on one compilation?  Inspiring.  The upside is, I’d be willing to bet that this record is the only place some of these recordings were ever released.

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The other plus is that I found it in the $1 bin at Goodwill, and it is the absolute most pristine $1 record I’ve ever bought.  I’d be surprised if it was played more than 10 times.  I personally plan to make sure it doesn’t hit 15 plays during my ownership period.  The cover is in great shape, and I’ve never seen this Columbia Record Club Exclusive label anywhere else.  The original owner also switched inner sleeves with something else, so I got a mint condition 1966 Capitol inner sleeve that I could probably sell for $5 on Ebay.

But no…I’m going to save it until the day that I find a copy of Pet Sounds in the same shape.

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $1, $975 Remaining

June 13, 2016 How High’s The Water Mama?

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The Cowsills, IIxII, MGM SE-4639, 1970

I have a confession to make: I kinda love The Cowsills.  The All-American family band that was the inspiration for The Partridge Family had two #2 hits in three years, and but for a looney father and lack of record company support they might have been one of the best groups of the era.  The documentary of their story Family Band is a worthy watch, but listening to their albums are the real treat….for me.  I think I may be just about the only one who feels that way.

This record came out in 1970, eighteen months after their biggest hit Hair.  It had no hit singles and failed to chart, and the band was falling apart.  It became their last major label release.  MGM spent a little money it, giving them a gatefold cover and Sgt. Pepper style collage.  None of it worked.

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This particular copy was obviously in a flood of some sort.  The lower 1/4 of the cover is warped and missing it’s original paper picture.  The smell of old mold is pretty intense.  If you shop for discount records, you will find records that have been damaged by water.

Does that mean I shouldn’t have forked over $1 from an obscure album from a group I happen to like?  Not a chance!  For starters, I’ve never seen this record before, and not for lack of looking.  Second, it’s not something I’d want to spend any kind of real money for, despite my intense case of like for the group.  But finally because I have a remedy for getting moldy records to play like new.

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Audio purists will be horrified, but a good swipe with a premoistened wipe will do the trick.  I use Lysol brand wipes myself, and one good spin of each side removes years of mold and dirt.  You just have to be careful to let the record dry before you play it.  It doesn’t take much time, and the results are worth it.

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I’m sorry for the broken water heater the Norbratens experienced, it looked like a bad leak!  And Loopnet, the commercial real estate online broker shows several vacancies at 9255 Sunset Boulevard.  I wonder if that’s why my letter to the Cowsills Fan Club has gone unreturned.

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $1, $976 Remaining

June 12, 2016 I Won!

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Various Artists, Country Winners ’73, Columbia House 6067, 1973

I’m not usually a big fan of greatest hits packages or various artists compilations.  My goal is to find interesting original records, not build a music collection.  Every now and then, though, something catches my eye and I pick up something like Country Winners ’73.

First of all, the cover is preposterous.  Who takes a horse on a picnic if they’re not going to ride it?  Don’t they know that you can play Country Music to a horse, but you can’t make him listen?

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The winners are all obviously from the Columbia stable of artists, but its awkward to pair Johnny Cash with Barbara Mandrell.  The best two cuts are Charlie Rich’s Behind Closed Doors, and Lynn Anderson’s Top Of The World, which became a #1 Pop hit for The Carpenters.

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Columbia House was a specialty label affiliated with the Columbia Record Club, and this was most likely a Record Of The Month selection that people overpaid for and cancelled their subscriptions.  The record is in mint condition, probably because the original owner literally hated it.  I’m not in love with it, but I am in like with it.

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $1, $977 Remaining

June 11, 2016 A $1 Trip To The Caribbean

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Chet Atkins, Caribbean Guitar, RCA 2549, 1962

This is a very average album from the very great Chet Atkins.  Not much of a name today, he sold millions of records and was very popular for 30 years.  He was mostly a country guitarist and put a nice, gentile twang of the hits of the day for RCA Records.  His Beatles tribute album is really great, but this one kind of misses the mark for me.  Caribbean Guitar was his fourth album release in a year, they can’t all be gems at that rate.

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The back cover doesn’t help the album’s blandness, there’s not even a picture of Chet Atkins!   That makes today the perfect chance to talk about something every cheap record shopper will need to invest in.  This record was in the Goodwill bin without a paper inner sleeve.  In fact, almost all of the Goodwill records I featured this week were missing them.  A decent inner sleeve is vital to keeping your records from dust and scratching from the rougher cardboard of the cover.

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I keep a supply of new paper inner sleeves on hand, as well as thicker plastic record album sleeves.  Maybe it would be possible to find them cheaper than online from Bags Unlimited, but their prices are so reasonable that they are my go to “supply” supplier.  100 plastic protection sleeves cost $21.15 and a pack of 50 inner sleeves cost $13.15.  Since I plan to keep these records until vinyl becomes uncool again (which I hope will be never!), a small investment in protecting them will really help in preserving them.  Chet is now on the shelf well protected until I get the urge to take another 28 minute vacation to the Caribbean, with a change in Nashville.

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $1, $978 Remaining

June 10, 2016 Stop, Hey, What’s That Sound?

soundeffects3Authentic Sound Effects, Volume 2, Electra 7252, 1964

Another reason to shop at Goodwill is because of the records there can’t be found anywhere else.  For $1 I was able to listen to 26 minutes of trains and typewriters and clocks and animals.  This is literally a record that has all the bells and whistles.

I have no idea what I’ll do with it, but I’m glad I have it.  I don’t own a TV station or make any industrial presentations, what the cover tells me the record is perfect for, but I do thank whomever Jac Holzman was for compiling this album.  And it is fun to hear what Grand Central Station sounded like in 1964.

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Maybe I’ll blast “Steam Locomotive” when my niece comes for a visit and won’t get up in the morning.  I could sound the “Gong Seven Strokes” at dinner time, or put on the horse effects while I call someone and pretend I’m out riding.  I’m only limited by my imagination.soundeffects

The album came out on Electra Records, an odd choice because they were a Folk label in the early 1960s.  It obviously never charted, but it really must have sold, because when I got it home I saw that the label is the Elektra version from the late 70s until the mid 80s.  Keeping an album active in a catalog only make sense if the record sells, so maybe this record could be a sleeper million seller.  And that’s something to really make some noise about.

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $1, $979 Remaining