July 28, 2016 Isn’t It Rich

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Charlie Rich, Behind Closed Doors, Epic KE-32247, 1973

Charlie Rich was known as The Silver Fox, probably from the hair color that became his trademark from an early age.  He was also known for a very compelling body of work that he produced in a 30 year career in Rock & Roll, Country and Pop.  Unfortunately, in the music business, he was known as a cantankerous guy to deal with.  One of my favorite youtube videos to watch is of a drunk Charlie Rich announcing the 1975 Country Performer Of The Year Award.  He lights the announcement card on fire before he reads out the name John Denver to show his disgust.

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But he did make some amazing records.  This was by far his best selling one, but his early Rock & Roll records for Sun and (Sam) Phillips International are amazing.  I love is one off single for RCA of Nice & Easy, and his late 60s Hi Records releases are well regarded northern soul classics.img_9939

There’s more to this one too beyond the two huge hits.  It’s almost as if this is the great 70s album that Elvis never made (Charlie Rich got his Sun contract because he sounded a little like Elvis!).  This one is also worthy of a few spins a year.

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $1, $881 Remaining

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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 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 3, 2016 Today IS The Third Of June!

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Bobbie Gentry “Fancy” Capitol ST-428, 1970

Today is the third of June, another sleepy piney Oregon day.  I know from my days in radio that at some point on June 3rd every station in some way has to mention, if not play repeatedly, “Ode To Billy Joe” by Bobbie Gentry for the opening line.  The song exploded up the charts and occupied 1/3 of the summer of love at number one.  The single sold millions of copies, strangely even went top 10 on the R&B chart, and earned 8 grammy nominations,  while the album knocked The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper” from the top spot.

Should be an easy record to find, right?  After all, the single pops up virtually anywhere, so any descent used record shop should have the album.  As I set June 1 for the start date of the blog, I knew the third album had to be “Ode To Billy Joe”.  Friends, today’s first lesson on record collecting is you can’t ever expect to find a particular vinyl record on demand.  Yes, I am aware of Ebay and online sellers, but the point here is to collect for less money so you can collect more.  No matter how hard I tried for a few months, I never did find a copy of the record.

Rather than throwing myself off the Tallahatchie Bridge, which actually became a thing once the song became a hit (not killing anyone because it was at most 20 feet above the river), I did spend a lot of time in the Bobbie Gentry bins and found something pretty special.  Today’s record is indeed “Fancy”.

I’m not able to go on about the impressive collection of tunes assembled or tell you how much better Gentry’s original of the title track is to Reba’s 1991 remake because this particular copy is still factory sealed!  Finding sealed records in a store is like getting a vintage port or bottle of wine from the year your were born.  You don’t just open them because you’re thirsty.  They may never get opened and only get more interesting to keep around.  I’m not going to open this record today just to have something to hear.

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It’s not all good news.  The giant hole punched into the upper right corner means that this record is a “cut-out”.  It was most likely shipped to a big retailer where it didn’t sell.  The record companies would take unsold records back, and rather than destroy them, they would punch holes, drill holes, or literally cut corners with a saw and then try to re-sell the records at discount prices to lower end retailers.  “Fancy”, as wonderful as it is now wasn’t a very big hit when it came out and I’m sure many copies were returned unsold.  So while it’s very rare to find a 46 year old record that has never been opened, the vast majority of the ones still out there are “cut-outs”.  People just didn’t buy full price records and put them away unopened any more than they bought new cars and then didn’t drive them to make a future collector happy.

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Maybe the crappy back cover kept some sales away!  Geeze Capitol, the third album from one of your biggest stars gets a plain, bookish back cover?  Bobbie Gentry deserved more than a 700 word essay!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to have it now, but even June Christy a decade before got some doodles and a picture on her back cover.

Today’s Summary:

Cost $10, $986 Remaining