October 10, 2016 ‘S Happened Again

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Ray Conniff, ‘S Awful Nice, Columbia CS 8001, 1958?

You know, I should really know better.  Ray Conniff is one of there all time greatest Goodwill artists, someone that no serious music fan has any interest in.  Even though I’ve blogged about him before, and as much as I tell people that he was was ahead of his time with the technology of the recording studio, no-one but me seems to hip to the vibe he laid down. (Cough).  But really, these records are fun, sorry for being (Cough) a broken record.

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So, yes, when I saw this record in a $1 bin, yes, on the street, in the rain, in the cold Oregon streets, i didn’t think twice about buying it.  I never in a million years would have figured that this was a record that the great Columbia record would have ever had a need, sales-wise to re-relsease.  I doubt that this was a big seller in 1958, it spawned no hit singles, and wasn’t a well known member of the Conniff catalogue.

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Yet, somehow, in the 1980s judging by the label, record stores begged for more of ‘S Awful Nice to satisfy the immense customer demand for an echo chamber version of It Had To Be You.  As a record collector, I felt very cheated to fall for this yet again despite the 100 pennies I had to fork over to take this home.  It remains a truism that I might just get my first tattoo on my wallet opening arm that says “Aways Check The Label!”

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $2, $718 Remaining

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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 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