April 18, 2017 $1 Records In Flight

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Starland Vocal Band, Starland Vocal Band, Windsong BHL1- 1351, 1976

I bet of all the awards they’ve ever given out, I would be that the Grammy Awards Committee would like their Best New Artist Of 1977 one back.  Yes, I know the similar one given to Milli Vanilli is right up there, the one presented to the Starland Vocal Band really set the kiss of death bar for all the sub-par winners that came after it.  And yes, it wasn’t a stellar crop of nominees they were up against (Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band!), but either Boston or the Brothers Johnson would have looked fine in the rear view mirror.

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It’s not that this is a particularly bad record, they can play and sing, but what they play and sing is so of a two month period of 1976 that you almost can’t listen to it without gagging.  Their one hit, Afternoon Delight, has been mocked and derided ever since it hit #1 in July 1976.  It was a big enough hit that the group got a shot at a TV series and a young David Letterman was the head writer and host of.  The clips of it available on youtube are equally unwatchable.

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Winding Records was John Denver’s vanity label that he was able to arrange with his label RCA.  The association with the Starland Vocal Band goes back to Bill & Taffy Danoff, half of the Band, when they co-wrote Denver’s breakthrough hit Take Me Home Country Road.  By the time this record came out though, the era of the country tinged light pop sound was dying.  Disco was the new sound of the day and there was no was the Starland Vocal Band, or even John Denver, could make that transition.  This is an easy record to find, and it’s always fun to pull out at a party, but it’s not what I would call an essential record.

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $1, $216 Remaining

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March 18, 2017 Wanting To Be Wanted

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The Partridge Family, Up To Date, Bell 6059, 1971

The Partridge Family, a nominees for Best New Artist at the 1971 Grammy Awards, were hot when this, their second album came out.  David Cassidy was on his way to a brief stint as the leading national teen idol, and the records flew off the shelves.  It was all fake in reality, but this record hit #3 as the TV show wrapped up its first season.

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Like most teen idol records, this one is geared to appeal to the fans.  In this case, 14 year old girls.  For the first time, David Cassidy sings every lead, instead of the anonymous studio singers that sung half of the first album.  He even got his first writing credit, but it was the two top 10 hits I’ll Meet You Halfway and Doesn’t Somebody Want To Be Wanted that really pushed the album’s sales.  The latter song was absolutely hated by Cassidy and the show’s production was halted so producers and lawyers could convince him that he had to sing it, cheesy spoken interlude included.

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Besides the hits and the dimples. what also was included was a cool custom Partridge Family text book cover!  I had no idea that it did, but lo and behold, this pristine copy was neatly tucked inside this $2 copy.  Usually, inserts like this got used or pinned up on a wall, so finding one in mint condition is pretty rare.

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $2, $291 Remaining

June 4, 2016 The Best Selling Album Of All Time

IMG_7048Blood Sweat And Tears, Columbia 9720, 1969

Seven weeks at number one, three #2 hit singles, the Grammy for Album Of The Year 1969, the second album from the group Blood Sweat and Tears has got to be the best selling album of all time.

Except it isn’t.  True, it did sell four million copies, but these days it seems like 3.9 million of them have ended up at Goodwill.  Which is why anyone looking for interesting affordable records will invariably run across hundreds of copies of this album without even trying.

To get back on my budget’s track after spending $10 on an unopened Bobbie Gentry album yesterday, I needed to average out my budget by making a run at the $1 bins at my local Goodwill superstore.

To be able to buy 365 albums for less than $1000, I am going to have to really look for records in many places besides actual record stores.  Thrift Stores are a natural.  They get donations all the time, and price things to move.  Sometimes, they even run sales on top of their already low prices.

Goodwill is my go to thrift store.  They get the most donations, and most of them have a dedicated vinyl section.  True, most of the records found there seem to have been in the bins for decades, are in terrible condition, and would have long ago been thrown away by anyone trying to make money in the record business.  But with a little perseverance, you can still unearth some treasures.

In virtually  anywhere they operate, Goodwill has one large master “superstore” and several smaller branch stores.  The best records are usually found at the superstores, I think because that’s where the most donations first arrive.  The branch stores have a smaller selection and therefore they don’t have much of their inventory turn over.

When they have their $1 sales, Goodwill can be a great place to shop for records.  Now, you have to know that it would be miraculous if you found any records that would have traditional value at a full priced retailer.  But, for albums like Blood Sweat And Tears, you can walk away with records worth spending an evening with.

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And this is an interesting album!  There are elements of classical, pop, jazz, folk, soul and hard rock fused together very well, and it’s very easy to see the influence it had on groups like Chicago, Genesis, and ELO.  Maybe it’s just that unlike those other groups, B,S & T didn’t really have a breakout star or any recognizable players.  The songs are virtually all covers.  Musicians came and went from the group and everyone of their albums just sounded different from the one before.  This was their only best seller, and all of their top ten hits are on it.  I wouldn’t call them a one hit wonder, but this individual album is kind of their greatest hits package without even trying to be.

Today’s Summary:

Cost $1, $985 remaining