May 7, 2017 The Theme Week That Never Was

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The Dixie Cups, Chapel Of Love, Red Bird RBS 20-100, 1964

I really couldn’t believe my luck when I found this record in a $2 bin.  Not only is it the landmark debut of both The Dixie Cups and Red Bird Records, it’s also a rare Stereo copy that in mint condition is valued at $80.  This album is prized for being a true masterpiece of the 60s Girl Group sound, and there are songs written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, Lieber & Stoller, and Phil Spector.  Any Red Bird release is very collectable, and this was the label’s first album release.  True, this isn’t a mint copy, but it still plays well and this is an amazing record without a bad track on it.

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The only reason I didn’t immediately feature it was because it also another landmark album of a more dubious fame.  This is one of the more famous record jackets from an African American group that feature white people (in this case represented by wedding cake figurines).  There is no picture of the group anywhere on the record, supposedly so as not to offend white record buyers in certain parts of the country.  It’s hard to imagine that as late as 1964 that this would still be a thing, but here it is.  I wanted to have a theme week of these covers, perhaps for Black History Month, but as luck would have it, this was the only affordable one I ever found.

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It stands to reason too.  These records are usually by Motown or Soul artists and came out in a time where the single was the preferred commercial format for music geared to younger buyers.  Albums of the 50s and 60s usually sold to adults and the pre-Beatles album charts are usually filled with soundtracks, broadway titles and adult themed music.  Original Motown records and other Soul classics didn’t sell in the same numbers and they are all very pricey to buy today.  You’ll just have to imagine the drawing of the mailbox on The Marvelettes’ Please Mr. Postman and the smiling white couple on a beach on The Isley Brothers’ This Old Heart Of Mine or be prepared to shell out $200 each for a copy of them.

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $2, $170 Remaining

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December 1, 2016 Dominique Unique Unique

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Madelaine/Sister Adele, Dominique, Diplomat 2303 & 1020, 1963

First of all, who says you can’t buy an Adele record on vinyl for cheap?  True, this might not be the first Adele that comes to mind, but still…  This was going to be a lesson on label variation, meaning I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw two different labels for the same dopey copy cat album from our friends at Diplomat Records.  They’re the schlocky outfit that had a JFK tribute album out in stores within a week of the assassination.  Just after that tragedy, with the national mood in a funk similar to the election of Donald Trump, Ed Sullivan dispensed with the usual pop act and featured a film of a Belgian Nun singing some simple Bible themed songs she’d written to children.  Well, the record that Nun made was quickly leased to Phillips Records, and both the album and the single of Dominique quickly shot to number one.

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Naturally, Diplomat Records needed to grab a hold of that gravy train.  They rush released a cheaply recorded version by “Sister Adele” which was somehow “Sung By Madelaine”.  Whomever is singing, it’s clear that they sing in French as a second language.  Not that I speak French, but I’m familiar enough with the original record to know that Sister Adele isn’t singing the same words.  I almost want to study French to solve the mystery, with the hope being that she sings something along the lines of “you fools, you saved Fifty Cents but didn’t get the real record”.

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But while I couldn’t believe Diplomat shelled out to print two different covers, the one with the fake nun pretending to sing to some kids out in the woods of New Jersey is actually a Stereo pressing!  Why a discount label would even bother with that expense is beyond me, and I can’t find any information about any other Diplomat records coming out in Stereo.  Still, I listened to it and sure enough it’s in some kind of Stereo.  Madeleine comes out of one speaker and the fake background nuns come out of the other!  I’m beginning to realize that I might have just found the Holy Grail of the discount record, pun very much intended.

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $2, $611 Remaining

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