Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thrift Stores

The Joyfulairs - In the Valley
record cover (detail), 12" x 12"

Frequently I visit the 2 or 3 thrift stores near to where I live, always looking for records. I hardly ever find anything ‘good’ but usually buy 1 or 2 anyways, they usually cost 50 cents or one dollar. There are always a few records that’ll fit right in to my collection although I probably only play it once when I get it, and then never again. Records like Julian Braem playing Segovia, a signed record by the Lord Saints, a calypso group from the Virgin Islands residing in Miami, FL, hired to perform on Cruise ships in the 1960s, or Blue Öyster Cult’s Secret Treaties, to name a few, are all right but hardly a ‘find’. Certain records or artists can always be found at the thrift stores of Ohio; I never counted but these are, I think, the Top 3 representatives: 1. Andy Williams, 2. Barbara Streisand, 3. Ferrante and Teicher. The only musician that can be found almost always that I’m interested in is Joni Mitchell. I have ten of her records but I have no ambition in collecting all. So even on Joni Mitchell’s records I pass. There are always tons of religious records to be found and occasionally I try my hand to some of those. They usually don’t disappoint me but it is for the sake of novelty, hardly ever a contender to this oh-so-serious list o’mine. Once I picked up a Meditation Singers record produced by Rock ‘n’ Roll history’s cult hero Andre Williams, probably the best thrift store find ever. (That and an original Lomax field recording of blues on a 78.)
Following is a top 10 from thrift store records I bought recently:
  1. Les Clarinetes de Linares – El Gallito Giro (Mexico—almost all records in my very large Mexican/Latin American popular music category come from thrift stores)
  2. Antoñita Romero – El Berebito (ditto for popular records from other parts of the world, this one a single from Spain)
  3. The Joyfulaires – (In the Valley) He Restoreth My Soul (remember the Shaggs)
  4. Maurice Ravel plays Ravel (one of my sub-collections are recordings of classical composers playing their own music solo on piano, I have Stravinsky, Grieg, Debussy, and a handful of others) 
  5. Marion Brown – Duets (occasionally a record shows up  that doesn’t belong to the thrift store category, a Madlib record, the Circle Jerks, or this free jazz improvisation doulble record in mint condition) 
  6. Hudci a speváci zo zemplína (a collection slovenian folk songs: Ohio thrift stores house a large depository of Eastern Eropean records, dumped by immigrants—buy 20 and end up with one great record, such is the ratio) 
  7. Farewell Flower to Remember Her Youth is the title of an LP printed in Hong Kong (problem with records dumped by Asian immigrants is that the names and titles are often in Asian characters—this one was so special that I brought it in to work for a co-worker to translate the Chinese characters)
  8. Cris Williamson – The Changer and the Changed (turns out this one is a historically significant record as it originates (early, 1973) from the feminist/lesbian community, there is no male involvement in the whole process—that is until I picked up a copy at the thrift store, it contains some cool songs)
  9. George Benson – The Other Side of Abbey Road (I don’t like Smooth Jazz, but this may be from the time it wasn’t called smooth yet—this remake of the Beatles’ Abbey Road gets better with every turn table turn)
  10. Dolly Parton – Rocky Top, Tennessee (I didn’t mention yet that there is a whole lot of popular country music to be found in thrift stores)

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