Thrift Store Digging – Summer 2015

The flagship Goodwill in San Francisco (Van Ness and Mission location) has slowly been discontinuing the sale of LPs. Various locations around the Bay Area have also slowly been phasing out the sale of LPs. The location at Van Ness and Mission has instead been receiving a steady supply of CDs and DVDs (as little as 25 new titles, as high as 300+ titles on a daily basis).  Unlike LPs, most CDs found in thrift stores like Goodwill can actually be worth their purchase. The Goodwill at Van Ness and Mission has received so many donated CDs in the last few weeks that they have been desperately trying to push them out the door by discounting them 50% off – 2 CDs for $2. CDs typically sell for $2 each, so the discount is basically $1 per CD, with a minimum purchase of 2 CDs.

A general rundown of the CDs found at Goodwill are typically such:

40% – CDs which are not worth $1, even in mint condition

No offense to Bette Midler, or Smash Mouth, but...
No offense to Bette Midler, or Smash Mouth, but…

25% – CDs which are damaged and are likely to skip during playback

15% – CDs which are burned CDRs of MP3s / pirated media

10% – CDs which are not even CDs, but are actually pirated movies in VCD format from foreign countries

100% authorized releases
100% authorized releases

8% – CDs which are missing from their original cases

This is the absolute worst part of digging for CDs.

Oh sweet, Nirvana’s Never Mind! I’ll just open the CD case to see the condi-  Oh.  IT’S EMPTY.

<2% – CDs worthy of purchase (even without discount)

A short list of some gems I’ve come across:

Jean Michel-Jarre - Oxygene (MFSL label, 24k gold CD)
Jean Michel-Jarre – Oxygene (MFSL label, 24k gold CD)

Rare 24k gold CD from Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (a legendary audiophile label). Enjoyed the CD for a week before selling. Purchased for $1 – Sold via Ebay for $39.

 

Herbert Blomstedt Conducting Staatskapelle Dresden : Mozart – Symphonies Nos.40 & 41 "Jupiter"
Herbert Blomstedt Conducting Staatskapelle Dresden : Mozart – Symphonies Nos.40 & 41 “Jupiter”

Very rare Japanese import from Denon (yes, the same Denon that manufactures stereo equipment) featuring Mozart’s Jupiter suite conducted by Herbert Blomstedt.

 

Boredoms ‎– Super Roots 3
Boredoms ‎– Super Roots 3

Hard to find Japanese import from avant-garde sensation Boredoms.

 

Emerson Lake & Palmer - The Best Of Emerson Lake & Palmer
Emerson Lake & Palmer – The Best Of Emerson Lake & Palmer

Excellent compilation of progressive rock’s finest.

 

Hüsker Dü ‎– New Day Rising
Hüsker Dü ‎– New Day Rising

No explanation for this needed.

 

Various - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Various – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

An excellent soundtrack featuring music from Electric Light Orchestra, Beck, and music composed by Jon Brion. The CD is worth about $4, so it’s not much of a bargain, but it’s still a great listen!

 

Steve Roach - World's End
Steve Roach – World’s End

Rare double CD set featuring ambient music from Steve Roach. Purchased for $2 – worth between $20 to $30 according to discogs.

Because LPs are slowly being phased out at Goodwill locations, I’m now resorting to digging for vinyl at Salvation Army thrift stores. There’s nothing wrong with Salvation Army necessarily, but their LPs are $2 each (whereas Goodwill’s LPs are $1) and they tend to have worse selection than Goodwill (yes, it IS possible to have worse selection than Goodwill…) In my experience, Salvation Army tends to have waaaay more “spiritual” records. This isn’t too shocking given Salvation Army is a Christian charity organization.

The good thing about Salvation Army compared to Goodwill is they receive literally tons and tons of vinyl. The bad news about that, is for every 500 LPs, only 1 is actually worth $2. This issue of quantity vs. quality became evident when I spent way longer digging than I should have only to walk away with two LPs out of roughly 1000. Below are some decent questionable finds:

Isaac Hayes - Hot Buttered Soul
Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul

This is a reissue from the late 1970s on Stax. Looks VG, plays Near Mint. Classic soul from South Park’s Chef.

 

Tom Tom Club - Tom Tom Club
Tom Tom Club – Tom Tom Club

What are words worth? Apparently $2.

 

 尾形 大作 ‎– 郷愁
尾形 大作 ‎– 郷愁

Uhhhhhhhh… I bought this LP on a whim thinking that maybe since it was a Japanese import it would hold some decent resale value, or hopefully feature interesting music. Neither turned out to be true.

 

Minoru Muraoka, Toshiko Yonekawa, Chikatoyo Tsujimoto ‎– Koto To Shakuhachi Niyoru Nagashiuta Miryoku No Subete
Minoru Muraoka, Toshiko Yonekawa, Chikatoyo Tsujimoto ‎– Koto To Shakuhachi Niyoru Nagashiuta Miryoku No Subete

Hands down the best find I’ve scored from a thrift store in a long time. Unfortunately for me my copy is missing the sleeve and the second LP of this amazing double LP set. I found this LP crammed in the sleeve of the 尾形 大作 ‎– 郷愁 title mentioned above. Because of the Japanese characters on both LPs, I couldn’t distinguish it as a completely separate recording. Fortunately for me this LP was entirely worth the gamble of$2 (unlike the 尾形 大作 ‎– 郷愁, which was horrible modern enka from the early 1980s) This LP features musicians Minoru Muraoka, Toshiko Yonekawa, and Chikatoyo Tsujimoto. Minoru Muraoka is an esteemed shakuhachi player. His earlier LPs are worth several hundred dollars. It’s not uncommon to pay over $300 for his work. Seriously! Click around on his various titles on discogs and it becomes quickly apparent how sought-after this amazing musician’s work is! This is what one of his most sought-after LPs sounds like:

According to discogs Toshiko Yonekawa was a Japanese koto performer and composer of the Ikuta school style. In 1996 she was honored as a Living National Treasure (a very high honor reserved for those who – according to wikipedia –  are Preservers of Important Intangible Cultural Properties). Yonekawa’s LPs are also highly sought after. One title on discogs has previously sold for $225 and has a ratio of 1/27 of those who own the LP (1 person), and those who want the LP (27 people). Chikatoyo Tsujimoto is fairly more obscure than the others and doesn’t seem to have any one solo recording to his name. This LP features absolutely beautiful instrumental Japanese contemporary jazz and folk. On the discogs release page for this title, there’s a ratio of 1/42. I suppose I’m now one of the few lucky people able to enjoy this very rare and sought-after title!

Vinyl – Thirft Store Digging

Part of being a record collector (especially an obsessed devoted one) involves spending a lot of time and energy finding new music to own. Walking into a finely curated record store is fine if I’m comfortable spending at least $10 for a single LP,  but in most cases, I don’t particularly like spending a lot of money – even on records. There’s nothing wrong with spending time and money in a record store necessarily, but I’m not going to feel good spending money there as opposed to finding music I want at a thrift store or at a garage sale for tens of dollars cheaper. That’s part of what makes hunting and digging so fun – the bargains and the possibility of flipping a cheap record for modest profit.

I figured out overtime that Goodwill is a decent source for bargain hunting vinyl. Not all Goodwills will carry used vinyl, but the ones that do will eventually sell some really great stuff. I say eventually because about 98% of the stuff that hits the floors at Goodwill is complete garbage and it can be weeks before anything good is found. I see the same categories of vinyl all universally all thrift stores: Barbara Streisand, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Tom Jones, Johnny Mathis, classical music, Neil Diamond, Christmas albums, Children’s albums, 12” hip hop singles, big band jazz, and Spanish mariachi music. Oh, and of course everything in terrible shape.

About 20% of the vinyl I come across is in non-playable condition. I mean, there’s G+ condition, which I can tolerate if it’s a rare find, and then there are albums in P condition with scratches so thick you would think the LP was intentionally rubbed with a cheese grater.

Some collectors tend to score at thrift stores. While selling at the KUSF Rock n’ Swap last year I struck up a conversation with the seller at the booth next to me. He was a veteran seller of over 20 years who told me he once found an LP at a Salvation Army by a group called Search Party. Search Party were a psychedelic Christian rock group from the late 1960s. He told me he was going through about 100 Christian / devotional LPs at a Salvation Army when he stumbled across it. He bought the LP for $2 and promptly sold it on eBay for $1600.

PRAISE THE LORD
PRAISE THE LORD

Sometimes I’ll find an LP without its jacket just floating in a crate or on a shelf. Most of the time I don’t tend to bring these kind of LPs home, although admittingly I have done it once or twice. I’ll explain later.

Then there’s the culture of people who I’ve come to see routinely digging for vinyl.  With few exceptions, most of the people digging for vinyl have little to no social skills. They’re mostly middle aged men still looking for their one holy grail (after God knows how many years of digging for it) and they don’t come to Goodwill to socialize. Their personalities and mannerisms remind me of Gollum from Lord of the Rings.

Typical Thrift Vinyl Collector

To be honest, most things I come across at Goodwill or at thrift stores I end up selling. It makes more sense to spend $10 on vinyl I know I can sell for profit than to keep my finds. For example, below is a short list of things I’ve found at various thrift stores and then sold online. I paid about $9 for the ten items below, and made a net profit of $154.66:

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Various Artists – Capcom vs. Marvel 2 Mix Tape.   Bought for $1 – Sold for $45

The Capcom vs. Marvel 2 Mix Tape LP shown above I technically got for free. When I got home I found this LP crammed in the sleeve of an entirely unrelated album.

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Beatles – Abbey Road.   Bought for $1 – Sold for $16.50

ebay 4

Beatles – Beatles ’65.   Bought for $1 – Sold for $10.50

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The New Romans 7”.   Bought for $1 – Sold for $26

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Bobby Vee – Suzie Baby (promo 7”).  Bought for $0.50 – Sold for $5

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The Cure – Standing On A Beach: The Singles.   Bought at a garage sale for $1 – Sold for $26

Maria Callas ebay

Maria Callas picture disc.   Bought for $0.50 – Sold for $12.50

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Marj Snyder – A Time of Peace.   Bought for $1 – Sold for $7.16

ebay 5

Blind Spot – Blind Spot 7″.   Bought for $1 – Sold for $5

Not everything I purchase from thrift stores turns out to be a good investment…

ebay 10

Randy and the Rainbows 7”.   Bought for $1 – Sold for $1

With the money I made from these sales, I felt perfectly comfortable buying a copy of this very rare triple LP Pink Floyd bootleg set known as Cruel But Fair.

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When the LP covers are put in the proper sequence, they make the image of this spooky looking owl!

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The real icing on the cake of this rare triple LP set is the color of each vinyl.

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I paid about $159 for my copy, with $24 for international shipping from Spain. So basically, I bought a very rare, very expensive triple LP bootleg with funds I earned from selling dollar bin records purchased from Thrift stores. All I had to pay out-of-pocket was the international shipping and a few extra bucks to cover the remaining cost. And if that isn’t enough, this triple LP set is now out of print and stupidly expensive to buy. On Discogs it’s currently for sale at the low bargain price of $525.

Cruel and Unfair
Cruel and Unfair

The things I keep from Goodwill are typically either rare, or are a very legitimate bargain and are worth keeping. For example, I was digging a few months ago and came across an LP floating around in a bin without a jacket. The labels were vanilla colored and simply read “SIDE ONE” and “SIDE TWO” on each side.

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This, I knew, was more than likely a bootleg. I picked it up and read the deadwax which read TAKRL 1968. This was a copy of The Amazing Kornyphone Record Label’s live King Crimson album entitled Heretic.

King Crimson - Heretic
King Crimson – Heretic

According to Discogs, this albums sells between $20 to $65. I bought my copy (albeit the jacket is missing) for $1.

Additionally, I’ve come across some other decent finds at various thrift stores.

Jay-Z – VOL. 2… Hard Knock Life

KLF – Burn The Bastards 12″

Carol King – Tapestry

The very best of Chuck Berry

Various Wes Montgomery albums

and a handful of Bob Dylan Albums.

Like I said, most vinyl records sold at thrift stores are either in garbage condition or feature music NOBODY wants. But if you are patient enough and know what it is you’re looking at, it can become a rewarding experience.

Vinyl – June 2014

I acquired way too many records in June. And not on purpose either…

A few weeks ago while helping out a family member with their garage sale, I was gifted three records from their home. As I was looking at the gifted albums a customer of the garage sale approaches me.

“Hey man, you a record collector?”

“Sort of. I have my selective tastes but I’m into a lot of genres.”

“I got two or three boxes of records at my place if you want to go digging through them. You might find something worth while.”

My girlfriend and I wrap up the day a few hours later and head over to the man’s home.  He greets us outside his home as he tunes up his car in the driveway.  He leads us to his backyard and drops one box at a time on his patio table.

“Feel free to take your time and when you’re done let me know if you see anything that interests you.”

The gentleman was very nice. Considering we had just met him only a few hours earlier, and only for about 3 minutes, he was already  offering us water and chairs to sit in so that we’d be comfortable. My girlfriend and I began to dig though his two boxes.  Most of it was music I actually liked – The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, etc. The rest included artists like The Beatles, Van Morrison, Pat Benatar, Allman Brothers, Doobie Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Credence Clearwater Revival, Big Brother and Holding Company, Bad Company among others.

Unfortunately, most of the records were in VG condition. Some were even warped, like Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan, or Revolver by the Beatles. I put aside three piles while digging through the boxes.

Pile 1: Not interested

Piles 2: Possibly worth keeping

Pile 3: Definitely worth keeping

After spending about 40 minutes going through 100 or so records, we had reached a definitive number of we wanted. 14 Records grand total.

“How much do you think is a fair price for all those?”, he asks.
I was hesitating to throw a figure out. I’m terrible at pricing records and we were looking for a deal. I said $45 seemed fair for the 14 albums.  The albums themselves weren’t necessarily rare, or even in good condition, which is why $45 seemed appropriate. My selections included most of the Grateful Dead he had, some Lynyrd Skynyrd, Cheap Thrills by Big Brother and Holding Company, Abby Road by The Beatles, and a few other albums. Most of the albums I wanted were worth probably no more than $1.

“Huh. That’s it, just those 14?”

“Yeah.”

He hesitated and flipped through the records we wanted. He takes the records and stacks them up, slams them on the box of other records, and says, “Tell ya what, make it $50 and you can take everything.”

We didn’t decline. We took everything for $50 and were thrilled about our deal. In retrospect, I think I would’ve had the bad end of the deal to ask for $45 for our 14 albums. Most of the albums were not in the best shape.

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We brought them home and I went through them like it was Christmas Morning. It took me several days to determine the value of over 100 albums from the boxes. Most were worth donating to Goodwill since they were so beat up. I was surprised to discover that a handful of albums were worth more than I had expected.

Below are the four most valuable albums we came across from the two boxes thus far…:

Toe Fat – Toe Fat

WHO????
WHO????

I had no idea who this progressive rock group from the UK were. Apparently, they were Uriah Heep’s first band before becoming Uriah Heep. Average price for a copy is between $30 to $45. I hate to admit, the copy we found in the box is pretty beat up. Probably worth closer to $20. Copies have previously sold close to $100.

Chris Isaak – Heart Shaped World

Chris Isaak - Moody Sink and Pensive Thoughts (LP)
Chris Isaak – Moody Sink and Pensive Expressions (LP)

This album was only released on vinyl once and has been out of print for about 25 years. Most copies of this album sell between $30 to $50. The highest sold was about $135. Too bad our copy is in VG condition. Probably worth $25 or so if I had to guess. Not that we plan on selling this one…

Grateful Dead – Grateful Dead

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At first glance, I thought my copy was a NM first pressing, but after looking into it a bit more, I was disappointed to find out the copy from the boxes is actually a second pressing. Even so, second pressings in NM condition typically sell anywhere from $35 – $75.

Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers – S/T

Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers - Duck Face (LP)
Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers – Duck Face (LP)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ first self-titled album was produced many times on several labels – including Shelter Records, MCA Records, and Island Records, Warner Brothers Records, and ABC Records. Our specific release of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was from ABC Records and included a picture collage insert of Tom Petty. This version was apparently a “limited edition” release and also had a different label from all other releases. In near mint (which is what we have), and with the photo insert, it’s valued between $50 to $80.

And then there was the least valuable album that came from the boxes…

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In VG+ / VG shape, this copy of Jesse Colin Young’s album Song For Juli is currently being sold on Discogs for $0.02. Ironically, international shipping from the UK to the US for this album will cost you $15.

The one oddball from the boxes worth mentioning is a copy of Bad Company’s self-titled debut album.

Bad Co - Enron (LP)
Bad Company – Enron (LP)

What makes this album different? Side B for this album does not include a single piece of text on the label.

About 70% of the records in the boxes were not worth keeping. Either they were too beat up and scratched, or they featured music we didn’t enjoy. We’re still deciding on whether or not to sell the records in bulk to a record store, or to attempt liquidating them via eBay. Or, to just donate them to Goodwill.

Past that, I bought only one other album in June.

John Williams – Jurassic Park: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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I loved this movie growing up. The music for the film is good, but it’s not something I would necessarily listen to on a regular basis. Unless of course it looked like this:

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Mondo, the record label who published this album, released two variations and three versions of this record. The version I purchased was known as Variation A. Variation A came in the sleeve shown above and was randomly inserted with either black vinyl (version one, 3000 copies produced), or “Dilophosaurus splatter” vinyl (version two, 2000 copies produced – the version I own). The Dilophosaurus splatter design of the vinyl should be an obvious connection for any fan of the film.

Above:

Variation B  featured a different sleeve design and the vinyl was produced with transparent golden wax, with a mosquito label in the center.

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Limited to 1000 copies, and sold out within 20 minutes. By the time I tried ordering a copy after being stuck in traffic on my way to work, they were all extinct. The amber vinyl with its mosquito label should be another easy connection in reference to the film…

mosquitoe

These records originally sold for $35, direct on the label’s website. They’re now sitting on eBay for really stupid amounts of money.

Now available in 10 easy installments of $25.
Financing now available in 10 easy installments of only $23.50! But hurry, this offer won’t last!

Tracklist

A1 Opening Titles 0:33
A2 Theme From Jurassic Park 3:27
A3 Incident At Isla Nublar 5:20
A4 Journey To The Island 8:53
B1 The Raptor Attack 2:49
B2 Hatching The Baby Raptor 3:20
B3 Welcome To Jurassic Park 7:55
B4 My Friend, The Brachiosaurus 4:16
C1 Dennis Steals The Embryo 4:50
C2 A Tree For My Bed 2:12
C3 High-Wire Stunts 4:09
C4 Remembering Petticoat Lane 2:48
C5 Jurassic Park Gate 2:04
D1 Eye To Eye 6:37
D2 T-Rex Rescue & Finale 7:40
D3 End Credits 3:26

Weekend Trip To Monterey, CA – June 2014

During Father’s Day weekend I went with family down to Monterey, CA. Part of the reason we traveled to Monterey (besides celebrating Father’s Day, of course) was to see the beginnings of the 2014 Porsche Parade.

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The Porsche Parade is an annual event where Porsche owners and collectors showcase, live, breath and talk Porsche.

I knew nothing about Porsche prior to attending the parade. I left knowing little about Porsche after the parade – except that you probably shouldn’t bring a Ferrari to a Porsche Parade. And, yes, some arrogant Ferrari owner actually did this.

Below are some photos from the trip.

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The gentleman shown above with the dusty, red Carerra was from Alaska. The blue painters tape all over the frame of the car was used as protection to keep the finish clean during his two week long drive.

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The Iditarod sled on the roof is used for racing dogs. Duh.

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The owner told a story about when he first installed the painter’s tape on his Porsche and drove across the US. He said he pulled into a gas station in rural Montana just as the local Sheriff was pulling in at the same time. The Sheriff was perplexed about the tape. The owner, not wanting to get hassled or slowed down, told the sheriff a ridiculous excuse that the painters tape was actually being used by the Alaskan state military as an “official test project” for wind resistant / weather resistant tape. He continued to explain that the tape “is not to be removed – no matter what.” The sheriff, who had a Southern drawl, seemed disinterested and stopped asking questions.

Seems ridiculous, and, perhaps I’ve missed some detail from his story, but in either case he concluded by saying the tape prevented dust and dirt from sticking to the car and his story prevented a cop or two from hasseling him and from removing the tape.

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Many of the cars found at the Porsche Parade had funny (or ironic) license plates.

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There were a handful of cars that seemed to get more attention than others. But then again, there were 50+ Porsches in the parking lot, and the event didn’t start until the next day – so of course some cars will be worth checking out more-so than others. These cars were, generally speaking, more sought-after and were waxed to perfection.

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There was a viewing party for the Le Mans race in the courtyard.

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Why the need for a viewing party? Apparently Porsche had reentered Le Mans for the first time in several years. In front of the televisions was the same model Porsche racing in La Mans.

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This is also one of the first (if not the first) hybrid race vehicle Porsche has produced.

Not every car at the event needed to be Porsche to join in the festivities.

Hey... this Porsche looks an awful lot like Mom's car...
Hey… this Porsche looks an awful lot like Mom’s car…

– – – – –

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Our weekend trip to Monterey was concluded the following day in Big Sur after visiting the local bakery and having Father’s Day lunch at the scenic Post Ranch Inn.

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From the restaurant, the views were amazing.

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Good food, good cars, and great family times – an excellent weekend trip down the coast.

Vinyl – May 2014

In May, I bought only six records. Below are four of the six.

Pink Floyd – Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd - Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd – Pink Floyd

This is a very rare Pink Floyd bootleg – recorded live at Musikhalle in Hamburg, Germany on February 25, 1971. The front cover is pretty offensive – so I’m showcasing the back cover. The specific copy I acquired is a second state pressing from the original, first-ever bootleg recording of the famed 1971 Musikhalle performance. The differences in pressings are equally subtle as they are superficial.

First State - Impossible to find
First State – The original Musikhalle bootleg (no text). Nearly impossible to come across.
Second State – Very difficult to find. This is the version I own.
Third State - the most common of the three variations. Moderately difficult to find. Note the different arrangement of text compared to the second state.
Third State – the most common of the three variations. Moderately difficult to find. Note the different arrangement of text compared to the second state.

This bootleg was known for a few things: its rarity, its really obscene front cover, and its excellent recording quality featuring outstanding performances of songs like Careful with that Axe, Eugenie, Embryo, and Atom Heart Mother (performed with a backing brass and choir arrangement). It was also known for a really loud, chilling scream during Careful with that Axe, Eugene. The scream is queued up below (not advised for playback using headphones):

This legendary record has been copied many times by many of the big bootleggers of the 1970s. It’s been repressed before with titles such as:

Pink Floyd - Germany 1970 Titles v2

and then there’s the extremely rare version of all the Muiskhalle bootlegs  –  Embrwo.

Embrwo - The holy grail of all Pink Floyd bootlegs
Embrwo – The holy grail of all Pink Floyd bootlegs

Embrwo, pictured above, is believed to be from the infamous Los Angeles based bootleg label Trade Mark of Quality (TMOQ) and was exported from the US to the UK to another bootlegger known as Freddy Stomper (aka, ‘The Marked Hand’). For Freddy, locating a record pressing plant in London to manufacture bootlegs was nearly impossible. So the story goes that Freddy got in touch with the guys at TMOQ to have one of his tapes (Musikhalle ’71) pressed on colored vinyl, shipped to the UK without sleeves (as not to alert customs), and then packaged and stamped in London. He repackaged the records in thin white cardboard sleeves and rubber stamped them as Embrwo. ‘The Marked Hand’ most likely intended for the title to be Embryo, the name of a song performed on the bootleg. Shortly after the sale debut of Embrwo in March of 1973, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) raided many UK record stores suspected of selling bootlegs. In fact, one of the main stores raided for selling bootlegs in London was none other than Virgin Records – The exact same Virgin Records owned by billionaire tycoon Richard Branson. The last time a genuine copy of Embrwo appeared on ebay, the album sold for close to $2100. If you go on youtube and search for “Pink Floyd M502” you’ll come across the full recording of this legendary bootleg.

Tracklist

A1 Green Is The Colour / Careful With That Axe, Eugene 14:00
A2 Cymbaline 11:00
B1 Embryo 11:00
B2 Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun 14:00
C1 Saucerful Of Secrets 20:00
D1 Atom Heart Mother (with brass and choir) 28:00

 

Leo Kottke – 6- And 12-String Guitar

Leo Kottke – 6 and 12 String Guitar

I found an original first pressing of this at Amoeba in San Francisco in NM condition. It’s absolutely fantastic. The 12 string guitar musicianship on this album is really enjoyable. The acoustic folk sound makes me want to revisit Yosemite. Below is my favorite track from the album.

Tracklist

A1 The Driving Of The Year Nail
A2 The Last Of The Arkansas Greyhounds
A3 Ojo
A4 Crow River Waltz
A5 The Sailor’s Grave On The Prairie
A6 Vaseline Machine Gun
A7 Jack Fig
B1 Watermelon
B2 Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring
B3 The Fisherman
B4 The Tennessee Toad
B5 Busted Bicycle
B6 The Brain Of The Purple Mountain
B7 Coolidge Rising

 

Mike Gordon – Overstep

Mike Gordon - Overstep
Mike Gordon – Overstep

This is Mike Gordon’s (bassist for Phish) fourth solo studio album (excluding two other albums where he was joined by Leo Kottke). I really like the cover art on this album. The music itself is pretty okay. I’m not necessarily blown away. Not to say the music sucked, or that it wasn’t at all good, I just don’t see myself playing this one too often in the future. Side C was definitely the best side of this album. This was one example where the cover helped push a sale – for me, at least.

Tracklist

A1 Ether
A2 Tiny Little World
A3 Jumping
A4 Yarmouth Road
B1 Say Something
B2 Face
B3 Paint
B4 Different World
C1 Peel
C2 Long Black Line
C3 Surface

 

Various Artists – Dumb and Dumber Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Don’t judge my superior tastes in music…

Shop Radio Cast, a record label based in Canada, re-released this quintessential 90’s soundtrack in May. There was a limited edition of 50 copies on red and white wax, which sold out quickly. My copy is on blue wax and is limited to 500 copies. The music on this soundtrack is hit-and-miss, but I dig the majority of the songs. Some of the tracks downright suck. The good songs definitely outweigh the bad songs in either case. I’ve had the CD of this soundtrack for a long time. I still listen to the songs by Crash Test Dummies, Green Jelly, Echobelly and The Primitives when I come across them in my iTunes library. Oh, and side D has an special etching.

Pretty Bird... Pretty Bird...
Pretty Bird… Pretty Bird…

I realize the etching in the photo above is hard to see, but hopefully the caption will help you figure out what you’re looking at.

A1 Crash Test Dummies The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead
A2 Deadeye Dick New Age Girl
A3 Echobelly Insomniac
A4 Pete Droge If You Don’t Love Me (I’ll Kill Myself)
B1 Primitives, The Crash (The ’95 Mix)
B2 Willi One Blood Whiney, Whiney (What Really Drives Me Crazy)
B3 Gigolo Aunts Where I Find My Heaven
B4 Butthole Surfers Hurdy Gurdy Man
C1 Sons, The Too Much Of A Good Thing
C2 Green Jelly The Bear Song
C3 Lupins, The Take
C4 Deee-Lite You Sexy Thing
C5 Proclaimers, The Get Ready

Vinyl – April 2014

April was great for my record collecting (and my wallet) because I was able to part with more records than I was purchasing them. My multicolored Stills-Young Band bootleg For What It’s Worth – Summer 76 Tour (one of the crown jewels of my collection) finally sold on eBay, and I traded in a few records to a local record store for store credit.

It was a really mediocre record anyway.
It was a really mediocre record anyway.
But it sure looked awesome.
But it sure looked awesome.

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I’d be attending the KUSF Rock n’ Swap event in April, but after thinking about it, I decided it was probably best to pass. My spending allowance on LPs was pretty high last month as it was.

That said, I did bring home a few releases.

Mod Lang Record Shop – Albany, CA

This first one I picked up spur-the-moment. Casually passing through Albany while running errands I saw this tiny sign on the sidewalk and did a double-take. I’d never heard of Mod Lang. I parked and headed in.

Better not be loaded with mud and dust.
Better not be loaded with mud and dust.

Inside Mod Lang was an eclectic selection of LPs and CDs of all styles. Despite the great selection, it was kind of a mess. It reminded me a lot of Jack’s Record Cellar on Scott and Page in San Francisco. Dozens of boxes filled with records and piles of clutter (old Rolling Stone magazines, newspapers, cardboard cutout promotional displays, etc.) It was still an excellent shop. About half of the merchandise actually is organized and is displayed in a proper shelf, but many of the boxes are yet to be shelved or are simply left sitting in aisles. I overheard the manager talking to another customer that she had just received a bunch of records that had yet to be shelved – she explained that the shop isn’t usually clogged with boxes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to sound like the boxed clutter is bad. I enjoy digging, anyway. It’s all part of the fun.

After about 15 minutes of box digging, I had three albums worth mentioning. Among them, a copy of the Pink Floyd dual bootleg Nocturnal Submission: Robot Love from Beacon Island Records.

Pink Floyd - Nocturnal Submission: Robot Love (bootleg)
Pink Floyd – Nocturnal Submission: Robot Love (dual bootleg album)

I already own a copy of this, so I saw no reason to pick it up. This dual bootleg is actually two separate well known Pink Floyd bootlegs  packaged in a single album.  The two albums are Best of Tour 72 and the original release of Nocturnal Submission: Robot Love from The Amazing Kornyphone Record Label.

Pink Floyd - Best Of Tour 72 (live at The Rainbow Theatre February 20, 1972)
Pink Floyd – Best Of Tour 72 (live at The Rainbow Theater in London, UK on February 20, 1972)

Best of Tour 72 is well recognized among Floyd fans and vinyl collectors alike as being one of the earliest (and best) live recordings of Dark Side Of The Moon. In fact, when this bootleg was first being sold in 1972, customers who purchased this album occasionally mistook it for being an official release from the band – on top of the fact that this album was manufactured almost an entire year before Dark Side Of The Moon would be officially released. The recording quality is excellent. To this day, it is still debated if the recording is sourced from the BBC Radio or if it was recorded directly from the soundboard, or if it’s from an excellent audience recording. This LP features a concert recording from The Rainbow Theatre in London on February 20, 1972. A handful of the songs recorded during this performance were never released on Dark Side Of The Moon (like the song entitled ‘The Mortality Sequence’, which was scrapped and replaced with ‘Great Gig In The Sky’). Below is the entire recording.

The other album shares the exact same title Nocturnal Submission: Robot Love. This record was originally from The Amazing Kornyphone Record Label and was also released in 1972.

Pink Floyd - Nocturnal Submission: Robot Love (compilation bootleg featuring live performances and B-Sides ranging from 1969 to 1971)
Pink Floyd – Nocturnal Submission: Robot Love (compilation bootleg featuring live performances and B-Sides ranging from 1969 to 1971)

This bootleg features live performances from Pink Floyd at KQED  Studios in San Francisco on April 29, 1970, BBC Radio in London on September 30, 1971, and a few B-sides not available to the US market during their initial releases in the UK (‘Point Me at the Sky’, etc…)

So anyway, the dual LP bootleg of Nocturnal Submission: Robot Love from Beacon Island Records is basically a “buy one get one free” package containing two classic Pink Floyd bootlegs. Like I had mentioned earlier, I already have a copy of this release so I didn’t bother buying it again. Plus, it was also in worse condition than my personal copy.

The other album I found at Mod Lang was a copy of The Grateful Dead bootleg Captain Trips, etc. from The Impossible Recordworks label.

Grateful Dead - Captain Trips, etc.
Grateful Dead – Captain Trips, etc.

For $20, I kindly declined buying it. It was in decent shape, but I was more content buying a copy of The Grateful Dead’s Fillmore West.

The Grateful Dead - Fillmore West (Trade Mark Of Quality - Smokin' Pig Labels)
The Grateful Dead – Fillmore West (Trade Mark Of Quality – Smokin’ Pig Labels)

This two disc set was offered to me for $12.95. The general condition of the four sides is VG+. At it’s best, it’s Near Mint. At it’s worst, it’s VG. It’s a pretty enjoyable performance from The Dead playing at Fillmore West’s final night of operation in San Francisco on July 2, 1971.

Tracklist

A1 Had To Move
A2 Me And Bobby Mcgee
A3 You Lied You Cheated
A4 I Know You Rider
B1 Playing In The Band
B2 Got No Chance Of Losing
B3 Ain’t It Crazy
B4 Me And My Uncle
B5 Railroad Blues
B6 Sunshine Daydream
C1 Sing Me Back Home
C2 Momma Tried
C3 Big Boss Man
C4 Casey Jones
C5 Johnny Be Good
D1 Sugar Magnolia
D2 Dedicated To Owsley

Apparently the tracks on this bootleg have been rearranged in a separate sequence than how they were originally recorded. Additionally, there are  a handful of songs that were performed but were not included on this release. The real kick in the teeth is that the audio from this bootleg is off pitch – The band sounds slightly speed-up and cartoonish. There’s no real way of knowing the recording quality of a bootleg until you play it back.In either case, I ripped a personal copy of the record, cleaned it up, and resold it on eBay a week later for a little more than $30.

A week or so later I returned to Mod Lang on the weekend and dug through a few unorganized shelves. I came across this:

New York Dolls – Dolls Live: Dallas ’74

This is a New York Dolls bootleg entitled Dolls Live: Dallas ’74. According to the final edition of Hot Wacks (last published around 1992), there are only about 6 vinyl bootlegs of New York Dolls known to exist. It’s from a label known as Smilin’ Ears. The spine of the sleeve claims the record was manufactured in Venezuela. Bootleggers in the 1970’s often claimed their records were manufactured in far-off locations like Venezuela, Luxembourg, or Brazil as an attempt to throw off investigating authorities.

The sound of the recording isn’t particularly great. It’s muddy and noticeably softer sounding (quieter) than most concert recordings of rock and roll / punk bands. Discogs member bryan.white.9 said it pretty well when he gave a review of this bootleg:

Obviously recorded with a handheld cassette player, this bootleg recording documents a show at the legendary Mother Blues club in Dallas, Texas during [their] final 1974 tour, featuring the original line up. The Dolls were supporting the popular Texas band The Werewolves and facing a hostile/apathetic crowd. The band sounds discouraged, as the audience taunts them with cries of “We want the a Werewolves!” through their show, but gamely perform their set. The very poor sound quality of the recording and the “end of the line” feel of the performance-supporting a band most listeners have never heard of-make this a hard recording to recommend. I have no idea whether this was one of the shows performed in red leather & Soviet paraphernalia but it would go a long way towards explaining the audience’s hostility; Dallas in 1974 would have been the worst possible venue for such gear. Fantastically rare, this live album has practically nothing else to offer.

Tracklist

A1 Pills
A2 Frankenstein
A3 Lone Star Queen
A4 Don’t Start Me Talkin’
A5 Lookin’ For A Kiss
B1 Personality Crisis
B2 Vietnamese Baby
B3 Bad Girl
B4 Give ‘Em A Great Big Kiss (Kiss Me)

At the counter I was offered the bootleg for $8 after a $10 trade-in store credit (I gave away some records from last month’s failed backyard rummage sale). The recording quality is really mediocre. It was admittingly purchased mainly for the rarity factor. I’ll probably flip it on eBay in a few weeks. Most copies have previously sold on eBay between $25 to $100.

All in all, Mod Lang Records is an excellent shop. They carry new music too!

 Record Store Day 2014 – April 19, 2014

I didn’t particularly care for this year’s Record Store Day (RSD). I had no interest in spending part of my weekend participating in the festivities. Out of the 75+ exclusive releases, only two actually appealed to me. The first release being Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin’s double 10″ EP Songs From Common Ground. The other release was a 7″ split featuring Jason Lytle (frontman for Modesto based indie rock group Grandaddy) and Neko Case entitled Satellite Of Love. Both of these titles I ordered from eBay at face-value without having to even get out of bed Saturday morning. I realize it defeats the purpose of RSD to buy RSD releases from eBay, but honestly, I wasn’t interested in dealing with aggressive crowds and long lines early in the morning for two titles.

While browsing the exclusive RSD release titles online, one release from Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band entitled Solar Live 11.15.13 particularly caught my attention:

Someone must really love Little Feat (or TAKRL)

I imagine most people who see this album probably won’t recognize that this cover is directly copied from (or at least paying homage to) a Little Feat bootleg entitled Electrif Lycanthrope (Be-Bop Deluxe)  from The Amazing Kornyphone Record Label (TAKRL).

Little Feat - Electrif Lycanthrope (Be-Bop Deluxe) (TAKRL bootleg from 1970s)
Little Feat – Electrif Lycanthrope (Be-Bop Deluxe) (TAKRL bootleg from 1970s)

I see no resemblance between the two.

Last year’s 2013 RSD had a similar release trying to appear like a Trade Mark Of Quality (TMOQ) bootleg with a paper insert. This one was from The Greenhornes entitled Live At Shake It Records  –   Fall 2001. Note the “Shake It Mark Of Quality” logo in the bottom right corner:

Below is the original Trade Mark Of Quality (TMOQ) logo – sticker’d or printed on every original TMOQ release back in the 1970s – as well as some examples of typical TMOQ releases featuring this logo (just because).

Original Trade Mark Of Quality Logo
Jimi Hendrix – Broadcasts
Bob Dylan – While The Establishment Burns
Pink Floyd – Omayyad
Led Zeppelin – Going To California

You get the point…

It’s kind of funny how some official releases in the last few years have been packaged to look like bootleg records taken right from the 1970s. 

Vinyl – March 2014

I was excited for March for a few reasons – new job, got a huge tax refund, planned a trip in a few months from now. But more than anything in March, I was excited for three separate vinyl rummage sales.

The Newark Music Swap Meet – Newark, CA – March 23, 2014

We were told about this sale by a gentleman over at Dave’s Records on San Pablo in Berkeley. He told us about the sale the day before it took place. I had heard from other collectors before that the Newark Music Swap Meet is not very good. Even so, on an open Sunday with nothing really going on, Hannah and I decided to make an afternoon checking it out.

Upon arrival, I suddenly understood why. It was probably the most underwhelming sale I’ve ever attended. Granted, we showed up at around 1 PM when it first opens at 7 AM and closes at 2, but there were only about 8 individual sellers and most of what they sold was either overpriced or in terrible condition. Hannah found a copy of Neil Young’s Harvest for only $1. The cover was split down the bottom of the sleeve and the record was very visibly warped.  Figures.

Even the atmosphere inside the hall was not very pleasant. Contrary to other swap meets I’ve attended, there wasn’t the sound of bustling people chattering or the sounds of 60s surf rock playing over a portable turntable speakers. Instead, the hum of fluorescent lights and distant microphone feedback from a poorly connected house PA system was the tune. Okay, sure, I’m slightly exaggerating  – there actually were people chattering, but it was a dull roar compared to inaudible bartering and shouting.

We didn’t see anything particularly worth buying. I did find a sealed copy of a Runaways bootleg entitled Live In Concertfrom Wizardo Records. But for an asking price of $35, and not knowing a single song of theirs, I couldn’t justify the purchase. Besides, sealed records like that are really only good when purchased as a bargain since their best value is being resold still sealed.

We eventually made our way to one of the final tables. A middle-aged couple from the Central Valley with four crates were  mainly selling classic rock and some 60s psychedelia. I wasn’t seeing anything particularly interesting, up until I asked if he had any Pink Floyd (the bread and butter of my vinyl collecting). He presented to me a copy of the bootleg Dark Side Of The Moo from Trixie Records.

Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moo
Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moo

If you didn’t recognize this cover instinctively as a well known Pink Floyd bootleg, than you probably wouldn’t even know this record has anything to do with Pink Floyd at all. The labels on the vinyl itself reference The Screaming Abdabs, a name briefly used by the band prior to 1966.

Who????
The Screaming Whats…?

This bootleg isn’t really a bootleg. It’s more like a pirated LP containing rare B sides and studio outtakes from 1967 to 1970. In fact, there is only one genuine studio outtake on this album which is Track A6: Scream Thy Last Scream. The rest are just a collection of officially released B-sides. Probably the best part of this record, at least for me personally, is the cover itself. I dig how it’s similar to the theme of Atom Heart Mother’s cover which also features a cow – yet it’s subtle and doesn’t have any text all over the place much in the way that most bootleg covers do. Plus, the photographer got the attention of this cow, which was then immortalized in a photo and used for an illegitimate record cover. For some reason, I find humor in that. As far as the content of this bootleg goes, the music on this record is mostly from an era of Pink Floyd that I’m not too crazy about (mid to late 60s). To be honest, I find a lot of these songs to be pretty nauseating. I can’t say I’m excited to hear a poor quality outtake of this:

See? Told you it’s nauseating.

Fortunately a few songs on this album are actually worth listening. My two personal favorites are The Crumbling Land and Point Me At the Sky (which sounds similar to Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds by The Beatles)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBwX8oexkCw

Tracklist

A1 Astronomy Domine 4:08
A2 Candy And A Current Bun 2:43
A3 Apples And Oranges 3:01
A4 It Would Be So Nice 3:41
A5 Interstellar Overdrive 3:04
A6 Scream Thy Last Scream 4:44
B1 Heart Beat, Pig Meat 3:09
B2 Crumbling Land 4:12
B3 Embryo 4:39
B4 Point Me At The Sky 3:37
B4 Come On Number 51, Your Time Is Up 4:57
B6 Mademoiselle Knobs 1:50

Such is the case when buying vinyl bootlegs – you never really know what the quality of the recordings will sound like until you fork over $$$ and listen to them at home.

At the same table, Hannah found an excellent copy of The Beatles’ album Rubber Soul. It’s in great shape and looks like it had never been played before.

The Beatles - Rubber Soul (German Odeon Records release 1C 062-04 115)
The Beatles – Rubber Soul (German release on Odeon Records – 1C 062-04 115)

Her specific version is from Germany on Odeon Records (year of release is unknown). She already had a copy of Rubber Soul, but her other release is from the United States on Capital Records. The US releases left out many hits from this album which other versions from other countries contained in their releases. For example, songs like Drive My Car, Nowhere Man, What Goes On, and If I Need Someone were all excluded from US releases.

Odeon German Release Side 1 - Contains missing songs Drive My Car and Nowhere Man
Odeon German Release:    Side 1 – Contains missing songs Drive My Car and Nowhere Man
US Capital Release: Side 1
US Capital Release: Side 1
R-5270608-1389207650-7105
German Odeon release:    Side 2 – Contains missing songs What Goes on and If I Need Someone
US Capital release:   Side 2
US Capital release:    Side 2

After buying our albums and chatting with the sellers for a few minutes, we left. There’s a good chance that unless I arrive at 7 AM at the next Newark Music Swap Meet that I probably will not return to this event.

 

Cavern Discos’ Rummage Sale – Albany, CA – March 29, 2014

Two years ago while browsing the garage sales section on Craigslist I came across a post from a gentleman who was planning on selling about 9000 records he had in storage. The ebay record store Cavern Discos, which specialized in funk, disco, and soul records, was officially kaput and the owner needed to liquidate all of his surplus records sitting in storage. So he posted an ad publicly on craigslist saying that he will be selling all of his records in his backyard and that every record was worth $3 each – regardless of rarity, condition or actual value. On the day of his sale about 100 people came into his backyard and tore apart his boxes of records (and his garden).

So flash-forward two years. A week before the sale, the owner of Cavern Discos sent me a message and told me that the very last of his records were moved from storage and were ready to be sold. It would be the exact same sale as last time – except this time the records were now to be sold at $1 each.

Saturday rolls around – and it’s pouring rain. California has been in its worst drought on record and the one time I actually was hoping sunshine and dry conditions I get the exact opposite. I arrived at the sellers house about 20 minutes before the sale starts. Unlike the last sale two years earlier, there was no one anxiously waiting around his front yard. I figured this was because it was raining and no one wanted to deal with the conditions. In actually what had happened was the buyers were waiting in his back yard and were helping set up two outdoor tarps and a bunch of plastic floor protectors to help keep the records and the buyers dry.

It’s about 10 minutes before the sale when the seller says, “Okay, it’s pouring and it’s freezing. So let’s just start now. Everyone go to my shed and pull out one box and drop it down on the plastic floor protectors under the tarps, and then you can start your digging there.” So I went into his shed, since I was actually the closest to it, and pulled out a box of about 100 records. It was heavy but it contained probably some of the best conditions of records I could have hoped for. The ones I picked out were mostly in near mint condition. After going through a few boxes it started to get kind of chaotic. Too many people, not enough protection from the rain, and not enough boxes for each person to causally browse though. It didn’t take long before it became more unpleasant than it already was.

"No really, take your time going through that dust box of records. I'll just chill here in the rain until you're done."
“No really, take your time going through that dusty box of records. I’ll just chill here in the rain with everyone else until you’re done.”
"DUDE, STOP TRACKING IN MUD TO THE TARPS. YOU'RE GETTING MY OBSCURE 60'S BRAZILIAN PSYCHEDELIA 45s MUDDY."
“DUDE, STOP TRACKING IN MUD INTO THE TARPS. YOU’RE GETTING MY OBSCURE 60’S BRAZILIAN PSYCHEDELIA 45s MUDDY.”

Inside the shed wasn’t much better.

Uhh... I think I'm done with this sale.
“Can you move over just a foot or two so I can squeeze by and get out with my records?”                 “Absolutely not.”

Nothing smells quite like a room full of wet, sweaty middle-aged men kicking up record dust. Fun fun fun!

So after 20 minutes, I realized that this sale was a waste of my time. I left with 11 records, but only had to pay $9. My selections, in brief description were:

Grateful Dead – Workingman’s Dead

R-774120-1199404815

I’ve never really listen to the Grateful Dead, but when they come on the radio on 94.1 KPFA on Wednesday nights, it’s pretty fun music. The condition of this looks like it’s G and it was missing the original cover when I found it, but to my amazement it plays like it’s VG+. For a dollar, this was a bargain.

Various Artists – Record Store Day 2008

$_57

I don’t know a lot about this album. All I know is that I found it brand new, sealed for $1 and it had artists like Bruce Springsteen, Rage Against the Machine, Patti Smith, Pearl Jam and others. Apparently copies of this have sold on ebay recently for about $50.

Terre Thaemlitz – Raw Through A Straw / Tranquilizer

R-228728-1281520185

I recognized her name from a few ambient songs that I heard from SOMA FM’s internet streaming station Drone Zone. Good ambient musician (although she’s kind of avant-garde and out there). Also, this vinyl is totally transparent.

R-228728-1281520201

 

Eazy-E – Eazy Duz-It / Ruthless Villain (DEMONSTRATION ONLY)

R-333864-1248071272

The picture above is of the regular, studio 12″ release. The version I have has a label just like the above photo, but also reads, “DEMONSTRATION – NOT FOR SALE” just below where it reads Eazy-E. I’m not particularly a fan of rap, but a near mint Eazy-E demonstration disc for $1? Sure, why not.

Kiln – Sunbox

20140331_140459

Not going to lie – this was a total impulse buy. I’ve never heard of this group, and their music is downtempo techno / IDM. But it’s got a white label with a hand stamped little ghost on it. I thought it might be cool, or at the very least valuable. I’m still not entirely sure if either of those are true, but on ebay someone is currently selling the non-white label release for $40. Again, not a great purchase.

The Doors – The Doors

R-526319-1258832171

Coincidentally, I bought a copy of this two years ago from the same backyard sale, except this copy is in a lot better shape. It’s also a stereo release. The other copy I bought was a quadrophonic release (which I also suspect may be a counterfeit release). Even in mediocre shape, an original stereo release of this album is valued at about $20 starting price.

Bob Dylan – Nashville Skyline

R-1486272-1234519447

It’s Dylan for a dollar. Not a bad investment. Except this was a bad investment, because the condition looks VG+ but sounds like G+. Odd how that can happen.

Super Mysterious Test Pressing – ????

Too lazy to take a photo of this one, but it’s a test pressing of a 12″ hip-hop record.  Another bad impulse buy. I saw a test pressing, with no real indication of it’s origin or even it’s genre, and I didn’t think to ask questions about it since it was chaotic and pouring at the sale. It could have been jazz, or some soul, or maybe something with value none-the-less. I bagged it and thought “at the very least, I’ve wasted $1.” I later found out it’s a test pressing from hip-hop artist Mr. Lif’s 2002 single New Man Theme. Even in near mint condition, it’s garbage.

Funkstörung – Post.Art

R-302-1085021977

I bought this mainly because it was white marbled vinyl. It’s IDM / electronic music. Another bad impulse buy.

Pink Floyd – Animals

R-4627466-1370369175-5867

This definitely would have been the best of my purchases, had it not been in such terrible shape. It looked VG when I bought it, but it’s actually G+. Oh well, it’s an album I’m really not crazy about spending a lot of money on anyway. Fortunately for me this mediocre purchase only cost me $1.

David Bowie – The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars

R-422477-1323341041

For the 11 albums I bought, this was definitely the best purchase. It’s in VG shape, but it’s got excellent replay value. I wasn’t familiar at all with Bowie’s work, but I figured this was a good excuse to start.

All in all, the backyard rummage sale was a waste of my time. I plan on reselling the majority of these albums either on ebay or to one of the local record stores. Given that this sale was a joke, I was looking forward to the next day…

 

March Beat Swap Meet (#5) – Berkeley, CA – March 30, 2014

Might be fun...
Might be fun…

So Hannah and my father and I met outside the door for this event. Having never heard of it previously, I thought it might be fun for a Sunday afternoon. Getting in the door cost $5 and a canned good. I went to the store and bought five cans of expensive Progesso canned soup knowing that a good chunk of those attending would offer Hormel re-fried beans and other junk no one would actually want to eat. I give the Swap Meet that much – it was nice of them to ask for canned food as a requirement to get in the door. I think that’s an excellent way to have people actively donate food.

Once inside, there were about 8 vendors selling records. This was great, up until I realized that the sellers are almost exclusively selling rap and hip-hop only. It was disappointing to say the least. We went from table to table hoping to find some variety but did not find much. We left no more than 20 minutes after arriving. Considering Discogs was a major sponsor of this traveling swap meet, I was imagining a giant cafeteria sized swap meet with all sorts of different collectors with different specialties. Oh well.

We were bummed out with the Swap Meet, so we had lunch and decided to go to Amoeba and Rasputin on Telegraph Street closer towards UC Berkeley. Rasputin proved to offer a more enjoyable experience. In the Pink Floyd bin, I found something of interest.

Pink Floyd – Raving and Drooling

Pink Floyd - Raving and Drooling
Pink Floyd – Raving and Drooling

This is a bootleg from The Amazing Kornyphone Record Label (TAKRL) featuring a performance of three songs from November 17, 1974 in Great Britain. I had been looking for a copy of this for a few months and was finally able to buy a copy at a reasonable price. The condition was VG+ but it sounds VG for the most part. The recording itself is pretty bad. It needs some thorough equalizing. Even so, it’s definitely worth owning. Raving and Drooling sounds amazing. Shine On You Crazy Diamond is also amazing.

Tracklist

A1 Raving And Drooling 10:37
A2 You’ve Gotta Be Crazy 12:12
B1 Shine On You Crazy Diamond 23:06

March had some promising swap meets and a rummage sale that was impressive the last time it occurred two years earlier, but failed to really provide. It was still fun to attend these events. Today’s April 1st and the next KUSF Rock n’ Swap Record Event is  in about two weeks. Hopefully there will be a lot more to brag about then…

Yosemite – February 2013

So earlier in February this year, Hannah and I went on a trip to Yosemite, and I’ve decided to share the majority of my photos here (rather than on facebook, which compresses and licenses my photos as their property, not that I really care.)

BEHOLD! The Valley of NOT ENOUGH SNOW!

The trip was awesome! Because we booked our trip for late February, during mid-week, we were basically to ourselves. The entire park was, for the most part, empty. Occasionally we would see a family or two, or a couple of people, but the huge crowds that are common during peak season were not present. I couldn’t have been happier with that. We stayed at the Tenaya Lodge in Fish Camp, CA, which is roughly an hour outside of Yosemite National Park, off highway 41. The service was incredible, and so was the food offered at the lodge.

“EAT ME… YOU KNOW YOU WANNA…”

During the day we went to see the snow, though it wasn’t quite as plentiful as we had hoped for.

Once we reached Badger Pass, we were high up enough to see a good amount of snow. There weren’t too many people skiing, which was fine by me, since it gave us more opportunity to walk around/snowball fight in the snow without gear.

It’s grim up North… (KLF reference)
VRRRROOOOOOOOOM!

After Badger Pass, we went to take some photos and go sightseeing throughout the day:

IMG_1235
Double Chemtrails

IMG_1244 IMG_1245 IMG_1263 IMG_1250 IMG_1254 IMG_1261 IMG_1267The Stargazing was pretty amazing as well.

Dude... Whoa...
Dude… Whoa…

IMG_1568 IMG_1579 IMG_1663 IMG_1668 IMG_1670 IMG_1674 IMG_1682 IMG_1685 IMG_1694 IMG_1696 IMG_1697 IMG_1698

That represents the better half of the photos I took earlier this year (I’m too lazy to upload the rest.)

The trip was a blast! Hannah and I are expecting to return within the next few months!

Vinyl – November 2013

It’s been a few months, but I’ve got a bunch of awesome finds to mention since my last post.

The first, which I purchased sometime in September:

STILLS-YOUNG BAND – For What It’s Worth (Hoffman Avenue Records HAR 167)

Image

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There isn’t very much information about this bootleg. I was able to determine that, despite the misleading center label, this is actually from Hoffman Avenue Records, NOT Trenton Records like I first thought. According to the out-of-print bootleg price guide New Collector’s Price Guide For Bootlegs (Voigts, 1991), Hoffman Avenue Records is described as: (A) Bootleg company of the so called “Second Generation” in the USA. Only about 10 releases, all with covers. Some records in colored vinyl. Partly very expensive and rare. Matrix numbers are “HAR 161” – “HAR 170”.

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Going forward a bit, I attended USF’s November Rock ‘n Swap with my father yesterday. We arrived around 7:30 AM and were greeted by these printed signs facing the front doors.

ROFL, yeah, okay. We'll see about that.
ROFL, yeah, okay. We’ll see about that.

I love how it says “NO BOOTLEGS ALLOWED”. That’s pretty funny (to me at least), since that’s about 80% of what I actively keep an eye out for when I go from crate to crate.

It’s about an hour and half into my digging endeavors, and I have still not come across anything that particularly draws me. My father on the other hand, has come across some incredible Yardbird finds. They included:

The Yardbirds - Live Yardbirds
The Yardbirds – Live Yardbirds (featuring Jimmy Page)

What makes this release so special? Apparently there was an pressing error when this album was first produced in 1969. Side A and side B are BOTH listed as side A on the original first pressings. The original pressings were withdrawn immediately and coming across one today is very unlikely, especially in near mint condition. My father however found one yesterday. (I believe) he paid $25 for his copy. He hauled his massive 500+ page Goldmine Record Price Guide throughout the morning, and it paid off. His find, it turns out, is listed in the book at being valued in near mint at $300-400.

The book is not exaggerating. Copies typically sell for about $100+, and go as high as $400 for near mint condition.

My father’s second Yardbirds find:

The Yardbirds - Blasting at the BBC
The Yardbirds – Blasting at the BBC

This one is a bootleg (see above mention of USF disclaimer) from The Yardbirds performing at the BBC in 1966 and 1969 entitled Blasting at the BBC (BBR 004). This was recorded from the BBC in 1965 and 1969. The quality, both in recording production, and physical playback, is stellar. The seller wanted this record for $25, but my father talked him into selling it for $20. The performances on this bootleg from The Yardbirds were phenomenal. I’m honestly impressed with the overall quality. The record label is one I’ve never seen or heard of before. The label is Bird Brain Records. When I first saw the label, I almost mistook the label’s logo for K & S Records, which is an EXTREMELY rare bootleg label from the US in the 1980s. Not to mention, anything from K & S records is usually worth several hundred dollars because most records pressed from K & S were either lost in shipment from the distributors, or they were confiscated by police. Here are the two logos compared:

K & S Records Logo
K & S Records Logo – Farmer enclosed within circle
The Yardbirds - Blasting at the BBC
Bird Brain Records Logo – Bird sitting and reading, enclosed within circle

Eventually two hours later, I finally came across some fun stuff.

20130908_101336No, the fun stuff was not the record seller stretching his back on the floor…

I picked up the following records, all for $5 each, all from the same seller:

Tom Waits - One From The Heart
Tom Waits – One From The Heart

I’m a massive fan of Tom Waits’ work, but I never felt compelled to spend more than $5 on this album. I found a copy in stellar shape. It was probably played once and then never again. It was a bargain, so why not. In another crate, I came across this:

The Beatles - The Decca Tapes
The Beatles – The Decca Tapes

So this Beatles bootleg has an interesting story to it. According to author Blemo, who wrote an article in the fifth and final edition of the Canadian bootleg catalog Hot Wacks in 1996 entitled The Beatles – The Very Best of the Beatlegs, this bootleg is rated at #4 out of over 100 different Beatles bootlegs for being the best in regards to sound quality, historical importance, packaging, and enjoyability. He describes The Decca Tapes bootleg LP as:

“The story of Decca’s rejection of the Beatles’ audition tapes is well known and needs not be repeated here. The music on those tapes has been a favorite among collectors for years. Many of the songs were released as semi-legal singles in the early seventies by a US fan club. In 1979, the 15 songs from that audition tape would appear on the bootleg album, The Decca Tapes, and contained the McCartney/Lennon compisitions “Love of the Loved”, “Like Dreamers Do”, and “Hello Little Girl”. These three songs have not appeared on any of the “legitimate” releases due to contractual problems with the Beatles publishing company. The album is in excellent mono and still readily available.”

Coincidentally, I purchased the fifth edition of the Hot Wacks bootleg catalog only a week before attending this Rock ‘n Swap, and had already read Blemo’s article on the top 10 most important Beatles bootlegs to keep an eye out for. Once I saw this album sitting in the crate for $5, it was a no-brainer. I remembered that this was one not to pass up, especially at a bargain price.

The third album I purchased is of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young:

Crosby Stills Nash and Young - 4 Way Street
Crosby Stills Nash and Young – 4 Way Street

I just attended the 26th annual Bridge School Benefit in Mountain View where I saw CSNY perform. They were incredible. Two weeks later, I found this album for $5. The album contains 2 LPs and my father recommended the album, so I purchased it.

The last two albums I picked up at the KUSF Rock N Swap were both from Led Zeppelin bootlegs.

The first is entitled Moby Dick from Jester Productions:

Led Zeppelin - Moby Dick
Led Zeppelin – Moby Dick

This bootleg was only one of 100 to exist. It originally came in a box with a T-Shirt, but almost all copies sold online do not include the shirt. My copy also did not include the shirt 🙁 But the performances are amazing. This bootleg was recorded from the soundboard in San Francisco April 27, 1969. The recording quality is pretty good, but the mix is slightly heavy on vocals. My copy is in VG condition. Otherwise an excellent concert!

The next Led Zeppelin bootleg I picked up is entitled LA Forum: A Night At Heartbreak Hotel

Led Zeppelin - LA Forum
Led Zeppelin – LA Forum

This concert was recorded in Los Angeles at the Forum on June 25, 1972. I have not had time to hear this one yet, but I will update this post once I do!

So those have been my most recent awesome vinyl purchases. I purchased a few other ones, but these are the most recent and the most interesting (to me, at least!) 😛

Video Production Rock Star

Working at Daly City as an Video Technician has been a very rewarding experience. I’ve learned a lot about how my city functions and I’ve learned a large amount of broadcast engineering. As a Video Technician, my main job functions are to broadcast Daly City’s public addressed and ceremonies. I’m also responsible for overseeing every aspect of broadcast which can include everything from setting up speaker stacks, running cable, to coordinating all aspects of audio and video feeds for the city.

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BEHOLD: The Video Production Totem Pole

In my department, I command what is known as the Leightronix UltraNEXUS 2X2 – a very powerful broadcast video-system network controller.

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UltraNEXUS

Last week, this broadcast controller suddenly crashed mid-broadcast during a Recreation Commission Meeting. At first, it did not appear that the controller nor the associated software was suffering from anything too menacing, but that quickly changed.

The software from being in a healthy operating state like this:

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To this (the crash):

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to this (oh no…):

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As you can see, all the programed icons associated with our broadcast networks like Astound and Comcast have completely disappeared. At this point, I’m still operating mid-broadcast during a Library Board Meeting. It was fortunate that once the program and the controller both crashed that this series of errors did not bounce the video feed from the networks, which would have been a full-blown disaster.

Ending the broadcast and switching from live on-air to the defaulted “slides and classical music” was very tricky. Because the UltraNEXUS controller had crashed, the software associated with the controller became very unstable. Something as simple as clicking an icon to switch between sources (on-air and standby) was now nearly impossible. The software became unresponsive and often crashed. Despite all of this, my persistence paid off and I was able to switch from on-air to standby. I breathed a deep sign of relief and turned everything off for the night.

A few days go by without need for rebroadcast or live video when I returned back to the failed controller. I arrived at work an hour early determined to resolve the crashes. A Google search offered no real solutions (or information, for that matter) regarding the errors. It was also 4 PM here in Daly City, two hours after the tech support 800 number was closed. I was going to have to play detective and solve this for myself.

I started with the basics – look at the error log, look at the cables in the back of the controller, look for any odd symptoms on the computer itself, etc. All of the broadcast icons were deleted and all of the error logs had been erased after the hefty crash, which made diagnosing the issue a lot more arduous. Eventually, I looked to the preferences on the UltraNEXUS’ broadcast program. The very first thing I noticed was that the firmware had been reset to “NEXUS”, when it should be set to “UltraNEXUS 2X2”.

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I changed the firmware, and a window appeared reading “After the changes have been applied, the program will shutdown and reboot. ACCEPT?” I figured that this was at least a step in the right direction. I applied the changes and the program shut down.

Before attempting to reboot the program, I figured now was a better time than ever to let the UltraNEXUS completely reboot and start fresh. So I turned off the UltraNEXUS controller for 5 seconds and let it reboot. I relaunched the program and BAM! BACK ONLINE!

My supervisor and I still have no idea why the UltraNEXUS crashed, but we are relieved that:

1, I don’t need to speak with Leightronix tech support

2, Daly City’s broadcasts went uninterrupted during this crash

3, We did not have to remove the controller from the racks and have it physically sent back to Leightronix on the East Coast for examination

My supervisor was very impressed that I revived the dead controller – on my own with no assistance, no less. He called me a Rock Star.

So there you have it – Jonathan Stockhus: VIDEO PRODUCTION ROCKSTAR