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Days of Digging: Part One

by Travis on March 2, 2010

Happy Sunday afternoon, although I realize by I put this up, Sunday afternoon will be just a pleasant memory as the doom and gloom of the work week will be among us. Still it’s the memories. Seems like it’s been awhile since I’ve sat down and talked to y’all. The more time I think I have, the less time I actually do have, if that makes any sense whatsoever. Regardless, the music world still kicks on. We have some changes on the horizon here at WYDU. Some can already be noted. Not sure how many cats listen to stuff other than jazz/funk/soul and hip hop, but we already have I’m not involved in it much at all, since it’s not my thing musically, but regardless it’s there. We’ll be making a switch from blogger to wordpress, one that has been long in the making. That will include a new makeover for the site as well. We got some other things planned, and you can keep up with all the going on’s around WYDU by joining the email list. Don’t worry, we won’t spam. It’ll probably be a monthly newsletter about what’s happening on the site and any other goodies we might have going on. You’ll also be eligible for some kind of prize on a monthly basis, this month we have free copies of Bekay’s “Hunger Pains” album, courtesy of Coalmine Records. If you are the facebook kind of person, you can follow us on WYDU Central fan page. As far as the Hip Hop aspect is going, I’m still thinking where I want to take this blog next. I don’t want it to be just another blog posting up the last email blast. And obviously I don’t have the time to dedicate to making huge posts every day neither. Any blogger that concentrates more on quality over quantity knows the dangers of burning out, something I’ve been fighting off and on for over the past year. We’ll see what happens next.

The blog scene seems bigger than ever. That’s a good and bad thing. Good in that more people that actually have good tastes and knowledge on (what I consider) good music get the words and views out there and help the artists that deserve and need it. Bad that it leads to things like illegal music, shady tactics, and more emphasis on being the biggest and the best. I can’t say I’m completely innocent of all those things. We all know that I’ve offered up free music in the past that I haven’t had the authorization to do. I’ve kept it to the out of print variety, and I will probably do it again in the future. And lords knows I’ve downloaded my fair share of new music. I still say it’s good and bad. It’s not going anywhere, regardless of what blogger/google and certain labels try to do. That said, I still try to buy anything I like. I still like having the physical product. I still like that vinyl or CD in my collection. Maybe I’m old school, but nothing beats reading the back of a record or liner notes of a CD. My physical collection is probably around 2,000 CDs/records/tapes and growing. Nothing beats a good day of digging and I’ll take either CDs or tapes. I got the opportunity to hit up an invite only sale for a local record dealer that was calling it quits a couple weeks go. Of course I had to go….

This particular dealer and I have crossed paths before. First originally on Craig’s List as he was looking to unload some hip hop albums. Hip hop wasn’t normally his thing and of course, I’m always down to check out some hip hop shit. They were mostly garbage singles (Ja Rule, crappy Def Jam artists that never made it type of thing), but I picked up a couple decent older albums. Then once a year, they have a record swap here in town, which he was always at. I always thought he was kind of overpriced and one of those dudes that thinks he knows more than he does. There was the double album that he sold me, only that had just one of the LPs in it. So we kinda started off on the wrong foot.

I recently ran into him again at the annual record swap here in town back in November and had a better experience with him. Partly because it was toward the end of the day and we was selling things a lot cheaper so he didn’t have to pack a bunch of things up and partly because I got a couple hip hop albums for a lot cheaper than I should have. So all is forgiven, right?

About a month ago, I get an email from the dude, saying he is going out of business to pursue other business ventures, whatever that means. He said he was going to rent out a conference room at a local hotel and that he had some new hip hop that he would set aside for me as long as I got there the first hour of the sale. Knowing this dude’s prices, despite that he says he is selling stuff for half price, means they are probably just a bit below the going price for most of the stuff. Still, he always seems to have some great albums, so I got to hit the sale up.

“Doors Open at 11 A.M.,” said the email. I skip any drinking that might be done on Friday night and up bright and early Saturday morning (read: around 10 a.m.). I take a shower, throw on a Run DMC shirt (my lucky digging shirt), stop by the store for a bottle of water, and head to town.

I was thinking if this was like the annual local record swap, no one would show up until afternoon, leaving me a head start. I was wrong. Not sure if he meant 11 a.m. EST (we are in MST), or what, but the medium sized conference room was already packed by the time I walked through the door. There are people already walking around with stacks of records. I’m assuming dude gave his friends first dibs. He said in the email he’d have around 5,000 records and he wasn’t lying. The room is filled with tables all along the walls, clear around the room. I’m guessing there is 30-40 crates (rubber tubs) filled with records. In the middle of the room, there are some records for a silent auction.

I wait for a couple minutes for a tub to open up and take my place getting my fingers dirty. There are a few people that I know, including one of my dad’s friend’s son. He’s a big time collector, and has been pretty nice the few times I run into him at these type of things. We talk a bit while we dig through tubs next to each other. I snatch up a Cal Tjader LP, an artist I’ve been meaning to dive into a bit more into discography.

The problem with so many people being there at first, I had to kind of take any open tub I could find at the moment. Naturally, this would start to get a little confusing and a couple times I’d have to check myself when I would find myself going through a bunch of records that look vaguely familiar.

As things start thinning out, I start to compile a stack of records. The guy doesn’t have any prices on them, nothing is in any real order, so it was kind of cluster fuck of people standing in line to pay and the such. I finally start getting a clear path to the tubs so I can just go down the line until a big, sweating dude that reeks of coffee and looks like he came straight from the comic book convention starts flipping through the tub next to me. For some reason, he decides I need to be his new best friends. He starts telling me about his 45 collection of polka, or whatever he listened to. He starts telling me how I should get a Nancy Sinatra album he is holding up, just because she is half naked on the cover. He then starts asking me what I listen to, and figuring I could scare him away with an answer of “rap music”, I proceed to tell him about my fascination with the hip hop culture. Instead of scaring him off, he starts asking me stupid questions. “Do they really make all those sounds with their mouths”, “they should sample Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’”, blah blah blah.

I finally realize that I’m not going to shake this dude and the line is thinning out, so I go up to talk to the dealer running the event and ask about the hip hop albums he brought. He points to stack on the table. I sit down and starting going through the stack. Like usual, it’s a bunch of crap. I pick out a few here and there and while I’m sitting there, I listen to a kid, probably 20 years old or so question the dealer if he should really pay $20 bucks for a Muddy Waters album. I fight the urge to scream out “No!” just so I could pick it up myself, but the dealer explains who Muddy Waters is and how hard OG pressings are to find and how it would usually be $60 bucks. I silently curse under my breath.

After picking out four records, I go back to where I left off at the tubs, since Comic Book Guy has moved on to other unsuspecting victims. I run into a friend’s 17 year old son, looking still drunk from the night before. He proceeds to tell me how he made a bid for the Dead Milk Men album on the silent auction. I was just happy he was checking for the Dead Milk Men instead of Fall Out Boy or something. The auction has some good stuff on it, and in hind sight, I should have made a bid on a Thelonious Monk album that could have been had for $10 bucks.

After a couple hours and making sure I went through every tub in the room, I go up to the dude to pay up. This is always a real interesting event with this cat. He’ll debate the price with himself, tell you he really does want to sell it, then change his mind, it’s rather humorous just to watch him have an all out argument with himself. He picks up my stack and pulls out the “questionable ones”, then pulls out the hip hop, telling me I can have those for a buck a piece, which is fine, because there is nothing extraordinary to be found in the hip hop albums. He starts rattling off prices, slowly edging closer to my $100 limit I had on me. He pulls out an old Ahmad Jamal Trio album, “Count ‘Em 88″, one of his first projects on the Argo label from the late 50′s (I’m a big Ahmad Jamal fan). He tells me this is going to be a lot, at least forty or more. “Here we go,” I thought to myself. He goes through everything and tells me if I buy everything, in the stack, he’ll give me the Jamal album for $10 bucks for a grand total of….$100 bucks. Deal…..

All in all, after looking at the prices on line, I didn’t do bad. I don’t remember the exact prices for everything, mainly because he was talking to himself the whole time and not telling me. Sounded decent to me, 21 albums for $100.

Here is the stash…..

(NOTE) I’ll have rips of the hip hop stuff tomorrow with Part Two. Tomorrow’s post is smaller and I ran out of time tonight to finish cleaning up the rips.

Ahmad Jamal Trio – Count ‘Em 88

As I mentioned, I’m an AJ fan, anything from the 70′s and earlier. Discogs has this listed as the first Ahmad Jamal Trio release. I don’t know enough to know if that’s true, but I was still happy to have it. The cover is beat to hell, with it split on the bottom, but the vinyl is in decent shape. Discogs only had one for 10 Euros and on Music Stack (one of the few other places I could find it for sale) a VG copy was going for $15-$20.

Cal Tjader – Soul Sauce

As I mentioned, I’ve been wanting to explore Tjader’s catalog a little more. There is a couple recognizable samples on this album and it’s generally a fun listen. The cover and vinyl is in pretty good shape. I can’t recall what the price was on it. It’s going from $15 for VG to $30 for a VG+ on discogs, and I know I didn’t pay anywhere near that, so a good buy.

The Isley Brothers & Jimi Hendreix – In The Beginning…

Not a whole lot out there about this, including prices. I could even find a picture of the cover I have on mine, so I shot a quick pic of it myself. It’s put out on the Isley’s home label, T-Neck, and as far as I can tell online, it was released around ’65 or so. Nothing incredible musically found on this, but still a nice piece to have.

Isaac Hayes – …To Be Continued

I’ll pick up just about anything from the Black Moses that I don’t have, and I don’t have a lot, just the essentials. The cover has a corner that looks like a puppy or large rat got a hold of, other than that, the cover and vinyl are both in decent shape. Going price on the discogs market is $9 for VG+ to $35 for NM (which seems a bit steep).

The Isley Brothers – The Heat Is On

I’m always infatuated with the Isley’s from the late 60′s to the late 70′s, so if I don’t have it, I’ll grab it. This one has some nice samples on it, including “For the Love of You”, which Masta Ace used for “INC Ride”, as well as being sampled by Thug Life and Boogiemonsters. Price is anywhere from $5 to $14 on discogs.

Ahmad Jamal – Ahmad Jamal ’73

Again, Ahmad Jamal is one of the artists I’d buy most anything he put out pre ’80. This album contains some nice samples as well and is a good listen all around. My cover is split at the bottom, which is unfortunate because the record is in great shape and the rest of the cover is pretty good as well. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t see any of this release for sale on discogs. You could find a few on ebay going from $10-$25 bucks.

Jimmy Cliff in The Harder They Come

The soundtrack to the movie Harder They Come is full of reggae, and a few rather familiar and obvious samples. It’s not a bad listen, but a bit uneven in a few parts. I remember hearing about Jimmy Cliff a lot as a kid for some reason, a friend’s older brother or something. It’s a gatefold, which is always cool and in good condition. Discogs are a little high on their prices, while you can grab some on ebay for under $10.

Buddy Miles Express – Expressway to Your Skull

This album was supposedly produced by Jimi Hendrix, and it’s kind of a mash up between traditional rock n’ roll and some nasty funk. I mean, it’s got a track called “Funky Mule,” so of course you are going to find some funky rhythms on it. The cover has some minor wear and tear but is in otherwise good shape. The record is pretty good shape as well. This is my second Buddy Miles purchase and I’m digging both of them. This is going for $12 or so online, I’m sure I didn’t pay that much for it, it was in the cheap stack the first time he went through it.

Donald Byrd – Stepping Into Tomorrow

I’ve been on a big Donald Byrd kick for the past six months, gobbling up any of his albums I don’t have. I haven’t ran into this one much out and about, so I was quick to snatch it up. Dude has a man-crush on Donald Byrd himself, I’ve bought a couple other Byrd titles from him in the past, so of course he had to flip me shit about it. I can’t remember what I bought it for, I was thinking $8 or so. You can find him on ebay for $8-$18 range.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Smash Hits

Amazingly enough, I don’t have a lot of experience with Jimi Hendrix’s catalog. I know, it’s almost un-American. I mean I know his hits, but I just have never gotten that deep into his catalog. This greatest hits collection is rather common, $5 range.

Steve Miller Band – Recall the Beginning…A Journey From Eden

I’m a big time Steve Miller fan, him and the band are probably my favorite “classic rockers.” This is one of his earlier albums, from ’72, before he started making his 70′s standard classics like “The Joker”, “Jungle Love” and other things. Yet, it’s a little more rock sounding than some of his earlier bluesy efforts. I had never heard this album, so I was more than happy to snag it up. He had a man-crush on this album as well, but it is going for around $25 on ebay, and all the albums for sale on discogs are overseas.

Isaac Hayes – Shaft

I know for anyone buying old soul and funk, Isaac Hayes’ Shaft should probably be one of the first addition to any collection. And I’m not sure why I haven’t snatched it before. I don’t see it around here, but I’m pretty sure I saw it in Denver last year. Maybe it was a bit out of my price range. I think he only charged me $3 for this and it’s in nice shape.

Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life

Another example that exposes me as being a novice digger. I love this album, I remember my mom playing it when I was a kid. This one has the booklet, but no 7″ record that came with it. This is going anywhere from a buck to $20 depending on the what is with it and the condition. Mine is in great condition and has the booklet that comes with it, so it’s a decent deal.

Sly & The Family Stones – Greatest Hits

I think I grabbed this in a frenzy, since I’m not even a big fan of greatest hits compilations. I don’t have any of their stuff on wax, so it was nice to have some of these songs on wax, which was my reasoning for getting it. The vinyl is a little banged up and has some small skip when played on my Nu-Mark. My cheapy player in the front room though plows right through it. This is rather cheap anywhere you look.

Bill Withers – Menagerie

Another attempt to check out someone’s music who I wasn’t all that familiar with. I wasn’t really impressed with this particular album, but I’m not going to write of Bill Withers just yet. This album is pretty cheap where ever you look.

The Stylistics – The Stylistics

Another group that I like, although I’m not really sure why. This is a pretty good album, but the good thing about picking this up, it looks like someone bought it, sliced the plastic open at the end, then put in hiding for the past 40 years. The cover is in great shape, and I almost wonder if the record had ever been played before. It’s going for $5 ish on discogs, and a little higher on ebay.

The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour

I like The Beatles. I’ve always found them to be rather creative musically, even though some of their stuff is very simple and basic. Other stuff, like what is found on Magical Mystery Tour is complexed and out there. Magical Mystery Tour has always been my favorite Beatles album. Since I had no Beatles on wax and this album was rather cheap, I figured I’d snatch it up. The cover is beat to hell, which is probably why it was only $5 (it was marked, one of the few that were). Most Beatles albums I run into are way more than I want to spend.

A Bust This Rhyme 6:52
B Bust This Rhyme (Dub Version) 6:15

A1 Heat It Up (The Wiz Mix) 3:59
B1 Heat It Up (The Wiz Mix Instrumental) 3:59
B2 Heat It Up (Noise-A-ppella) 3:59

A1 Rapperfection (Main Mix)
A2 Rapperfection (Clean Mix)
A3 Rapperfection (Instrumental)
A4 Syllable Practice (12″ Re-Recording)
B1 You Suck (Main)
B2 You Suck (Clean)
B3 You Suck (Instrumental)

A1 Lifestyles Of The Rich & Famous (Vocal Version) 4:57
A2 Lifestyles Of The Rich & Famous (Dub Version) 4:57
B1 Lifestyles Of The Rich & Famous (Instrumental Version) 4:57
B2 Lifestyles Of The Rich & Famous (Acappela Version) 3:39

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BC March 3, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Best… Post… Ever. Really cool read, man. Well done!

O-Snaps March 7, 2010 at 4:16 am

I agree man very well documented!!! i love searching for shit that others cant find!

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