Record Digging Stories (Please Add On)

2 of 24 Pages


Haut de la Garenne

I once jumped over my garden fence to get to some records I could see from my bedroom window in a neighbour’s rubbish bins. Pulled a copy of Tony Joe White “Black & White” and some russian stereo test records.

Whooo-ha Frank! Where the fusk you at!?!? Can you beat THAT one? Huh? Huh? Didn’t think so dude.

You must be logged in to Reply.

Haut de la Garenne

C’mon Frank. Where are you?

These neighbours had a big dog. It was a German Sheppard that they only fed Heinz baked-beans. He was friendly enough if you stayed on your side of the fence, but his breath would stop a rhino at 30 yards and the sound of bicycles gave it a hard-on.


You must be logged in to Reply.

Out Digging

No horny German Shepherds or baked beans but here’s another…............

In the early-80???s we took a trip to Jackson, Mississippi to meet with Johnny Vincent the owner of Ace Records. Johnny was a real character claiming to have mob ties (his real name was John Vincent Imbragulio) which might have been legit. Johnny had been a producer for Specialty Records and started the Champion label in the late 40???s recording various blues artists. He had many hits with Guitar Slim, Huey ???Piano??? Smith, Frankie Ford and teen idol Jimmy Clanton on his Ace label. We met him on a Saturday morning at the greasy spoon restaurant he ran right down the block from the state capitol. He served us breakfast while telling us some wild stories about Art Rupe and his life in the music biz. He claimed to have ???discovered??? Little Richard amongst others. When breakfast was over he lead us upstairs to the attic of this very old and very run down building. I was filled with records, mostly LP???s and they were just piled up in no particular order.

He told us to be careful, watch out for the rats and he left us alone to dig for the day. The place had been picked over and all the obvious rare pieces were gone. As we walked across the room the floor bowed so much I thought for sure one of us would fall through the ceiling. Piled in the middle of the room were about 1,000 copies of a double Jimmy Clanton LP called ???Jimmy???s Happy/Jimmy???s Blue???. My buddy picked up a copy, pulled the vinyl out and it was blue wax???..the other LP in the set was red wax!! We had heard of this pressing and at the time it was going for about $150 which was a big record back then. We decided to go through them all and pull out all the colored vinyl copies. Three hours later or so we had checked all 1,000 plus copies???finding rat nests???.2 dead snakes and a dead opossum???..nasty shit???...and we found a grand total of 4 copies that were red/blue vinyl!!

When we were done digging and were paying Johnny for our finds he says ???Too bad I have to leave now or else I???d take you to the warehouse that has all the Stax stuff I just bought???. We suggested we could come back the next day but it wasn???t happening???..I followed up a few times but could never make it happen???.my guess is that it was because we hadn???t found that much stuff or spent much money with him at the first spot..

You must be logged in to Reply.

South San Francisco

I spent one entire day in the basement of k street records in Sacramento (the place on the cover of endtroducing). Didn’t eat, didn’t piss, nothing, for probably 12 hours. My friends were working there and had been going through everything down there. The owner had passed away and the son had my friends in there pulling the good stuff to sell upstairs or on eBay.
I’m sure the place had already been gone through many times, but different tastes and many years later it still had a ton of amazing stuff in it. Records were stacked everywhere. Records at the bottom would be stuck to eachother from the weight and moisture. Sometimes you’d be sorting a pile and it would fall over, spillig records like an avalanche. Good shit always slid at you. A pile would fall and a gem would say hello. I pulled an Asitis and handed it over to my gracious hosts. I got a few good things for myself, but the experience was the best part. It was so fun.
We wore rubber gloves and I took mine off at one point and I heard this gagging/weezing sound. The cat that lived down there was trying to eat the glove. We had to pull it out of it’s throat. The cat probably pissed on all of the records down there. That place probably took a little bit of my life away.

You must be logged in to Reply.

Out Digging

The UK dudes have stories for days and many were doing this long before I was??????here is a UK related story.

In the late 80???s I was finding little pockets of soul and funk 45???s at various Salvation Army stores around town and it was obvious they were all from the same source. For about a month I???d randomly find 25 at one location and then a week later 50 at another. They were all unplayed, mostly Chicago based labels but also had things like The Jackson Five on Steeltown(many) and lots of 60???s blues on labels like Bea & baby and Cobra. They were a quarter a piece and by the end of the month I had nearly 200 of them. I decided to call the main Salvation Army warehouse and see if there were a lot more. I was told that there were 2 pallets of them and that no one under any circumstance could get to see them before they went to the satellite stores.

This ate at me for about a week and I decided to just go to the main warehouse and see if I could talk my way in. I showed up in a suit and tie(9-5 related) and asked the receptionist who I would need to see about getting into the warehouse. She gave me a name but quickly followed up that no one was allowed back there and I was wasting my time??? I left. The name she gave me did sound somewhat unusual and familiar and about halfway back to work I realized I had once worked with a guy by the same name. The next day I called the warehouse, asked for the manager by name and sure as shit, it was an ex-coworker of mine.

I explained why I was calling and said I would pay double the price if I could get back there and see what they had. He said it was against policy but that he could make it happen during a one hour window if I came that day. I left work and headed over there pronto. My guy meets me at the back door and says???.???You have one hour???not a minute more??? and he leads me to an area that has pallet upon pallet of records???..4-5 pallets alone of the Springsteen 3 LP set on cassette??????and 2 pallets of very neatly boxed up 45???s. Now at this point realize that I have very little knowledge in the soul and funk areas and I???m pulling stuff that I know or private presses that look cool. I pull out and box 1,000 45???s in my hour, pay $500.00 and thank the dude profusely???..still having only gone through less than half of what was there.

Amazingly, within a day or 2 I get a call from a UK collector who just happens to be in the area and was given my name. There was no way he could have known about my Salvation Army score so it was pure coincidence. He was a pretty young dude and if I remember correctly his name was Adrian. He came by and bought a big stack of my S/A 45???s which I had priced at $2.00 - $5.00 each. A week later I get ANOTHER call from two UK collectors who had obviously heard about me from the Adrian dude. They come by and buy a bunch more. They asked where I had gotten them and I told them the Salvation Army story.

A month or so later I get word from a fellow dealer that word is out that some UK guys made a big 45 score in Dallas and I assume he???s talking about the guys that were at my house. I realize I must have sold stuff way too cheap and decide to give my buddy at the Salvation Army another call. This time I???m ready to tell him I???ll pay a buck or two a piece. He answers the phone, we say our hellos and I pop the question. His reply was ???I can???t, those two English guys you sent over here bought them all???

You must be logged in to Reply.


Lovin it

You must be logged in to Reply.

Great stories

You must be logged in to Reply.

ok, I’ve got one… it’s not that good, but it’s a classic story of things just falling into your lap.  So, I sell cars.  I have a small operation, and I used to have an employee.  He was a salesman, but he was WEAK.  Anyway, on the side, I would always be buying and selling records.  He never seemed interested in music, but would take interest in all the records that were coming and going from my office. 
  He knew a guy who worked at a local dump.  One day he told me he was getting some records and asked if I would help him sell them.  I found this strange as I had just given him his notice that I would be letting him go.  Well, one day I come into work and there must be 10 crates.  He told me to take anything I wanted and sell the rest.  I start to flip thru it all….it’s mindblowing, everything is sealed or unplayed, all promos from ABC, Blue Thumb, , Sire,etc.  Multiple copies of the first 4 ramones records, a few copies of the RAMP records,  lots of sealed blues and jazzz.    I kept about 100, sold 500 or 600 for him at the flea market, and everyone was happy.  I still remember the feeling of coming across the RAMP LP

You must be logged in to Reply.

Rock you better run your classic Jr + Soulettes story soon or im pasting it in here….

You must be logged in to Reply.

Too bad I only like disco music...the classics don

DocMcCoy - 30 January 2011 02:35 PM

Not to derail what’s shaping up to be a fascinating thread, but the o.g. British skinheads were largely anti-racist. They more or less grew out of that section of the mod movement that didn’t grow its hair and get into dope and acid, and continued to take inspiration from black music and style, the skinhead look being derived from that of Jamaican rudeboys.

Common knowledge/101 on here for most right, no? This makes me feel 14 again…Now, back to your regularly scheduled programmes.

You must be logged in to Reply.

When we were done digging and were paying Johnny for our finds he says ???Too bad I have to leave now or else I???d take you to the warehouse that has all the Stax stuff I just bought???. We suggested we could come back the next day but it wasn???t happening???..I followed up a few times but could never make it happen???.my guess is that it was because we hadn???t found that much stuff or spent much money with him at the first spot..

It’s too late now, but if he was that fazed by you guys not spending much $$$, I doubt if he would have led you on with the Stax story.

You must be logged in to Reply.

El Barrio

Rockadelic - 31 January 2011 10:53 PM

???I can???t, those two English guys you sent over here bought them all???

that is pretty messed up.

You must be logged in to Reply.

Here’s one that actually went down very recently—

My buddy and I had been pointed to this place by a woman in a small neighborhood (somewhere in the east coast ( wink ).  After I told her I was looking for record stores, etc, she said “oh you’re looking for records?  there’s a guy who we work with a lot who’s got a room full of em.  a lot of DJ radio promo 12s”.  The woman who had told us was the puffy hair, gold glasses, type—w/ the big red sweatshirt with a pic of a dog on it which, of course, was worn over a white turtle-neck.  So I was a little surprised to hear something like “DJ radio promo 12s” come out of her mouth.

Anyway - we made it over to this location with very little hope of turning up anything major, but wanted to give it a shot to see.  Pretty interesting in the store up front,  the owner seemed very friendly and didn’t seem to really know much about records (he was selling them for a friend).  But in the back, sure enough, were stacks of crates.  I got stoked, but didn’t get TOO amped bc I’d been that situation before and certainly had it be a chud factory. 

This, however, was kind of a craze.  There was a lot of techno and house, but every now and again I’d hit a pocket of 12"s organized by label, and they’d all be white label promos—- and there were multiple copies, sometimes as many as four.  This was some rare stuff that you never come across, a lot of WLPs from smaller groups on Epic, Arista, A&M, etc.  This was rad—- I was getting stoked, and I would quietly tell my buddy that there was some pretty good stuff here.  This, however, was getting him pissed bc he knew what this was turning into—- it was going to be one of those 2-3 hour spiels where he would just wait for me to finish (he ain’t really a collectro).  BC of this, he’d walk out a number of times for a smoke, etc. 

While he was out on one of his breaks,  I came across another one of these pockets of 12"s organized by labels.  This one was a bunch of white jackets, the spines facing me, and the records inside em were all Heavenly Star, Sound of New York, etc.  Nooooow I was getting amped.  Got the super giddy feeling, yada yada.

So my buddy comes back in and gives me the “what the f*ck bro—it’s time to get the hell ouf of here” face.  I had just hit quite patch of luck, and I wasn’t even halfway through the collection yet.  Nothing was priced, but I knew these were going to be cheap.  So, quietly but not too quietly, I explained to my friend what was going on, how amazing some of the shit was, and how I was about to come up heavy for next to no dough.  I was trying to explain the value of some of the pieces, telling him how this could be a gold mine, all that. He understood, wished me luck, and walked outside.  I kept looking, and sure enough kept finding great stuff.  The Carol Douglas 12” on New Image, random private boogie 12s, etc. 

About 20 mins later, he comes back in and is clearly baked with a big grin on his face.  He says “hey did you get that email?  someone just sent us a funny email”.  I take a break and check my phone.  Few new messages, but one of them is from him.  I open it up, and it reads “dude….the jig is up.  they’ve been watching and listening to us via security camera the whole time we’ve been here.” 

I assume he’s either just being an idiot or is being paranoid bc he’s clearly lifted.  I laugh.  He looks at me dead serious and says “dude I’m not kidding”.

So I put my stacks aside and walk to the front, acting like I’m catching a breath of fresh air.  There is NO ONE else in the store beside the two owners up front, and surely enough, there’s a large television displaying the backroom where I’d been killing it / audibly bragging about it with the volume BLARING from the tiny speakers.  I’m mortified, and my stomach drops.

Owner looks at me and says “hey if you want to bring some of that stack up I’ll start pricing it for you.”

Pretty sure my voice cracked when I said “cool”.  I slink away, bummed out like crazy.  Can’t believe my idiocy, but at the same time was sort of creeped out that I was being monitored so intensely.  So i figured I’d test my luck.

Anyway, to wrap it up, I did end up pretty much making out like somewhat of a bandit.  Got the Paper Dolls 12, the La She Ba 12, a bunch of other Peter Brown joints and a ton of private weird boogie 12s for next to nothing.  He priced all the known stuff super high, using Music Stack as his guide (“there’s a copy of this online for $900, I’ll sell it to you for $175”).  I passed on some of the more valuable items bc he was charging too much for em, but anything that wasn’t on a major he pretty much sold for under $16.00.

Never really knew if he picked up on everything I’d said—but man that shit sucked for a minute.

You must be logged in to Reply.

Auckland, New Zealand

Sounds like your lesson was learned, don’t let your pokerface slip until you have cashed up & are driving away.  I have to remind my partner of this, she will see good stuff & get all excited & loud, gotta be cool….....

You must be logged in to Reply.

Haut de la Garenne

holmes - 30 January 2011 10:41 PM

  Why I chose to walk home that route on that day, I just don’t know.

This quote, and another quote on one of those links to Soulsource about “waking up and smelling vinyl” reminds me of my first visit to Bangkok.  Not an amazing story, but more about following your nose.

This was in the summer of 2000 or 2001, and I was a green 22 year-old backpacker on my first visit to Thailand, and after a couple of weeks out there I started to look for records in earnest. Tuk-tuk drivers seemed like good people to ask as I figured they would know the city inside out, but whenever I mentioned vinyl, they would try and direct me to bootleg CD sellers. I had already found one spot that Mo Majid (sp?) mentioned to me on the Breaks list, and I had a title to look for thanks to John Stapleton, but I knew that in a city of 10 million, there had to be other record spots.
One night some Thai friends I’d met took me across Bangkok away from the Khoa Sarn locale that I was familiar with to get some Chinese street food at 3am.  At some point on the journey, I spied something from the back of the taxi that set off alarm bells in my inebriated mind: grimey shops with piles of second-hand stainless steel, car rims, cooking pans and assorted junk outside them. Scrap merchants.
That night I dreamt about records, and the next day, I woke up and I could smell vinyl.
I don’t know why a fleeting glimpse of stainless steel sinks piled-up outside some shops down an alleyway got my attention, but I had a gut instinct that this district would also have second-hand record shops.  I bought myself a couple of bottles of water, and with a foul hangover I started walking in the direction that I thought we’d headed, through an alien city that looked completely different by day and on foot, following some kind of homing instinct.  This wasn’t a short walk. It took me about three hours in the midday sun and I couldn’t ask for directions because I didn’t know where I was going (and my Thai was crap), but my nose turned out to be impeccable. I eventually stumbled upon a district I learned was pronounced Sapan Lake, and there were three second-hand record shops there, and a guy selling portables. Unforunately for me, I don’t think they’d ever seen a tourist in their neck of the woods; the guy with a shop full of portable turntables and records of 1950s American commercial jingles flat-out refused to sell me anything, one of the record shops ushered me out as soon as I walked in and said something about “closed for lunch”, and the last spot was run by a little old Chinese woman who’d cost me three visits before she’d part with a copy of The Impossibles Hot Pepper.

I guess this just a “follow your instincts” story, or perhaps I should end this with the saying “Where there’s muck, there’s brass”.

You must be logged in to Reply.