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The Greatest Record Finds Of All Time 2008

The Greatest Record Finds Of All Time 2008 magazine cover

Following on from the Graham Warr thread, I figured that this is the time to start collating some of those UNBELIEVABLE U.S. Northern finds. Or unbelievable disappointments too.

From experience, it's quite often the unexpected ones which turn out to be killers!

So here's an example from me, just to kick things off....

In 1988 I was stuck in a pretty boring job in between my more exciting jobs when I got a phone call from my ex boss who used to own the Warehouse in Leeds. He'd recently moved out to Denver, Colorado and was thinking about opening a club out there, so he invited me over for 10 days and offered to send the plane tickets!

Which was perfect! Anything to get out of the MCPS in Streatham which was slowly killing me.....

Also, at the back of my mind, I figured that Denver is in the middle of nowhere so the chances of any Northern collectors actually CHOOSING to go to Denver or even Colorado was remote - they'd have to go roughly 1000 miles from anywhere else to the middle of cowboy country to look for Northern. Unlikely.....

So I got there, got settled in at my bosses pad and then began a week of trawling every store in Denver whilst looking at potential club premises.

And.......nothing!

A complete bust.

Crap.

I couldn't believe it. Quite often there'd be promising situations, i.e., plenty of the right labels from the right era and cheap. But somehow there were never the right artists or smaller labels and WAAAY too much Country & Western for my liking.....

It got to day 9 - the day before I was due to fly back and there was one store about 15 miles out of Denver which I hadn't tried yet. The only problem was that my ex-boss was busy that day and wouldn't be able to run me over there. I'd have to get there via about three buses which would be a pain in the ass.

Anyway, I set off. It took me almost 2 hours to get there but when I got there my heart started pounding! The shop looked FANTASTIC with 100ft long racks of 45's from floor to ceiling. So I got digging....

And nothing! Tons of the right labels, lots of the right artists but NO NORTHERN!!

The shop owner even let me in the back room to go through the unsorted stuff so I got covered in cobwebs, rat shit and dust going through hundred-count boxes of Luther Ingram, Staple Singers and Bar-Kays records but still NO NORTHERN!

After a couple of hours and covered in shit from head-to-toe, I called it a day and headed back to the bus stop for the trek back. And dammit, I just missed a bus and the next one was in an hour. So I had an hour to kill in the middle of Buttfuck, Denver with no records!

Great.

So I went into a burger bar and got a burger and coffee and went to sit at the window booth. As I was chomping my burger I was casually looking out of the window looking across a parking lot and, beyond that a dual carriageway, when in the distance, at the other side of the dual carriageway, I saw a sign which said "1940 Jukebox Co".

I wasn't that excited but I had a bit more time to kill and I like those early Wurlitzer jukeboxes anyway, so I thought I'd have a wander over there and have a look. Nothing better to do.....

So I crossed the dual carriageway and walked up to a huge building which had a shop front with a couple of Wurlitzer jukeboxes in the window. I looked at 'em for a while and then casually wandered into the shop.

As I went through the door into the shop, I noticed an alcove on the right-hand side which was roped-off but which was full of racks of records in what looked to be strict alphabetical order.

I still wasn't that excited - I thought they'd all be ex-jukebox records, 'oldies but goodies' or the dreaded Ferlin Husky or Merle Haggard stuff which Denver was filled with.

There was a long-haired bearded native Indian bloke at the counter, so I wandered up and said "Wow. Love these jukeboxes man. What do you play on 'em"?

He said: "I've got over a million records in there (pointing at the alcove), so we ain't gonna run out anytime soon son".

I said: "Wow. A million ay? Are they for sale"?

He said: "Yep. As a matter of fact it's your lucky day son. I'm having a sale, so anything you want is 25 cents each."

And with that, he walked around the counter, down to the alcove, unhooked the rope to the entrance and ushered me in.

I took a deep breath. This actually looked promising. The alphabetizing of his stock was incredible with the 'A' section starting off with A, AA, AB, ABE, etc, etc. Far too intricate for just ex-juke-box titles. But it could still all be Country and Western though so I still wasn't getting too excited....

So, I thought what record have I never managed to find in all my previous trips to the U.S.? One I really like preferably.....? And it had always bugged me that I'd never managed to find a Stanley Mitchell "Get It Baby" one of my favourite records of all time.

So I went to the 'M' section, scrolled along - M..., MA..., ME..., MI...., MIT..., MITCH.........

And found 2 mint white promo copies of "Get It Baby" on Dynamo!

That was when my heart started pounding!

Everything was in there! All the major label stuff, lots of tiny indie labels, tons of New York, L.A., Detroit and Chicago goodies.

I ended up staying there until 12.00pm that night. The owner even locked me up in the shop so he could get some dinner. I bought 2,800 records for $700 and made close to £30,000 and massively increased my Northern collection at the time. It was easily the best hit I've ever had in my entire life. The 'Holy Grail' in fact.

But only around 10-11 hours to cover a million records? I had to go back to the UK the next day, so the only thing I could do was target things I could remember and adopt a kind of 'scattergun' approach which is absolutely the worst way to clear a warehouse.

And to this day, I wake up in a cold sweat every so often, dreaming of what I left behind at the 1940 Jukebox Company.

A few months after my visit, Dave Raistrick found the place and had a hell of a hit himself. But he couldn't understand why a lot of the obvious titles weren't there until he asked the guy whether anyone else from England had been there and the guy said. "Well there was this tall, dark-haired guy here a couple of months ago...........".

I caught up with Dave a year or two later at a record fair and he said "Denver, Colorado. Was that you"?

And I said "Yep"!

Got loads more but I thought I'd kick off with a monster. I know Tim, Johnny, Ady, Kev and most U.S. crate-diggers have their own great tales, so let's hear 'em. It doesn't have to be a successful story. I've had some monumental disappointments too. But it's always good to share the tales LOL.....

Ian D :thumbup:

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Wiganer1 profile photo

Posted

On ‎21‎/‎03‎/‎2008 at 13:17, Ian Dewhirst said:

Following on from the Graham Warr thread, I figured that this is the time to start collating some of those UNBELIEVABLE U.S. Northern finds. Or unbelievable disappointments too.

 

From experience, it's quite often the unexpected ones which turn out to be killers!

 

So here's an example from me, just to kick things off....

 

In 1988 I was stuck in a pretty boring job in between my more exciting jobs when I got a phone call from my ex boss who used to own the Warehouse in Leeds. He'd recently moved out to Denver, Colorado and was thinking about opening a club out there, so he invited me over for 10 days and offered to send the plane tickets!

 

Which was perfect! Anything to get out of the MCPS in Streatham which was slowly killing me.....

 

Also, at the back of my mind, I figured that Denver is in the middle of nowhere so the chances of any Northern collectors actually CHOOSING to go to Denver or even Colorado was remote - they'd have to go roughly 1000 miles from anywhere else to the middle of cowboy country to look for Northern. Unlikely.....

 

So I got there, got settled in at my bosses pad and then began a week of trawling every store in Denver whilst looking at potential club premises.

 

And.......nothing!

 

A complete bust.

 

Crap.

 

I couldn't believe it. Quite often there'd be promising situations, i.e., plenty of the right labels from the right era and cheap. But somehow there were never the right artists or smaller labels and WAAAY too much Country & Western for my liking.....

 

It got to day 9 - the day before I was due to fly back and there was one store about 15 miles out of Denver which I hadn't tried yet. The only problem was that my ex-boss was busy that day and wouldn't be able to run me over there. I'd have to get there via about three buses which would be a pain in the ass.

 

Anyway, I set off. It took me almost 2 hours to get there but when I got there my heart started pounding! The shop looked FANTASTIC with 100ft long racks of 45's from floor to ceiling. So I got digging....

 

And nothing! Tons of the right labels, lots of the right artists but NO NORTHERN!!

 

The shop owner even let me in the back room to go through the unsorted stuff so I got covered in cobwebs, rat shit and dust going through hundred-count boxes of Luther Ingram, Staple Singers and Bar-Kays records but still NO NORTHERN!

 

After a couple of hours and covered in shit from head-to-toe, I called it a day and headed back to the bus stop for the trek back. And dammit, I just missed a bus and the next one was in an hour. So I had an hour to kill in the middle of Buttfuck, Denver with no records!

 

Great.

 

So I went into a burger bar and got a burger and coffee and went to sit at the window booth. As I was chomping my burger I was casually looking out of the window looking across a parking lot and, beyond that a dual carriageway, when in the distance, at the other side of the dual carriageway, I saw a sign which said "1940 Jukebox Co".

 

I wasn't that excited but I had a bit more time to kill and I like those early Wurlitzer jukeboxes anyway, so I thought I'd have a wander over there and have a look. Nothing better to do.....

 

So I crossed the dual carriageway and walked up to a huge building which had a shop front with a couple of Wurlitzer jukeboxes in the window. I looked at 'em for a while and then casually wandered into the shop.

 

As I went through the door into the shop, I noticed an alcove on the right-hand side which was roped-off but which was full of racks of records in what looked to be strict alphabetical order.

 

I still wasn't that excited - I thought they'd all be ex-jukebox records, 'oldies but goodies' or the dreaded Ferlin Husky or Merle Haggard stuff which Denver was filled with.

 

There was a long-haired bearded native Indian bloke at the counter, so I wandered up and said "Wow. Love these jukeboxes man. What do you play on 'em"?

 

He said: "I've got over a million records in there (pointing at the alcove), so we ain't gonna run out anytime soon son".

 

I said: "Wow. A million ay? Are they for sale"?

 

He said: "Yep. As a matter of fact it's your lucky day son. I'm having a sale, so anything you want is 25 cents each."

 

And with that, he walked around the counter, down to the alcove, unhooked the rope to the entrance and ushered me in.

 

I took a deep breath. This actually looked promising. The alphabetizing of his stock was incredible with the 'A' section starting off with A, AA, AB, ABE, etc, etc. Far too intricate for just ex-juke-box titles. But it could still all be Country and Western though so I still wasn't getting too excited....

 

So, I thought what record have I never managed to find in all my previous trips to the U.S.? One I really like preferably.....? And it had always bugged me that I'd never managed to find a Stanley Mitchell "Get It Baby" one of my favourite records of all time.

 

So I went to the 'M' section, scrolled along - M..., MA..., ME..., MI...., MIT..., MITCH.........

 

And found 2 mint white promo copies of "Get It Baby" on Dynamo!

 

That was when my heart started pounding!

 

Everything was in there! All the major label stuff, lots of tiny indie labels, tons of New York, L.A., Detroit and Chicago goodies.

 

I ended up staying there until 12.00pm that night. The owner even locked me up in the shop so he could get some dinner. I bought 2,800 records for $700 and made close to £30,000 and massively increased my Northern collection at the time. It was easily the best hit I've ever had in my entire life. The 'Holy Grail' in fact.

 

But only around 10-11 hours to cover a million records? I had to go back to the UK the next day, so the only thing I could do was target things I could remember and adopt a kind of 'scattergun' approach which is absolutely the worst way to clear a warehouse.

 

And to this day, I wake up in a cold sweat every so often, dreaming of what I left behind at the 1940 Jukebox Company.

 

A few months after my visit, Dave Raistrick found the place and had a hell of a hit himself. But he couldn't understand why a lot of the obvious titles weren't there until he asked the guy whether anyone else from England had been there and the guy said. "Well there was this tall, dark-haired guy here a couple of months ago...........".

 

I caught up with Dave a year or two later at a record fair and he said "Denver, Colorado. Was that you"?

 

And I said "Yep"!

 

 

Got loads more but I thought I'd kick off with a monster. I know Tim, Johnny, Ady, Kev and most U.S. crate-diggers have their own great tales, so let's hear 'em. It doesn't have to be a successful story. I've had some monumental disappointments too. But it's always good to share the tales LOL.....

 

Ian D :thumbup:

fantastic ian 

Soulsides profile photo

Posted

Wow...what a brilliant thread !

The  stories here are truly entertaining and an absolute joy to read.

 

 

SHSDave profile photo

Posted

Just about the best thread ever 😀👍 Thanks Ian

Chess1458 profile photo

Posted

Back in the mid 1990's i bought some 45's from a craigslist ad in Washington D.C...I met up with the guy in a dilapidated building near Florida Ave and the basement was FULL of soul and r&b 45's.....Come to find out the building used to be a distributors warehouse....I walked out with roughly 73 Shrine 45's not to mention a ton of local D.C. and Baltimore labels.There were also boxes of more common soul but they were pristine and unplayed.I took the whole load for $1500 and had to make 3 trips with my brothers truck.....I've found some good pieces in that time....But that was the best

  • Up vote 5
Dave Raistrick profile photo

Posted

On 21/03/2008 at 19:27, Ian Dewhirst said:

 

 

Haha LOL. That was another great accident.

 

I was in east L.A. driving around looking for a Saturday morning 'swap-meet' (or flea market) and somehow I just couldn't find the place where the swap meet was meant to be. I was driving mile after mile along all these roads with heavy industrial complexes and factories as far as the eye could see but no sign of any swap meet.

 

As I was driving along one of these bleak, endless roads I noticed a hamburger stall coming up on the roadside with quite a few people milling around, so I slowed down, figuring I could ask someone where the swap meet might be. It was then that I noticed that there was a sort of household goods market right next to the hamburger van.

 

So I parked up, 'cos I fancied a coffee and there were a couple of coffee type stalls within the market. So I got a coffee and had a mooch around the market. It was all stepladders, dusters, cleaning fluids, tool kits, buckets, bowls and thousands of other household goods. I'd pretty much covered the whole market when I noticed a stall nearest the road which had a couple of boxes of 45's in amongst all the household shit....

 

I wandered over, set my coffee down and started flicking through the 45's. It really wasn't very promising - I expected lots of junk and some of the records looked beaten up.......but.......

 

Bingo!

 

I found "We Were Made For Each Other" - Terrible Tom on Maverick.......and then another one!

 

And then I found "You Don't Love Me Anymore" - Johnny Caswell on a pink Decca demo several records later. Things were looking up suddenly. After I'd gone through both boxes I'd found a few more so-so's - Candace Love, Fred Hughes and a couple of others, I asked the guy how much they were and he said, "Oh, just gimme 25 cents each man". So I gave him a couple of bucks and said, "Wow. I found a few things here. It's a shame you don't have any more."

 

The guy looked at me and said "You want more 45's"?

 

I said, "Yeah, that's what I'm looking for".

 

And the guy said, "Yo, come around here" and waved me round to the back of his stall where there was a huge rain-soaked tarpulin covering an area about 20' x 20'...

 

He then grabbed hold of one side of the tarpulin and threw it back to reveal......

 

about 20,000 45's!

 

He laughed and said "Help yourself. Good luck."

 

They were in a right state! Some of 'em were warped from the sun, others had been wet at some time and were water-damaged and most of the sleeves were falling apart or rotting.

 

But everything away from the edges of the tarpulin and in the middle of all this plastic was fine!

 

I found 50 x "Love Factory" - Eloise Laws on Music Merchant, 50 x "Memories" by the Segments Of Time on Sussex and at least a couple of hundred other goodies which were all in decent nick considering the circumstances.

 

I also found the rarest record ever on the Belgium scene at the time - "Heartless Lover" by the Dick Baker Combo on Kool Kat (the L.A. Kool Kat, not the Detroit one). I sold it a week later for £1500 (a huge amount of money in '76 - the guy flew in from Belgium to collect it personally).

 

So a shit day turned into a good one in the end.

 

Whilst I figured I'd pretty much cleared everything on that visit, a couple of years later I was back in L.A. and tried to find the place again but just couldn't remember where it was. But later that day I ended up in Redondo Beach and went into a furniture store/junk shop and found a whole bunch of great stuff from New York and Philly labels - the Superlatives, Del-Larks, Lou Courtney etc, etc. It turns out the guy had just re-located there from the East Coast!

 

All this was great, but I also remember Arthur Fenn having a fantastic hit several years later from a pressing plant I'd been to about 30 times - I think it was Monarch! He somehow got shown a back room that was packed with killers and came back loaded to the gills with Joe Hicks, Larry Atkins and bundles of other L.A. pressed goodies.

 

Ya win some, ya lose some.....

 

But what I'm doing here is trying to encourage Graham Warr and everyone else to share some tales with us. When he got to the U.S. it was Virgin territory for hunting Northern, so he had some great finds (see other thread). Also Kev Roberts hit in Baltimore was historic and the tales of Soussan's antics and Colony Records in New York are legendary...........

 

 

Ian D :thumbsup:

It was the Alco pressing plant Ian. Arthur and I made a killing on around 1,500 x 45s in 100 count boxes. Must have been around 1979.

 

polyvelts profile photo

Posted

I could read these stories all day long !

Tomangoes profile photo

Posted

For sure finding £1000 rarities for 10 cents must be fantastic, but imagine finding the same record before it was famous...

The lucky blighters who achieved this in the early 70s were truly blessed. 

I remember speaking with Gwent Owens in LA in 2004, and she was actually selling some of her own records from her collection..

Not a Velgo label in site, but loads of Beatles and other brit pop stuff she loved.

If only she had saved her own stuff, she would have been a wealthy Lady.

Ed

Gotsoul profile photo

Posted

When preparing to leave my favorite record store some years ago,I looked down and on the floor sat the one gem I had been searching for over twenty years[Neverending Impressions]in mint condition,I didn't know whether to laugh or cry with joy so I just swooped up this gem and smiled all the way home with what I call The Impressions best LP,and it's in my collection.

  • Up vote 1
Robbk profile photo

Posted

Back during the late 1960s, I was looking at the records shelves in a Goodwill Store in Pasadena, California.  There was nothing there but MOR Pop 45s, and kiddie records.  I did find one not-so-good condition fairly common Soul record, which I shouldn't have decided to buy.  But, I didn't want to have gone all the way from West L.A. through Hollywood, and Downtown L.A. finding almost nothing, so I picked it up.  As I turned around, I dropped it, and it slid down behind the tall, wood bookshelf.  I was irritated about finding nothing, and was determined not to leave there with nothing.  I used a lot of strength to pull the whole shelf, from the near side, far enough away from the wall to grab the record, when I saw that there were about 10 records that had also fallen behind the shelf, apparently over a many year period, as 3 of them were old R&B 45 RPM records from 1951-1954.  They were the extremely rare, "Dreams of You" by The Royals on Okeh Records, from 1952, "My Saddest Hour" by The Five Keys on Aladdin Records from 1951, and a record by The Aladdins on Aladdin, from 1954.  They were all in near mint condition.  I bought them all for 10 cents each.  Even at that time, The Royals was worth over $1,000, and The Five Keys about $400.  That was a lot of money back then.  That was one of my best finds for the money paid, condition and rarity.  And I like that music better than many of the most valuable Northern Soul records I've found, including the Frank Wilson on Soul, Andantes, and many others.

  • Up vote 12
Rick Cooper profile photo

Posted

My post of December 2015 ends with a brief mention of my US visit with Terry (Francis) Thomas. Since then Terry has sadly died so I'd thought I'd try to remember some of the visit. I was given a photo album that Terry had from the trip and found some receipts and invoices that I had kept. With these I have managed to piece together places and dates without having to rely on a not very reliable memory.

I had sold a lot of my records in early 1977 as I was sick of all the bootlegs and reissues ruining the value of the originals. With the money from this I decided to have a holiday trip to the US. Terry was doing well with his badge and record business so together we had the funds for a holiday without having to make it pay by finding records. However we had made a few plans to visit certain shops and warehouses and had a few tips from Rod Shard @modernsoulsucks and Ian Levine also by then I was working at Robinson's Records who bought from the US.

We had a Greyhound bus pass and Holiday Inn vouchers so after four or five days in New York we headed off down the East Coast aiming to get to Miami and back in two weeks. In most towns we found small record shops but apart from some 70s stuff we hadn't found anything to get excited about.

As we had an address in Miami from Levine and the phone number for Rod's contact in Miami we planned to stay there for three or four days. Levine's lead was a waste of time as the shop had lots of records but the owner wouldn't let us look through them. He had some copies of Tobi Lark -Happiness is Here but wanted about 8 or 9 dollars each, way too much. Jose was supposed to come to our hotel but for some reason couldn't make it. Having some spare time we went to look round the area near the hotel. Fairly soon we came across a record shop still open in the evening. The shop had LPs in racks everywhere but tucked away at the back was a small glass counter with some singles in. The top record on one pile was Little Joe Romans When You're Lonesome. We asked to look at the others and found the rest were all mid 60s soul records with no C&W and pop. What more could we want, well obviously more records but that seemed to be the lot. After asking the owner if he had anymore he said there were loads in the back rooms but we had to buy at least 100 records and if we made a mess he would kick us out. The owner , Jack Howerd, was a foul mouthed grumpy old man. Although it was getting late we immediately got stuck in and soon found some great records.

We had to start back to New York within two days so spent the rest of time going through thousands of records and even then couldn't get into another room as there were stacks of car tyres, fridges,boxes and other junk in the way. Some of the best finds were Tony Clarke Landslide demos, Nolan Chance and Holly Maxwell on Constellation demos, Butch Baker -Batman at the Go Go, Tainted Love and lots of titles for Japan and Netherland collectors. One of these -Syl Johnson- Do you Know what Love Is we took about 25 copies, left loads more. All these went to Japan as no one wanted it in the UK. 

I think the owner used to be in the record business in Chicago and had moved to Miami in his old age. Someone told me that John Anderson had found the shop but wouldn't pay the dollar a record Jack was asking and I'm sure he wouldn't stand for any haggling. I think Dave Raistrick found the shop and had a good result after us. @Dave Raistrick is that right?

We had to get going so must have left loads of good records but didn't care as we had found enough to make the trip worth it.

To save time travelling we hired a car and dropped the records of at Robinsons shipping agent in New Jersey. 

 

237385767_USAtrip1001.thumb.jpg.2870395602b73ef322e4769249ea4c29.jpg

Photos, top L checking Yellow Pages, top R hitting the road, middle row, Tone Distributors in Miami, Global Records in Philly. Bottom row, Terry with Steve Alaimo at TK, Terry outside Ed Balbiers (Global owner) house in Philly. The other photos I've got are all tourist type stuff , Disney world , New York etc. etc.

1919209423_USAtrip2001.thumb.jpg.ec31d45fdc6b0108b08921ec3a26ba59.jpg

Various receipts. Flights cost £198 for both of us. The Greyhound ticket was £97 each. 

A holiday to remember but I seemed to have forgotten whole chunks of it, but other stuff was , nearly getting thrown out of disco in Miami as we didn't buy a drink from the waitress, being told to get out of the area by a passing cop car, visiting a radio station, the warm welcome at TK, the FO at Philadelphia International, NY Jazz club, Disney World and other tourist attractions.

Rick

  • Up vote 11
Steve Foran profile photo

Posted

Any further news on the book that was being written about record hunting? I think Andy Dyson was doing it. IF IT HAS BEEN MENTIONED BEFORE sorry I must have missed it. 

Cheers

Steve

woolie mark profile photo

Posted

2 hours ago, Steve Foran said:

Any further news on the book that was being written about record hunting? I think Andy Dyson was doing it. IF IT HAS BEEN MENTIONED BEFORE sorry I must have missed it. 

Cheers

Steve

I think Andy is helping Gilly to finish his book?

@Gilly

Steve Foran profile photo

Posted

18 minutes ago, woolie mark said:

I think Andy is helping Gilly to finish his book?

@Gilly

Thank you

Dave Wakefield profile photo

Posted

On 21/03/2008 at 13:17, Ian Dewhirst said:

Following on from the Graham Warr thread, I figured that this is the time to start collating some of those UNBELIEVABLE U.S. Northern finds. Or unbelievable disappointments too.

 

From experience, it's quite often the unexpected ones which turn out to be killers!

 

So here's an example from me, just to kick things off....

 

In 1988 I was stuck in a pretty boring job in between my more exciting jobs when I got a phone call from my ex boss who used to own the Warehouse in Leeds. He'd recently moved out to Denver, Colorado and was thinking about opening a club out there, so he invited me over for 10 days and offered to send the plane tickets!

 

Which was perfect! Anything to get out of the MCPS in Streatham which was slowly killing me.....

 

Also, at the back of my mind, I figured that Denver is in the middle of nowhere so the chances of any Northern collectors actually CHOOSING to go to Denver or even Colorado was remote - they'd have to go roughly 1000 miles from anywhere else to the middle of cowboy country to look for Northern. Unlikely.....

 

So I got there, got settled in at my bosses pad and then began a week of trawling every store in Denver whilst looking at potential club premises.

 

And.......nothing!

 

A complete bust.

 

Crap.

 

I couldn't believe it. Quite often there'd be promising situations, i.e., plenty of the right labels from the right era and cheap. But somehow there were never the right artists or smaller labels and WAAAY too much Country & Western for my liking.....

 

It got to day 9 - the day before I was due to fly back and there was one store about 15 miles out of Denver which I hadn't tried yet. The only problem was that my ex-boss was busy that day and wouldn't be able to run me over there. I'd have to get there via about three buses which would be a pain in the ass.

 

Anyway, I set off. It took me almost 2 hours to get there but when I got there my heart started pounding! The shop looked FANTASTIC with 100ft long racks of 45's from floor to ceiling. So I got digging....

 

And nothing! Tons of the right labels, lots of the right artists but NO NORTHERN!!

 

The shop owner even let me in the back room to go through the unsorted stuff so I got covered in cobwebs, rat shit and dust going through hundred-count boxes of Luther Ingram, Staple Singers and Bar-Kays records but still NO NORTHERN!

 

After a couple of hours and covered in shit from head-to-toe, I called it a day and headed back to the bus stop for the trek back. And dammit, I just missed a bus and the next one was in an hour. So I had an hour to kill in the middle of Buttfuck, Denver with no records!

 

Great.

 

So I went into a burger bar and got a burger and coffee and went to sit at the window booth. As I was chomping my burger I was casually looking out of the window looking across a parking lot and, beyond that a dual carriageway, when in the distance, at the other side of the dual carriageway, I saw a sign which said "1940 Jukebox Co".

 

I wasn't that excited but I had a bit more time to kill and I like those early Wurlitzer jukeboxes anyway, so I thought I'd have a wander over there and have a look. Nothing better to do.....

 

So I crossed the dual carriageway and walked up to a huge building which had a shop front with a couple of Wurlitzer jukeboxes in the window. I looked at 'em for a while and then casually wandered into the shop.

 

As I went through the door into the shop, I noticed an alcove on the right-hand side which was roped-off but which was full of racks of records in what looked to be strict alphabetical order.

 

I still wasn't that excited - I thought they'd all be ex-jukebox records, 'oldies but goodies' or the dreaded Ferlin Husky or Merle Haggard stuff which Denver was filled with.

 

There was a long-haired bearded native Indian bloke at the counter, so I wandered up and said "Wow. Love these jukeboxes man. What do you play on 'em"?

 

He said: "I've got over a million records in there (pointing at the alcove), so we ain't gonna run out anytime soon son".

 

I said: "Wow. A million ay? Are they for sale"?

 

He said: "Yep. As a matter of fact it's your lucky day son. I'm having a sale, so anything you want is 25 cents each."

 

And with that, he walked around the counter, down to the alcove, unhooked the rope to the entrance and ushered me in.

 

I took a deep breath. This actually looked promising. The alphabetizing of his stock was incredible with the 'A' section starting off with A, AA, AB, ABE, etc, etc. Far too intricate for just ex-juke-box titles. But it could still all be Country and Western though so I still wasn't getting too excited....

 

So, I thought what record have I never managed to find in all my previous trips to the U.S.? One I really like preferably.....? And it had always bugged me that I'd never managed to find a Stanley Mitchell "Get It Baby" one of my favourite records of all time.

 

So I went to the 'M' section, scrolled along - M..., MA..., ME..., MI...., MIT..., MITCH.........

 

And found 2 mint white promo copies of "Get It Baby" on Dynamo!

 

That was when my heart started pounding!

 

Everything was in there! All the major label stuff, lots of tiny indie labels, tons of New York, L.A., Detroit and Chicago goodies.

 

I ended up staying there until 12.00pm that night. The owner even locked me up in the shop so he could get some dinner. I bought 2,800 records for $700 and made close to £30,000 and massively increased my Northern collection at the time. It was easily the best hit I've ever had in my entire life. The 'Holy Grail' in fact.

 

But only around 10-11 hours to cover a million records? I had to go back to the UK the next day, so the only thing I could do was target things I could remember and adopt a kind of 'scattergun' approach which is absolutely the worst way to clear a warehouse.

 

And to this day, I wake up in a cold sweat every so often, dreaming of what I left behind at the 1940 Jukebox Company.

 

A few months after my visit, Dave Raistrick found the place and had a hell of a hit himself. But he couldn't understand why a lot of the obvious titles weren't there until he asked the guy whether anyone else from England had been there and the guy said. "Well there was this tall, dark-haired guy here a couple of months ago...........".

 

I caught up with Dave a year or two later at a record fair and he said "Denver, Colorado. Was that you"?

 

And I said "Yep"!

 

 

Got loads more but I thought I'd kick off with a monster. I know Tim, Johnny, Ady, Kev and most U.S. crate-diggers have their own great tales, so let's hear 'em. It doesn't have to be a successful story. I've had some monumental disappointments too. But it's always good to share the tales LOL.....

 

Ian D :thumbup:

Hi Ian I really enjoyed that reading Abart how it started. Sounded like you were having a The badest and unluckiest day's ever but.if you keep a clear head don't let it get to you it comes Up Trump's IAN Your A Top Man IAN. And you got rewarded with the fruits of The vynil with perciveering mate I'll take my Hat of to ya all The best Ian mate TEK CARE. DAVE WAKEFIELD

Derek Pearson profile photo

Posted

On 27/03/2008 at 09:39, Guest said:

The greatest finds are the ones where you've spent all day looking through 45s and found virtually nothing, then in the very last handful! Bam! A great record.. smile.gif you can't beat that feeling.

I made the fatal mistake in starting to read this thread from the beginning....bang went all my other plans and stuff that I had to do. Read the first couple o' pages slowly but managed to lure myself away. Phew!

Probably sometime mid 1990's whilst driving up the coast north of Miami I stumbled upon a small one room record store in the middle of nowhere. On entering the shop I spied a couple of very large cardboard boxes of 45's under a table on the floor.

And whilst I didn't spend all day there (being the obsessive I am) I'm sure I spent the best part of an afternoon on mi knees wading through all the records from top to bottom.

My memory reckons I didn't find a single thing - but in virtually my last couple o' handfuls - a lovely Revilot white demo appeared in front of my eyes. Wow Darrell Banks "Open the door to your heart" thank you very much. I paid for it and left the shop.

I reckon that the only reason that record was still there was because previous people had missed it or had found it but then misplaced it. Oh well.

Derek

I still have the said record.

  • Up vote 1
Mal C profile photo

Posted

done this a few times, once in a 'one street' town in NWS in Australia.  Crap place but unbelievably had a record shop on two levels, spent the whole day, really pissed my wife off who wanted to continue our journey to Queensland... and I got a single mint WD of Garland Green - Just a case of Loving you...   not an expensive record, but in its original sleeve and a lovely example... I toiled for that bit of plastic, sweat and tears baby!!

 

  • Up vote 1



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