20 Hot Minutes at Wonderland


At the edge of the world in Newark sits Wonderland.  It’s your last possible stop before leaving main street.

If you are a fan of vinyl, it would be if you could actually tell it was open.  The blinking “OPEN” sign leaves you asking yourself if you feel like parking and getting out of your car just to pull on a locked door.

However, Wonderland is one of those reasons you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

Inside there are records wall to wall.  Some pretty good choices, prices are fair, but a lot of common records seem to be overpriced.  One thing I did notice about Wonderland was the lack of good finds on the floor.  Although good choices, nothing that would prompt me to buy a Foreigner record for $5.00.

Then I was introduced to the land behind the counter.  If you come into this store, come into it with a hard to find record in mind.  Dimitri has it.  However, it’s still kind of odd keeping all of the records that would sell best behind the counter.

All in all though, the store is nice.  I’ve noticed that the majority of record stores don’t have any AC.  It was incredibly nice walking into one that actually does.  It makes digging much less stressful.

They usually all have their own smells too.  This one, incense.  Strong STRONG incense.  It’s not bad if you use nasal spray and take an Allegra beforehand though.

All in all this place isn’t too bad…

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Is It The Music Or Something Else?


“…Well, you’ll probably have around 10,000 by the time we are 80″ my wife said.  “If you keep going at this pace, you’re guaranteed to at least have over 8,000.”  The thought of this made me kind of sick.  Not only because of the ridiculous amount of money I’d be spending (over $40,000.00 if the average price was $5.00), but because I wasn’t doing this just to have a huge collection……right?

I don’t have an incredibly large record collection (roughly 325-400).  As far as “collectors” are concerned it’s probably small, but the question I have been asking myself ever since the conversation with my wife is “When is enough….enough?”

And honestly, I’m not really sure of the answer to that question.  Didn’t I start this to expose myself to other genres and time periods of music?  I can’t help but question my intentions at times.  I haven’t reached the point where I buy records in bulk, but I do tend to purchase vinyl I’m not really partial to when it is very inexpensive. 

I think about my recent visit to El Suprimo in Baltimore.  Jack’s business card said “Moving down in the world”.

But truthfully, after spending so much time at flea markets, antique shops, and yard sales…visiting a record store like this  made me feel as if I was moving up in the world.

When I walked up, the owner Jack was somehow fielding questions from two people about purchasing the same turntable, going through a stack of records that a woman was trading in for cash, and keeping an eye on the 8-10 people in his store…all at the same time.  Dealing with this every day had to get tiring, so I asked Jack why he did it, and his simple reply was “The music man”.  Was it really though?  Or was it just an obsession with vinyl in general?  Maybe it was the feeling that you need to have your arms wrapped around it all, routinely appreciating the purchases of the day only until they find their way onto the shelf.  Which always seems to be followed by a short period of day dreaming about what you will find next trip around. 

For the last week, I’ve been asking myself why I dig.  Why I visit the same crappy thrift store on lunch break at work 2 times a week hoping that somebody dropped off something worth my time.  Why I find myself in the hot, humid, and dusty upper levels of antique stores….and why I visit the same record stores to look at the 10 new vinyls they may have put out in the last 2 weeks.  This weekend…..I remembered why.

After stopping at a record store that I’ve passed 100 times and never gone into, I found the elusive Sex Pistols vinyl.  It is by no means rare, but in this area, it is tough to find.  I of course have been looking for a used copy in great playing condition, and I finally found it (TAKE THAT BROHAMMAS!).  I’ve seen this twice online go for over $25, and while in Baltimore neither Own Guru or El Suprimo had it in stock.

I finally had it.  A search that sadly had lasted over a year had ended.  It also helped end, for the time being, a week long debate with myself.  Maybe I had forgotten my purpose for doing this, but this particular vinyl brought me back.  I went home, and listened to both sides of “Nevermind the bullocks” while simply sitting on the couch and doing nothing else.  I thought about how the search makes it interesting, and actually finding the vinyl makes the search worth it.  It also made me realize that maybe I need to stop buying vinyls just because they are $0.50 each, and go back to buying only the ones I want to listen to.  I need to remember this is my collection, and it should be filled with things I want to listen to, not things that makes others think it is a good collection.  However, the question that still stands, when do I stop?  For right now, I’m not thinking about it.  I am going to enjoy the sounds I have been searching a long year for.

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Own Guru Records Ends a Long Hunt


After I left Sound Garden I found myself wondering where their used vinyl was.  So I went back in to ask, and they told me they didn’t have any.  The guy behind the counter handed me a piece of paper and said “Try these places”.  First on the list was Own Guru Records.

The directions were great, and the signs made it even easier to find.  It was refreshing to see a record store which only vinyl that actually cares enough to let people know they exist.

I was greeted at the front door with a friendly “How are you today?”  Which was much nicer than the usual “hey” and judgemental elevator stare.

The store was very compact, but they definitely know how to utilize the space well.

One of the first things I noticed was the two turntables upstairs.  I’m used to shop owners just putting it on their own turntable and letting you listen while you browse.  Actually having headphones to drown out the noise and listen to the vinyl itself was great!

Once it was obvious that I had time to soak everything in, the store owner asked me “Are you looking for anything in particular?”.  Add this to the list of things I am not used to.  I immediately referenced my mental wish list, but had trouble remembering what I was looking for.  I am used to browsing, so I think this kind of took me by surprise.  I finally remembered two vinyls that I had been searching long and hard for.  When I said the name of the first vinyl, the shop owner literally turned to his left, not even getting up from his chair and handed it to me.

I was pretty surprised.  The best part of all, it was a WB Green Label.  I’ve been looking for this for a while, used, and in good condition.  I found it for $12.00.

I grabbed the vinyl and started searching more.  Just for the hell of it, I figured I’d ask him for Moondance as well.  With another swift turn, still sitting in his chair, he hands it to me.

I couldn’t believe it.  I had been looking for these vinyls used for month’s on end.  A stop by coincidence and two 90 degree turns later, they were both in hand.

Stop 1 on the little piece of paper given to me at Sound Garden was worth every step.  If you ever find yourself in Baltimore, make sure you take the time to swing into Own Guru.  It was an experience I look forward to having again the next time I’m in Baltimore.

UPDATE:

While looking for contact information for Own Guru I found that they have a website.  They have quite a few records up on their site for sale, which is great because finding a reputable place online to purchase records can be difficult.  I am much more of a digger, so I probably won’t buy anything online unless it is an absolute must have.  However, I can assure you that I will be going back here again.

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Stolen? Yes. Ruined? No Way!


My wife (still feels odd saying it) and I have become the talk of the *very small* Town we were married in last Saturday.  I was not going to share with the blog world, but with the articles online, figured I might as well.

Couple’s Wedding Ruined By Thief

I do want everyone to know that our wedding was NOT ruined.  I definitely wish it didn’t happen, but the truth is neither of us could stop smiling.  It was definitely unfortunate that somebody would actually do this .  However, somebody obviously needed the money more than we did.  By the way, if you have heard of this happening multiple times before………we know.

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Sore Feet in the Garden of Sound


Sunday morning began with me searching Google for record stores in the area

Before I knew it, I was walking to Fells point

It wasn’t that far of a walk to the first shop, but I had a feeling it would catch up to me later

The walk was enjoyable, but I was glad to get where I was going

I recently read an article in Rolling Stone, but for some reason, had no idea this was mentioned

I was pretty excited to visit this place after reading all the hype

Unfortunately, for somebody collecting vinyl, it’s just that….hype.  They do have a great selection with incredible prices if you are looking for new and popular vinyl.  I was incredibly surprised and disappointed when I was not able to find a copy of “Nevermind the Bullocks”.   This place is without a doubt incredible if you are looking for CD’s.  The majority of prices are $3-$5 for even the most recent of CD’s.  If you are looking for older vinyl that you know you would pay an arm and a leg for used, this is a great place.  I was able to find a 180 gram of a vinyl I’ve been wanting for a while for only $9.99.

This was a great first pick up

I did also pick up Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black.  A vinyl I’ve been waiting to pay under $20 for, and found it here for $12.99.  I also bought a great Lightnin’ Hopkins album.  This was only the first stop of the day though, and I intended to have a few more.

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A Weekend With The Swags – Saturday


So Saturday I got married…

After the wedding we stayed at an incredible B&B in Baltimore

Everything here was absolutely amazing!  Without a doubt, we’ll be going back.  You are probably wondering…did he find any way to slip a vinyl hunt into this?  The answer is “yes” and it was the best one to date.  More to come on that this week.  For now, I’m going to enjoy the rest of my final day off of work with my new wife.

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Going To The Chapel


2button is off to get married.  I will have plenty of blogs to post when I get back.  Thank you all for being so supportive!

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