Tag Archives: records

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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Sharing Growls With Tom Waits


I want to apologize to my over 10,000 followers for not posting in the last few days.  Things get quite hectic the week before your wedding.

Where It Will Take Place

Even though planning is quite time consuming (and at times stressful), I still found some way to fit in my need for picking.

 
 
While the future Mrs. was getting her final hair trial done, I slipped out.  Havre De Grace is a GORGEOUS town.
 
 
While I was not lucky with any vinyls at my first stop, I did come across this old 8mm camera.  Not sure if it works, but it’s only $24.00.  I passed on it this time, but won’t if it’s there next time around.
 
 
I later ran into this place.  I only walked in because I noticed a few vinyls in the window.  The selection was amazing, but unfortunately the prices were incredibly too high.  The owner just recently purchased a collection of 10,000 vinyls.  Over 100 boxes were stacked in the back.  The beauty of it all was he agreed to let me return at a later date and pick through a few of the unopened boxes with him to share with all of you.
 
 
Even though past experiences at pawn shops ended with incredibly odd looks when asking about vinyl, I had time to kill, so I figured why not try another one….
 
 
And thank God I did.  I stopped into the one type of store where I never have luck and came across an artist I never seem to find
 
 
This is the beauty of searching.  There really is not much more I can say about finding this, except it was worth walking into 10 different antique stores and walking out with nothing.  I paid $3.00 for this.  You can’t find this album in this condition anywhere for that price.
 
 
I finished the day with my handy sidekick and headed home to enjoy the spoils of the day.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Giving my 5 and 10 cents


Had a quick stop after a long day of work to the 5 and 10 near my place

I mainly go for vinyls..

but I usually find some pretty decent stuff here

Today gave a whole new meaning to “decent stuff” though…

I found this in a bookshelf tucked away in the corner all by its lonesome

Definitely too good to be true.  Opened it up, looked at the vinyl, looks (and sounds) PERFECT!  Best part of all, I only paid $10.00 for this thing.  Its never a bad time to add some blues to the collection.  Especially when its Abner Jay.

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A Drive Home With Sammy, Jerry, Chuck, and Barry


Made a few completely random stops on the way home and it resulted in a few great finds…

SAMMY:

I have to be in a particular mood for Sammy, but when I’m in “that” mood, it hits the spot.  $0.50 at a thrift shop.  Doesn’t even look used…

JERRY:

Now, I have to admit, I’m not the biggest Grateful Dead fan….

but this was sitting in a box and the minute I saw it I could not get “Casey Jones” out of my head.  My collection needed some Grateful Dead anyway.

 CHUCK:

THIS WAS WITHOUT A DOUBT MY BEST FIND!

I Can’t even begin to tell you how much this excites me.  The album and the cover are in GREAT condition.  The best part of this all….$2.00!  Unbelievable!

BARRY:

It’s tough to pass up on a Barry White vinyl…

Definitely not his best album, but the vinyl was in great condition, and I’m always in the mood for Barry!

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Early Morning In Galena


Galena Antiques Center opened early on Saturday.  The first official “search stop” for my blog.

This place never disappoints with their selection.  It really is one of the deepest selections I’ve picked through. 

The thing about this selection, there is always new stuff.  There are relatively no common albums there, which is a breath of fresh air.  I came across two great finds, both of which I was more than pleased to pay $5.00 a vinyl for (the asking price, but John does negotiate if you purchase multiple which is great). 

The first album I came across was Santana’s debut self titled album.  The song “Evil Ways” may ring a few bells.  The jacket is in perfect condition and the vinyl itself is near mint.  I do like this album more than their 2nd album Abraxas, but I won’t hesitate to buy it if I find it.  After more picking I came across another amazing album…

James Brown’s “Cold Sweat”.  I will admit, I was not immediately excited because usually when I come across these, they are trashed inside.  This one however…..excellent condition.  This place is 100% worth a stop, even if you aren’t into vinyls.  There is something for everybody here.  If you ever find yourself in Galena, make sure you stop by and give John a visit.

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