Let us not forget the record store and total kindness.

This morning I ventured out to a couple Goodwill’s to try my hand at thrifting for some used vinyl. No luck. Well, there was a tremendous amount of Black Sabbath that I did stumble upon and some 10 dollar Beatles and Rolling Stones albums that were scratched to hell and back and kept under glass and priced at 9.99 each at one of the Goodwills that I went to this morning.. Which is just strange but I think these stores are just, obviously, cashing in on vinyl. While crouching in front of the bottom shelf that all the records were literally stuffed into (and isn’t this always the case when buying records at thrift stores- they’re always stacked, always stuffed into shelves, and always in the most uncomfortable place?) and losing the circulation in my feet – a mom and her teenage son were looking at records as well, and the mom was reminiscing about all the bands and her son was obviously a cool teenage guy that really dug these 70’s rock bands was amazed at what lay before him.. well, us. I stepped aside.

We started up some casual conversation, he dug out a Cars album Candy O to be exact and handed it to me and I said thank you but I really only dug their first album, to which this knowledgeable young man agreed was better. I dug out almost the entire Black Sabbath discography and said you know what, here you go man, to which he responded with incredible enthusiasm. That’s the thing about record hunting. I hate getting into the hunter/territorial reign mode. I could have been a total jerk and dug out all the “gems” and kept them to myself but you know what, the records weren’t in the best shape, and I sadly never really got into Sabbath. I met the mom and son again at the register as they were going through the Stones and Beatles records that the Goodwill kept under glass, I browsed with them, wished them good luck and went on my way empty handed. Though I was empty handed in my quest I just had this personal satisfaction that this kid was going to go home and listen to his records on his turntable which, in his own words, was “kind of crap.” I started out with a record player that was kind of crap as well. We all start somewhere.

Which leads me to about 11:30am today when I decided to head to Groovers Physical Music here in Riverside California. The owner of Groovers is Tom, and he’s a music fan doing what he loves, selling records from his own record store. Tom’s a great guy and his store is just jam packed with records, all neatly organized, all laid out in an easily accessible way in his store. I give kudos to Tom because today I noticed, and he also pointed out to me that he bought some rolling stools for his customers that like to browse his 99 cent bins which lay underneath the large shelves containing the hundreds of records priced higher. This takes me back to what I mentioned earlier, I’ve literally lost circulation in my feet before crouching in front of low shelves or bins in other stores. Of course it comes with the hunt. But I thought that was a nice personal touch that just makes shopping at local indie run stores so much better so much rewarding than big box stores and even thrift stores that try to sell scratched records for ridiculous prices because they’re Beatles and Stones albums. I shared with Tom my story about meeting the mom and son today and how I handed over the Sabbath albums because I knew this kid would like them more than I would and he told me that is great and you know what, those things come back to you with good karma. They must have because today at Tom’s store I found The Rolling Stones Between The Buttons album in mono for only 8 dollars and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Willy & The Poor Boys album for only 5 dollars and Tom was awesome enough to throw in a free reusable shopping bag imprinted with his store logo and location info. I thought that was a touch of class.

And I will tell you what, Between The Buttons is a great sounding mono album. I believe the London mono pressing was a dedicated mono mix and not a stereo fold down.

Tom’s store is on facebook as well

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Achtung Graceland!

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Here is something I don’t run into too often, actually – ever – at the Redlands Galleria in Redlands, California – German pressings of my favorite albums!

Today I stumbled upon Paul Simon’s 1986 masterpiece “Graceland.” Now this was a wonderfully DMM pressed LP done by Sterling Sound. The German copy I stumbled upon today happened to be pressed at Alsdorf.

How does it compare with my current US pressing… They’re close, real close. I a/b compared the first minute of the opening track The Boy In the Bubble and there is a tad bit more punch to the drums and the cymbal decay rolls off nicely and smooth. The vocals sound natural and have a nice air to them within the soundstage.

On the opening track of side 2 – You Can Call Me Al – the bass is way up front but yet natural. Again this is where there is more punch than the US pressed LP.

So I am very pleased wih totally random find today that was just shy of $4 dollars.

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