Record Digging Stories (Please Add On)



  • for years and years i had heard people talking about a mythical "spiderhole"* somewhere in europe. it was said that this magical place was filled with dead stock from the 60s and 70s, most of it sealed. supposedly this was where sealed LPs on ebay were cropping up from, much to the chagrin of collectors like those on the "soul strut" forum. i decided it was necessary to find this "spider hole".

    I asked everyone i knew about the spider hole but most people just laughed. others said they thought it might be the salvation army depot somewhere in europe that was where stuff went to get sorted. many people came up with suggestions, but they all fell flat.

    then one day i was having curry with an old friend. half way through the conversation, he started talking about the spiderhole, completely unprovoked. my jaw dropped. he starts showing me photos of him inside the spiderhole with a well known dj who i really admired. the well known dj was holding a sealed copy of a rare record.

    the friend gave me the address and phone number of the spiderhole. i turned up and yes! it was exactly like everyone had been speculating for years. the records were piled high, and most of the stock was sealed. prices were a set price per unit. and meanwhile in the backroom, the warehouse owner showed me the hundreds of unopened boxes they had not even sorted through yet.

    i left with most of my wage packet having been spent, more sealed copies of classics than i could carry, and a determination never to reveal the location of the spiderhole no matter how many times anyone pm-ed me in future, even if i were tortured. for that is the blessing, and the curse, of the holy grail.

    the end.

    *strut terminology of yore.

  • DuderonomyDuderonomy Haut de la Garenne 7,773 Posts
    PM sent.

  • Duderonomy said:
    PM sent.

    Ha ha.

  • GropeGrope 2,970 Posts
    spiderhole or bear's den?

  • The_NonThe_Non 5,691 Posts
    I got a call from a dude named "Ted." Called dude back a few times, hard as hell to reach, so I left a message. Finally, he calls me back and we're talking and there's mad clanking on the background of the phone. Turns out dude's furnace broke and he's takin a whack at it while talkin to me. We arrange a meetup, he says he has about 200-500 records, cool.

    I get there and it's this hulking building that looks like a DOT building or something. He's late and the neighborhood is ugly, so I stay in my car. He FINALLY gets there, unlikes the door. Come to find out, this space was a repo building for the county police dept, as well as their storage space. He is actually "Pastor Ted," a minister for a small church group of surprisingly mixed ethnicities (asian dudes, white dudes, black dudes, black chicks, white chicks). He bought this space to turn into a church for his ministry. God knows if he did or how he was going to do so. I get inside, and while the place is not full cuz it's so huge, it's fucking full of just stuff EVERYWHERE. Almost like a forklift put shit wherever it felt like, shelving, books, furniture, stoves, chairs, sofas, tables and equipment from the police dept (desks, typewriters, ink pads, projectors, slide projectors, all sortsa shit. I was hoping for guns, no dice). The space was HUGE, and it was winter and unheated. So I ask Ted, where are the records. He's like, upstairs (although I can visibly see pockets of records downstairs scattered literally throughout the entire space). So we go "upstairs." These were barely stairs though. They were creaky shitty shallow depth stairs that you could see thru to the other side. Planks set up in stair fashion to get upstairs, with no foundation to them lacking a third dimension, and meant for feet smaller than my own. The stairs wiggled jarringly each step you took to get to the second floor, which was approximately 40 ft up. NO BANISTER. Anyway, we get upstairs. Did I mention I had my parents' dog with me? Oh yeah, so that made things so much more fun. He's tiny and a nervous lil dude, so I had to carry him. We get upstairs and it's like a scene from a horror film. Neighborhood kids busted out a bunch of windows in the upstairs, so pigeons got in, and there was pigeon crap in many different areas. The ceiling leaked, and was dripping water, albeit slowly. So there are the records. Crates against a wall and a mountain of records in a pile in the middle of the floor, near the "hole" with the stairs that go the the 2nd floor. The mountain of records was so round and piled, it looked like someone was preparing them for a ritual bonfire or something. He mentioned 200-500 records, it was more like 5000 JUST up there, let alone downstairs. Turned out I got a little of the story of how they got there. The records were owned by a store owner who either didn't have a business license, evaded his taxes, or did some shit, I dunno, so they got repo'd by the cops. They got there somehow. The records were so tricky to go through, I can't describe it. The bonfire pile was the first target, going through that was difficult for three reasons
    1) Getting things out and repiling them so I knew I looked at them and so they didn't fall over
    2) I couldn't skip anything. Literally nice records sandwiched in between Hall and Oates and Diana Ross trash.
    3) Water damaged ones and pigeon crapped ones.
    I wore a mask and gloves.
    So I eventually got the the bonfire pile. Pulled some theoretically good stuff. Then, the crates. They were 2 deep, 4 high for about 20 ft with plywood on top. Keep in mind it's fucking COLD outside and this is a hulking repo warehouse, so me and my dog were freezing our balls off (Pastor Ted put on a small space heater, but I had him put it mostly near the sissy dog). He was panting and wiggling and being fussy. As I was digging, so was Ted. He found some blowout hairdryer for afros (which he was gonna keep for his wife), a broken 1st playstation, an Atari and a Turbo Grafx 16. I explained to him that altho his kids might like the Turbo Grafx 16, it had so few games that if they weren't there, it would be hard to retrofit (Remember Bonk anyone?) So I throw in the towel upstairs. Pulled some stuff, but most of it was just "hm, this looks cool" vs OH SHIT material. Went back down the stairs in two trips, one with the dog, one with the records. Stairs weren't small dog appropriate. I gave him a buck apiece for the eh stuff and more for better stuff and bounced cuz the dog was getting on my nerves.

    I went back again. This time, Pastor Ted was there already. No dog with me, it was on. This time I find more noteworthy stuff and explore what else he has. As I finish upstairs (less cold now), I come across a Michael Jackson (before he died) pic disc, and that's the only thing Pastor Ted wanted to grip, said he was gonna give it to his kids and they'd flip. (I hope he sold it for the church in the post MJ death sales boom). So I go downstairs and notice some records in a high up spot on a shelf. Like 15-20 ft up. To get to them, I had to climb up on poorly stacked furniture and shelving. I do it and go through them; all country except a sealed Michael Deacon private press something waxidermical. When I look back down to get down, I was like, ah fuck. It was a million times easier to get up than to get down. So my "brilliant" idea was to place the records I gripped in a small nook that was lower down, then jump into an "iron cross" like Olympic male gymnasts do supporting myself on various furniture on both sides of the hole, then drop down from there, making impact easier. Well apparently, either:
    A) They're gymnasts for a reason and that shit is hard or
    B) I didn't do it right.
    I jumped to do it, and my arms went up like this O / (O is my head, slashes my arms) and I drop like 15 feet, landing on my feet, but jarring the fuck outta my knees and hella pounding my shoulders. Hurt for a few days after, but was ok. Bought another huge stack of recs, including a sealed Operation Ivy (which sold for more than I expected) and an off shape Dazzle (which sold for more than I expected). Some random rap raers, some ok rock. Gripped some store posters too, but they ended up being disappointing (Beastie Boys, Sublime, N Sync, etc). They were in the flip style display cases, I think in retrospect the cases were worth more than the posters! I told flea marketer friends about all the furniture and shit he had, but they couldn't get ahold of him. Neither could I. Pastor Ted fell off the map. I hope he found a way to make it work, and I hope my money helped. Seemed like a daunting task to turn that place into a church. It'd be like turning a meatpacking plant into a church. He was a really nice dude, and I wanted to get him more money outta the space, but he wouldn't pick up the phone. I hope things went right for him.

  • badder_than_evil said:
    Diamond Springs is about 10 minutes up the road from here.
    Was it jackson you were at? Placerville? Pollock Pines?

    i really dont know exactly. the store was right in diamond springs for sure. the house we were at.... wherever it was it was NOWHERE near civilization. placerville rings a bell, but we were WAY up in the mountains somewhere. they didnt plow the dirt road when it snowed as i recall. took 45+ min just to get down to something resembling a town.

  • BurnsBurns 2,227 Posts
    Ulysses31nicholas said:
    for years and years i had heard people talking about a mythical "spiderhole"*

    in reys words, post pictures or it didn't happen.
    This something a camera is made for.

    Great storytelling Non.

    My cheap and job related find (building inspector related) was located in Louisville. I made a random stop at this two story brick building that was a paper press at one time. The building was vacant and had a old building permit for renovation. I ventured inside to a gutted out skeleton of a building inside. It was gutted to its actual 2x4 notty pine studs. Well built except, there was nothing any where on the first floor except the interior gutted walls.
    I hankered around for awhile and decided to go upstairs. I made my way upstairs to the second floor, and across the floor on two tables were four stacks of records, 100 at least in each stack. I was like jackpot. Went thru them, and found them to all to be all radio station promos from a bay area station of staple soul and funk. I said cool, I will be back.

    I came back two days, but hoodlums were using the space for smokes and non sense. There was 5 to my 1.
    I went back the day after, and found somebody sweeping the floor. Went upstairs and grabbed a load, walked down stairs said do you care if I buy these records off of you? I had a twenty dollar bill in my hand, with more to give if he asked. He said no you can have them, having the city seal on my shirt probably helped.

    I said ok, he said "I'm going to tell you one thing though."
    "I'm not going to guarantee they work though"
    I was like Okay. Whuw??? He went back to sweeping.
    I came home with 400 hundred records pilled in the backseat and trunk of my city vehicle. Voila!

  • RockadelicRockadelic Out Digging 13,993 Posts
    Karl, Non and MB......great stuff.

  • jinx74jinx74 2,287 Posts
    I used to go door to door putting out flyers for records here in SF. One day I stopped to get a drink at a liquor store and asked if the guy had any old records. He said no and I went on my way. I didn't make it a few steps out the door before a lady ran out the store to tell me she had hundreds of records at her house around the block. She was working in the store but would be free later that day.

    So later on around 6pm or so I make it over to her house. The house is the biggest on the block. I go up and knock and get let in the door. I'm first greeted by her large pitbull who from the window scared the crap out of me but ran up, took a big whiff of my nutsack, snorted and went back to posting up at the window sensing I was no threat. I could see there was no furniture in the room where the dog was. Just a picture of black Jesus and a piano.

    Next we proceed up the stairs to the bedrooms where her records are. The stairs up were out of a horror flick. Creaking, dirt soaked rug (if you can even call it that), and paint/plaster falling off the wall and overhead. Didn't even want to touch the banister. Doubt it would of held me anyway. So we pass the bathroom ( I chose not to use it for fear of dragging something home with me) and into the room where the records were.

    It was a small room. A couch, table, dresser and a closet. One corner had junk piled up to the ceiling. I see hundreds of LPs and 12s in the other corner next to the closet stacked in three piles 5ft high. So she leaves me alone and i start to dig. I'm pulling out weird private jazz records, Eugene mcdaniels headless heroes, blaxploitation soundtracks, local private soul LPs, etc. I'm just finishing one stack when I hear a few guys come in the house. Now normally I wouldn't trip but the look of this place and her weird skittish behavior has me a little distracted from the records. A little time passes and the next thing I know this guy walks in talking straight gibberish and drooling. Seriously drool was coming out of his mouth and onto his shirt. He sits on the couch and just stares at me. Now I'm digging REAL fast (I might get run up on but hell if I'm not finishing the dig!) Soon after another guy comes in, sits down and asks if he could "cook"? I said sure knowing FULL well dude was about to heat up a spoon and cook some H. All of a sudden the lady comes in and pulls these fools out the room apologizing the whole time.

    Long story but she was awesome, had AMAZING records (natural impulse 45, promatics on brown door, and tons of local 45s -- she pulled open the drawers on a dresser and there were hundreds of soul 45s), and found out she was the female singer for Papa & the Utopians. Heard great stories and saw tons of pics of the band. She intro'ed me to so many local musicians and because of her is why i got so involved with the Bay Area Soul scene. And i am still friends with her to this day.

  • BreezBreez 1,706 Posts
    Jinx, that was such a kool story and the fact that you kept in touch with her is awesome,

  • eliseelise 3,252 Posts
    Which neighborhood was that in Jinx? (I understand if you don't want to say it here)

  • RockadelicRockadelic Out Digging 13,993 Posts
    5 Stars

  • I went to record man once and he was an asshole. Went another time and he was still an asshole.

  • elise said:
    Which neighborhood was that in Jinx? (I understand if you don't want to say it here)

    He won't say it, but I will.

    It was in The Castro.

  • This one isn't so much a "great score" tale, but rather a really weird occurrence that has never happened to me before or since.

    A buddy and I were in southeast Texas for about a week, really putting the screws to the whole Golden Triangle scene and its participants. We had one day clear where we had no pressing appointments and were basically free to tool around and junk for shit. After checking out Bridge City, Pt. Arthur, Orange and most of that zone all day, around 4pm we headed back to our hotel off I-12 in Beaumont. Near Vidor we saw a pretty buckled flea market that looked like it was still open. Stopped in and found the record guy (there's always one) and started to go through his stall. He had not a small amount of stuff in there, so all told I think I was in there maybe 80 minutes before I got through everything. The whole time I was looking there was a card game going on in the adjacent stall between some almost archetypal SE Texas bumkins in their 60s. The conversation was grueling and a bit difficult to stomach. In any case, I grabbed my pile of crap and this sloppy Bob Miner-looking dude got up from the card game and conducted the transaction. All done, thank you sir, goodbye, back to the hotel. In the car on the road, I had a flash and recalled some tiny detail and told my friend to look up this guy we had made contact with almost year earlier that ran a microscopic label in Beaumont that issued four or five dead weird 45s in the rock and soul genres. After plowing through our notes, we found the number and called the guy. He remembered us from the call a year earlier and we asked if we could meet him since we were in the area. He says sure, it's a good time, he was about to get off work, maybe we could just meet him where he works an hour, as he was going to go home and get the remaining records he had left from his label days. As he gave us directions to where he was, my buddy and I looked at each other like, "What? It's really going to go down like this?"

    We were directed to Vidor, back to the same flea market, to the same stall we had just bought stuff, and the dude we had just dealt with is the exact guy we were there to meet. Only this time the formerly loathsome TX geezer turned out to be someone who was endlessly fascinating. Totally fucking cosmic coincidence.

  • RockadelicRockadelic Out Digging 13,993 Posts
    Hell yes DC....tell us more......

    This is a story about my very first digging road trip. I was a young dude of about 22 and this older, much wiser collector took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. He was originally from Milwaukee and was close friends with the owner of a well known local Milwaukee Record Store. One day he asked me if I wanted to take a trip to Memphis to buy the collection of a guy who had worked at Sun Studios. The deal was that we could buy any of his LP???s and the dude from Milwaukee was going to meet us there and buy the 45???s & 78???s. Sounded like fun.

    The guy who owned the records had recently passed away and the only name I ever heard him being referred to was ???Rooster??? and there was some connection with him and the rooster logo on the Sun Records label. Either he was named after the label art or he was responsible for the art himself???I never did get a straight story on that. His wife and kids lived just south of Memphis in South Haven, Ms. Their house could be described as nothing other than a shack and the front room literally had a dirt floor. The wife was a very sweet woman and explained that she was only selling the records on such short notice because she needed to raise bail money to get her daughter out of jail.

    The LP???s were in one room and the 45???s and 78???s were in another. We hit the LP???s and there was a lot of amazing stuff???..ALL of the Sun LP???s all autographed by the artists???Cash, Orbison, Jerry Lee & Carl Perkins. There was every rare LP from the 50???s you can think of???..Spaniels, El Dorados, Ray Smith on Judd???..on and on. We got done and payed what was at the time a very fair price for them. Milwaukee dude was only about halfway through his stuff so we had a seat and made small talk with the woman. She told stories of her husband hanging out with a who???s who of local artists, going out to dinner with Elvis???..all kinds of cool tales. At one point my buddy made a comment about a photo on an end table that appeared to be her two VERY BEAUTIFUL daughters. She kinda sneered and pointed to ???the one that???s in jail??? with disgust.

    When Milwaukee dude was done we finally got to see what he had pulled. A full run of every Sun release on 45 and 78!!!!! About 2-300 original black & colored wax doo-wop 45???s and about 500 Rockabilly singles and a variety of local blues and R&B 45???s and 78???s. He pulled the woman aside and negotiated some price that I was never privy to. We hit the road and went to eat at this amazing BYOB joint called ???Bullfrog Corners???. During dinner I wanted to ask what he had paid but being green around the gills I didn???t have the balls to. I did however ask if they knew why the daughter was in jail???..and they did???..BUCK NAKED STREAKING DOWN BEALE STREET!!!!!!!

  • Controller_7 said:
    I went to record man once and he was an asshole. Went another time and he was still an asshole.

    Word to this.
    Great thread by the way.Please keep it going.

  • holmesholmes 3,532 Posts

  • jinx74jinx74 2,287 Posts
    It was in bayview. I used to run that area. her daughter ReRe was out hustling pennies to smoke crack. She used to call on me anytime I was around and bring me up in other folks house to buy records all for a few bucks or a ride. She was on that shit but always had my back on the block. "dont fuck with him! Thats my nigga J! He friends with my mom" i saw her smash this crackhead in the jaw for talking shit to her across from her house. Last I saw her she cleaned up and is now flipping repoed cars.

  • RockadelicRockadelic Out Digging 13,993 Posts
    Here's a quick one.....

    My brother was about 12 years old and he came down from NY to spend some time with me in Texas.

    I was hitting some Thrift Stores and Pawn Shops one Saturday and he tagged along.

    We go into this Pawn Shop that I had been to about 2 weeks earlier. It appeared that they had gotten in a new pile of records so I sent my brother to go look through a stack that I was pretty certain I had looked at on my last visit and I hit the new stuff.

    I was less than a minute in and little bro calls over and asks "Is this one any good?" while holding up a Mint copy of "Mojo Hand" by Lightnin' Hopkins on the Fire label.

  • Rockadelic said:
    Hell yes DC....tell us more......

    We hit the road and went to eat at this amazing BYOB joint called ???Bullfrog Corners???.

    went there when I was a kid...famous for their steak and froglegs if I remember dad loved that place

  • More WTF moments:

    Finding the Astral Navigations LP on Holyground, totally unplayed, in the garage of an African-American woman in Cleveland, Ohio. Now I've found weird shit in weird places before, but this was a new benchmark. This woman and her husband ran a label throughout the 70s and 80s, and the only things in the garage were records they were somehow involved in. No token Michael Jackson records, no other gospel records from the era, just basically their stuff. How a seriously rare, extremely limited UK psych record from 1970 (with a very delicate cover) wound up sandwiched between a brick of tepid local gospel LPs is beyond me. How a copy even made it to the US outside of after-the-fact collector circles is even more baffling. I likened it to opening King Tut's tomb for the first time and finding a VCR in there.

  • RockadelicRockadelic Out Digging 13,993 Posts
    DCarfagna said:
    More WTF moments:


    My brother and I are in Chatanooga with the intentions of hitting a couple of Antique Malls and Chad's, a really top notch store..

    We're driving down the main drag on the southeast side of town and we see a big sign in a storefront window "Records", written in Little Rascal style. We stop and can see an entire vacant storefront filled with 1,000's of records. As we're walking in the front door we look down at the stack of 20+ LP's that are being used as a doorstop and right on top is a Mint copy of the prog/psych monster Nosferatu....

    The two dudes that were in charge were on some inbred hillbilly Jerry Springer tip.

    We dug through at least 10,000 LP's and found NOTHING else even close to the door-stop raer.

  • Top notch thread Rock. As a self-aware little dude, these stories are awesome. Keep it going!

  • holmesholmes 3,532 Posts
    holmes said:
    massive warehouse shipment from Wisconsin
    Rockadelic said:
    Milwaukee dude

    Incredibly, after confirming with Rich by PM from half a world away, these two aspects from our stories involve the same dude maybe 20+ years apart!!

  • This morning....

    I had an appointment to see a few boxes of records at a storage in the Bronx. I went to my car, and couldn't get it out of the space because of the ice underneath it... after damn near breaking my back working with a small garden shovel to break up the ice, one of the neighborhood elders (word to HarveyCanal) stepped up with some bigger tools and salt. After another 20 minutes of busting our asses we were able to break down the ice and with another passerby helping us push, we got the car out into the road. I jumped out of the car and damn near bear-hugged the dudes. But I was like an hour late at this point.

    So I get up to the storage unit and it's a young guy my age, which I kind of guessed by his email address which was hip-hop influenced. The records were a lot of post-'00 club rap but the rest was rare soul, disco, jazz and reggae that he had inherited from his folks. I bought like three crates and I gave the guy some money. The end


  • behemothbehemoth 2,189 Posts
    Titles or it didn't happen. We all know you scared of the Bronx ;)

  • behemoth said:
    Titles or it didn't happen. We all know you scared of the Bronx ;)

    You want the real scoop?

    I got carne guisado and a presidente.

  • BurnsBurns 2,227 Posts
    Jonny_Paycheck said:
    behemoth said:
    Titles or it didn't happen. We all know you scared of the Bronx ;)

    You want the real scoop?



  • ddownddown 65 Posts
    May this thread never end.

    I love a good digging story.
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