Record Digging Stories (Please Add On)

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  • RockadelicRockadelic Out Digging 13,993 Posts
    Back in the day an old digger trick was to hit up every radio station possible to see if the switch over to CD???s had made their records now disposable. I got my hands on a list of radio stations from the 70???s along with the names of the owner and employees. I concentrated on the smaller towns as many of the bigger cities had already been hit during the 80???s. I called a gentleman in Decorah, Iowa named Verne Koenig who owned a small, low-watt Country station. He told me that not only did he have records but that he was actively trying to sell them and had a computer print-out of every title. He sent me the list with over 6,000 titles and it read like a museum quality inventory of every Country and Bluegrass LP released between 1955 and 1965. It even listed two LP???s by Verne Koenig!! I called him the day I received the list, which also included his asking price, and we made plans to drive up to Northeast Iowa the following week.

    We decided to not rent a truck just incase the records were not in good shape. We had a trailer hitch on our car and would rent a U-Haul trailer if we got there and bought the collection. When we arrived at Verne???s place he was a wonderful guy who brought us around to the back of his house where the Radio Station was???..it was in a building in his back yard and he had been broadcasting from there for 30 years. Even better, he was the only DJ ever employed there and he took amazingly good care of the LP???s. He was also a musician and played a 5-6 state circuit so the radio station hours were set as his time allowed. Every disc was Mint and the covers were pristine. We went and rented a trailer and started loading up. We were about halfway through when Verne???s son, Jody showed up. Just like his Dad, a really nice guy. He asked if we were only into ???Hillbilly??? music and when we told him no he asked if we wanted some copies of his record. We said sure and he went in the house and came out with a stack of one of the rarest Iowa punk singles by The Dogs!

    When we got home we split the records up and dove deep into learning about Country music. I spent almost every night for 5-6 months listening to these great LP???s and drinking whiskey which seemed like the way it needed to be done. Once we had gotten our fill we broke the records into two groups???..the very rare, and the not so rare. We called the Great Escape in Nashville and arranged to sell him the ???not so rare??? LP???s for the same price we had paid for the lot. We drove to Little Rock to meet the owner halfway and did the deal in a Hotel parking lot. That left us with about 2,500 of the toughest country and bluegrass LP???s on the planet. For 3-4 ARC Shows that???s all we sold???.after word got out guys were flying in from Germany and the UK to buy records from us at ARC. After two years and a nice profit we sold the remaining 6-700 to a dealer and it was time to move on something new. When it was all said and done the money was nice but the opportunity to hear all that stuff was priceless.

  • musica said:
    Two sides of every story, man, but I'll stick with my Latin records thank you very much!

    just curious, what's the other side of this story? besides the ghanaian man who got $3 for a multi-thousand dollar LP

  • Options
    Rockadelic said:
    We were about halfway through when Verne???s son, Jody showed up. Just like his Dad, a really nice guy. He asked if we were only into ???Hillbilly??? music and when we told him no he asked if we wanted some copies of his record. We said sure and he went in the house and came out with a stack of one of the rarest Iowa punk singles by The Dogs!


    This one?

    Awesome story.

  • discos_almadiscos_alma discos_alma 2,164 Posts
    rape_donkeys said:
    musica said:
    Two sides of every story, man, but I'll stick with my Latin records thank you very much!

    just curious, what's the other side of this story? besides the ghanaian man who got $3 for a multi-thousand dollar LP

    My point is that I hope we get a :hayek: !

    I am friends with the person he is shippiing all the wax to in the US, and had no idea about the $3 for the Hailu LP, especially considering all this "deeper connection" / "different than all the other European diggers" discourse. "Not knowing" about the Hailu LP's value is some serious bullshit if I've ever heard it.

  • FrankFrank 2,370 Posts
    rape_donkeys said:
    musica said:
    Two sides of every story, man, but I'll stick with my Latin records thank you very much!

    just curious, what's the other side of this story? besides the ghanaian man who got $3 for a multi-thousand dollar LP

    You wouldn't understand...
    ...the most important things are... the stories, the connections with these people along the way, the music, the art, the experience, the sharing, and NOT just gripping and flipping. I'm proud to say he's not just trying make a fat loot, but doing something deeper.

    Meanwhile, I'm fucked in the game... maybe I should try to keep up with repeat visits to the solarium and due to advanced baldness I guess I have to resort to one of these:


  • i generally find that the importance of communicating and sharing stories, art and experience with people is greatly aided by conversing in a language they understand. what a mess.

  • Rockadelic said:
    Back in the day an old digger trick was to hit up every radio station possible to see if the switch over to CD???s had made their records now disposable.

    I tried this in Puerto Rico, but was way too late in the early 2000s. Almost all the stations I called said they had sent their records to the dump in the mid-90s. One station I called said when they switched to cds they put their crates of records in the lobby of the station and put out a call on the radio telling people to come pick them up for free. The guy told me that even with repeat announcements hardly anybody came to pick them up, and that after 3 months of them sitting there they were hauled off to the dump. :oof:

  • discos_almadiscos_alma discos_alma 2,164 Posts
    Garcia_Vega said:
    Rockadelic said:
    Back in the day an old digger trick was to hit up every radio station possible to see if the switch over to CD???s had made their records now disposable.

    I tried this in Puerto Rico, but was way too late in the early 2000s. Almost all the stations I called said they had sent their records to the dump in the mid-90s. One station I called said when they switched to cds they put their crates of records in the lobby of the station and put out a call on the radio telling people to come pick them up for free. The guy told me that even with repeat announcements hardly anybody came to pick them up, and that after 3 months of them sitting there they were hauled off to the dump. :oof:



    Heartbreaking

  • RockadelicRockadelic Out Digging 13,993 Posts
    BobDesperado said:
    Rockadelic said:
    We were about halfway through when Verne???s son, Jody showed up. Just like his Dad, a really nice guy. He asked if we were only into ???Hillbilly??? music and when we told him no he asked if we wanted some copies of his record. We said sure and he went in the house and came out with a stack of one of the rarest Iowa punk singles by The Dogs!


    This one?

    Awesome story.

    That's the one...and that's Jody on all fours.

  • Options
    Rockadelic said:
    BobDesperado said:
    Rockadelic said:
    We were about halfway through when Verne???s son, Jody showed up. Just like his Dad, a really nice guy. He asked if we were only into ???Hillbilly??? music and when we told him no he asked if we wanted some copies of his record. We said sure and he went in the house and came out with a stack of one of the rarest Iowa punk singles by The Dogs!


    This one?

    Awesome story.

    That's the one...and that's Jody on all fours.

    He put out a solo LP in the early 80s. Did he have any of those?

  • RockadelicRockadelic Out Digging 13,993 Posts
    BobDesperado said:
    He put out a solo LP in the early 80s. Did he have any of those?

    He didn't mention it at the time but sent me one some years later....it's pretty good too.

  • DocMcCoyDocMcCoy "Go and laugh in your own country!" 5,917 Posts
    musica said:
    This thread is :face_melt: through and through

    Couldn't agree more.

  • RockadelicRockadelic Out Digging 13,993 Posts
    I'm done for today but here are a few that will be upcoming....

    The Jimmy Strickland Story
    Navasota KKK
    Telepathic in Tucson
    You Boys Are On Drugs
    Jack Starr Monster Party
    Wrestling w/Freddie Fargo


    ....and probably more.

  • asstroasstro 1,754 Posts
    Best thread on the Strut in ages. A+++ Would buy again.

  • 7) Escape from The Schoolhouse

    to come later tonight

  • Rockadelic said:
    I'm done for today but here are a few that will be upcoming....

    The Jimmy Strickland Story
    Navasota KKK
    Telepathic in Tucson
    You Boys Are On Drugs
    Jack Starr Monster Party
    Wrestling w/Freddie Fargo


    ....and probably more.

    ive got a Word doc with your Jr + Soulettes story cued up and ready to paste if you dont..... :wow:

  • MoogManMoogMan Sao Paulo, Brazil 1,173 Posts
    karlophone said:
    ive got a Word doc with your Jr + Soulettes story cued up and ready to paste if you dont..... :wow:

    Crazy! I have a doc of it, too.

    Best SS thread ever!

  • The_NonThe_Non 5,691 Posts
    I've told this before, I'll tell it again because it's chuckle-worthy imo:

    I call to go to see a collection I read about. The guy who answers sounds very knowitall-y and says how he doesn't have much time to talk because he's at the chiropractor "gettin cracked." So we set up a time for me to check out stuff. He says he wants to sell all, bla bla bla. I say ok. I find this conversation troublesome, because he sounds like a serious douche on the phone and keeps mentioning how "$4-500 takes them all."

    I go to his house. Tiny modest outside, nice interior, ranch. Think someone owning a mobile home and putting solid gold bath fixtures inside it. Odd floorplan, something out of a wild teenage 80s movie with a recessed living room area. Whatever. The dude answers, reminds me of typical midlife crisis type 40s aged man, answering the door in a wifebeater and silk boxers, with sunglasses on top of his head. Walk in (that's where I assess the situation). Dude has a bird. I dunno who has birds on here, but having a bird to me screams of something being askew in one's life, but that's just a personal opinion. They are so LOUD and the smell is often bad. Anyway, I walk to the bedroom which has the records in it. There are about 6 Uhaul boxes in there. He says he wants to sell all, ok, whatever.

    He claimed they were his collection, but as I look through them, I realize like many people who say this, he is lying. Why do I say this? What do I see? I see at least 20 copies or more of a pink Village People Pic Disc. This is not a gay/he's not gay commentary, but who the fuck keeps 20+ Village People pic discs of the same record in "their collection?!" I have never seen so many copies of Village People records in one place, both pic disc and other shitty albums of theirs. So I'm like fuck, I can't buy all this. So I keep an eye out and pull out a few records that look interesting, including a lightly scratched, yet fairly raer looking blues record by Lightnin Hopkins, Howlin Wolf, someone like that.

    So I look through it all, no redemption, yet I took a tiny sliver out of Lightnin Hopkins and shot in the dark disco 12s and say to guy "I can't really do anything with the majority of this collection. I came with the intentions of buying them all but I can't, but I was wondering if you would sell these 10 records for $30 to salvage your time and mine." And he was like "NO! I said I wanted to sell the whole thing!" So, I put em down and was like "Sorry man." As I was leaving though, the bird says the craziest shit as I walked by the cage. To this day, I believe the bird said "Hot wet pussy" or something close to that. The guy became all embarrassed and yelled at the bird. I made a beeline for the door and split.

  • holmesholmes 3,532 Posts
    MoogMan said:
    karlophone said:
    ive got a Word doc with your Jr + Soulettes story cued up and ready to paste if you dont..... :wow:

    Crazy! I have a doc of it, too.

    Best SS thread ever!
    me three lol

  • DCarfagna said:
    The one place that "got away" from me was in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio. It was 1995 or so and I was going to college in Kansas City. My buddy back home calls me and asks me if I had ever heard of this place on the south end of the city called Robert's. I said I hadn't and he proceeds to describe some ark of the covenant shit that leaves me a little skeptical. Apparently this was a jukebox/remainders place that was closing up shop and all the 45s were a quarter. My friend knew records well enough to know if a place was legit, so I simply asked him how large the spot was. He replied "As big as a gym, with 45s on racks as far as the eye can see." I decide it's worth the trip back home (a 12 hour drive) and I take my dude Thomas (Joc Max to you hip-hop dudes) with me. We left at 10pm and got to central Ohio around 10 the next morning. My meet my brother and eat breakfast in about five minutes, hyped on what might be ahead of us. We arrive at the spot, which was located in a nondescript industrial area and had no signage to speak of. Entering, there's a little tiny door off the foyer, which leads to the 45 room. When I walked in, it was instantly obvious that it was pretty heavy, my boy had not exaggerated one bit. The place was massive, fairly organized and well lit. The owner's son tells us that yes, everything is a quarter and bulk purchases are subject to discount. Sounds good to a poor college student like myself. Everything was organized by artist, by title within the artist, with dividers for every record. We're talking close to a million 45s easy, almost all unplayed dead stock, all in extra long boxes to add insult to injury. I start thinking of specific titles I could immediately start looking for, as the place would take weeks of 8-hour-a-day digging to see it all. Let's see, Charles Mintz on Uplook (mind you, this was 1995), go to that box and pull 40 copies. Hmm, how about Pleasure Web? I check and pull three promos. Do I really need 75 copies Of Cold Grits? This goes on and on to the point where I am totally intoxicated by the mass of this place, and the fact that the price was definitely right. There was certainly some heartbreakers like finding empty dividers for shit like Frankie Seay, Third Guitar, Honeydrippers, Tony Alvon, and other ???95 grails, but the more unknown stuff was stacked up pretty strong. I walked over to the DAY box and there sat many crisp copies of the first two Dayton Sidewinders singles, which at that time was fairly off the map. The James Brown section alone was about 12-feet high and twenty feet across, all by number, all in factory sleeves. There were probably a thousand unplayed copies of every Meters 45, which in ???95 was kind of a crazy thing to see.

    The entire time we are in the place there is only one other person in there, an older guy that looks like a deer in headlights. I ask how he???s doing and he looks up at me like Golem and says, "I collect rockers and garage and this is the craziest place I have ever been." He has about 1500 records in his stack and dude is on a mission. He tells me that on the other side of the building is an identical room filled with as many sealed LPs. They are a whopping dollar each, but at this rate I might need to sell my brother into slavery to afford everything. I think between myself and Thomas we had maybe a grand to cover all record costs and the drive back to Kansas City. A grand in this place gets you 4000 records, probably more. I make a call back to Ron Rooks, my boss at the Music Exchange, and tell him that I just walked into an unbelievable business opportunity. I ask him if he could wire us maybe $3-4000, and I would drop a major bomb on LPs and 45s, rent a truck and bring it back to KC. Rooks tells me that he has all his liquid cash tied up in buying a new building for his shop and it would be basically impossible. This was a major regret for both of us in the future. So I take home what basically amounts to my largest score of my life to that point. Both Thomas and I are visibly hyped from how awesome this experience was. I pledge to go back in about a month, borrow a grip of money from my relatives, and go as hard as I can for as long as possible.

    When I actually return to Robert???s a month later, the place is completely empty, not even some raggedy empty sleeves on the floor. LPs and 45s are gone, shelves are gone, even the bootleg jewelry that was sold in the foyer is gone. I never learned where the stuff went, who bought it, when it was liquidated or anything. I never even got to flip through one LP, much less go to town in that other room. Whoever had the brilliant idea to buy the whole shit, lock-stock-and barrel, did so at the right time and at the right place. I???m thinking you could have had the whole kaboodle for less than $50K. In retrospective eBay terms, someone set themselves up for a long, long time.

    Still plagues and haunts me to this day.

    Postscript: I learn later that some older people in the used record business, like Fred Bohn in PGH, had had exclusive access to Robert???s in the 70s and 80s, all with a ???Word is mum??? promise. Fred told me that for 50s vocal groups and rockabilly the place was absolutely unparalleled. You apparently had to pay a (at the time) kind of ridiculous ???entrance??? fee to get into the warehouse, and promise to buy a decent amount of stuff, but once in, the records were still under $3.

    i actually knew a dude from near me in upstate NY who had a line on an Ohio deal that sounded very similar and around the same exact time period, it almost has to be the same place. He was taking rented box trucks down there and filling them to the top for weeks on end with store stock 45s. he didnt know soul or funk or anything, he just knew a good deal when he saw it. He actually invited me along to join in the fun but i never had a chance to go. he mentioned "boxes of unplayed quantity of james brown 45s", so i always kicked myself for not being able to schedule a trip down. in the mid 90s it would have blown my mind, i knew so little then. was the place in a rough neighborhood? he talked about how it was so bad around there he had to bring his gun with him and make sure all the doors were locked etc. maybe this was near the end, right before it all vanished? anyway the guy fell off my radar a few years later, he had major domestic problems of some kind. i do believe he flipped all the records en masse not long after he bought them, probably quadrupling his $ just for moving the stuff. if this was the same deal/place, then the trail continues to go cold. that sort of quantity youd think would have shown up by now.

  • holmesholmes 3,532 Posts
    that shit is mind numbing.

  • wznwzn 16 Posts
    I haven't logged in for ages, but this thread made my day yesterday.

    Please don't stop!!!

    Tonite I dreamed about being at a record and digging through (non-existing) late 70s/early 80s library records with dope covers ... must had something to do with these stories ;)

  • RockadelicRockadelic Out Digging 13,993 Posts
    karlophone said:
    Rockadelic said:
    I'm done for today but here are a few that will be upcoming....

    The Jimmy Strickland Story
    Navasota KKK
    Telepathic in Tucson
    You Boys Are On Drugs
    Jack Starr Monster Party
    Wrestling w/Freddie Fargo


    ....and probably more.

    ive got a Word doc with your Jr + Soulettes story cued up and ready to paste if you dont..... :wow:

    I don't have it saved and I'm not going to write it again so post away....I just asumed everyone has heard that one already.

  • DCarfagna said:
    So I take home what basically amounts to my largest score of my life to that point.

    This is the part of the story that's wildest to me.

  • finelikewinefinelikewine "ONCE UPON A TIME, I HAD A VINYL." http://www.discogs.com/user/permabulker 1,416 Posts
    Frank, could you share with us some of your african diggin stories please? You must have things to tell for days.

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,234 Posts
    Last night, I had this dream about going to this big department store to buy records. Apparently, I had been there before and it had a ton of dollar records, nothing spectacular there but some solid pieces nonetheless. So I get there and even going up the escalator to the second floor where the records are located, I see this sign that reads "All records: $7.99 and up". So, I get to the second floor, already knowing it's a lost cause...but then I run into a couple friends and they tell me how they are going fishing...right there on the second floor of the department store. And sure enough, you pay at the counter and they give you a pole and bait. And then at the back of the store there are all these narrow canals dug into the floor with dozens of people already there fishing them. And sure enough, there are some big ass exotic fish waiting in there to jump right onto your hook.

    Okay, pointless post...but I friggin love bizarre dreams like that.

  • RockadelicRockadelic Out Digging 13,993 Posts
    HarveyCanal said:
    Last night, I had this dream about going to this big department store to buy records. Apparently, I had been there before and it had a ton of dollar records, nothing spectacular there but some solid pieces nonetheless. So I get there and even going up the escalator to the second floor where the records are located, I see this sign that reads "All records: $7.99 and up". So, I get to the second floor, already knowing it's a lost cause...but then I run into a couple friends and they tell me how they are going fishing...right there on the second floor of the department store. And sure enough, you pay at the counter and they give you a pole and bait. And then at the back of the store there are all these narrow canals dug into the floor with dozens of people already there fishing them. And sure enough, there are some big ass exotic fish waiting in there to jump right onto your hook.

    Okay, pointless post...but I friggin love bizarre dreams like that.

    Reading this thread apparently has amazing powers.
    Many people will tell you that I use the fishing/digging analogy ad infinitum.

  • RockadelicRockadelic Out Digging 13,993 Posts
    A friend an I got a lead about a little Radio Shop in the small southeast Texas town of Navasota that supposedly had a lot of stock 45???s. We took the 4 hour drive early one Saturday and were at the store at 10:00 when they opened. We found boxes and boxes of what we quickly figured out were juke box stock by the juke box ID tags in every sleeve. Almost all of it was mid to late 60???s soul with 10-20 copies of every Joe Tex, Joe Simon and Johnny Taylor 45 you could name???.and everything was $0.50. We spent about an hour or two and pulled a few hundred records and were ready to split. As we were paying the owner commented that we had bought a lot of stuff and asked if we wanted to see more. Of course we said yes and he led us across the street to what looked like a large abandoned storefront and when we got inside there were another 20-30K of 45???s. He told us we could stay and go through whatever we wanted but he had to go back to his shop. He said that there were rooms upstairs filled with stuff and that we could go up there too???..just be careful.

    At the time my buddy and I had a little booth at an Antique Mall in Dallas so we were looking for a lot of hit 45???s for a few customers that owned juke boxes. We of course were also looking for rare stuff. But there didn???t seem to be too much of it and we speculated it had been hit at least by a few other guys. It took us another 3-4 hours to go through the 45???s downstairs and then we headed upstairs to see what was there. The first room was filled with those old chrome Wurlitzer ???Diner Wall Boxes??? which were very cool and in good shape. The next room was dark with a burned out light and we couldn???t see anything other than the place was filled with cardboard boxes. We went a back to the Radio Shop and asked if he had a light bulb so we could dig in the final room. He got us one but said ???I don???t think you???ll find anything in there, it???s just filled with some of my Dad???s old junk???.

    We go back across the street and change the light bulb and start opening these boxes. What we find is a virtual museum of southern racism. About 5 of the boxes contain signs that had been used for a variety of ???Colored Only??? water fountains, restrooms, entrances, etc. About 5 other boxes contained KKK recruiting literature from the 40???s and most of the remaining boxes contained racist cartoon pamphlets and Johnny Reb 45???s like ???Kajun Ku Klux Klan???. The last two boxes we opened sent chills up my spine and just exuded evil as they contained 4 full KKK hood/robes???.just seeing them was creepy as hell.

    We gather up all our stuff and go to tell our guy that we are done and ready to square up. He asks what we found up in that room and when we tell him he is visibly embarrassed. We ask what he wants for the chrome wall units and he says five bucks a piece. So for $1,000 we leave with about 1,200 45???s and 85 of these wall units even though we have no idea what we???re gonna do with them. On the drive home we???re brainstorming what we can do with the wall boxes and decide we can sell them at our mall booth as ???Phone Directories??? that folks can mount up on the wall next to their phone and have all their important phone #???s listed where the song title strips go. We mock one up and bring it to the Mall. The second week a guy walks into our booth and starts looking at the wall box and asks??????Do you have any more of these???? We tell him 85 and he says ???I???ll give you $50 a piece and will take 100 more if you can get them???. Winds up that this dude has a job that I want???he worked for a major restaurant chain and his job was to travel the country looking for antiques and decorations for each restaurant???..the wall boxes were to be used in a new chain of old-style diners and the menu was placed in the box for the customers to use at each table.

  • pcmrpcmr 5,591 Posts
    finelikewine said:
    Frank, could you share with us some of your african diggin stories please? You must have things to tell for days.
    you should take a look at his blog voodoo funk

    what I like the most about record score dreams is the crazy imaginary covers that my mind creates

    speaking of a record story in the making and frank

    my parents had a childhood friend come over to the house recently and organized a big get together
    the man is a senegalese politician and ethnomusicologist of ancient african instruments
    i was there mainly to secure contacts for my upcoming trip to my homeland on the professional side of things

    when i get there I hear him talking to my dad about wanting to buy CDs in canada that he can't find in africa

    they ask me to search for him in some HMV like chain...:keith jarrett and other semi-tepidry
    i put on one of frank's mixes and the guy's eyes light up he says he loves highlife and juju
    he is quoting artists like commander ebenezer and king sunny ade so I am still skeptical
    and then goes on to say that vinyl is making a comeback and that he bought records in paris
    In my head I am thinking 80's era youssou N'Dour and other afro-chud
    I decide to show him frank's website and the pictures and tell him i am into records

    he says he never dared to put ads on the radio because he thinks people would get suspicious
    but that he has been actively collecting records for 40+ years...
    he says he is trying to build a library of african music archive so to speak and how he is buying former musicians record collection from their kids and just retooled his oldest hand powered turntable to play his african 78s
    I say wow those must be in tough shape and he says they are mint
    he actually has a collection of 7000 records and would love to have me over when I get there

    All along I had given up on digging in Dakar....well this is just the beginning now!
    I think i'll bring the Jarrett and CTI raer to trade ;)

  • mannybolonemannybolone Los Angeles, CA 15,025 Posts
    Question for Dante: so all these years later and you have no idea where all that stock went? That, more than anything, blows my mind.
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