I went out with a fellow vinyl friend for a little Saturday morning yard sale picking during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. My expectations for finding good vinyl were pretty low, I find yard sales a pretty competitive source for records, and we were getting a late start to the day (9am). One of the first houses we stopped at was still setting things up in the garage, so I asked the owner if she had any records for sale. Her response was probably the most idealistic response for a record hunter to hear, I mean, if someone asked me what a perfect yard sale experience would be, it would be this conversation:
Do you have any records for sale?
Why, yes I have some records, but I didn’t even think about selling them. I was a DJ at a college radio station in the early 70’s.
And the moment of truth.
Would you be interested in selling them?
Well…… I think so, if I can find them?
I can wait.
Her husband left and returned with a standard plastic crate of records, and this is when the dilemma between etiquette or competition sets in. I mentioned I was at the sale with a fellow enthusiast, and close friend, but there was only one seat the at buffet I was about to partake in. The Jane Fonda at the front of the crate was disheartening, but a few records in revealed some odd psych records I already had, and after that I started to pick out everything that seemed slightly interesting. Most of the records seem to be from 1969-73, and most are white label promos (if that means anything to you), but the important part is the music solid and off the beaten path. Surprisingly, out of the 100 or so rock records there were only two by what I would call common artists (dylan, neil young, stones, who, boston, journey, mountain……), the rest were smaller, regional or college bands. The husband returned a second time with another box, and my friend had first crack at the box, but their were fewer solid albums, more 78’s and soft jams. Overall, I picked up 39 records and my picker friend selected 5. The kicker is, she thought she had two more boxes of records, but was too tired to go look.
Here are a few of the records I’m most excited about from the pickup.
Mike Heron – Smiling Men with Bad Reputations
This was the only album which has been on my “hope I find someday” list, a Folk-psych record from one of the members of the Incredible String Band. John Cale (of the Velvet Underground and well John Cale) also collaborates on a few of the tracks. The cover is great. I’m a real fan of the Indian influenced track Spirit Beautiful.
Chelsea – Chelsea
This should have been on my list of “records I’ll never find or can’t afford”, but today I achieved the impossible. It is a rare psych rock gem, released on Decca. The album is solid cover to cover, and has shown up in my YouTube pysch record wormhole adventures. I’m not really a Kiss fan, but I can dig this early Peter Criss effort.
The Impressions – Keep on Pushing
Early Curtis Mayfield and a classic song. This one was a no-brainer.
Green Bullfrog – Green Bullfrog
Southern rock with soul. This was one of the famed “super groups” from the early 70’s, pulling in musicians from Deep Purple, Head, Hands and Feet, Procol Harum. You can read a little more about the band on the Prog Archive forums.
Pollution – I
Strong southern blues rock with a hint of Janis Joplin in the vocals, Dobie Gray can really carry the tunes. There is an interesting cover of Sly Stone’s Underdog on the beginning of side 2. The album artwork is interesting, and I really expected my pysched out jamming based on the appearance. How did they get that mini gas mask on a duck without Photoshop? The Play it Again Max blog has some more information about this record and notes the cover by Gene Brownell won a Grammy.
Poe – Through the Spiral
Starts out as gritty southern blues rock, then moves into a few tweaked out pysch odd ball tracks, particularly the title track. There are several songs which feature some heavy guitar in the vein of Urah Heep or Grand Funk. This was one of the first albums in the crate and it started the mass exodus of the LPs from their comfy plastic home into my car.
I also picked up a replacement copy of Terry Reid’s self titled album.
And here are a few of the other albums I’m really excited to spend some time with.