$100 Dig in Pennsylvania

A few years ago, Egon, wrote a piece for NPR’s Funk Arche­ol­o­gy about pick­ing NYC on $100 a day. He end­ed up with 5 slices of vinyl for $100 dol­lars total. I have a deep appre­ci­a­tion for Egon and the artists he has helped to expose, and he is dig­ging a much dif­fer­ent lev­el than I am, but I thought on my recent trip across the sparse­ly pop­u­lat­ed state of Penn­syl­va­nia I would try my own $100 a day chal­lenge.

On my adven­ture I popped into eight thrift, junk, sec­ond-hand and antique stores (which I have mapped out over the years) and 1 pri­vate reseller. I have to say it was a much more suc­cess­ful trip than I expect­ed. I end­ed up with 23 albums, the most I paid was $15 for an LP. Here is what I picked up, they are orga­nized in order of my excite­ment lev­el:

2014-01-26 14.00.34

Townes Van Zandt — High, Low and In Between ($15)

This is an album I did not expect to find — a mint, or any, copy of Townes on Pop­py records. I have been look­ing for Townes for many years and this is the first one I have come across in the wild, and it was almost the one that got away. I dug it out of a sec­ond hand store that had most of their records priced, but there were a few box­es under­neath a table that did not have prices. Most of the records in the box­es were junk, but this one was stuffed in the mid­dle.

When I brought the record to the counter, the own­er was reluc­tant to sell it to be because it was not priced and might go for a lot on eBay. Most of the records were between $5-$8 and I had a lit­tle pile of oth­er things (list­ed below), so I offered $15 for the record and with a lit­tle nego­ti­a­tion the own­er agreed. I was super pumped. The thought of leav­ing this one behind was heart­break­ing.


2014-01-26 14.01.44Tele­vi­sion — Mar­quee Moon ($3)

A clas­sic, mas­ter piece. A few years ago I gave up hope that I would find a rea­son­ably priced orig­i­nal and pur­chased a used copy of the 4MenWithBeard’s re-issue. Today, that all changed. This is a beau­ty.


2014-01-26 14.03.29Tele­vi­sion — Adven­ture ($3)

Right next to Mar­quee Moon, was this pre­fect copy of Adven­ture. Find­ing this style of music at dis­count prices is rarely achiev­able these days. It was a bit of luck.


2014-01-26 13.51.25Miles Davis — Trib­ute to Jack John­son ($5) 
I don’t know an tremen­dous amount about jazz, espe­cial­ly beyond the icons. This Miles record is very acces­si­ble to rock n’ roll converts. John McLaugh­lin, rips away on the elec­tric gui­tar through­out the 1st (and only) track on side one, and too my knowl­edge it is the only album that has rock tones.


2014-01-26 13.54.23Blooms­bury Peo­ple ($10)
This is an album I took a chance on. I thought I rec­og­nized the cov­er, but could not remem­ber it was for good rea­sons or bad rea­sons. I liked the psych feel and  have had luck find­ing psych folk bands on the blue swirl MGM label, so I rolled the dice. The band was from Mil­wau­kee, Wis­con­sin. The most notable per­son in the band is Sig­mund Snopek III, who lat­er when on to be a side­man and mem­ber of the Vio­lent Femmes.

From the first lis­ten, I’m very hap­py with the pur­chase. The album has range, it is dif­fi­cult to place it in a sin­gle cat­e­go­ry.


2014-01-26 14.00.10Gil Scott-Heron — Pieces of a Man ($5) 
This is a great album. Every­one knows it. I’m glad I have it in my col­lec­tion.


2014-01-26 13.59.01Here Comes Shug­gie Otis ($5)
Shug­gie is a mas­ter blues-funk gui­tarist, and this was the only LP of his I was miss­ing from the col­lec­tion. His father John­ny wrote many of the tracks and played on sev­er­al back­ing instru­ments. Shug­gie was 15 when this was record­ed.


2014-01-26 13.59.24Ken­ny Bur­rell  & Art Blakey — Live at the Five Spot ($5)
This is a nice com­bi­na­tion. The gui­tar of Bur­rell and the drums of Blakey. This is a nice copy on Blue Note.


2014-01-26 13.59.47Art Blakey — Buhaina ($5)
Blakey is an icon of jazz. I have been aware of his name for a long time, but nev­er spent a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time with his work. I hope to con­tin­ue to add Blakey records to my col­lec­tion. His drum­ming is amaz­ing.


2014-01-26 14.00.58Hawk­wind — Hall of the Moun­tain Grill ($10)
The last album with Lem­my Killmis­ter, and the influ­ence is appar­ent. Up until this point, I did not have any Hawk­wind on vinyl.


2014-01-26 14.01.21Hawk­wind — War­rior on the Edge of Time ($7)
The War­rior album is a sol­id album full of space rock jams, it did not receive a great crit­i­cal review and Lem­my had left the band, but I still think it is a sol­id effort.


2014-01-26 13.54.55Earth Opera ($5)
I did not know this band, but knew the a few of the mem­bers — Peter Rowan and David Gris­man. I’m a fan of both, and appre­ci­ate their solo work. All of the songs are writ­ten by Rowan. I’m expect­ing a pro­gres­sive blue­grass — psych folk rock style, but can’t wait to sit down and lis­ten to this record. Both men are mighty young in the pho­tos.


2014-01-26 13.53.02Box Tops — The Letter/Neon Rain­bow ($1)
This is Alex Chilton’s first album with the Box Tops, unfor­tu­nate­ly none of his work is part of the album and most of the mate­r­i­al was record­ed by ses­sion musi­cians.


2014-01-26 13.55.40Miles Davis — Water Babies ($7) 
This mate­r­i­al was record­ed in 1967–68, but unre­leased until 1976 when it was com­piled on Water Babies. It fea­tures some jazz greats, Chick Corea, Her­bie Han­cock and Ron Carter.


2014-01-26 14.02.08Tom Ver­laine — Dream­time ($3)
This is Tom’s sec­ond solo album after Tele­vi­sion col­lapsed. Good stuff.


2014-01-26 13.58.42Lee Michaels ($1)
I’ve been slow­ly pick­ing up LPs sam­pled by the Dust Broth­ers on Beck’s Ode­lay. (Don’t Want No) Woman is sam­pled in Hot­wax and Nova­cane.


2014-01-26 13.55.18Her­bie Han­cock — The Pris­on­er ($2) 
This is an ear­ly Han­cock on Blue Note. That is all I know about this record.


I picked up the fol­low­ing on a whim. They are inter­est­ing to me for one rea­son or anoth­er. Most were pret­ty cheap and I’m sure they will not all stay in the col­lec­tion.


2014-01-26 13.56.11Chero­kee ($1)
The cov­er is inter­est­ing, but the record is rough shape. I thought it would be bor­der-line 70’s soft coun­try rock, but took a chance that it could be more inter­est­ing. The track “Funky Busi­ness” gave me hope.

It turns out, this band was once the The Robbs, the house band for Dick Clark.


2014-01-26 13.56.39Bat­dorf & Rod­ney ($1)
This looked inter­est­ing because of the long haired rock­ers on the back and Asy­lum label. I don’t have too high hopes for the record over­all.


2014-01-26 13.52.34Bob­by Bridger ($1)
A folk rock gam­ble. The inclu­sion of a 12-string gui­tar, acoustic gui­tar and steel gui­tar intrigued me. This was record­ed in Nashville in 1972.


2014-01-26 13.51.57Bal­cones Fault ($1)
This is anoth­er record in which I was inter­est­ed in the instru­ments, con­gas, gui­tar, drums, sax, trum­pet, key­board­s…. It was also released on Cream Records, which I’m not too famil­iar with. My only con­cern it was released in 1977, I’m afraid it might be too dis­co-y.


2014-01-26 13.50.51Woody’s Truck Stop ($2)
Todd Rund­gren was in this band ear­ly on, but is not on this release. It is blues-rock and just OK. The record was released on Smash Records.


2014-01-26 13.53.48Dog Soilder ($2)
The cov­er was inter­est­ing, and I’m some­what famil­iar with Keef Hart­ley. Expect­ing some OK blues rock.

Record Shelving

The stor­age of records is one of the most chal­leng­ing aspects of build­ing a col­lec­tion. It was time for me to rethink the way I stored and access my records. For a long time I had a few of the stan­dard tall Ikea shelves, with anoth­er built in shelf and a few box­es here and there. I want­ed to cre­ate some­thing that pulled every­thing togeth­er, and made it easy to sort and find stuff. I also want­ed to make sure there was enough space to grow.

I looked around the web for some ideas.

These shelves from the Offi­cial Peri­od­ic Blog were inter­est­ing and had a nice detailed plan for con­struc­tion.

Record shelves from Official Periodic Blog
Record shelves from Offi­cial Peri­od­ic Blog

I also watched the Bench Dogs build 100,000 LP shelves in a ware­house, but see­ing as I only need space for about 2,000 LPs, I opt­ed for a small­er scale project.

I found the best start­ing point for me on Dub’s Links Blog.   The shelves were sim­ple and matched the rest of the stained wood in my lit­tle cave.

Record Shelves from Dub's Links Blog
Record Shelves from Dub’s Links Blog

I draft­ed a few plans using Google Sketch Up to deter­mine size and space. Most of the shelves store the records with the bind­ing fac­ing out, but I also want­ed some stor­age which would be designed to flip through the records with the cov­ers fac­ing for­ward, so I designed some room for crates on top of the long shelf. As I pro­gressed in the design, I made the crates stack­able, so I can have one extra and move it side to side on the top. It also makes for easy haul­ing to events.




I quick­ly ran into one prob­lem. The exam­ple I was work­ing from used 13 inch wide pine boards, but after check­ing the box stores, lum­ber yards and a few saw mills, I could only find boards a max of 12 inch­es wide (actu­al­ly 11.75). I decid­ed to go with burch fur­ni­ture grade ply­wood, which need­ed to be ripped into 13 inch strips with a table saw.

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Once the ply­wood sheets were ripped, it was just a mat­ter of piec­ing it togeth­er. I decid­ed to use dial joints for the bot­tom row, and built a lit­tle make shift jig so the holes would line up cor­rect­ly in the two boards. The brad nail gun came in very handy for hold­ing it all togeth­er quick­ly.

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Here is the ver­sion about 90% fin­ished. It turned out pret­ty much as planned. I would esti­mate the total cost at $170, most of it was in the ply­wood (3 sheets at $50 each), and it prob­a­bly took 12hrs to prep, cut, build and stain the shelves. You may have noticed my ini­tial sketch­es had sol­id boards about every 15 inch­es, but one sketch and the fin­ished shelves used dial rods in each row. I made the adjust­ment to try to cut cost, the use of the dial rods changed the ply­wood require­ments from 4 to 3 sheets. It is still extreme­ly stur­dy.

2013-05-08 20.38.07

The Estate Finds

I recent­ly went out ear­ly to check out an estate sale which list­ed a few records in the ad. My expec­ta­tions were low, because it is typ­i­cal­ly dif­fi­cult to find good LPs at these events. Often major deal­ers will get in ear­ly and scoop up the good stuff and leave the Grass Roots and bad Beach Boys records. This estate is one for my per­son­al record book.

I was sur­prised by the eclec­tic nature of the col­lec­tion, usu­al­ly I find some “good” stuff and a lot of com­mon filler — Jour­ney, Boston, Rolling Stones, you know the stuff every­one had. This col­lec­tion had very unique records, many of which I was not famil­iar with, but based on the qual­i­ty of albums I knew, I picked up a major­i­ty of the records at the sale.

The first album which caught my eye was the Radio Bird­manRadios Appear lp, this is a dif­fi­cult record to find, and was high on my “want” list. There were a few oth­er pop/punk records I knew, but one I didn’t was the The Birth­day Par­ty — which was Nick Cave’s (of the Bad Seed’s) first band. The oth­er prize I quick­ly noticed was Leonard Cohen’sDeath of a Ladies Man, this was one of 3 Cohen records I did not have. For many years the first bins I would search in a  record store were Waits, Love and Cohen, most of the time they were emp­ty or very high priced. With the said, the Arthur Lee record was a pleas­ant sur­prise as well.

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The strength of the col­lec­tion was Jazz, a genre which I know very lit­tle beyond the greats. One per­son I am aware of is Sun Ra, and one of the first jazz records I noticed was the pro­mo of Angels and Demons at Play. It turns out that these were all real­ly good Jazz albums, after a quick lis­ten the Afro Blues Quin­tet is my favorite.

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There were also a few soul/funk records in the lot. The best of these is the Bob­by Byrd. He worked close with James Brown and sang back­ing vocal on Sex Machine. This album is sol­id cov­er to cov­er, and to me was like find­ing a lost James Brown clas­sic. I had not heard this before, but it will now be in con­stant rota­tion.

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Some records were from Africa and India, I was hop­ing to find some good 70’s funk, but they are more on the jazz side. It’s going to take a few more lis­tens to deter­mine how much I like them. I feel like a few songs will real­ly grow on me.

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Along with the soul, rock, punk and jazz, there were a few odd records in the mix — an inter­est­ing sound­track from The Dun­wich Hor­ror titled Music of the Dev­il God Cult, and an lp of Charles Bukows­ki read­ing his poet­ry.

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Satan, Get Back!


 The Search for Broth­er Claude Ely

   I have been aware of Broth­er Claude Ely for a while now. I was first intro­duced to who Broth­er Ely was when a friend of mine shared a link with me from an NPR show on which Ely’s nephew, Macel Ely II, is inter­viewed about his book, “Ain’t No Grave: The Life and Lega­cy of Broth­er Claude Ely”. Since I grew up in a very tra­di­tion­al Holi­ness-Pen­te­costal denom­i­na­tion the audio clips through­out the inter­view sound­ed very famil­iar and Broth­er Ely’s voice was pow­er­ful and his pre­sen­ta­tion was mov­ing. I had to hear more or should I say feel more?

  I did some search­ing on Ama­zon and on eBay to see what record­ings were avail­able or even out there by Broth­er Ely. There is one CD that is cur­rent­ly avail­able and there are some scarce, out of print LPs and 45s out there, but they all are a lit­tle pricey. I decid­ed to hold off for a lit­tle while.…then it hap­pened

  I was asked Wayne if I’d like to go with him and a friend on a record dig to the giant flea mar­ket in Rogers, Ohio. I put some cash away to buy some records, we set­up which Fri­day we want­ed to go and that’s what we did.

  We were there ear­ly, but as the day went on more ven­dors showed up, includ­ing a collector/seller from Ohio. He had some amaz­ing records for sale, includ­ing Broth­er Claude Ely’s, “The Gospel Ranger Broth­er Claude Ely and the Cum­ber­land Four” on King Records. I couldn’t believe it. The price start­ed a lit­tle high, but we were able come up with an agree­able price and it was mine.

The Gospel Ranger Broth­er Claude Ely and the Cum­ber­land Four

King Records #801 — Elec­tron­i­cal­ly Rechan­neled To Sim­u­late Stereo


Be on the look­out for any­thing Broth­er Claude Ely has released. Pow­er­ful voice and music.

Broth­er Claude Ely


Some more info on Broth­er Claude Ely:



My Favorite Type of Garage Sale


I ven­tured out on a lit­tle road trip to take a chance on an all vinyl garage sale; the sale was adver­tised as a local col­lec­tor trim­ming down his col­lec­tion — 1000’s of LPs start­ing at a $1. I was a lit­tle skep­ti­cal of “col­lec­tor” and “$1”, but decid­ed to make the trek any­way. My fear was there would be sev­er­al hun­dred junk records for $1, either bad music or in hor­ri­ble con­di­tion, with box­es of “mar­ket” priced “good” records. The sale was about an hour away, so I was not inter­est­ed in trav­el­ing to find LPs I could pick up at the local record shop or have the post­man drop of at my doorstep. A par­tial­ly exposed cor­ner or Cap­tain Beef­heart Safe as Milk in the pho­to on the ad was the tip­ping point for me. This raised anoth­er fear — How many vinyl hounds would be drawn to the Beef­heart? Damn, the sale had already start­ed, what if I missed the best of it.

It turns out the sale was pret­ty sol­id. They weren’t giv­ing away albums, but there were deals to be had. I end­ed up pick­ing up a nice lit­tle stack of records that leaned toward the folk/songwriter genre. Many of these were $1 — $2, but only in OK shape. There will def­i­nite­ly be some sur­face noise, but when are you going to find a Love record for a dol­lar that does not look like a wavy Lays pota­to chip.


I spent the most on the Tele­vi­sion ($10) and Pret­ty Things ($8) records. The Live R Than You’ll Ever Be is a boot­leg of the Rolling Stones from 1969, the Google machine tells me it was on of the first ever rock bootlegs — behind Dylan’s White Won­der, which has recent­ly slipped through my fin­gers, but that is a sto­ry for anoth­er post. The final tab was $40, which made me very hap­py.

FYI, the Beef­heart was still there, but priced at $25 (as it should be). I already have a copy, but I’m always on the look out for my bros!


It’s been too long! Today’s yard sale and thrift finds…


I’ve dug a lot of vinyl since my last “find” post, so I’ll try to play catch up at some point, but for now, here’s what I found today. I found 24 records total, spend­ing less than $10!

This first set was found at one yard sale for a quar­ter a piece! I couldn’t fig­ure out why Porter was sweat­ing so much on the cov­er of his record that I picked up. I thought it was cool to find the Sleepy LaBeef on clear, gold vinyl. I’m real­ly pleased with every­thing I picked up at the sale.


This next batch, I picked up at a local thrift shop. I was sur­prised by these comps. When I spot­ted the “Best of Bomp!” I was real­ly excited…then I found a cou­ple oth­er rock sam­plers and the Zig­gy Mar­ley record. The truck­er comp with the crazy illus­tra­tion is sealed, so that was a cool find too.


Over­all, a good day of dig­gin’.



Gospel Inspirations’ “He’ll Hold To My Hand”


He’ll Hold To My Hand” by the Gospel Inspi­ra­tions

Heart Records, Prince­ton, West Vir­ginia

Engi­neer — A. A. Cun­ning­ham

Side One:

1.                              He’ll Hold To My Hand

2.                              Satan Lied To Me

3.                              When I Get Home

4.                              Use Me Lord

5.                              What Heav­en Means To Me

Side Two:

1.                              I See A Bridge

2.                              I Rec­om­mend My Lord To You

3.                              How Long

4.                              That Heav­en­ly Home

5.                              One Drop Of Blood

From the back cov­er:

The Gospel Inspi­ra­tions were for­mer­ly known as the Sprague Trio. We made a small record in 1967.

  The group includes; Tom Lewis who sings lead in “He’ll Hold To My Hand” and plays the Bass Gui­tar. He is the son of Mrs. Mary Lewis who sings lead and Alto. Sarah Hill sings Tenor, lead and plays rhythm gui­tar. Juani­ta Mead­ows sings Con­tral­to.

  We have been singing Gospel songs in South­ern West Vir­ginia and sur­round­ing states for 15 years. We have appeared on local radio and tele­vi­sion sta­tions.

  We feel we were called by the Lord to sing His Gospel. One rea­son we made this record was because so many peo­ple told us our singing encour­aged them as they could feel the spir­it of the Lord in the songs. We have seen many souls come to the Lord while we were singing.

Mrs. Mary Lewis

Mrs. Sarah Hill

Mrs. Juani­ta Mead­ows”

A few months ago I was dig­ging through some records at a thrift shop and I young lady with pur­ple hair asked me what kind of records I looked for. I told her I like a lot of dif­fer­ent gen­res of music and she told me that the antique shop she worked at down the road had hun­dreds of records in a back room. So I quick­ly got the direc­tions and head­ed over there. While dig­ging I found this hid­den gem. The pro­duc­tion is decent, but rough around the edges. But, as “peo­ple” have said, I can def­i­nite­ly feel the spir­it in their per­for­mances of these songs. “Satan Lied To Me” is a real stand­out as is “How Long” on side two. Their har­monies are good, but com­bined with the sparse arrange­ments that include piano, man­dolin, bass gui­tar, dobro and acoustic gui­tar, these songs turn into time cap­sules. You can almost see these dear folks crowd­ed into a local radio sta­tion stu­dio shar­ing a micro­phone and singing it out over the air­waves. I hope to stum­ble across the “lit­tle record” they put out as the Sprague Trio.


The Sweathog Pick


I found a rel­a­tive­ly fresh spot to dig for some records, the chal­leng­ing part was sur­viv­ing the 110 degree tem­per­a­tures in the attic. After going through about 5000 records I set­tled on about 30 which real­ly inter­est­ed me. The Easy­beats has to be by far my favorite from this spot, but there are sev­er­al oth­ers which have been on my list for a long time and a few I’m hap­py I dis­cov­ered (like The Wind and Death Angel).

Over­all, this was prob­a­bly the most fun I have ever had in a sweat­lodge for 5hrs. 

Weekend Dig and Tale

On Fri­day I was actu­al­ly able to find a few coun­try and gospel records at the City Mis­sion, that was exct­ing. My “best” find was a sealed copy of Erie’s own Den­ny Braendel’s release.

I got to do some week­end dig­ging as well. First up was the “flea mar­ket” build­ing at the West Mid­dle­sex Antique Mall in West Mid­dle­sex, PA. I found some nice stuff but the top few were disk two of the Cramps’ boot­leg “Booze Par­ty”, Lou Reed’s “Berlin”, Black Oak Arkansas’ “X Rat­ed”, and a reis­sue of Cream’s “Fresh Cream” along with a bunch more bar­gain wax.

After that I head­ed to the Sal­va­tion Army in Grove City, PA where I was able to find some good coun­try and gospel records. Some sealed vinyl too. I’m a suck­er for sealed, thrift store vinyl.

Last­ly, my mom picked up the two Ken­ny Rogers’ records. I’m real­ly dig­gin’ “The Gam­bler” since we had that one on tape when I was a kid.

Check out the attached picks.

Hap­py dig­gin’.

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