Monday, October 13, 2014

Unboxing 100 free records from Jerry's Records

The stuff of dreams: an unopened box of records.

I snagged a free box of records at Jerry's once before, over Record Store Day weekend. Out of the 100 or so albums I came home with just one made it into my record collection: disc one of Neil Young and Crazy Horse's Live Rust double LP.

Was I disappointed with a paltry 1% success rate? Of course not. I love Neil Young! Sure the album didn't cost me anything, but what I really love is the search. This was like the home version of a lazy afternoon spent digging the crates at Jerry's. 

I never really thought much about why I collect records. Purists tell you that vinyl records sound better, or “warmer,” but I really can't tell that much of a difference. The closest I can come to an answer as to why I collect vinyl is that records are tangible. I can hold it in my hand, admire the artwork in the gatefold and read the liner notes while the album plays. This physical connection adds to my overall appreciation of the album.

When I heard Jerry was giving away more free records, I had to stop by. After an hour in the “Bargain Basement” - where I purchased, among other things, a nice copy of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On? for an unspeakably low $1 – and another hour upstairs, where I scored a beautiful, near mint condition copy of The Allman Brothers Eat a Peach, I grabbed my box of records and headed home. 

Giddy with anticipation, I opened the box. Maybe, I thought, a man who spent 40 years buying, selling, and trading records would accidentally give away Exile on Main Street, or that Velvet Underground album with the peel-off banana sticker.

It didn't take me long to realize I was being a little more than naive. 

yes, wonderful things
Short of hosting a cliched Italian dinner night, I don't know when I'll ever listen to the Love Theme from The Godfather. For a second I thought I may have stumbled upon a cache of movie scores, and I had my fingers crossed for the Easy Rider soundtrack. That theory lasted only until the next record

Frankie Valle's Closeup was next, followed by a Patti Austin that had this on the back side: 

The Commodores' Midnight Magic was underneath Patti Austin, and then it was this party anthem from 1964: 

Choral Speaking: restraining the bold since 1964

Up next: four straight albums by the man who was obviously the inspiration for Don Draper, Eddy Arnold: 

Next came WAR and Kool and the Gang, then these three:

For a while I hit upon a streak of decent rock albums from the 70s and 80s: 

I thought I might have hit it rich with this next one, but a quick search on eBay put that to rest. Apparently no wants to spend more than a couple bucks on a compilation of The King's gospel covers.

I'll keep this one for myself: 

Side Two: "Buck, Buck" (9:05)
This one too:

These, however, are free to anyone who wants them: 

This neat number was near the bottom. It's a record of Hawaiian music together with a color booklet filled with photos and tourism information. According to a website I found, Dusty Grooves, this was originally a giveaway to attendees of the 1969 American Bankers Association conference, in Honolulu. 

Aside from a couple Village People albums, there wasn't much else worth noting. The last two albums I pulled out were an Engelbert Humperdinck and one by The Four Populaires, who I can find next to nothing about online but were apparently the house band at the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia.

Even though the vast majority of these are nothing I would listen to on day-to-day basis, I enjoyed looking through these relics from a bygone era. Each album is a time capsule, and I just can't bring myself to throw them in the trash.

Maybe Jerry will want them back. 

-- B. Conway