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Cheap Vinyl
February 15, 2006

One of the great things about collecting vinyl records is that you can get some really good music for cheap.  I mean cheaper than the time you waste downloading MP3’s.   Consider how many records were stamped out as commodities from the 1950’s through the late 1980’s. And now many people regard their records as trash, as they replaced them fifteen years ago with worse-sounding cd’s, and now are dumping them onto their ipods as even worse (exponentially so) sounding MP3’s!  This is not to mention many of the artists who put out great, undiscovered music which now sits in the cutout bins of history, if it hasn’t hit the dumpster yet.  Especially great are some of the indie records from the ‘80s, many to be found as college radio stations dump their collections. With a good cleaning and a new inner sleeve, there is much great music to be had for next to nothing. Here’s just a very small sampling of my finds:

 Classical. Tons of this stuff can be had for next to nothing, usually in great shape at yard sales, thrift stores, etc.   I’ve gotten a bunch in case I ever need it, and throw it on sometimes to feel smart.  Probably haven’t paid more than $0.25 for any one record.

 Aretha Franklin, This Girl’s in Love with You, Soul ’69, Spirit in the Dark. Yard sale, $0.10 each in excellent condition.

 Thin White Rope, Exploring the Axis, The Ruby Sea, Sack Full of Silver, In the Spanish Cave, Moonhead.  Great 80’s guitar band, very Television-like guitar interplay, spooky vocals, incredibly underrated in America. Lead singer went onto a Botany career at UC Davis. This is about 80% of their catalog. $1.00 each

 Sidewinders, Auntie Ramos’ Pool Hall, solid indie guitar-pop from Arizona; reminiscent of Soul Asylum, Gin Blossoms, Husker Du. $0.25

 Flaming Lips, Telepathic Surgery. Freakout stuff from future greats. $0.25

 Chris Mars, 75% Less Fat. Pissed-off pop from former Replacements drummer.$0.25

 Smithereens, Especially for You. Pure pop debut LP from these New Jersey/New Mersey greats.  Two copies, $1 and $0.25

 Posies, Dear 23. Sugary pop from Seattle, this was their big major-label debut which some consider their best.  I prefer both Failure and Frosting on the Beater, but this ain’t bad.  Two main guys (Auer/Stringfellow) would go on to complete the eventual Big Star reunion. $0.25

 Lou Reed, Transformer, Blue Mask. Got these from a guy down the road who had digitized his collection. $3.00 each

 Talking Heads, True Stories, Remain in Light.  Same guy, $3.00

 Just with these last two I’ve scratched the surface of the $4-6 used record store finds, which I’ve loaded up on.   Posies Failure? X See How we Are? John Cale Vintage Violence, Slow Dazzle, Helen of Troy, Honi Soit? Rockpile Seconds of Pleasure? XTC Most all of their stuff up through Oranges and Lemons?  Just Scratching the surfaces

 I’ve just listed of a fraction of my collection of 600 records or so.  I’d guess that my average cost for an LP is around $3.  For every ten I get for $6 or less (including those for a quarter, or free even) I might buy one or two at $10-15, with the very odd record running up over $20.

 In defense of value-priced cd’s I’ll say that I have found a few great bargains in cutout bins, like Television self-titled from 1991, Elliot Smith Figure 8, and Smithereens A Date With… for $1 each.

 

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