Another load of vinyl

After making it through December buying “only” about 140 albums, I’ve once again picked up a large collection to enjoy searching through to find some hidden gems.

Here’s what the car looked like when I pulled into the driveway:

All together it was 31 postal crates of 12″ singles and LP’s from primarily the 1980’s and 1990’s, all loaded into one large American sedan.  In this situation, and old “boat” of a car still has some practical value.

What’s really cool to me is that this collection is from when the popularity of  vinyl started to fade, so there could be some real gems in here.  Once I got it into the house, it looked a little more manageable:

Once i get it sorted, I fully intend to return the US Postal crates.  I expect I will find several additions to my personal collection, a lot of good value for resale, and still  be able to sell the remains for more than what I paid for the original 31 crates.

It was billed as 2000 records, but my initial samples average about 80 per crate, so it might be closer to 2500 records.  My random samples at the sellers location indicated the records are in very good condition, most showing no visible wear on the vinyl, while the covers have some wear and some labels, as it was part of a club DJ’s collection who worked int he 80’s and 90’s.

So while a lot of it isn’t going to be what I typically buy, for the price I couldn’t pass it up.  I got everything for $150.   I was very quickly able to find that much of value in things I could resell in just a few crates, so it was worth it.  Essentially I expect to get everything I want to sell and keep for free, and flip the rest for a couple hundred dollars.

I started looking through the first crate, plus a few that were stacked on top of it.  Totally random, it was just the one sitting next to me at my laptop.  In the first 50 albums, I found 10 that combined are worth $150.   Here’s the first 10 that should pay for the entire lot:

img_1100

 

Not exactly my cup of tea, but they should sell relatively quickly.  At that pace of finding ‘winners’, assuming 2,000 albums, I have potentially $6,000 worth of vinyl (before taxes, shipping, fees, etc), and that’s just the first pass at the things I can define value.  I think a lot of this dance music and singles have a market, I just need to find it.

So there’s perhaps $3600 profit to be had from 20% of the collection.  Not a bad return on $150.  And that doesn’t count selling the other 80% for what I paid for it originally, or probably a little more.  As i finished the first crate, I’m at about $220 of value, time 31 is  close to $7k, so I’m excited about this buy.  Even if I’m half wrong, it’s a great return on $150, and it’s great entertainment.  I’m excited to play some of the singles of songs from my youth.

The seller had many people contact him, but I was the only one to commit to purchasing under the condition that the collection was what he described it as being.  I was confident that a large lot of 1980’s and 90’s pop and rock vinyl would have some real gems, and i probably couldn’t go wrong.  When you know what your objective, be confident and take a few risks.

This sort of makes up for the lot in December which was largely in poor condition, but also had a ton of 45’s as part of the deal.  I’ll still make some money on that deal, but not every buy is going to be as good as this one.  And it may not pan out as great as the initial sample, but that’s OK.

Keep your eyes open, work hard, and you can create some luck.

 

Advertisements

November Vinyl

After a bit of a lull in buying for a couple months, this month I purchased about 640 albums.  Six Hundred forty albums!  I started the month buying about 100 albums from a dealer to flip, with about 10 being albums I wanted to listen to and 4 or 5 likely to stay in my collection.  I bought them purely to add to my offerings for the December and January buying months.

 

Then I bought private collections on two successive weeks, each containing about 270 albums.  One was billed at 350 albums, the other at 200, so i paid a little more per album than I thought I was for the first, and did a little better on the other.  Both contained music primarily within the rock and blues area that I like, but had many artists I wasn’t familiar with or that I simply believe will sell.

img_0935
Collection #2 from November

Part of what I enjoy about collecting vinyl is the discovery process.  It is primarily why I like to buy entire collections.  From that first collection I bought in November, one of the “discoveries” for me was this Roy Buchanan Album.

img_0937
Roy Buchanan – Live Stock

Roy Buchanan sounds like a cross between Bryan Setzer and Eric Clapton.  The track Roy’s Bluz on side 1 is incredible.   I had never heard of this artist, so I looked him up.  Basically, he’s considered one of the best guitarists EVER, but he never had much publicity.  At one point he even stopped playing professionally and went to become a hairdresser until a PBS documentary brought him renewed attention and a new record deal.

The first track on side 2 is Can I Change My Mind, and it is also incredible, but also has a rhythm that reminds me of another song – much newer.  I’m thinking Roy Buchanan probably influenced a lot of people.  And an interesting note for guitarists – his tone was all guitar and amp – no effects pedals until late in his career.  He used the volume and tone knob on his Tele to control changes in tone.   Truly a great find, in my opinion, and one I would not have found looking through a record store.

Between the two collections, there were about 110 albums I wanted to listen to (on top of the other 300 or so waiting in queue).  Since i spent $650 on the two collections, that’s a little under $6.50 per album, which really isn’t too bad considering some of the stuff in that  grouping sells for more than I would pay at this time (or maybe ever).  There were about 60 not worth trying to sell, either due to condition or just lack of popularity.  So there’s about 470 I intend to sell out of the 640.

img_0936
About 500 albums waiting to be cleaned.

If I do the math solely on the others that I plan to sell, subtracting the ones I want to listen to and the non-valuable albums, that’s 370 albums for $650.  That works out to about $1.75 each.  I need to sell about 20% of them to make my money back, then the rest are profit, or fuel for other purchases.  Plus I essentially then added the 110 albums to my collection for free.  And realistically, I’ll sell a large portion of the 110 I wanted to listen to once I play them – often upwards of 90% of the albums I listen to I end up selling.   The $650 came from sales of other albums, so basically all my vinyl hobby costs me is some time – and space in the Man Cave.

I can’t see myself spending $20+ on a single record, but many people do.   Which just boggles my mind.  While I may not quickly amass a collection of all my favorites, I am building a nice collection and finding new music at the same time.  I currently have about 250-300 in my “semi-permanent” collection between home and the office.  I’ also apparently offering a small supply of vintage vinyl that is sometimes hard to find.  Many expensive hobbies don’t need to be expensive, if you’re just creative.

Today’s vinyl experiences

Here’s what has graced my ears today as I continue my way through my  playlist of recent vinyl acquisitions:

Album 1: 38 Special, Strength in Numbers

P1040333

 

This was an OK album.  I know the group, I’m sure I’ll recognize some of their bigger hits, but off the top of my head I can’t name one.  The first song – Somebody Like You – was a familiar song.  other than that, just an OK album.  In prety good shape, and sounded very nice.

Album 2: The Who, Odds and Sods

P1040335

As I played through this album, I really started to think something was wrong with my turntable.  Most of the songs are pretty heavily overdriven on the guitars, making it sound muddy.  That being said, there are some really good songs on this LP.  Now I’m a Farmer was fun, Put the Money Down, Too much of Anything, Naked Eye, and of course Long Live Rock were all great listens.  I look forward to playing this one again.

Album 3: Mr. Mister, Welcome to the Real World

P1040338

Any concerns of the turntable being funky were quickly alleviated once the 80’s synth and guitar started on the first track.  Sharp, clean, and great imaging in the room.  As a child of the 80’s, this is from an era I should remember.  Stylistically, it sounds familiar, but I don’t specifically recall any of the songs until the second track on Side 2:  Kyrie. That was followed by Broken Wings, which I didn’t like in the 80’s.   However the song Is It Love could have been off one of my favorite 80’s albums: Gorky Park. Great sound, very clean, no static at all, but this mister is not a Mr. mister fan. Now if I could just find that Gorky Park release on vinyl….

Album 4: Kansas, Song for America

P1040339

This album starts off more like Skynyrd or Charlie Daniels than what I know of Kansas; in fact, I checked the label to make sure I didn’t have the wrong album in the sleeve!      And check out the $4.44 original price sticker!  The rest of the album was typical Kansas soft rock, in my opinion.  If you like Kansas, I’m sure you’ll like this one.

Vinyl Renaissance

During my latest business trip, I got the crazy idea to buy a few vinyl albums.  I read that Vinyl is seeing a resurgence, and I hadn’t listened to a record since the late 1980’s, except for the few nostalgic trips on our Victrola playing music from our great-grandparent’s era.    There were really only two challenges to overcome:  One, I didn’t have any vinyl records. And two, I didn’t own a turntable.

Fast forward 3 weeks, and I have amassed a collection larger than I ever had as a child – actually larger than any I remember seeing as a kid.  How many, you ask?  Well, my playlist is over 300.  Yes, I have bought an average of 100 albums from the 60’s – 80’s a week over the last three weeks.  I found a turntable rather quickly as well that is much better than anything I’ve ever had before.

Doing some quick math, I have at least 200 hours of listening to do.  So I decided to just start playing them in order as my background music while I’m doing other things.  Because the prices are so low – like between free and $1 per album – I’ve been bringing home anything that looked like it was in good shape.  So this indiscriminate buying coupled with just playing them in whatever order they’re stacked is making for a varied day of music.

I’ve always had somewhat odd tastes, or at least eclectic tastes in music, so I don’t mind spending 40 minutes listening to something new or something I wouldn’t otherwise identify as “my kind of music.”  Today I have definitely spent an unusual amount of time playing albums, but I expect many days to have a similar range.  But today’s seems especially “weird” and lacking any common thread, so I thought it would be good to share.   So here’s what I listened to today, in the order I experienced them.  Sorry about the pictures – the light in the “man cave” isn’t great.

Album 1: George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Maverick

George Thorogood

Ok, first I must admit this one wasn’t random.   I’ve been a fan of Thorogood since college, but my wife can’t stand his music.  So I put this one on right after she walked out the door for the morning.  “I drink alone” was better than I ever remember on CD.  It was a good way to start the day, but there was a little skip on side 2 of the album.   I easily got $1 worth of enjoyment out of this one!

Album 2:    Staying Alive, Motion Picture Soundtrack

P1040301

Honestly, I don’t remember the second half of this album.  Most of it sounded the same to me.  Pretty sure this was a free one, but I can honestly say I’ve listened to it now.  Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah….staying alive.  It wasn’t that bad, and wasn’t the toughest to make it through.

Album 3: ABBA, Voulez Vous

P1040302

I remember my mother listening to ABBA a lot when I was a kid.   I didn’t recognize any of these songs, but I did find myself sitting on the couch in the listening sweet spot a few times during this album.  It’s a pretty solid listening experience; I rather enjoyed it.

Album 4: Laurie Anderson, Strange Angels

P1040303

Never heard of her before.  First off, the sound quality of this album is stellar.  This is the kind of sound that makes people say vinyl sounds better than digital music.  It’s definitely more immersive and engaging because it just somehow feels more musical; more organic in nature.  This isn’t my type of music, but I’d play it again as background music.

Album 5: George Carlin, AM/FM.

P1040305

A classic comedy album from 1972, this one’s as old as I am.  Somewhere in the mid 80’s I first watched Carlin’s seven dirty words on cable TV.  This album focuses mostly on broadcast comedy, and it is pretty funny.  Nowhere near as raw as I remember Carlin being, for which I’m thankful.  Did have me crying from laughter, but definitely brought a few laughs as I was working around the house.

Album 6: Willie Humphrey, New Orleans Clarinet

P1040306

This album is amazing.  I’ve never heard of Humphrey, but man is he talented!  There’s a lot of New Orleans jazz standards here.  From the back of the album, they describe his tone like this: “it blends the richness of Mississippi gumbo-mud with the bite of Louisiana hot sauce.”  This was a real treat, and unfortunately for my wife will reinforce my practice of buying anything that’s in good shape, because this album I will treasure.  Better yet, it was recorded in 1974, and is sparkling clean.  No noise to detract from Willie’s tone.

Album 7:  Spyro Gyra, Freetime

P1040307

Ok, I thought Spyro Gyra was going to be some sort of new wave, new age electronic music.  Was I surprised when it was actually something like what I would probably call jazz fusion.  Modern jazz with some great guitar.  Another album I wouldn’t mind hearing again sometime, and it would be great background music for pre-dinner cocktails.

Album 8: Electric Light Orchestra, Discovery

P1040310

“Don’t bring me down, grroosss”…  You know, I always thought it was “don’t bring me down, Bruce.”  The beauty of album sleeves with lyrics.  So while that’s the iconic song at the end of side 2 on this album, side 1 is amazingly mixed and had me sitting on the couch for a solid 15 minutes.   The last track on Side 1 is “The Diary of Horace Wimp”, which to my ears was heavily influenced by Sgt. Pepper’s era Beatles and is a thoroughly enjoyable song.  I mentioned it to my wife, and she knew it well.  Nothing like being 35 years late to the party, but better late than never!

Album 9:  Barbara Streisand, The Way We Were.

P1040312

Side 1 of this was almost excruciating for me to listen to, especially following Willie, Spyro Gyra, and ELO.  My wife came home as the title track was playing, so I went up to make lunch.  As we ate, we listened to side 2, and I finally started to appreciate the beauty of Streisand’s music.  It’s wonderful dinner music.  Oh- and she looks pretty darn beautiful on the cover.

Album 10: The Love Unlimited Orchestra, White Gold

P1040313

Ohhh, yeah!  Barry White.  The first time I actually listened to him that wasn’t in a movie or TV show.  Actually, I didn’t even realize it was Barry White when I bought it.  I really enjoyed this as well.  I guess I’d call it “after dinner music.” 🙂

Album 11: Boston, Boston

P1040315

What a way to change gears!  This debut album literally had 7 hits out of the 8 songs.  I have never considered myself a Boston fan, and I’ve never owned any of the groups music.  But this album rocks.  More importantly, it is sonically amazing as well.  The acoustic guitars, drums, electric guitars, and wailing voices are all immaculately reproduced.  The vinyl is in amazing shape, as is the cover.  I can’t imagine how this album has survived 40 years, with this kind of hard driving, entertaining rock and roll, and it seems unplayed.  Wow, is this a great album.  Luckily, there’s more Boston in the queue.

Album 12: Quincy Jones, Mellow Madness

P1040316

This is probably my first Quincy Jones album too.  I was pretty busy during this album, but it was nice.  I think the madness part was this album didn’t seem very cohesive.  There’s a lot of variety in the sound of the songs.  It’s like he just picked a bunch of songs he liked and put them all in one album.  So many  of the albums today had a consistent feel, or almost told or story, or lead you through the sonic transitions.  This one felt more like an old mix tape.

Album 13: Burt Bacharach’s Greatest Hits

P1040317

Hmmm…elevator music at it’s finest.  Or maybe it’s 70’s sitcom music, like the Mary Tyler Moore Show.  I guess it’s like late 60’s or 70’s easy listening.  Which is weird, because it wasn’t easy for me to listen to!  Hey, if you like it, this album had good sound.  The horns on “The Look of Love” (I think that was the song) were amazingly clear and filled the space wonderfully.  Great stereo imaging, great use of ambient sounds.  Just about put me to sleep, though.

Album 14: Billy Idol, Rebel Yell

P1040318

Well, there’s a large scratch at the beginning of Rebel Yell, but it’s still better than Bacharach to my ears!  The recording is flatter sounding than some of the others today, perhaps condition related, or maybe it’s just the fact that there seem to only be 4 instruments and it’s just they way they were recorded.  Also weird, is they are side 3 and 4, but it’s only a single album.  Maybe he wanted to do a double LP, but just didn’t have enough material!  Eyes without a face opened up a lot.  The fake “hand claps” with the screaming guitar just filled the room from all angles.  And side 2 was amazing, absolutely surrounding me with sound on “Flash for Fantasy”, so maybe the pressing on side 1 was a little “off”.

So today was a good day of listening to vinyl albums.  By far the most complete albums I’ve listened to, maybe even for a week.  I’ve been playing a few tracks or a song, maybe an entire side, bt I’m going to work on just listening through an LP or three, or 14, in a sitting.   Do yourself a favor and listen to some vinyl records.  It does sound “different”  than CD, and much better and more dynamic than MP3.