Over $3,000 worth of vinyl for $475

An incredible Saturday 180 gram Vinyl Score!

Ever since I was a kid I would go to garage sales and flea markets with my Nana.  It was always exciting to find something that was an incredible deal, or just something cool for a price that is well below what I’d be willing to pay for it.  It didn’t happen every trip, but the sort of euphoria that I felt when I made a score continues to drive me even today to keep hitting estate sales and flea markets on a regular basis.

Then there’s Craigslist, which is sort of a virtual flea market.  Several times per week I do a quick search for my favorite things:  Film, Cameras, Wine (I haven’t found anything yet, but some day it will pay off), and vinyl records.   The middle of this week, I found a post for vinyl records that seemed like a good deal, even if it was more than I normally pay. It was for 95 albums, including a few box sets.  Some of the albums I was sure were 180g albums, and the listing said they were the original owners of all of the albums.  So I sent an email asking how many were 180 gram pressings.

The reply:  All but a couple, one of which was a 200 gram pressing.  So 95 titles, mostly 180g, some limited release, some box sets.  The asking price of $475 was fair, but I like to feel like I’m getting a deal, so I offered $450.  Now that’s still a lot of cash to drop on records at one time, and some of you might be thinking what my wife said:  “WHAT!?!?  Holy Cow!  That’s a lot of money for records.”  I agree.  But basically I took my money from selling fifteen or so cameras this month and bought albums with the intent of keeping some and selling the rest after I listened to them.

However, my plan fell apart when i went to go pick up the albums.  The seller had neglected to mention one key point:  virtually all the albums are brand new!  Unopened, still in the shrink wrap, never listened to 180 gram vinyl!  For $4.75 an album!  Now I was the one thinking “Holy crap!  What a score!”

The guy was so nice, he threw in the rack they were in, a Blu-ray of the Beatles 1, and a framed original Mott the Hoople album because I offered to come to his house and load them so he wouldn’t have to transport them.   Realizing the incredible deal I was getting, I told the guy i was going to give him his asking price of $475, and he refused a little, but accepted the extra 425.  So i handed over the money and loaded the car.  I immediately called my wife, and she said “maybe you should have paid him more.”

They’re worth more, but I paid they guy what he was asking.  He bought them thinking he’d enjoy collecting vinyl again, and most of them came with a digital download.  He didn’t want to bother with selling them individually.  So he figured this price got rid of the vinyl and he still came out ahead vs buying just the digital.  But I can’t see how that math works, and here’s why: After I pull out the ones I’m thinking of keeping, which is 40 of the 95 albums, I think I’ll still triple my money when i sell the other 55 albums, even after paying selling fees wherever I sell them.  I’ll certainly recoup the $475 rather quickly.  If I find any of these are not sealed, I’ll throw them into my listening queue.

Then i considered how much it would cost me to buy the 40 albums I’m considering keeping:  $1067 from Amazon. More from Music Direct if they’re available; the Cream box set is $200 on it’s own.   Some of these were $50 and $75 albums I drooled over from Music Direct, but couldn’t bring myself to spend the money for one album. One of them i almost bought at B&N last week:  Mumford & Sons Sigh No More.  I’m listening to it as I type this, and I’ll essentially be getting it for free if you ignore the opportunity cost of not selling it.

I’m not going to list every album that was in the lot, but here’s what I decided to pull to contemplate if I want to keep it or at least listen to it before selling it.

  • Mumford & Sons Sigh No More
  • Cream 1966-1972, which is a box set of  all 6 Cream albums
  • Black Sabbath Paranoid
  • Black Sabbath
  • Black Sabbath Master of Reality
  • Black Sabbath Bloody Sabbath on Red Vinyl
  • Black Sabbath Vol. 4 on orange Vinyl
  • T. Rex Electric Warrior
  • Frank Zappa apostrophe (*)
  • Neil Young Harvest
  • Jefferson Airplane Volunteers
  • Them Crooked Vultures (just opened and now playing as I write – It’s a double album!)
  • ZZ Top Tres Hombres
  • Neil Young After the Gold Rush
  • Van Halen
  • Neil Young Crazy Horse at the Fillmore 1970
  • Hozier
  • Clutch Psychic Warfare
  • The Beatles Help!
  • The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • The Beatles “White Album”
  • The Beatles Abbey Road
  • The Beatles Revolver
  • Deep Purple Machine Head
  • Grand Funk Closer to Home
  • Grand Funk We’re an American Band
  • Free Fire and Water
  • The Rolling Stones Hot Rocks 1964-1971
  • Paul McCartney and Wings Band on the Run
  • Jethro Tull Thick as a Brick
  • Jethro Tull Aqualung
  • Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland
  • Derek and the Dominoes Layla
  • The Doors Strange Days
  • The Doors Morrison Hotel
  • The Doors LA Woman
  • The Doors Waiting for the Sun
  • The Doors
  • Eric Clapton Slow Hand 35th Anniversary edition
  • Eric Clapton 461 Ocean Boulevard Limited edition
  • Jimi Hendrix Are You Experienced
  • The Best of Procol Harum

All but the last four I think are 180 gram pressings.  The last two are definitely not, and only the Procol Harum and Grand Funk’s American Band album are open as far as i can tell, because in addition to being new, they’re also in protective sleeves!  Some are special editions, like LA Woman and Band on the Run each being 2 LP offerings when the originals were only one album.

Oh, wow!  I just took We’re an American Band out of the sleeve:  It’s 180 gram gold translucent vinyl!  I’m loving listening to it as well – never heard the entire album before.  Creepin is an awesome song.

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When I add it all up, this was over $3,000 worth of vinyl.  It also adds up to me keeping over $1,000 worth of vinyl for free.  I just can’t figure out why nobody else was on this posting.  One guy apparently offered the seller $100, and another guy wanted them shipped to San Francisco.   I just feel fortunate to have been in the right frame of mind to look at the post, and admittedly I was shocked they were mostly unopened when i arrived to pick them up, but this was still a great deal.  This may be the score of the year for me, and definitely my best lot since I picked up 150 or so vintage albums last June, of which i still have about 30 to listen to!

If I keep all 40 of the albums I’ve pulled from this score, my personal collection is at around 175 albums counting those that are at the office.   Considering at least 3,000 have passed through my basement since I started last spring, that’s not a high percentage of keepers.  I also didn’t listen to all of them, but I’m probably close to 1,000 that I have listened too, simply because I sold a lot of 1200 and a lot of about 700 that hadn’t been listened to simply to make space.  Also – about 10% of my collection are Beatles albums, and it gets more skewed if we count solo albums from the Beatles.

 

Every so often, somebody will tell me I’m lucky.  Lucky to find the cameras if find, or the albums, or the whatever it is I bring home.  While there was definitely a component of luck involved, most days that I’m searching for deals I find nothing.  There are weekends of hitting estate sales where we come home with nothing.  Sometimes I can hit a dozen garage sales and find a few books in total.  We spent nearly a year looking for the right buffet for the dining room.  It reminds me of the old quote “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”   So while I don’t ever expect to replicate my finds like the Hasselblad in June or this latest vinyl score, I’ll keep working hard at uncovering the next great deal.

Others tell me I’m lucky to have had the career and the experiences I’ve had.  I firmly believe my diligence and persistence creates most of my luck.  Consider this vinyl score:  it has been 16 months in the making, developing the awareness and knowledge of what these titles were and what they were worth when nobody else on Craigslist seemed to see it, as well as routinely checking Craigslist for postings.

Good luck to you in uncovering a great score of your own.  Start working now, and start improving your luck.

 

 

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Results of records with skips coming “back from the dead”

Bon Jovi: New JerseyIMG_4020-5

First off – this is a very well mastered album.  The intro to side one has great drums and ambient noises that just seem to float around the room.  Great balance of bass and guitar, top notch imaging for filling the overall room.  At least someone was still mastering good vinyl in the late 1980’s.

No skips on side one.  I never made it through the first track before.  No problems anywhere, even one section on side 2 that had an ugly looking patch was just a little blip of static.  It just sounds better than ever.

This is another good candidate for a CD vs Vinyl listening test, since I have good copies of both.

Beach Boys: Endless Summer

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There was still one skip in Help me Rhonda, but it was actually a piece of debris.  The Dual actually just raises the tonearm when you cue it up, so it makes it very easy to diagnose the problem area.

The rest of the 2 LP set was simply wonderful.  Much more full and complete sounding than all my Beach Boys mp3’s.  Into the keep collection.

Phil Collins: Face Value

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I’ve never been a huge Phil Collins fan, so this album didn’t wow me.  I did find his version of Tomorrow Never Knows to be very good.  I’m not sure where this skipped before – I think it was very early on Side 1 because everyhting else sounded unfamiliar.  Anyway, no issue, but no space for Phil on the shelf.  Off to someone new.

War: The World is a Ghetto

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Just recently listened to this one.  Still skips at the beginning of side 2.

Jimi Hendrix: Are You Experienced

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This is my “bad copy” of Are You Experienced, but other than a little static, I think some of it sounded more dynamic than my “good copy”.  I Don’t Live Today was just amazing and chaotic at the end, with the diving guitar bends and oscillations, the driving drums, the fading in and out, so much better than I remember.

The way the cymbals just continue to ring throughout Fire just make sit feel like you’re there. With 4 great songs per side (some could argue they’re all great), this is another masterpiece of a debut album. I’ll probably A/B with the other copy before giving this one up.

Update: A couple days later, I did the A/B.  My “good copy” is an original pressing, the “bad copy” is from a few years later.  Still early, and both copies sounded pretty awesome.

Heart: Dreamboat Annie

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This album is so much better than Magazine.  Magic Man and Crazy on You were huge hits on from this album, and they sound great here.  Soul of the Sea is a surprising song that I really enjoyed.

Sing Child on Side 2 really rocks out on this album.  “Holy Junkie, Funkie monkey….”  This is the second copy I’ve had of this so far.  Oh yeah- no skips

Johnny Cash: At Folsom Prison

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This is a very entertaining live album.  Mr. Cash’s interaction with the crowd really adds a lot to this recording.  Cocaine Blues is incredible. 25 Minutes to Go was also extremely good.

On side 2 he starts having some fun – seemingly just playing around with the crowd.  Flushed from the Bathroom of Your Heart got a lot of laughs.  Then he does Jackson with June Carter and you can just hear the crowd loves her, of course it was in a prison.

Loved this album.  Some static and a few audible scratches, but no skips.

Alice Cooper: Love it to Death

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This is an great, basic rock album.  The album title shows up as a quick blurb in Long Way to Go on side one. I’m Eighteen is the big hit, but then Black Juju is one awesome epic of a song!

The Ballad of Dwight Fry on Side 2 was great too, with the “I gotta get outta here” phrase.  And the final track of Sun Arise was pretty catchy, too.

Side 2 has a good bit of static, but I find myself wanting to keep this one.  Granted, a lot of the albums with skips were albums I really wanted to hear (I wonder if I discarded some others and just forgot about them?), but I can’t help but wonder if the new turntable has a little to do with it too. (Side note – the guy that bought my old Sansui apparently tried to buy my current table.) In the end, I’ll let this one go, purely based on condition.

Fleetwood Mac: Fleetwood Mac

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Rhiannon might be the big hit one side 1, but I found Crystal to be simultaneously captivating and relaxing. Side 2 has Say You Love Me (another song I didn’t recognize until I heard it) and Landslide – which has an audible scratch in verse 1 – , and it also has World Turning, so this is a pretty solid album.

Unfortunately, there is one skip in World Turning, caused by an apparent defect in the vinyl.

Abba: Voulez Vous

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Side 1 of this album was close to putting me to sleep.  It had decent audio quality, with a low amount of noise, but the music was just soft disco-ish stuff.  Pure late 70’s, for sure. Side 2 was more of the same….

Staying Alive: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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Yes, I listened to this album again. For some reason I feel an obligation to make an attempt to listen to everything I’ve collected.  Saturday Night Fever is so much better.  The best two things about this album:  I’m done listening to it, and no skips.

George Thorogood: Maverick

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Side 1 was simply amazing.  I really get into Thorogood’s music and his covers of the great blues songs of the past. My wife can’t stand his voice though, so I played side 1, and then the next day played side 2!

Seals & Crofts: Summer Breeze

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Side 1 of this album was OK – actually nice for sitting outside on a late Spring afternoon.  The title track Summer Breeze is widely known, I think.  I enjoyed the music a little more on side 2 – it seemed less 70’s pop and more blues inspired – but not bluesey at all.  Maybe just more guitar focused.  I didn’t like it enough to keep it though, and honestly none of it really kept my attention.

Santana’s Greatest Hits

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Man, every time I hear Jango on vinyl, it just makes me stop what I’m doing and listen!  Then tonight, Persuasion just rocked the room.  Black Magic Woman starts off side 2 right, and the guitar intro sounded like it was crying through empty city streets at night.  Everything’s Coming Our Way was a fun song, too.  Heck, all of side 2 is pretty sweet.  I really enjoyed this album – again.

Heart

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This is another album that looked new, but skipped early in the LP.   And apparently the third Heart album in the group!  This one was released almost a decade after Dreamboat Annie, and other than the vocals I wondered if it was the same group.  The album art is pure mid-80’s excess, mullets, big hair, and bad fashion.

The music sort of sounds like the typical hair-band music of the 80’s.   What About Love was a huge hit when I was growing up.  So was Never, which is another song I know but didn’t recognize by the title.  I also never noticed the shouted stuff behind the lead “Never…” during the chorus.  It’s very light – in fact I played the section again just to make sure I really heard it.  It really is amazing the details that tend to show up in vinyl.

Track 4 was another hit: These Dreams.  I’m sure I danced to this song at a school dance with someone long forgotten.  Side 2 was OK – more hair band than anything else.

The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band: Vol 2.

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Ummm, I’m not sure how this got into the “skip” pile.  I’m not sure I’ve ever heard any of this before.  And it’s not in my spreadsheet, so I’m not sure where I got it, but my guess is it came in the free group that contained the Peanut Butter Conspiracy and New Riders of the Purple Sage albums.  This is pure psychedelic rock from 1967. Based on the label, this 1967 release was made no later than mid 1968, so this is definitely an early, perhaps original, pressing.

Only a few songs in, I know this one is hanging around in the collection, and I’ll eventually be on the hunt for their other three albums I think.  Hopefully I find them locally, because online they’re pretty pricey! (I’ve started searching, and have been told these are relatively rare; eventually I might shell out the cash to buy them at retail prices…for now I’ll say I’m fortunate to have the one I found)

Smell of Incense was pretty intense, and I was actually feeling a little anxious by the end of the song, even though I was researching the above label information.  Carte Blanche on side two just has some amazing guitar, and has me wanting to pull out a fuzz pedal and mess around with some riffs.  The vocals are light and almost falsetto through many sections, letting the drums and guitar shine through.  Simply an awesome track.

The Final track listed on side 2 is Tracey Had a Hard Day Sunday, but it looks like there’s more music left than just 4 minutes….it has a cool bongo rhythm, almost a jazzy feel to the guitars.  The harmonies are marvelously slightly off key.  Unfortunately, no surprises at the end, other than me wanting to hear more of this group’s limited works.

The Rolling Stones: Goats Head Soup

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This is the second copy of this album I’ve had, and while this one is in a little worse condition both due to audible static in the vinyl and a worn album cover, at least it plays through well, so I can find it a new home.   And the more I listen to this album, the more I like it.

The Police: Zenyatta Mondatta

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Pretty awesome album.  Don’t Stand So Close to me and De Doo Da Da are the biggest hits I remember. This was another pristine album that had skipped, which had me curious as to why.  But all is well this time.

The Godfather: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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Not surprisingly, a very Italian-sounding album.  This copy had some audio noise, but overall was very enjoyable.  Apparently signed by singer Al Martino, who played Jerry Fontane in the movie.

Bay City Rollers: Dedication

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Pure 70’s pop here – think Roller Skating crowd.  And dig those jumpsuits, with the plaid trim!  Album is a little worn, so I think someone really loved it.  A few audible scratches on side 2.  I kept waiting for the “Big Hit”, but never really heard anything.  Frankly, the album art was the best part of the experience.  🙂

Billy Idol: Rebel Yell

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Significant audible scratch early in Rebel Yell – like before the words even start.  I found myself turning this LP up to “reference level”, which is much too loud for most people.  For a movie, it’s about the level where glasses start to vibrate on shelves.  For music, it feels like a moderate volume concert.  Technically, it’s 2-4 times louder than I normally listen to music.

At this level, Eyes Without a Face, Rebel Yell, and  the intro to Blue Highway had me thinking I would hold onto this one in the collection.  Then on Side “4” (only i album, but they are sides 3 and 4) the bass and guitar riffs in Flesh for Fantasy were just killer.  Decision made – staying in the collection!  Then Crank Call made me a Billy Idol fan!  This is why I suffer listen through albums like The Bay City Rollers, because sometimes you find a real gem.

Kenny Loggins: Keep the Fire

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I skipped this several times.  I guess I just wasn’t in the mood for another 40 minutes with Kenny.  Or Maybe it was the creepy cult-like image on the cover.  But it was the last of the skips, so I finally had to spin it.  Hey, at least it wasn’t Alive – the 2 album release.  I had recently listened to this, but couldn’t recall any of it; just this feeling of dread.  Probably not the emotion Mr. Loggins was hoping for when he crafted the album.

So with the system still at reference level, I lowered the stylus.  Love has Come of Age starts off LOUD, and it has a pretty awesome bass riff.  You know what, I was singing the chorus by the end of the song, and Kenny’s Scat-a-fratzing was pretty good.  Of course by track three, This Is It accurately described what I expected to hear on this album.  Volume going down…..

The rest of the album was downhill from there.  But at least it didn’t skip.

Once I add the Joplin, Orbison, Harrison, and Escape Club albums to this, the total is only 2 albums still skipped, but 24 don’t!  No cleaning was done in between other than just with the lint brush before lowering the tonearm – and the specific spot evaluations noted, such as on Endless Summer.

Maybe the Dual just tracks better, or maybe the Sansui needs some other sort of adjustment, or a different cartridge or stylus.  I will say that after listening through 25 albums, I’m enjoying the Dual more; the music seems to have a little more life.  Which is frankly quite amazing, considering how much the Sunsui had me hooked on listening to records.

So the bottom line is: if you have an LP that skips for no apparent reason, try it on another turntable before you pitch it.  Even if you can’t play it at home, maybe it will be good trade fodder.  Or a good excuse to buy a new or additional turntable.