It started out innocently enough about a year ago, as I stopped by a random store that had records out front. When I asked how much they were, the lady got on the phone to call the owner and tried to charge me $10 a piece for lukewarm smooth Jazz (scratched up a that). I bounced. Fast forward to a few months ago and I’m digging at my local. This guy approaches me and connects himself to said store and asks me what I dig for. I tell him, as I am stacking up some white label JA Reggae and a sweet Patrice Rushen record, knowing that I would probably not go to his store again after the first debacle, but handed him my business card anyway. He was holding a few oddball Jazz Lps and scurried off. I came out with a major Reggae and 80’s Hip Hop 12″ haul that day.
“ My hand instinctively grabbed the guys arm and with a cursory glance and cutting tone, I said clearly: “What are you doing man?” “Oh are these your records?”(a trick he has pulled on me more than once), he quipped sheepishly, and then backed off. ”
My local, which shall remain nameless, has started to cater to me. This is something I like. I’m the only one with a portable sitting in there in between old ladies bargaining for bric-a-brac and Latino elders singing Spanish love songs to the counter girl. The owner started off initially with about 2000 DJ records that I picked through and has consistently brought in great records since. I usually take an afternoon and go through the wax in peace and quiet. This week, however, had to be a quick hit. My wife and I were walking by pushing the baby in the stroller and I saw the new batch of crates. I also saw him. He’s the guy who has become my nemesis at my local and coincidentally the guy I gave my card to a while back. I went inside and saw that he had a few records in his hand and was trying to get the owner down to a buck a piece. I wasted no time in the crates and started piling good records up, stashing them between my knees while I dug. When I saw an arm reach in the pile between my knees a few minutes later, I figured it was him. “Hey, I lost your card” said this so called dealer as he pulled a mint The Best of Rolando Alphonso out of my stack. My hand instinctively grabbed the guys arm and with a cursory glance and cutting tone, I said clearly: “What are you doing man?” “Oh are these your records?”(a trick he has pulled on me more than once), he quipped sheepishly, and then backed off. “Well they are between my legs man, and yes they are”. This scared him back, I didn’t offer my card up again, he ran with his tail between his legs out on the sidewalk, and well, I pulled out a great cache of wax. I had to get back though, and I told the owners I’d see them the following day.
The following day I got up early, grabbed the trusty portable, some headphones and hit the crates. Boy, was I glad I did. The first record I pulled out was a Sun Ra joint. The rest that followed were really some of the best LPs I have picked up in a while. The self titled Alice Clark on Mainstream, in my opinion is maybe the best full length Soul record I have ever dug up in my 15 year plus of digging. Bottom line, good records come to those who wait, are honest and don’t try to pull a fast one on the store owner or the other guy digging. Put your time in, don’t take other people’s records, and if you’re a dick and lose my card, good luck getting it again.
Alice Clark – Alice Clark/ Mainstream
John Lucien – Rashida/ RCA
Rolando Alphonso – The Best Of/ Studio One
Yusef Lateef – Lost In Sound/Parker
Rockers Almighty Dub – Clocktower
Sun Ra – We Are the Future/ Savoy Jazz
Les Baxter – The Sounds of Adventure/ Capitol
Max Romeo & the Upsetters – War Ina Babylon/ Island
Joe Bataan – Gypsy Woman/ Fania
Merry Clayton – S/T / Ode Records
The Counts – What’s Up Front That Counts/ Westbound
Gen Ammons – Heavy Sax/ Olympic Records
Mongo Santamaria – All Strung Out/ Columbia
Freddy Robinson – Black Fox/ World Pacific Jazz
Bill Withers – Still Bill/ Sussex
Babe Ruth – First Base/ Harvest
East Coast – East Coast/ Encounter
Oscar Brown Jr. – Movin’ On/ Atlantic
Curtis Mayfield – Sweet Exorcist/ Curtom Records