Everyone has their local spot in their neighborhood that we hit on the regular. Maybe it’s a Thrift Store, Charity Shop, Salvation Army, Goodwill, consignment shop or otherwise, and it’s our special record spot. The borough of Brooklyn is funny though. There are stoop sales as opposed to yard sales (yards are few and far between). There are block sales and estate sales. Sometimes at the same time on the same block. These, for the most part are ripe with stuff that isn’t vinyl. that being said, I’ve found records in the most unusual places. I’ve even met a guy who sells records drug deal style out on the street which I’ve spoke about previously. Straight up cash transaction, and not weird, Silk City bit coin involvement either. “Hey man, got some of that good Cheeba Cheeba y’all”, except cheeba cheeba is replaced with Black Crack, and the one that doesn’t require a glass pipe, just a diamond tipped phono needle sometimes. Since moving to Kings County I’ve scored hauls of Latin heat, tons of great funky Jazz, Psych, and of course, a healthy dose of drum breaks on everything from Rock to Folk and beyond. Don’t sleep, because your neighborhood could be a gold mine of vinyl and you don’t even know it.
When I first started out in my neighborhood, I made it known to all the thrifty shops that I buy records, lots of them. I left it at that. You have records, here’s my card, let me know. When the calls came in, I strolled into shops, houses, pharmacies and other odd places with my portable and headphones to put in work son. 50 crates of weird 80’s and 90’s DJ stuff? No problem. Your uncle dropped this weird Jazz off and you want to unload it? Even better, I’ll be there (most of the time with my son in tow in a stroller. I’ve even had other shopping customers in the shops while I was digging trying to buy my portable and take it while my headphones were still attached. I’ve had guys take records from between my legs while digging. I’ve even had people stop me on the train inquiring about a hard 45 case wondering what the hell records were. Huh? True story. So here I am, a Dad in Brooklyn, trying to be creative with the daily dig, and never in a million years did I think I’d find one of my big wants aka a Holy Grail a block away from my house. This past weekend’s stoop and block party sales were close to our home. My wife and I went early, and there were two tables set up. Disappointed, I see a guy with vinyl, and b-line to the table. All the vinyl is relatively cheap. I pull out a copy of the first Sea Train record (weird cover), but I know them because the Beastie Boys had sampled them. No portable today, but for the price, just pull it. Second record is the first Rasputin’s Stash. A cut out but in mint condition. I have the 45, but the full length has eluded me in the field until now. Then I see it. A copy of the Archie Whitewater record on Cadet Concept. The OG. Now, in all my digging time, I’ve never seen many Cadet Concept records besides the usual Ramsey Lewis common ones that pop up. My eyes are as wide as saucers, and I’m trying to contain myself.
I’ve never seen a Staus Quo, Dorothy Ashby, Ray Bryant, or the heat that was put out on this unusual side label while I was digging. Here is a true Holy Grail on my want list, sitting in a pile of records before me. I reach out for it, the seller says, “Oh I’m holding that for someone.” I am immediately gutted. I know who he’s holding it for, and I say, I’ll give you ten bucks right now (his prices were $4 and 5 bucks). So he says, well let’s just wait until the guy comes back. As soon as I see the guy (the other neighborhood record dude), I explain the situation. He’s a good guy, has no idea who Archie Whitewater is, and says if I offered the seller ten bucks the seller should take it. Plus, he knew I have been searching for this thing for many years. That was a good dude right there. He could have said tough shit. He could have said I was here first, but the digging Gods smiled upon me this day, and I caught a break. I was able to walk away with one record I have been searching for for years. I could have just bought the reissue from Get On Down that was dropped a bunch of months back, but I didn’t want to pay $30 for a reissue. That’s a whole other story (why pay for the reissue if you can eventually dig one up? More on that in a later article). I’m glad I waited, and to boot, I made a great vinyl connection in the seller, who recently got into trading and selling, which is a bonus for both of us. You never know what is hiding in your neighborhood, it could be a Holy Grail you have been looking for forever, you just have to step outside to find it. Be nice to your neighbors, you never know what treasures they have in their basements.
A couple of tracks that I dig on this record:
Archie Whitewater – Hulk
Archie Whitewater – Cross Country