Digging Deeper And Why It’s Made Me Happier


If you’re reading this site, most likely you dig for records. We all have our motivations for digging, which I will document sometime in the near future. Today I wanted to share a couple of experiences over the past week and talk about digging deeper. My neighborhood is your typical Brooklyn nabe. My old Brooklyn neighborhood of Italians and Irish population has now shifted to Eastern Europeans, Middle Eastern, and Latino families. This diversity brings an awful lot of different wares to the local charity, consignment, and thrift shops. One day I could cruise in and there is a whole crate of Middle Eastern vinyl. The next day it’s Israeli Jazz. Some days it’s loads of Latin Boogaloo or DJ crates full of 90’s underground Hip Hop. it’s a crap shoot daily but I love it. Consistently, I am bringing records home. However, I changed my philosophy of digging, and while my record bins grow higher and higher, they have gotten more diverse. Why is that? Because I’ve chosen to dig deeper.

Anyone who’s hit a thrift or small consignment shop knows the odds of finding that holy grail are slim, but you still get in there and dig. You’ve got to be consistent and get there on a regular basis. Over the last few weeks, I haven’t been able to dig, so I thought I’d hit it up on Friday because I got the itch. What was waiting for me was a load of untouched, mostly unplayed, Free Jazz, experimental electronic, Avant-Garde Rock, and other goodies that I have opened my mind to in recent years. Instead of fussing and contemplating what to do, I simply bought the whole lot. I just dug deeper and that was it. Now, I passed on a few, but how many copies of Hubert Laws The Rite of Spring can you have, especially if it’s beat up a bit? Over the past few months I’ve loosened the reins even further and got superb, mint original records that I normally wouldn’t pull the trigger on. I’d always just gone straight for the drum break heaters, cool Jazz, or the real Reggae, Soul and Hip Hop. Why was I not picking up this other stuff? It surely wasn’t a space issue. I guess, if I look back, maybe I was being close minded, and figured, why would I need that CCR on Fantasy or early Eno on Polydor? Do I really need another early Stones on London? Honestly, the answer to all of those questions is a resounding yes. These records are good, the music is good. My musical tastes run pretty braod, but when it came to digging for vinyl, I just stuck within certain parameters. Since opening up my mind a bit (instead of just buying a few genres of records), I’ve been taking chances, and it has paid off. And you know what? I’m a lot happier. Maybe I’m getting older, maybe it’s the fact that there is so much good music out there, and that I don’t want to miss out, or maybe it’s just that I’m addicted to buying records (probably a combination of all three), but it feels refreshing to grab a lot of different types of vinyl these days. I’m a lot happier with my collection, and urge you to dig outside of the box once in a while, it will do you good. You never knew that that early 70’s experimental electronic record dedicated to DeBussy paintings sounded so good!

Keep Diggin’!

3 responses to “Digging Deeper And Why It’s Made Me Happier

  1. Classical vinyl has a warmth in the sound that digital just misses. And just handling some of my old folk and jazz albums, well, the feel alone takes me back.
    I’m envious of your range of selections, though. We’re a little less diverse in my neck of New England.

  2. Ha ha! It’s great advice to any who dig. When I first started diggin in high school, I’d hit up a garage sale and if I saw a few bands I recognized, I’d just buy the whole lot. It was a great way to learn a lot about a few genres, and a crash course in learning what I actually liked. Good stuff as always Prestige!

  3. I completely agree Prestige. Maybe its an age thing. I’ve recently started getting heavily into film soundtracks. I live in South London and usually my vinyl digging addiction requires me to drop into a charity (Thrift) shop and trawl through the boxes of old records, which are usually pushed under a shelf beneath various gift shop tat and mismatched crockery. If I’m lucky the charity shop has a more informed approach to their musical merchandising and the box is at least waist height, but this is rare. Most of the time I squat between funky smelling old gents trousers and cracked leather slip-on shoes, with an ache in my lower back, attempting to flick through the LP sleeves and searching for some black vinyl magic.

    A couple of weeks ago I went to an area in London known as Crystal Palace, an area I’m not too familiar with. I take a stroll to check out the possible shops, cafes and general vibe of the village. Drawn by the brown leather furniture stacked outside a run down shop front, I venture into an unknown shop that will remain nameless. The shop is one of those cool vintage stores, selling unique clothes, retro furniture, books, junk and stacks upon stacks of vinyl records. It’s everywhere, piled next to book shelves, towering on top of chairs and flowing down the stairs, into a lower floor where I can see more crates.

    The shop owner glances my way and says “Are you looking for anything in particular?” A creeping mania takes hold. I am grinning like Lon Chaney, and whilst having this internal dialogue inside my head I blurt out, “It’s like an alcoholic going into an off license.”

    He stares at me blankly. Maybe HE was an alcoholic and I have just reminded him that he needs a drink. Damn my misjudged humor. “There’s more downstairs”. I follow him down the stairs and into the delights of the basement.

    Wooden crates, plastic bins and cardboard boxes are carefully tagged, PSYCHEDLIA, 60’s, 70’s, SOUL, JAZZ, SOUNDTRACKS excetera. There is even a record player to try them out on. This man even has his customer service technique down to Liberty standards. “Give me a shout if you need any help”. He leaves me too it.

    The first LP I pluck out is ‘Everything You Always Wanted to Hear on the Moog’, featuring electronic interpretations of Ravel, Chabrier, Lecuona & Bizet. Interesting. A stack of Bowie albums, Dinah Washington and a Beatles compilation I’ve never seen before.

    The ‘Jazz’ section however gives up some Count Basie, Jimmy Smith and Oscar Peterson. Now, that’s what I call music. I quickly peruse the Soundtracks box and unearth an old Star Wars soundtrack ( I just sold mine before Christmas!) Music from The Godfather and one of my favorite Steve McQueen movies of 1973, Papillon. I slip Papillon onto the deck, align the stylus and turn up the volume slightly. The crackle and pop of forty years sets my mind drifting to a dark prison cell in a penal colony in French Guiana, not unlike the solitary conditions of the basement I find myself in. I must have this record. The reality of the situation suddenly hits me. Apart from some loose change for a coffee, I am cashless. I have already dug way too deep and I am destined to go home empty-handed today.

    But what would McQueen do? Escape. Hide the records at the back of the wrong box. Smile, look for the door, and just keep walking. This one can wait for another day.

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