This week while digging I had an experience of sorts. Now for those of you who know me, as a digger, DJ, or person, I’m a mild mannered guy. I kind of do my own thing and always have. When it comes to records, I love sharing stories, info, etc. with people, those in the know and those who aren’t. On this particular day, as I walked to my local spot (which isn’t really a secret, but for those who frequent it, they reap the benefits when it gets hot), I ran into a local record guy. I had seen him a lot carrying what looked like record shipping boxes to the Post and one day I asked him if they were records. We got friendly, and when we see each other we often talk about, you guessed it, vinyl. On this particular day I was running late and when I saw him coming out of the shop with a bag of records, I panicked a bit. Although we don’t buy the same thing, I always want to be first when the shipment arrives. thankfully, he only had some Mono Classic Rock records, but said matter of factly that “there wasn’t too much good stuff, maybe some Stan Getz”. I hurried the conversation along, and just as I walked into the spot, I see another record guy. He’s my friendly competition. We both buy Jazz and some weird records, but he goes for the more classic stuff, more NYC bands, but definitely has a great knowledge of music. As I walked by he followed, and settled into the crates I wasn’t in. He immediately picked up the first Moody Blues and offered it to me, but I had already pulled out a huge stack of stuff I was rearranging in front of me. Now I got to thinking what the first guy said to me, how there wasn’t anything good in these crates. I just pulled out eleven records that were good records, all mint to boot. Two Donald Byrd Blue Note originals, a few Sarah Vaughn (including a ’74 on Mainstream), Carmen Mc Rae on Groove Merchant, a a grip of Verve stuff including a live Getz/ Gilberto, and others. I was feeling pretty good. As far as Jazz scores go, if I find one Blue Note original, mint too in a spot like this, it is a good day. Now as I am cleaning up, digging through some other crates to make sure I didn’t miss anything, I see this young buck roll up. He’s excited to look through records until he sees two dudes going through the others. he smiles, says “hey guys”, and gets to work. I meanwhile pull out some records I passed and say to the kid: “Dilla sampled this one for a Pharcyde record. I think you’d dig it”. The look on his face was pure joy and priceless. “Why are you doing this? This is awesome.” I replied “If I don’t tell kids your age, no one will appreciate this stuff ever.” Christmas in April.
It’s true. We have a responsibility as we get older to pass on this stuff to other generations. How can vinyl records and music knowledge pass from one generation to the next if everyone is tight lipped? Were any of these guys I encountered a threat? No. Do I want to get records? Yes. But I feel I have a responsibility as a record dude, if necessary to talk to the youngsters about good music. Sure it’s subjective, but at this time, I felt like it was warranted. Am I going to just spout off to any and everyone? No, that would be weird. This kid looked eager, like he wanted to find something good, and what better way then to give out some advice. I was lucky to have some older heads when I was younger to pass good music on to me. Some were DJs later on, but this guy that ran a record store back in the day was always willing to dish out nuggets of good wax when you were looking. That’s what always inspired me to do as well. Now, that’s not to say later on in life when I got into digging heavily that I was telling all secrets. Hell no. I’ve definitely got into it with other diggers, record sellers and bystanders who were not nice or courteous. I’ve had grown men threaten to beat me with a bat because I was digging in a crate before them. But I still kept digging. I’ve had guys try to take records out of my hands in a crate. I still kept digging. I am that passionate about vinyl. There is one thing I won’t tolerate though. That is someone who tries to ruin my solace while digging. Then we have a problem. My philosophy is simple: Give some good karma out there, teach the youths about the music, the culture, the players, and everything that goes along with it. Even if you weren’t taught yourself. These eager kids want to learn, and if we don’t teach them, there is going to be a whole generation of ill informed, bad music listening cats out there. Each one teach one, and the most important thing: don’t be a record dick.