This year the WFMU Record Fair got moved to the Armory over on Lexington and 26th, a massive space that housed the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show at some point. They returned after many years there, and it was quite a refresher to the fishbowl you’re usually stuck in year after year. I got up early, said good bye to the family and trucked on over. Stupid me I was third in line before I walked over to the dealer entrance and came back to a longer line. Thankfully I was only about tenth, so that still insured me to get in before the throngs of global diggers started tearing through the crates. Primitive Soundsystem aka Pat James Longo met me here and was a little further back in the line. He came to speak to me and you would have thought he slayed everyone’s first born. The natives were getting restless to say the least. The doors opened and I immediately dug into some crates that had $400/$300/$200 Lps in there. Sorry mates, too rich for my blood. I moved over to a dollar 45 table, and ended up buying a stack of good stuff from Mr. Tim Harris. Turns out Tim is a longtime reader of Flea Market Funk, so it was good to meet him besides digging through his records. It’s always nice to meet someone who supports this site. It’s funny too, in the first 5 minutes at Tim’s table I encountered every stereo type of vinyl record people there is. I was next to “bragging record guy”, who waxed poetic about his Jamaican acetate, how he just had too many records (do you ever have too many records?), and how he just had to bring home the “good stuff”. I experienced “bad breath” record guy, who asked about a certain 45 and almost knocked me over from three feet away with more than simple chronic halitosis. How about “old guy Doo Wop” dude who just repeated “I only collect Doo Wop now, it’s the good stuff” over and over? As much as it’s annoying, I miss this kind of interaction. The kind I used to get at The Spot with all of the collectors and vendors running around. Tim and I had a nice chat, he sold me some cool 45s, and I was on my way. Kickin’ It with Damu The Fudgemonk
I thought I might try to grab some African 45s, but I ended up finding my buddy Matthew Glass from LP Cover Lover. Of course he had records, but I ended up buying two books on the want list: Hans Pokora’s 1001 Record Collector Dreams (a definitive Psych/Prog/Garage first in a series), and the Soul Jazz Freedom Jazz book Gilles Peterson put together. Two really great references and the SJ book is beautifully done. Ran into Richard from Slice of Spice, who was holding it down with Joe from Fat Beats (if I was in the market for some beautiful Hip Hop 12″s, I could have got some classic material from Joe). I got some 45s from Rich, which will be on a new 45 mix very soon. I spent some time over at the Dust & Grooves booth with Eilon. The books were moving (yeah!), and it’s always nice to see heavy hitters like Dante Carfagna as Rob from Numero Group trolling the crates and stopping by to talk. Sunday saw Matt Dillon come to the booth and buy a few books, he is a heavy Latin collector. Eilon from Dust & Grooves and Matt Dillon
One table I thoroughly enjoyed was the Re Def Records booth, who are a quality Indie Hip Hop label that really do it right. I’m a fan of Damu the Fudgemonk, met him and grabbed a few of his releases, as well as a reissue 45 of The Emotions “Blind Alley” instrumental re-work with Isaac Hayes “Bumpy’s Lament” on the flip. Great stuff. I managed to get out of there spending exactly what I took out of the ATM: not much.
I get a kick out of not just digging, but the very special social experiment that is going on every second the record fair is open. We’ve all seen it and are very much a part of it whether we know it or not.
Going to FMU is more of a social gathering for me though. Sure I buy records, but I get a chance to see a lot of my friends, and this year made a few new ones as well. A correspond with a lot of record people through email, and FMU is a chance to meet up face to face, chew the fat, talk about records, and enjoy a day of vinyl. It’s more about records. Sure they bring everyone together for new discoveries, make some people a lot of money, but I felt like this year it was roomy, a lot more calm, and you could dig in peace. That’s one thing that these bigger record shows always do to me a bit, overwhelm. There is so much to look at, so much to dig through, so many things going on (including ear splitting music from the live FMU broadcast), that at times it could be sensory overload. I get a kick out of not just digging, but the very special social experiment that is going on every second the record fair is open. We’ve all seen it and are very much a part of it whether we know it or not. This is a lifestyle. We fiend for the records. We make deals to get the records. We acquire more and more records. Our significant others either love or hate our habit. There is no other feeling than that of finding a good record, a record you have been looking for, or one you never knew existed. You can get that at the WFMU record show. You get that and more. So if you have never experienced this show, just read about it, or just plain never heard of it, you’re missing out. It’s three days of records you might not ever have a chance of digging up or owning. Three days out of your life where you can hang in NYC, and the world’s greatest record people are buying, selling, and championing vinyl. Don’t sleep, WFMU rarely disappoints. Thumbs Up for another great year at WFMU Record Fair