So, I have been getting people asking me how did the booksale go last week?
I take my Save the Children booksales very seriously. I joined the queue at 1pm. This might surprise you as the sale was not going to start until 5pm. What may surprise you even more is that at 1pm I was the 6th person in line.
So the waiting commenced. I had a book to read and some snacks to help pass the time. The line grew, of course, both behind and in front of me. Behind me, the line wound around the reflecting pool in front of Winthrop hall and back again in a gigantic figure 5. In front of me friends and relations of those in front joined in and I was now at number 10. I too am guilty of this and let my Dad in. Hey, he has spent time waiting in lines at these events for years and I have always reaped the benefits of his endurance. It is about time I started to return the favour.
As it got closer to the opening time of 5pm the line started to bunch up all along it’s length, everyone taking what few steps they could to get just that little bit closer to the door, to get in just that little bit sooner that would they would have if they had stayed a foot back.
My time in the line paid off. I was the first person to be there at the box of records at the back of the hall. I wish I could say that I scooped up all the good stuff before anyone else arrived but it was not so. What did happen though was that I had looked in the window from the other side and seen a record that interested me (Billie Holiday Story volume 2).
It was in a box in the middle of the table of boxes and so with this to guide me that is where I started. I had about two blissful minutes of being completely alone with the records as I flicked madly through box after box, searching.
Then the others arrived. Amongst them were two that I recognised. I don’t know their names but I often see them at this event and in other haunts picking up records and then reselling them. For them, this is a business. But whatever their motivations they were faced with the same reality as I. These boxes, apart from my Billie Holiday discovery, were full of classical music recordings.
One of my main competitors said as much out loud. I responded that it seems there are no good records left out there. He agreed, as we both kept hard at work, our fingers flicking past record after record. He said that the situation was so dire that someone he knew was reduced to selling Nana Mouskouri records to US buyers. She never toured there he explained and they sell for a good price.
I contemplated this while I kept searching.
Billie Holiday had guided me well, because I kept my competition to the right of me and as I kept exploring box after box on the left I made some discoveries. It is not the case that all the good records in the world are gone. It is just that there are fewer and fewer and there are so many classical recordings that you have to get past to find what you want.
In the end, with times as they are, I could not afford all the records that I grabbed and had to put some back. In fact I ended up spending more time contemplating which to return than I did searching. Of course, there are a few regrets looking back now at what I discarded, and recriminations with myself as I say surely I could have afforded to pick up that one and go without fresh fruit for a week, all in the name of music. (I remember when these records at the UWA booksale were all $1. Now that they are $2 each, I might be saving more children but I can afford less records). However, I would rather dwell on what I did get.
There were two brilliant finds that I am very happy about.
First up is this one.
You have probably never heard of her. Few have, but for some reason I have (spot the music nerd – but hey, there are still acts out there that I don’t know of) and I have heard that this record is actually pretty rare and hard to find. So to see it there I just had to have it. Wow.
Next up is this one.
I have a CD release of this first album by Dan Hicks, which, strangely, omitted two tracks which were on the original album, so in a strange reversal of the bonus track phenomenon I am buying the vinyl version to get the tracks that I don’t have.
What else? Hey, I was all excited recently about Leon Russell’s upcoming album with Elton John. I got this live album he cut with Willie Nelson. Wow, two old grizzly looking bearded blokes playing together. I look forward to giving that one a spin.
What I always love about buying old records is finding the new old; bands and artists that I have never heard of but which lay in wait for me to discover them. There were a few cases of this on this night.
First up I found The Bus Boys. Don’t know who they are, but anyone who calls their record “Minimum Wage RocknRoll” is alright with me.
Rita Jean Bodine is another “who is that?” artist. So far, I still know little but I did discover thanks to this blog that she did come to Australia sometime back in the 70’s.
This album by Lainie Kazan was one of those records that, had I more money I would have just bought for the lovely spring themed cover. However, with things tough all over I could not afford to just buy stuff for the artwork so what clinched the deal here is Sunny. Recently upon the passing of Bobby Hebb, who wrote that mighty tune, I went in search of as many versions of Sunny as I could discover. This album contains another one. Turns out that Lainie is a well regarded Broadway singer and actress, who also posed for Playboy. Wow. Wikipedia even says that she inspired Jack Kirby’s comic character Big Barda.
What else did I get? This Melanie album The Good Book has been on my wish list for some time, so I was happy to find this.
Hey, it’s Maria Muldaur. She didn’t just sing Midnight at the oasis people. I quite like her stuff so another good find.
Y’know I got plenty of Beach Boys but I have never owned an album by Jan and Dean, until now.
Hey, a comedy album. It’s Rowan and Martin. I have long heard about their comedy show Laugh In, so hopefully this gives me a taste of what it was like.
I got a few more records but I have to stop sometime. There were some books I got too and I might blog about them later.