It’s been a fun few days. I’ve been doing my damndest to stay productive on the creative side while fighting the endless programming issues that popup on a daily basis. My only relief has been to shut my laptop in frustration, grab the portable, and get my fingers dusty hitting up a total of nine digging spots in the past five days. Yeah… I’ve been putting in work!
I’m feebly attempting to hold myself back from becoming completely consumed with the search for records and sounds that I’ve never seen or heard before. After spending way too much time, along with valuable mental health and fuel, traveling back and forth to used record stores; I finally came to the conclusion that Chicagoland record store employees are overly anal and hoarding all the good wax for themselves. I’m sure it’s pretty much the same story across the country, but for some reason I pictured Chicago containing Pirates of The Caribbean style treasure troves of vinyl just waiting to be plucked and heralded on Crate Kings for the entire world to see.
This weekend I also realized that I have serious issues and insecurities when it comes to digging. I had the chance to hang out with Alec Quig, who’s currently in the process of writing a volume about Slum Village’s “Fantastic Vol. II” for the 33 1/3 book series. If you’re a fan of Dilla or lover of music in general, it’s a must that you stop by his site for a quick fix. Be forewarned, it’s really easy to get trapped in the graphic design and photography. It was cool to step out of the blogosphere and connect with people in a form other than email, texting, or IM. I knew beforehand that the two of us were going to hit up a record spot, so I did my digging due diligence the day before to assure that I wasn’t outdug. While I always enjoy digging with others, there’s always a bit of paranoia when a digging partner is running through a fresh bin and an inner contempt coupled with pangs of jealousy when they come across something I’ve been looking for. To this day I’ve never forgiven myself for letting DJ Trends get away with a near mint copy of the Death Wish soundtrack by Herbie Hancock. To add insult to injury, for years he kept it on the wall with the cover taunting and teasing me to dare finding another one like it (Please understand that Ebay is a beautiful thing).
Anyhow, my first recon mission was Reckless Records on Broadway Ave in Chicago. I was so taken back by the store’s practice of physically removing the vinyl from the covers and keeping it behind the counter that I had to jog over to the desk a bit frazzled and ask “What’s the deal with the records?” I was advised by a half embarrassed employee shrugging his shoulders that most of the wax is kept behind the counter to deter theft. They had a decent selection and reasonable grading, but damn… do you really think I’m going to steal a $1.99 dog eared copy of Robert Flack’s “First Take”? Although a very dope record, it’s not exactly what I’d call scarce or by any means a high theft item. I made quick work of all the Soul, Rock, Jazz, Comedy, and Spoken word sections vowing never to return unless I was truly desperate for a quick record fix. Of course, that promise was out the window just as soon as I found out that there were two more locations begging for the Crate Kings treatment.
Immediately after copping 15 joints, I downloaded directions for the other locations to my pocket pc and began a relentless fight through rush hour traffic only to discover that customer parking was never a consideration in their business plan. Although the selection at the Milwaukee Ave store was severely lacking, I must admit the staff was much cooler than the first stop. I even had a brief, but decent conversation about Idris Muhammad along with a warning not to attempt a trek to the downtown store. Anyone with even a modicum of experience with beat heads would know that you can’t tell one of us not to bother hitting up a record spot. It’s like telling a crack fiend not to hit up the corner dealer or bringing a child to Toys “R” Us and asking them not to touch anything. I ultimately gave up trying to reach the downtown location after driving past the store at 5 p.m. and being swarmed by mobs of pedestrians refusing to allow one man on a mission and a “Do Not Walk” light interrupt their quest for weekend freedom. All in all, after about 5 hours and an attempted 3 locations, I finally arrived home with a stack of 19 records, one $30 parking ticket from the City of Chicago, and a burning need for a digital voice recorder to keep track of all the half baked life theories concocted when trapped behind the steering wheel for far too long.
Joints I’m Feeling Right Now:
- Olympus WS-300M Digital Voice Recorder
- The Beatles – Abbey Road
- Bobbi Humphrey – Blacks and Blues
- Syl Johnson – Diamond In The Rough
- Freda Payne – Stares And Whispers
- Check The Technique – Brian Coleman (book)
- Fantasyland – Sam Walker (book)
- Wax Poetics Issue #2
- Soulman – Off The Meat Rack
- Kudu Records