I bought my biggest batch of records yet during my trip to Half Price Books Eastside.
Some I had owned before, some were brand new to me. All were a buck.
I thought the blanket background would be a nice change from the brick fireplace background. In retrospect, not so much. Sorry. Anyway…
“Bruce Springsteen – Born In The USA”
This is the Boss. How could I not buy it for a buck, despite having had the radio really kill the song “Born In The USA” for me? Bruce Springsteen. One dollar. Mine.
I paid 10 bucks, the highest I have ever paid for a used album, for his first.
Also in the pile…
“Bruce Springsteen – Tunnel Of Love”
I’ve heard a few songs off of this one, but most of it will be new for me. Again, Springsteen for a buck. Can you really go wrong?
“Yes – Tormato”
I have listened to almost every older Yes album and in certain times I have liked it, but most times it is just too prog rock for me. Yet for some reason, this album, one I had gotten from Meijer’s Super Store in the Ann Arbot days, still sounds good to me. This is the Yes album you always find in the “Discount” section. It was probably a very poor selling album. I used to find it as a cut-out even back in the day when Yes was still making records.
I like the track “Arriving UFO”. There is just something about Jon Anderson’s voice.
Also in the pile…
“Yes – 90125”
This album has the definitive track “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”. This track boomed from dorm rooms at UW Milwaukee hard when it hit the airwaves. I can’t remember if I ever owned this, it would have been about the time I was dumping records for CD’s. I bought it just for the “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”. I have no idea what the rest of the album is like. I recall seeing a Yes concert that was from this tour on MTV (back when they played music) and they were all very musically precise and mechanical and dressed in neo-futuristic robes and gray and white and I found it odd. I will give it a chance. Even if the rest is not my cup of tea, I know “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” is.
“Boston – Boston”
This album says 70’s rock to me. I bet there was a blacklight poster made of this.
I have had this on vinyl before. When I think of Boston though, I always think of the days when I was visiting my dad in Mishawaka. I spent several weeks in the summer at his apartment. One summer Jeff sent me a precious 100 minute tape with “Boston – Boston” on one side and “Boston – Don’t Look Back” on the other. I immersed myself in Boston, listening to it over and over again. Side A, click, flip, press play. Side B, click, flip, press play. Side A, click, flip, press play…
I listened to that tape over and over as I was building a remote control car that summer. Ah, good times.
“Triumph – Surveillance”
I have never heard this one, but I have been digging the other 2 that I have. Couldn’t resist.
“Steely Dan – Can’t Buy A Thrill”
This one I have never owned but I know most of the songs from my “Steely Dan – Greatest Hits” tape back in the day. It’s in pretty rough shape, but who knows. I really have dug my copy of “Steely Dan – Aja”.
“J. Geils Band – Live Full House”
I specifically remember doing my paper route one afternoon in the apartment complex where I lived in Ann Arbor and hearing “Whammer Jammer” coming from someone’s apartment. The DJ said what the song was after it played and I made a mental note. Another time when I was collecting (the worst part of a paper route) the always stoned dude was playing this album when I came to his door. He invited me in for some dooby while he looked for some money, which I declined, and while I waited in the hallway I was digging the music. I had no idea J. Geils was so bluesy and gritty. After stoned dude found the money and paid me I made a mental note to go get this album. I was not disappointed. “Serves Me Right To Suffer” a John Lee Hooker remake is worth the price of the album alone. The there is “First I Look At The Purse” and of course “Whammer Jammer”. Classic.
“The Steve Miller Band – Book Of Dreams”
I found 2 of these and kept the one covered still in plastic, but the record from the one that seemed beat up but seemed like the vinyl had never been played. This is my first Steve Miller. I gave the copy Patty had of her brother Steve’s “Steve Miller Band – Greatest Hits” to Abbey when she first got her record player.
This one came from Musicland back in the day. Remember Musicland? This was a mall store and it later changed it’s name to… Sam Goody. I had to peel the label to see the sale price.
Today’s special was $5.99. Nice.
“The Police – Synchronicity”
This Police album is a classic. I have never owned it on vinyl. Some of these songs have come dangerously close to burnout with MTV videos, like “Wrapped Around Your Finger” and “King of Pain”, but in the end, you can’t go wrong with The Police.
“Billy Joel – 52nd Street”
This one was still wrapped in plastic and it looks like it has never been played. This is the companion album (in my mind) to “The Stranger” and those 2 albums are the best of Billy Joel. I was never one for his early all piano sound albums or his subsequent forrays into doo wop and and then bubble gummy pop music. Now I have both “52nd Street” and “The Stranger” and my collection is complete. These are albums that my mom had that I ended up playing before I owned my own stereo and bought my own albums. Thanks mom!
“Genesis – Duke”
I spent many hours in my Ann Arbor bedroom blasting this. The song “Misunderstanding” was all over the radio and I bought it for that. The story album seemed to really fit in my life and I studied the weird graphics and read the lyrics over and over trying to uncover the riddles of what as I understand it now was a album of songs Phil wrote about his breakup and divorce from his wife.
I had no idea that Phil Collins was not the original singer for Genesis. I bought another Genesis album from the Meijer’s Super Store that was Peter Gabriel led and it was not for me. Nor were any subsequent Genesis albums. Just this one.
“George Thorogood and The Destroyers – Move It On Over”
I have never owned any George, I only made a killer compilation tape from the tapes my friend Paul Beck had when we were at UW Milwaukee. Most of the songs from this album made it on to that tape. The album cover has seen some wear, but this is another one that looks like it may never have been played. “Move It On Over” is classic.
“Johnny Winter – Saints & Sinners”
I have never heard this one before, but it’s Johnny Winter. Blues. There is NO way this could be bad. I’m not sure that this cover did much to dispell the albino crazy man image.
Speaking of blues… “The Blues Brothers – Motion Picture Soundtrack”
This is the album I am trying to use as Joey’s gateway drug to the blues. I couldn’t believe I found this. Synchronicity!
Then comes the obligaatory Linda Ronstadt finds:
“Linda Ronstadt – Mad Love”
Admittedly, this is not Linda’s best, but for a buck, and old times sake. I had to buy it.
“Linda Ronstadt – Hasten Down The Wind”
There were 5 copies of this there. I remember owning it back in Ann Arbor. Not one of her best perhaps, but I had to buy it.
“Linda Ronstadt – Heart Like A Wheel”
Yes. I know, I already own this one. However, the copy I have though signed by Linda Ronstadt (or let’s be honest, someone who can spell her name, though I like to think it is authentic) is in bad shape, with no inner sleeve. This one has the original sleeve intact.
Maybe one day I’ll compare the signatures.
“Styx – Pieces of Eight”
Boom! This album is fantastic and I’ve written about my love for this album as well as “The Grand Illusion”. For me there are only these 2 Styx albums. This one is an immortal classic. May have to google someday the story on the cover.
The first copy I found of this in the “Discount” bin was damaged inside. Boo….
I did find another in the stacks, thank goodness, unfortunately I forgot to remove the bad one from the pile, so now I have 2. There are worse things to waste a buck on. This album was on fire on WIBA FM out of Detroit that I listened to back in the Ann Arbor days. “Renegade” and “Blue Collar Man” practically define that time period for me. I LOVED this. Man, this was a great find.
Mind you I have almost all this stuff digitally, but there is something about having the record that not only appeals to the collector in me, but the historian too. The crackle and organic noise is a plus, in moderation.
Now we enter the obligatory Neil Diamond finds:
Neil Diamond – Moods
Surprisingly, I never owned this one, nor did my father, which makes me suspect that it is just a greatest hits knock off, but it is in great shape and has “Crackling Rosie” on it, so it couldn’t be that bad.
“Neil Diamond – Stones”
This one was another of my favorites of early Neil. Introspective, but not sappy. I actually have this one digitally, and that is what made me almost put it back. I thought I already had it on vinyl. The only reason I bought it at all was the fact that the back of the album cover had a clasp similar to the inter-departmenal mail we use at work.
Inside it has a very thick brown paper sleeve. Not that thin white stuff. Interesting.
I’m glad I picked it up, because in point of fact I didn’t have this on vinyl, until now. I got it from Amazon a while back and was remembering my dad’s vinyl copy which I had for a while.
“Neil Diamond – The Tap Root Manuscript”
This one I haven’t listened to since I listened to my dad’s copy when I was a pre-teen. I recall it being weird somehow. I’m sure the what I assume is a child’s hand on the end of Neil’s arm played a part in freaking me out.
It had the enclosed booklet intact and as I glanced at it I recalled why it sounded not like Neil’s other stuff.
So it was gospel and African influenced. I do remember the song “Soolaimon” and of course “Cracklin’ Rosie” and “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” are on here and as I look at the songlist “Coldwater Morning” is reinging bells. I think that is an uptempo number that I liked. Will have to listen to this one soon.
“Neil Diamond – Gold”
This is a classic Neil Diamond live experience. Stripped down sound, great songs and great performances. This has the best version of “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show” of all time in my humble opinion. “Cherry Cherry” is blasted at you as well and is fantastic. A Neil Diamond must have.
“Jehtro Tull – Warchild”
You can’t go wrong with Tull before the mid-80’s. This was not generally my favorite, but there is good stuff on here. I could not leave it behind.
“Jethro Tull – Stand Up”
This one is in bad shape, that’s the record poking out the bottom. There is a 50 cent garage sale sticker on it too, but the inside “stand up” figures are intact. I would have bought it without them inside, but this makes it way cooler.
Jethro Tull pop ups. Nice. That alone was worth the buck.
Whew! So that’s it. It was an hour of kneeling, crouching and sitting going through the entire “Discount” section, but I came out with a lot of gems that I was frankly surprised to find. I know that some will likely be scratched and may have skips, but I keep my hopes high.
After all, of the albums I have purchased used so far , only two have had real serious skips that make me not want to play them and wear out my needle. All the others have played well and not scared me off of buying “Discount” records.
I will likely make a habit of searching out the Half Price Books in other cities, but for now, I think I have gotten the best nuggets of what Madison has to offer in the way of used records.
Now to listen to them all!
The best part!