Thursday, November 3, 2016

What's Your White Whale?

I will resist the urge to pen more posts about a certain team that has made my dreams come true, but my roller coaster of emotions about the Cubs finally making it to the promised land has me thinking about records. How would I feel if I got all of the elusive vinyl I have been searching for all of my life? Do I really want the euphoric feeling of finding that rare single, or am I hooked on the hunt? On some level, would there be a letdown after it was all over... a sort of "now what" restlessness? Something to ponder as I got what I wanted in the baseball world.

If money is no object (you are blessed), our online lives have made it much easier to catch our white whales, but I try to resist (and sometimes fail) to play that way. I'm old school. For me, there is no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than going through the racks at a flea market or mom-and-pop shop... searching, hoping and wishing today is the day you find that obscure relic and at a bargain price that almost pops you out of your shoes when you see it. Why do I look left, then right and sheepishly almost try to hide the record as if someone may snatch it out of my now sweaty hands? It has been a while since I had one of those moments.

Audience participation time. Take it in any direction you want. Tell us about one you caught or the one that keeps getting away? How much did you spend? How much is too much? Can you be perfectly content with a single or album that's been reissued, or do you need the original? From dozens of examples, here are a few of mine:

The Siddeleys
What Went Wrong This Time 7"
Medium Cool Records
Discogs: $82-$122.

I have all three songs on a terrific comp from Matinée to keep me company until I find it at the right price.

"My Favourite Wet Wednesday Afternoon"

Orange Juice
Falling and Laughing 7"
Postcard Records
ebay: $900

I call this the GREAT white whale. No way I'm getting the first single from my favorite label.

"Falling and Laughing"

The Field Mice
Emma's House 7"
Sarah Records
Discogs: $89

I have found and bought Sarah singles from time to time. Never ever seen this one but still hopeful.

"Emma's House"

Phil Wilson
Better Days 7"
Caff Corporation
Discogs: $45-$90

Almost certain this is the only original I don't have from the June Brides or his solo work. Must complete set!

"Better Days"


charity chic said...

I'll keep my eye out in some Charity shops for you Brian!

The Swede said...

I'll keep my eyes open for those Brian! It was a long time ago, but this remains one of my finest moments.

drew said...

My Holy Grail list is huge, from Mr Pharmacist by The Other Half to loads of northern, The Cookies- I Never Dreamed, Ellie Greenwich - You Don't Know but this is my ultimate "white whale",

As for the ones I have caught, I could not disclose what I paid for my copy of The Girl Across The Street by Moses Smith, L might read this!

The chase is always better than the catch Brian.

Rol said...

I'm afraid finances forced me to quit the collector bug and concentrate on the music rather than the artifact. I'm still always on the look out for a bargain...but I'd be just as likely to sell it on if it had any real value to finance the acquisition of more audio. Life is one big compromise...

Séamus Duggan said...

Collecting with the internet is not the same. There is no way to contain the potential spend other than to stop... The days when you needed to have a huge slice of luck to find even relatively common records gave it all an extra frisson. I posted about what remains my favourite found grail here -

TheRobster said...

I have only recently started hunting down old records again after years of being virtually digital onloy (for cost and space reasons). I have vowed, however, to try and obtain as many of my '50 albums to take to my grave' on vinyl as I can. I still have a few of them, and recently picked up the 25th anniversary vinyl edition of 'Doolittle' by Pixies. I know some of them will vary between being very difficult or impossible to find, either because the pressings were very limited, or they were never issued on vinyl at all. But provided MrsRobster doesn't find out how much I'm spending, it should be a fun venture...

Brian said...

Thanks for playing along. If we hide our receipts from our significant others, just imagine the purchases they keep from us.

There are some splendid songs here, and I gave them all a good listen tonight. Seamus, I actually remember your choice from your legendary countdown. This one was sandwiched between two of my favorites. Drew, you have impeccable and expensive tastes. Your secret is safe with me. Swede, I may not have discovered your blog yet when you wrote about your pick. It's a wonderful story. I think we can all relate to the amazing moment when you realized the seller didn't know what he had. CC, you're the king of bargain hunting. Rol, I'm more or less like you. The collectibles are few and far between. The kids need shoes and a hot meal every once in a while. Kidding. Robster, it's not just that some of them are not on vinyl, but the prices for some of these new albums are outrageous. I imagine that Doolittle redo set you back a bit, but I imagine it was worth it.

friend of rachel worth said...

The one i got on release that I am so pleased I did is the debut lp by Paul Quinn and the independent group , phantoms and architects (one of my fav titles) complete with gatefold sleeve. The white whale is a physical copy of its immaterials unreleased 3rd lp house for sale. The band have announced they are finally finishing it and releasing it in the new year. There she blows !

JC said...

It will always be Falling & Laughing.

Was really interested when talking to Edwyn & Grace a few years ago to learn that they don't have a copy of the 45 and wouldn't dream of paying the price for it.

What is particularly fascinating is the stupid rise in prices in recent years thanks to the worldwide interest there is now again in respect of vinyl. When I started the blog ten years ago I was able to pick up loads of old 7" singles, many of them in job-lots, at low prices on e-bay. For instance, someone sold me every Altered Image single, including additional pic discs and a flexi disc, for not much more than £10 including postage.

I even once started bidding for a copy of Falling & Laughing but quit when it went above £100 - someone from Japan was up against me and I knew I had next to no chance. But the figure you've quoted in your piece shows just how crazy it has all become.