Sunday, March 16, 2014

March Record Shopping in Chicago, Part Three.

I went back to my hotel after leaving Hyde Park Records, dropped off my purchases, and headed right back out to catch another bus that would take me to the big Reckless Records on Broadway. It was around 8 when I left and I got there about 8:30, which meant I had 90 minutes to do my last bit of Chi-town damage. Here's a shot of the inside:
Damn: that's a nice-looking record store.

I dug through the New Arrivals and hit the rock section as well, but didn't have a ton of luck. Then I found the rap records, and my eyes lit up. So many sweet deals. Here's what I left with:

The Royal Funkharmonic Orchestra/DJ Rappinstien - "Funked on Fight Songs"/"Football Rap" 12" (1982)

Calling this a 12" because I guess that's technically true...? I used to have this record. I think my brother gave it to me eons ago and then he ended up with it somehow and now I have no idea where it is. But chances are you've seen this on the wall of a record store. It's not-quite-opaque brown-ish vinyl and it's shaped like a football. The threads are on the other side of the label. The songs are suspect.

Digital Underground - "The Return of the Crazy One" 12" (1993)

If you know me, you know I enjoy a good DU 12". Always some good remixes, always some completely new album art, and usually Shock-G being weirder than Tommy Boy ever would have let him on a proper album. This one's no different - It features two remixes of the title track: a "Lean Butter-Bean Remix" and a "Party Flava Mix." Fun triva: "The Crazy One" is Humpty Hump! Glad I could connect those dots for you.

Eightball & MJG - "Just Like Candy" 12" (1997)

This is a promo single that has the album version and the radio version on both sides and I bought it strictly for that sweet cover art.

Heavy D & The Boyz - Big Tyme (1989)

I come across this record every once in a while, and I've never been able to bring myself to pay 8 bucks for it. Reckless had it for 3, and I didn't hesitate. Beats from both Teddy Riley and Marley Marl on this one. The essence of 1989.

Luke - "Cowards in Compton" 12" (1993)

After Snoop and Dre disassembled Tim Dog, Luke, and Eazy-E on The Chronic, they each attempted to extract their pound of flesh, responding with tracks that never really threatened to make a dent because Death Row was the winning team and everyone knew it. I'm not sure that I'd ever actually heard this one, but it's basically the Miami version of "Real Muthaphuckkin G's": Luke and two other dudes talking about how Dre used to wear dresses and said that he doesn't smoke weed on "Express Yourself" but now he likes weed! It also includes "Once a Punk, Always a Punk," which includes additional Dre-dissing and is exclusive to this single. Very happy I found this one.

K-9 Posse - K-9 Posse (1988)

You know, I realized I actually don't know a lot about K-9 Posse. I know the name, but I've never owned any of their stuff. This is their debut, the record's in good shape, and it was five bucks. Copped the shit out of it.

Kid Deff - "Live!" 12" (1989)

The address on the label for this one is Chicago, and I'm wondering if this dude wasn't a local guy giving it a go. There's three versions of the title track here, and it's pretty basic stuff but I love his name and the whole vibe.

Raheem - The Vigilante (1988)

Raheem was in the Geto Boys when they were still The Ghetto Boys, and other than that, I don't know much about him. This one's got a Rap-A-Lot label and it's from '88, so I'm willing to learn.

Here's another shot of the inside of the store:

Really just a beautiful place.

MC Rell & The Houserockers - Into the Future (1989)

Never heard of this dude, but it's a full album, it's from 1989, his gold rope is raised on the cover, and it was $1. And it's great shape. So many dealz.

Project Blowed - 10th Anniversary (2005)

Busdriver, Nocando, Aceyalone - all those dudes and a ton of others. This thing is just posse cut after posse cut, and I can't believe I didn't already own this.

Above the Law - "Untouchable" 12" (1980)

Above the Law was never as great as we wanted them to be, but I can still get with their early stuff. This single features a "Mega Mix" of "What Cha Can Prove" and it's always great to hear Dr. Dre's non-album work from this era. Song's a bit of a beast.

Busdriver - "Kill Your Employer (Recreational Paranoia Is The Sport Of Now)" 12" (2006)

Bought this for the Daedelus remix on the B-side, which I anticipate enjoying very much. Also, a Busdriver a capella is always an exercise in breath control.

Cash Money and Marvelous - "A Real Mutha for Ya" 12" (1989)

I picked up a Cash Money and Marvelous 12" last month when I had never heard of them, so of course I found another one. This one is considerably more legit looking - when you see that RUSH Artist Management logo on the back you know these kids were going places - and it features a non-album track and some remixes. One dollar.

Lloyd Banks - Rotten Apple (2006)

I might not have picked this up for 10 bucks, but they had it for three, and that made it a non-issue. I've actually never heard this, but I'll get down for some mid-aughts G-Unit. Double LP in great shape. I'm talking dealz here.

Billy Idol - "Mony Mony" 12" (1987)

The 12" version of the first 7" record I ever bought with my own money. This one features the "Hung Like a Pony Remix" and the "Steel Toe Cat Dub" because Billy was in full-on Vital Idol remix mode and was just cranking this type o' shit out. Not sure if I've ever heard an Idol "dub" before. Should be like being on 'ludes while riding on the back of the motorcycle he crashed.

I also picked up these two items. The GG video was a gift for my wife.

All of this stuff, combined, cost me 68 bucks. 68 bucks. I bought a Reckless t-shirt because I love them so much. Hope to return someday. I'll give them a while to restock that rap section.

March Record Shopping in Chicago, Part Two.

A fellow record nerd in Portland told me I should check out Hyde Park Records while I was in Chicago, so on my second night - which would be my last free night because I was meeting a friend for dinner on my third night there - I decided to head out there once I confirmed that it wasn't ridiculously far away from my downtown hotel. Turns out it wasn't ridiculously close, either, and taking a cab sounded expensive, so after some navigation advice from my Chicago-native pal and the dude behind the desk at my hotel, I hopped on a city bus and 25 minutes later I was dropped off about three blocks from the shop. Here's a shot of the inside:
I'm just going to come out and say this: I'd never been in a black record store before. Know how most record stores are mostly rock with some soul and jazz? This was the exact opposite. They had bins full of soul records I'd never even begun to have heard of before, and my jazz-cluelessness rendered the entire right side of the store irrelevant.

Their prices were weird: Seemed like most of the stuff was either $9.99, $19.99, or $29.99. A lot of the soul/funk/R&B records - the real-deal ones from the 70's which were often private-press - were priced at $29.99, and I wasn't in a position to get with that, which was a bummer. I was also a little surprised that their rap section was so small. They had a few bins, but most of the LPs were beat up and priced like they weren't. They had several huge 12" sections, but they weren't really organized and I didn't have time to sift through them to find the hip-hop needles in a haystack of disco. Don't get me wrong: This is a great record store - I just would have needed a little more money and a lot more time to enjoy it properly. But I did pick up a few things:

764-HERO - "Now You're Swimming" 7" (1995/1999)

The store had boxes of 7" records, and just like the rest of the place, it was 90% soul/jazz and 10% rock. Found this in the rock box. Repress with an updated cover of the original single from 1995 and it's every bit as sensitive as you need it to be.

Catt Butt - "64 Funny Cars" 7" (1988)

Really didn't expect to find this here. The cover's sort of beat up, but I wasn't going to pass up the chance of owning the lone Cat Butt single. B-side is "Hell's Half Acre" and both of these songs could strip paint off a boat.

Royal Flush - Uh Oh! Suckers Come to War; Why? To Die! (1988)

I had never heard of these dudes, but show me an LP on Rap-A-Lot in 1988 I won't buy, especially if there's a semicolon in the title and the first song is called "Dookey." Also, this is the back. Sold.

Scarface - The Fix (2002)

Been meaning to buy this for a decade, but god forbid you ever find a copy in Portland, and if you do they'd probably be trying to get 30 bucks for it. Hyde Park had this in-solid-shape copy for $10, and now I can finally learn about the street life.

3rd Bass - "The Gas Face" 12" (2004)

Oh how I love this. Not only is it a promo item for Sprite (the official beverage of rappers, you square), but it's on clear green vinyl (hey Sprite comes in a clear green bottle!) and they've spelled 3rd Bass "3rd Base." Not sure if that oversight is going to aid in connecting with their key demo. "The Gas Face" on side A, with the instrumental on the flip. Clear sleeve for ultimate thirst obeying.

The Jackson 5 - Christmas Album (1970)

Come Christmastime, I will be very glad I bought this.

This place also gave me a 10% discount when I talked up the dude behind the counter! Chicago, you're allllllright.

There were a ton of other records I would have snapped up for half the price, but I was also planning on hitting the big Reckless on Broadway after I left Hyde Park, so I needed play it safe. Glad I did. Coming up in Part Three: I go to the Reckless is Boystown and clean out the hip-hop section.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

March Record Shopping in Chicago, Part One.

I somehow didn't travel for work at all last year, and though I did manage to buy some vinyl in Tucson and Albuquerque, 2013 wasn't a big year for out-of-town record shopping for me. 2014's going to be different. I just got back from Chicago, plus I've got two more trips lined up in the next few months. Feeling like a real hotshit jet-setter over here. Watch yourself.

I was in Chicago for a work thing for three days, and as usual I had a few nights free. I flew in on Monday around five, got to my hotel around six, figured out that there was a Reckless Records about four blocks away, and I hit the street. As you can see in the picture above, the shop is just another storefront in a boxy block - not where I figured a record store might be in the year 2014, but I was glad it was there and I was glad it was open until 8. Here's a closer picture of the front:
The shop was small but not cramped, and from the get-go I was impressed by how organized it was. The other thing I realized really quickly is that none of the records were in their sleeves. So you couldn't look at the vinyl, but everything was graded, and these signs were taped to a bunch of the dividers:
So, you kind of had to take their word for it until they brought out the vinyl when you were checking out, at which point you could inspect it. Sort of weird, but I get it. I talked to the guy behind the counter about other record stores I should check out and told him I was from out of town and he ended up giving me a 10% discount for "being friendly." Pretty sweet. Here's what I bought:

Beck - "I Just Started Hating Some People Today" 7" (2012)

I vaguely remember Beck doing this Third Man single with Jack White and his cronies a few years back. Guess I'd never come across it. B-side is "Blue Randy" and I have no idea what to expect from this other than it being mildly ridiculous.

Beck - "Youthless" 7" (2008)

A Modern Guilt-era single on white vinyl that I don't think I'd ever seen before. As with most Beck singles, it features an exclusive B-side; this one's called "Half & Half" and sounds like it probably just missed making the cut onto the album proper. Very Danger Mouse-y.

The Frogs - "Now You Know You're Black" 7" (1994)

Speaking of how organized Reckless is: I probably wouldn't have even known what this was if they hadn't put a sticker on it. The lead track here is from Racially Yours, but this is a live version and by my count it saw the light of day far before that controversial album ever would. But, this is from '94 and the date from the recording has it listed as being from '91. The B-side, "Adam & Steve," is also live, but from 1988. Weird little single. Clear green vinyl on Matador.

Queens of the Stone Age - "3's & 7's" 7" (2007)

Fancy-ass gatefold import single on thick vinyl. Queens went all-out when they did Era Vulgaris and this is just one of the many over-the-top releases that is now a semi-rarity. This has the album version of "Sick, Sick, Sick" on the B-side, along with a glitchy remix of "I'm Designer."

Queens of the Stone Age - "Make it Wit Chu" 7" (2007)

Apparently Reckless had a bunch of the singles in this mini-series, but I got the last two. This one is not a gatefold, but it features exclusively non-album material: The A-side is an acoustic version of "Make it Wit Chu," and the B-side is a unsurprisingly sinister cover of Billy Idol's "White Wedding."

The Soft Pack - Strapped (Flamingo Edition) (2012)

I loved The Soft Pack's 2010 debut and I listened to this album a few times online but never bought it, which still makes no sense to me. But hey: since I held out, I was able to luck into this limited-limited edition of their follow-up. The LP itself was limited to 2,000 hand-numbered copies, of which this is one, but this one is also wrapped in flamingo paper and is a hand-stamped and numbered edition of 300. So limited.

Raw Fusion - "Throw Your Hands in the Air" 12" (1991)

Seems like I pick up Raw Fusion records wherever I go these days. This one's just album versions and instrumentals, but I'm not gonna pass up album art like that for a few bucks.

Young MC - "I Come Off" 12" (1990)

I love 12" singles, but it's always rough when there's a "12" version" along with the album version because then I have to determine if it's different enough to warrant being a whole new track in my music library. Serious problems. This also has a six-minute "Southern Comfort Mix" so that should be pretty sweet.

Monie Love - "Down 2 Earth" 12" (1990)

Long live the "specially-priced maxi-single." This one has three remixes of the title track, plus a Shock-G-assisted remix of "Don't Funk Wid the Mo" on the flip. I know you want to front on Monie Love. Don't do it. She is one of the best female rappers of the 90's. Easily. So squash that frontin'.

Coffin Break - Psychosis (1989)

After picking up a few Coffin Break 7" singles over the past couple years, I'm finally venturing into full-album territory. 1989 on C/Z - there's your Seattle sound, right there. Apparently this exists on red vinyl, but my copy is black.

Kool G Rap - Riches, Royalty, & Respect (2011)

I really should have bought this a few years ago but never did, so now is when I make things right. I bet G Rap still wonders why people didn't make a bigger deal of this record. It's a solid effort. Double LP on Fatbeats.

And that was it for Day One. Coming up in Day Two: I get on a city bus like a big boy and take the long ride to Hyde Park.