Sunday, July 10, 2022

June Record Shopping in New Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

In the summer of 1993, my brother and I - both teenagers - traveled by ourselves to Pennsylvania to visit family on our dad's side, with plans to sightsee with our grandparents and aunt/uncle, etc. The trip ended up being a defining moment in both our childhoods, as the timing of our weekend trip to Washington, DC, coincided with a free concert by Fugazi - one of our absolute favorite bands at the time - at the Sylvan Theater, an outdoor venue right down the hill from the Washington Monument. In On the Kill Taker had just come out and the show, honoring the 30th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington, was huge. Here are a few pictures I took:
The first picture is early in the show, and you can see in the second photo, taken later, how the stage just kept filling with people. It really felt like something, even at the time. We both bragged heavily to our friends upon our return. For years.

Anyway, we had spent the previous week at Ocean City, New Jersey, a family-friendly coastal destination-type place that featured a sprawling boardwalk and also provided a lot of memories that stuck with us. I always wanted to get back there. 29 years later we made it happen, traveling to Pennsylvania to visit a lot of that same family, including my Grandma, who turned 99 this year, and spending time at Ocean City and some surrounding areas.
Of course I got in some record shopping when I could, starting with Rock Star Headquarters, a boardwalk shop that was there in 1993, as evidenced by the photo at the top of this post. I wasn't sure it would still be in business, but like a lot of things at Ocean City, it was still standing, notably different but markedly the same. I showed my old photo to the guy behind the counter and he told me his dad owned the place and 1993 was around the time he started working there as a young teenager. I can't remember exactly what their music section was like the last time I was there, but now it's all vinyl, and a decent variety:
The prices were boardwalk-inflated but I didn't find too much after flipping through all the used records anyway. I did walk out with these:

Jan Hammer - "Miami Vice Theme" 12" (1985)

I've already got some old Crockett and Tubbs photos on the wall in our 80's-influenced guest room, so this picture disc will complement that somehow.
Die Laughing - Running From the Guns (1990)

This was sealed and a couple bucks, and I really don't know why I bought it other than the cover just being generally bonkers. Very Australian.
It was raining one morning at the beach and I used the downtime to shoot over to The Rock Shop, an independent record store inside Hamilton Mall in Mays Landing, NJ. They had a lot of new vinyl, but they also had a good selection of used stuff, as well as cassettes and lots of ephemera. I got a bunch of records:

Mudhoney - "Pump It Up" 7" (1994)

I've had the cassette single for this track (a fun Elvis Costello cover) since it came out; I distinctly remember buying it at Fred Meyer after being surprised it was there. Not sure I've ever seen this version, with George Clinton on the flip, though. It's on red translucent vinyl and was released on Fox Records. PCU remains a terrific movie.
Go-Go's - "Our Lips Are Sealed" 7" (1981)

Been getting back into 80's 45s (where I got my record-collecting start!) and let's not act like this isn't one of the greatest pop songs ever. Just an absolute delight.
Go-Go's - "Head Over Heels" 7" (1984)

This one, too. The hook on this song is just too good. Currently deciding if I should bother keeping all my 80s singles in protective sleeves. I probably should.
Ann Wilson - "The Best Man in the World" 7" (1986)

I may have let my allegiance to Heart get the best of me on this one, but hey: It's from The Golden Child, so that must count for something? Same song on both sides. Ann had done that big-time Footloose duet with the dude from Loverboy, but this was her first major single on the solo creep. It's only OK.
Prince and the Revolution - "Take Me With U" 12" (1984)

Promo single with the album version on both sides. Cool purple cover.
Prince - "1999" 12" (1982)

Promo single with the single version on side A and some other album tracks on the B. Both of these singles are in good shape and will make my ever-impressive Prince collection that much sweeter.
Men Without Hats - "Pop Goes the World" 12" (1987)

This song is an old favorite of mine and my daughter currently enjoys it so I've kind of had my eye out. Three different mixes on here, plus the album version. And I've been going hard on 80's 12" singles recently, so this continues that trend.
V/A - Zebrahead OST (1992)

I can't remember what got me thinking about this movie recently, but I haven't seen it in years and I keep meaning to rewatch it. So it made sense that I found the soundtrack. Some solid '92 rap on here including MC Serch, "Nasty" Nas, BO$$, The Goats, and even some Kool Moe Dee.
Tangerine Dream - Thief OST (1981)

My pal David over at The Vinyl Score is a huge fan of this record (go here to see him break it down), and when we got to talking about it I had to admit that I hadn't heard the soundtrack because I hadn't seen the movie. I ended up watching Thief a few months ago and absolutely loving it and wondering why I hadn't watched it way sooner. It's got Heat vibes, big time. Which makes sense. This is all to say I was keeping my eye out for this one and boom: I found it. RIP James Caan.
V/A - Johnny Be Good OST (1988)

I have an unabashed love for this film that is rooted in my early teenage years, when I watched it at a friend's house repeatedly. I still think it's funny. Not funny: when they released it on blu-ray they put out the PG-13 version, not the "re-rated R" version that was originally available on VHS and laserdisc. Also, this LP appears to have some really shitty music on it.
V/A - Bad Boys OST (1983)

Sean Penn's first lead role and a great movie that I haven't watched in a long time. Very 1983 soundtrack that was never released on CD featuring Billy Squier, Little River Band, and Prism. Perfect for mood music during juvenile prison gang rumbles!
The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders - In Training with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders (1982)

Includes a 24-page booklet with detailed photos and instructions on how to work out just like a real Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. Looks exhausting. And wow, there is an amazingly shitty cover of "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" on here.
A day or two later I formulated a plan to go to Philadelphia and be back at the beach at a reasonable hour. Philly's only about an hour away from Ocean City, so it was mad doable. I looked back at my posts from the first time I record shopped in the city (11 years ago) because I distinctly recall being in two different really awesome basements filled with records and I wanted to get back there.

The places were The Philadelphia Record Exchange and Repo Records, and the Exchange opened earlier, so I made that my first stop. I found parking way quicker than I thought I would. Philly is an insane place to drive for a NW boy like me and I just assume the worst. I was mildly traumatized by driving/parking the second time I went record shopping there, and figured I might run into madness again. Instead, I found free street parking about a block away and was 20 minutes early.

I killed time by walking around and eventually stopping in an aggressively healthy store and paying too much for a smoothie that was so thick, with a straw so thin, that it was undrinkable. I took the lid off, tried to chug, failed, got a bunch in my beard, and flung it in the trash before entering the Record Exchange, which did not look familiar to me at all.
After I was in the shop a while, observed no basement entrance, and truly had the feeling I'd never been there, I asked the clerk if the store used to have a basement. He told me that was the old location (which also explains why the neighborhood did not ring a bell), and they hadn't been there in years. Made sense. Disappointing, but I moved on pretty quick. Here is what I left with:

V/A - Found 7" (2004)

I am a fan of Found magazine and I did not know they put out a record with some found audio. White vinyl and I have not listened to it yet.
Charo and the Salsoul Orchestra - Cuchi-Cuchi (1977)

Charo on the disco tip.
Madonna - "Like a Prayer" 12" (1989)

Madonna dance remixes from the 80's are something my whole family can agree on, so we keep a lot of them around. Didn't have this one.
Eric Bachmann - Eric Bachmann (2016)

I got into Crooked Fingers a long time ago and then that sputtered out. Still like to listen to Archers of Loaf here and there. Found this sealed and thought I'd give it a shot.
Men Without Hats - "The Safety Dance" 12" (1983)

Another Men Without Hats 12" and another extended remix.
Eurythmics - "Who's That Girl?" 12" (1983)

Yeah, I guess was hitting the 80's singles hard. This is the UK version and it's a 12" 45 which always sounds the best. This is a great song and I think it's an extended mix? Great cover, too.
Madonna - "Like a Virgin" 12" (1984)

1984 was such an insane year for pop music. We listen to the American Top 40 station on iHeart Radio, which just plays wall-to-wall episodes. It's terrific, but they need to divide the channel up into 70's and 80's instead of playing them both. The 70's ones are embarassing for society. Some real garbage in there. But I was listening to one from the summer of 1984 the other day and "Ghostbusters" had just knocked "When Doves Cry" out of a four-week top-spot run. What a time to be alive. Anyway, this record also came out that year and I thought I had it but I don't.

Scoundrel - Burning Up the Night (1981)

Private press rock? They have a violin player. Figured I'd check out the local talent.
Roxanne Shante - "Go On Girl" 12" (1988)

This is one of Roxanne's stronger cuts and I didn't have this one and it was very cheap.
Julie Brown - "I Like 'Em Big and Stupid" 12" (1983)

Backed with her hit, "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun," which has not aged well.
Jacksons - "Torture" 12" (1984)

Look at that ridiculous cover. Six-minute-plus dance remix on this one. We listened to Victory a lot growing up.
Young MC - "Bust a Move" 12" (1989)

Somehow didn't already have this and it was a buck. 1989 was such a great year for rap. I gotta introduce my daughter and her friends to this one at the next dance party.
I got out of there and headed toward Repo Records, which was not super close, giving me another cherished opportunity to navigate the thin, one-way streets of Philly, dodging pedestrians and bicylists like a game of Paperboy. I found Repo, found great parking again somehow, and then walked into a store that I did not recognize, with no visible basement entrance. I went through the same thing with the clerk there, and they had moved, too, also a long time ago. So, no dank basements for me. But I got some stuff:
Sonic Youth - Battery Park, NYC July 4th 2008 (2009)

2019 reissue of a 2009 limited edition live album.
Bananarama - "Venus" 12" (1986)

Special edish with alternate cover art and bonus remixes. Classic cut.
Otis Redding - The Otis Redding Story (1987)

4xLP comp that preceded the Otis! 4xCD box set I got for Christmas in 1993. I'd always wanted this one just to have it - it doesn't have anything rare on it - and they had it priced real nice so I grabbed it. Records are in real good shape and it has the original booklet. I could listen to Otis sing all day.
After hearing a daughter tell her mom that the Nirvana shirt she was suggesting to her was "basic," I hit the road and tried to go to Beautiful World Syndicate, which I had been to before and really enjoyed, but it was closed. I checked for anything else close by and found a place called Vinyl Altar, a metal/industrial/comic book/board game shop that was black everywhere and I was not their target customer.
That being said, they had a ton of cool shit: tapes, patches, lots of new vinyl, video games...just a lot. I grabbed a few things, including an October 1989 edition of Kerrang! with Portland's own Dan Reed on the cover, and these records:

Robert Plant - "Big Log" 7" (1983)

I hear this track on American Top 40 here and there, and while the title makes me mildly uncomfortable, I do enjoy the song.
Doctor and the Medics - "Spirit in the Sky" 7" (1986)

I'm not a religious man, but I love this song. The original, this cover - really enjoy it.
Fuzzbox - "Love is the Slug" 12" (1986)

And speaking of "Spirit in the Sky" being covered in 1986, here's another version of it. This one's real cool too.
After returning to rural Pennsylvania when we left the beach after a relaxing week, I found a few hours to hit a shop in Maryland that was only about 35 minutes from where we were staying. I always forget how close together everything is over there. After taking some backroads through farm country, I emerged in Frostburg, and quickly found Yellow K Records.
The person who ran the shop wasn't there, and the woman who was running the vape shop in the same room was covering, but not playing any music. It is so weird to be in a quiet record store. It just feels off. I spent a good amount of time there and the prices were good, but I just didn't find too much.
Here are the couple records I grabbed:

Frank Black - Teenager of the Year (1994)

This is often acknowledged as my favorite album of all time, and I've owned an original copy for a really long time. (Actually got it signed in person by FB, no big deal.) This is the 2019 RSD reissue on double white vinyl, and somehow they were selling it for twelve bucks. It's used, but still in the shrink: hot deal.
Isis - Isis (1974)

All-female rock from the 70's that I have not heard before. I've been getting down with Fanny lately and expanding my horizons.
Our flight home, out of Pittsburgh, was in the late afternoon and I was able to convince my wife to let me hit a few places before we made our flight, assuring her they would be in neighborhoods where there was stuff she could do. Jerry's Records is in a really cool little neighborhood and has an unassuming facade, but when I saw the stairs upon opening the front door I knew I was in for something special. The view from the top:
And then when I got to the record store proper, I couldn't believe it:
I mean, my god. It was mammoth. This picture kind of does it justice, but it's barely half of it and you can't see some of the hidden aisles and the hallway between the two main rooms that houses thousands of comedy LPs. It was back in those recesses that I met an older gentleman who I figured was Jerry. I told him it was a really great shop and he said, "Yup, it's diverse." No kidding. That being said, you could argue it's diverse to a fault, with huge easy listening/vocal/show tunes sections that I can't imagine are ever going to be worth the time and space they take up, but maybe I'm naive.

Here's the room on the other side that's roughly the same size and dedicated to jazz:
I could have spent the better part of a day there, but I had about an hour and I did OK, considering. They had a decent rap selection and I was able to get through a bunch of other stuff, too. And their prices were very fair. Really cool shop. Can't remember why I didn't buy a t-shirt. Got a great sticker, though. Here are the records I got:

Julie Brown - "Trapped in the Body of a White Girl" (1987)

Another Julie Brown single that hasn't aged particularly well, but she always meant well. "Will I Make It Through the 80's" is on here and that's a fun cut.
John Valby - Give Me Dirt or Give Me Death (1980)

Potty-mouthed musical comedian weirdo. I have one of his other records and I think I got it on the east coast...? Really I just wanted to buy something out of that big-ass comedy section and this cover is pretty good.
Fanny - Rock and Roll Survivors (1974)

I really want to see that new Fanny documentary that's out. I was late to the game with them but I've owned a copy of their Fanny Hill LP for a while now and I like it. Haven't heard this one but looking forward to it.
Paris - "Guerrilla Funk" 12" (1994)

Paris 12" I did not have. Includes the real-sweet "Deep Fo' Real" mix.
Daddy D - "Player Posse (Out Like O.J.) (1995)

Daddy D was part of Queen Latifah's Flavor Unit for a minute, and his one album is strangely rare. It's a long story on why I look for his stuff, but I've had this one my list for a while. There's a cassette version that I would really like to find at some point. Both are promos.
Nonchalant - "5 O'Clock" 12" (1996)

Wish this had some remixes on it, but the standard version is still real good all by itself. Such a good song.
Lordz of Brooklyn - "Saturday Nite Fever" 12" (1995)

Somehow didn't have this. I've been looking for a copy of All in the Family, the LP this is from, and I just never see it. Sweet remix on here.
V/A - Paradise Alley OST (1978)

Found this sealed for cheap and said what the hey. Gonna put it with my wrestling records.
One last stop. Upon recommendation from the dude behind the counter at Jerry's, we headed over to Attic Records, tucked away in a nice little spot, with some great murals up front:
My wife opted for a car nap while I had an hour to kill in the store. They had a crazy selection, and again, I could have spent so much more time in there. I hit what I could and this is what I left with:

Schoolly D - How a Blackman Feels (1991)

I've been listening to old Schoolly while walking my dog recently and this is one of his LPs that I didn't have. After looking for rap records the whole trip, I finally managed to find some.
Above the Law - Black Mafia Life (1992)

Been looking for this one, casually. Above the Law LPs are kind of hard to come by. This one is in good shape. Proto-G-Funk.
V/A - It's Christmas Time Again (1982)

Stax Christmas comp from the early 80's that looks to have some real cool songs on it. Gonna stash it till December, at which point I will have forgotten I bought it, and then it will be a sweet surprise, holiday style.
V/A - Rap's New Generation (1988)

Rap comp with some not-so-well-known names on it. Probably a label thing. Great cover. We'll see about the cuts.

Eight shops in three states. Not bad for a family vacation.