Week 30: Paydirt
Week 30 offers y’all something special…real special. One of my favorites from the last couple of years, Lee Fields, and his really rare debut album “Let’s Talk It Over” from 1979. Never thought I would own a copy of this beauty – but damn, thanks to my 5-year old son, now I do! So before we get down to business, let me tell you a little something about digging for rare vinyls…bear with me for just a minute, OK?!.
Crate digging is one tough mistress. Always done best haphazardly…on a whim. Try and plan a great day of digging, and you always come home empty handed. Chance is an important factor – blind luck even more so. Just the other week I was out and about on the town, doing some errands with my 5-year old Cal in tow. In a weak moment I had promised him a visit to the vintage comic book store, which was where we were heading when we were surprised by some heavy rain. Looking for shelter, we ran into the closest store – a small, hole-in-the-wall World Music record store (OK, that was a lie…it was like the ninth closest…always wanted to scratch this place off my list for possible digging grounds – let’s just say we got pretty wet, without me being outed as a bad dad or anything like that, OK).
Walking inside, wiping my fogged up glasses, I did a quick look-around and pretty much saw disappointment everywhere I looked, thinking “Yeah, this pan flute shit just isn’t my thing.” Cal on the other hand excitedly let go of my left hand and ran down a narrow aisle and out of my sight. When I caught up with him, he’d found some weird looking instruments of some sort…a russian Balalaika, a couple of African drums in various sizes, some weird looking Tunisian woodwind instruments – and a big sign saying “Do not touch!”…so of course, when Cal started drumming away, the bulky lady at the counter came running like a lightning.
So while waiting for the rain to stop, and to keep Cal from those instruments (and that scary lady), I told him he could pick out an album or two. And right there, at the back of the store, we found a table with some dollar bins…I started leafing through some LPs with hideous Irish Ballads, Austrian medieval choir works, rainforest muzak etc…while Cal found two milk crates under the table, in a perfect digging angle for his height. After like a minute he said “Dad, can I buy this one with the nice flowers?”, and I distractedly said “Sure thing…as long as it isn’t too expensive!”…and after another minute or so I was done with what was on the table, and I bent over for a quick glance at Cal’s crates…and to my surprise I found that both of them held some nice old jazz and soul albums. In the meantime, Cal had grown restless and was jumping around the store, getting mean looks from the lady at the counter…so I just grabbed a fistful of the better-looking LPs, picked up Cal and headed for the checkout.
And that’s where I notice what album Cal picked out for himself – a factory-sealed, never played, super-mint copy of Lee Fields debut album “Let’s Talk It Over” on Angle 3 Records from 1979. So I just stood there…for what felt like an eternity, with my mouth open…doing my famous birdfeeder imitation…like in a coma or something, probably drooling too. Then I heard Cal saying something, so I leaned over to him, still in a haze and heard “Dad! Dad! Dad! The raining has stopped!” which had me coming back to my senses somewhat, and I gave the lady at the counter the LPs I was clutching to my chest. I heard her murmur something and I forked over some money, and all of a sudden me and Cal were outside again.
The sun was glaring now and we’re standing there on the sidewalk – me with a plastic bag holding 7 LPs in one hand and in the other I had a receipt saying that I just paid like $12 for all of them. And then Cal slowly started dragging me towards the comic book store…
Apparently that’s how crate digging is supposed to be done. Cal’s Lee Fields find cost about $1…and has been “drawing four digit bids from collectors worldwide” – I actually did good too, scoring some rare and valuable vinyls (check back next week and I’ll show you). All in all, we invested our $12 wisely – that days catch was worth at least $1200! That’s like an percentage making even a 80’s Wall Street broker jealous!
The best part is (for both you and me) that I’m more into listening and sharing music than selling it. So when we got back home, I swiftly cut the Lee Fields albums market value by 2/3 when ripping it open, and to Cal’s delight (before he ran to his room with a box full of old Incredible Hulk magazines), played it real loud three times in a row – and it was definitely worth every cent! :¬)
For those of you who don’t know about Lee Fields, here’s some useful info to handle that. First, let’s have a look at a snippet from his bio – taken from his current recording labels website, Truth & Soul….
And here’s an excerpt taken from Soul Tracks review of Lee’s 2009 release “My World”…
There isn’t much more to tell on the album itself…Lee Fields kicked ass already back in 1979 – 8 tracks, all killer, no filler material. My personal favourites are the instrumental “Flim Flam”, the sweet ballad “You’re My Weakness”, the two part album closer “Everybody Gonna Give Their Thing Away” and the wicked “She’s A Lovemaker”…check out the preview clip below:
It’ll probably be hard to locate a copy of the original vinyl for yourself, but keep trying – you just might get lucky like I did (correction, like Cal did). But go get his newer releases right now! “Let’s Get A Groove On” on Desco from 1999, “Problems” on Soul Fire Records from 2002, and his latest “My World” on Truth & Soul from 2009 are all wicked good!
Props to Cal for this great find, I’m real proud of you, son! (But I still don’t think that digging skills can be considered hereditary…then again, maybe dumb luck can?!). And last but not least – Lee Fields, thank you for the great music!
(Ps. As usual, the link is in the comments…and while you’re there – LEAVE A COMMENT! What’s being offered this week is a great, rare album, not to be found on any other blog. Almost 300 downloads later, there’s only like 7 comments…c’mon, people – it’s both fast, simple and rewarding…I promise! :¬)