Monday, April 30, 2012

Hunting Vinyl on Melwood Avenue

As I mentioned last week, I didn't hit the streets for National Record Store Day. But on this past Saturday, the Pittsburgh Vinyl Convention took place in, of all places, the galleries of Pittsburgh Filmmakers on Melwood Avenue. I hadn't been to a record show like this in a while so it seemed like a good time to get back on that horse.

I felt like even if I didn't buy one thing, it would be cool to look around and see what was there. The event was spread out over three rooms of the gallery and hallway, in a manner that made me realize I never knew how the building was laid out. (Of course, I think it's been renovated since I was last there too.)

It was about 5:30 by the time I got there, which sounds late, but the whole shindig ran from noon until 8, so it was still a fairly prime time. A seller in the first room made me wonder what I was in for, though when I saw a copy of Nina Simone's I Put a Spell on You marked at $80. Come on, brother, what the crap? I didn't look at it, but even if it was brand spanking new, with vinyl that shone like a star, how can you justify pricing something that high? He also had a copy of the live Pharoah Sanders album on Impulse, which I used to see at Jerry's back in the late '80s and never bought because for some reason I got it in my head that it was a double album that was missing a record. It's not. Hmm, maybe this will be my first purchase of the day.

Not for $40. Everything at that table seemed to be priced according to what it went for on eBay. Not the best way to go if you ask me. Maybe the guy expected people to haggle a little and talk him down, but I wasn't in the mood.

One other guy had a copy of Coltrane's Ascension, original mono, priced at $40, which is something I can understand. My inner geek started coming out because I have a copy of the second version of that album and started thinking that maybe I should have Version One as well. (I have both on cassette dub too, but that doesn't really count - even though it gives you a chance to hear the whole thing without a fade out in the middle.) But I was smart - sort of - in that I only brought about $40 and didn't feel right blowing it all at once.

In the end, I picked up The Max Roach 4 Plays Charlie Parker on Mercury, in part because it had two magic words on it: Hank Mobley. I have an ongoing fascination with Mr. Round Sound. It didn't have a price tag, but the seller quoted me $20, which was actually less than I thought so I felt like I couldn't pass it up. The same guy also had a Muhal Richard Abrams album I've seen for years, and when he told me that would be $5, I decided I shouldn't live without it any longer.

With those bought, I ambled around a little more, flipping past all kinds of racks, seeing a stash of jazz albums that were all priced high, some justifiably. My dilemma is that the things that I want are pretty high ticket items, so if I can just spend carelessly, I won't get totally satiated.

On the way out, I decided I needed the sealed $5 David Murray album I saw there, which I haven't listened to yet. Since today is a day off, it might be the day for it.

I wonder if the guy with Ascension sold it, because if he didn't, I'd give $30 for it now.

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