Monday, October 01, 2012

Report on the Pittsburgh Record Fest 8.0

Last week, I took three days off of work. I figured I needed some mental health days. Good time to clean up around the house, blog some reviews and to get ready for the Pittsburgh Record Fest, which was taking place last Friday, and where I was going to do some selling. Well, it sort of turned out to be two days off because I didn't realize the kid had no school on one of those days. Then the other two days turned into scrambling to get ready for the record show: cleaning some albums, looking at them and wondering if they were worth anything and finally pricing them. And I still wasn't ready when I got there. Some things weren't priced. Others were shoved in a different crate, out of order, almost lost. Oy. And while I wrote this, I realized I didn't pack the Thurston Moore album I wanted to sell.

Having said that, it was a pretty good night at the ol' record show. I didn't want to speculate how much I'd sell, or what take-home dollar amount would make me happy. I just hoped for the best. And when some of those generic looking '70s R&B albums sold early on, I was pretty pleased. Now a sizeable chunk of my sales came from records I was selling for a friend, meaning that I just got a percentage of his total price, and I could be all Irish and regret that I didn't make more. But that's not a good way to go.

There was a fairly low percentage of jag-offs there. In fact I only dealt with one. I had a Bonzo Dog Band album priced at $10 that was of interest to friend of mine who was selling next to me. Some oaf was interested in it too and asked if he could look at it. I figured why not and handed it to him. A minute later, he hands it back to me, record out of cover on top of the jacket. "Here, you can put it back in the cover," he said. I guess he was trying to send me a message about the condition of the record, which I saw was a little scratched. I got the message: I sold it to my friend for $5. Etiquette - put the record back in the damn sleeve yourself next time.

I have a feeling that the people who come through one of these shows reach saturation point really quickly. You want to look at everything but you don't have the attention span. So eventually you flip through one person's crate and if you don't see anything you like early on, you quickly move onto the next instead of working your way through the whole table. I actually had things separated by genre and running fairly alphabetically. I got one compliment on that, so I'm sure there were others who appreciated it. But no one wants to wade through piles and piles of stuff anymore. I haven't since high school, back when there used to be record shows at Monroeville Mall every few months. (I thought my dad was going to kill after I dropped $75 at my first one. This was $75 in 1981, by the way. I think I only have one of those albums from that day - Mr. Fantasy by Traffic. But I'm digressing.)

Most of the sellers I talked to were pretty upbeat, sorta wiseguy record nerds, but still cool. And I made some pretty good scores:

Sam Rivers - Contours, which I've been playing while writing. A little scratched but I couldn't pass it up for $7.
Moby Grape - Wow, orig 360 sound. Used to have it but sold it when I was hard up for money. Most of it is on my Grape two-disc but I needed it for the vinyl collection, since I still have the first one and '69. $5.
Robyn Trower- Bridge of Sighs. I love "Day of the Eagle" and couldn't live without that song any longer. $3.
Larry Young - Groove Street. First purchase of the night. At $10, it was a little steep but it's Larry Young and it's an original Prestige. Nuf said.
Ken Nordine - Son of Word Jazz. I saw a "comedy and spoken word" box from across the way and this was the only thing of note in it. $1.
Big Black - Lungs. Touch and Go version for $10. Either I got something hot or got took. But I figured I ought to take the chance.
Billy Bang Quartet - Rainbow Gladiator. $5. The impulse buy that these events are made for.

So I have a ton of albums by the Weavers that I refused to tote with me, except for the ones that I used to tape the section headers to ("rock," "jazz" etc). No one is going to buy that stuff. Knowing that, I couldn't believe that I saw albums by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir there. I also saw Englebert Humperdinck albums for $4. COME ON! How can you fool yourself like that? No one's going to buy that for any price, even for irony's sake. Save yourself the trouble. I have a whole crate of Burl Ives and Limelighters albums I'm ready to send to Goodwill because it's taking up space.

Unless anyone reading this wants them. I'll throw in those Weavers records too.

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