Sunday, September 06, 2015

Prepping for Dr. Lonnie Smith, two weeks of catching up, estate sales

Right now I'm listening to/sort of watching a live performance of Dr. Lonnie Smith on youtube. I'm interviewing the good doctor in a few hours for City Paper since he's coming to town later this month. Then I am leaving town for the day to visit family in Ohio.

I felt like I was on a roll last month, trying to listen to more music and write about it here. That unfortunately lasted just a couple weeks. What happened? One thing was I got bit by the estate sale bug again. I had a couple Saturdays off of work and decided to venture out to a few sales in hopes of finding some vinyl. The first couple excursions were a bust. Then one Sunday morning - when I did have to go straight into work afterwards - I wandered into a sale. I had gone the day before, because I read the paper wrong, and wondered why there was no line waiting to get in.

The next morning was completely different. The line snaked past the next house and down around the corner. I queued up behind two dudes with mullets and the thickest Pittsburghese accents I've heard in ages. Despite Dude #2's misgivings, they did let us all in at once, but two of the guys at the front of the line - WHO BROUGHT THEIR OWN BOXES WITH THEM - were already filling said boxes with vinyl by the time I made it into the garage. Frantically I ran to the first floor because the sellers said there were more records upstairs. I only found CDs, though there was some good ones, including Sonny Rollins' Way Out West and Charles Mingus' The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. I never owned, or even heard the former, and I have the latter in a vinyl reissue that doesn't include the extensive liner notes. So at $2 a pop, I figured I better get them.

When the box dudes made it upstairs, I decided to head back down. Somehow they missed a nice mono copy of the Stones' December's Children and Meet the Beatles. There were also some really perfect-looking Sinatra albums, that were flawed only by the fact that there were dates written on the back in pen in the upper left corner. Judging from the condition, they must have been dates when the records were played. There were also some Nat King Cole albums and some Verve-era Ella Fitzgerald discs.Then I came across a box of 78s, but they were all in albums and there was nothing of note. My friend Jay also found them and I figured I'd leave them to him. I grabbed what amounted to about 15 albums and got in line to pay.

A guy behind me was eyeballing both December's Children and Meet the Beatles. I hadn't really had the chance to check the condition on all of them, and I offered Meet the Beatles to him. Figured it was good record karma, and that he would give it a better home.

On the way out, this guy told me how the guys with the boxes always get to sales before him. Except for the time he went out to a "1000s of records" estate sale in Zelienople and got in line at 4 a.m. He beat them.

And there were 1000s of records, sure.

All by the likes of Ray Conniff.

So this excursion has gotten me back into auctioning albums, a rather masochistic thing when all is said and done because of all the hoops you have to jump through in order to do it. But sometimes the payoff seems like it's worth it. And I've had some luck lately.

In other news, the Love Letters finally got back on stage this past Friday, at the Bayardstown Social Club, down in the Strip District. A little rain fell on this outdoor space, but there are tents which cover the picnic table areas and they put one up over the sound system. And the rain only lasted about 15-20 minutes.

It was kind of a weird-feeling set, because the stage was pretty small and it being outside, the sound just wafted away, without there being time for it sink in.

The Accidentals, from Michigan, headlined, and at first I thought it wasn't going to be the best pairing. They're fronted by a couple of 18/19-year old ladies who play a bunch of different instruments (violin, electric bodyless cello, bass and acoustic guitars) and play them all really well. And they're more in the singer-songwriter vein than we are.

But they were great. Very tight. Their drummer, Michael Dause (spelled differently but same name as our drummer's late father, who was also a drummer) had a kit that consisted of a kick drum, cymbals and a drum that I think is called a cajon, which you sit on. He used that where most people would use a snare and it sounded great.

Normally their stuff might not be my cup of tea - the regular introduction of band members following a solo was a little Vegas; and beatboxing just seems kind of quaint to me - they were all really nice and engaging. Glad we played with them.

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