A couple of days ago I found myself digging through the dusty gold at my favorite place to pick old records ( Lucky Day Thrift in Stoughton, MA) when I came across something unusual.
I didn't realize just how unusual until I got it home and gave it a closer look.
I have to preface this by stating just how much I love 78rpm records. From the substantial weight of the records themselves, to the importance they place on the song by only featuring a limited amount of the very best ones on each record to the great labels and history behind the artists and recordings. Each 78rpm record produced was made to be played At the time they were produced,
no one was thinking,
"I'm going to keep this sealed in it's original package because someday there will be a thing called the internet and my grandkids can go to college on the value of this record."
Even if the original music fans who bought these records had a crystal ball, they would have chosen to not invest heavily in 78's. At best, I make a buck or 2 on each I sell. Enough to get me on the subway to get to work in the morning but not enough to send me to Harvard, or even Yale. Still, it's the thrill of the chase that makes the picking game fun...
Every scratch on every 78 record I buy makes me think of some "cat" in a racoon coat carrying a stack of hits over to the home of some flapper "kid" with a scandalously short cropped hair cut so they can perfect crazy dance moves to that same hit song repeated over and over again to the delight of the whole neighborhood.
Maybe I've just got an over active imagination but considering the condition I find these things in, I don't think I'm all that far off the mark.
Yesterday I found a selection of records that tickled my fancy and an item that I thought was a bit of neat old advertising so I went to reverse haggle with the boss.
(Lucky Day profits benefit charity and I have never once left that shop without insisting that they take more than they are asking for the piles of great finds I walk out with.
"Really? Only 5 bucks? Did you see how awesome this thing is? I don't want to cheat you. I'll give you 10 bucks and that's my final offer."
(A 1940 edition in acceptable condition of "The Well of Lonliness", Ink Spots 78's, many vintage sweaters and handbags that Grrl Pickers easily made 500% profit upon re-sale. The place is a GOLD mine for quantity vintage sellers)
But I digress...
This is the fun thing I found on my last pick at Lucky Day:
It was not a neat piece of advertising ephemera, it's an actual record.
I noticed the grooves on the front and looked up a few key words from the record.
"Durium" records were produced in the mid 1930's to accomodate the shrinking wallets of depression era music lovers. They were inexpensively produced and in turn, cost less for the consumer. They're not particularly tough but that makes finding one in halfway decent condition even more rare.
Fun for me as a contemporary seller is that this tune was apparently used in the soundtrack for the modern flick 'Water For Elephants'. A movie made of a book that I and many others absolutely loved.
This record is now posted for auction on ebay, let's see if anyone else finds it half as fascinating as I do...
And so the circle keeps spinning, can wait to see what treaures the flip side (our next pick) brings!