When we were kids, there always were a few baseball or football cards that just never turned up. Not for you, not for your friends, seemingly not for anyone where you lived.
So it was in the spring of 1968. No one in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, had Cookie Rojas, No. 39 from the first series of that year’s Topps baseball card set.
Fast forward to the spring of 1972. We had moved to Wausau, Wisconsin, about 150 miles to the northwest. My new best friend Glick and I bonded over many things, music and baseball cards among them.
As we talked about hard-to-get cards one day, I mentioned Cookie Rojas from 1968. Glick gave me his best you-must-be-shitting-me look. Cookie Rojas? He reached for his cards and said something like “Here, how many do you want?”
Somehow, Cookie Rojas was much more widely distributed in packs sold in Wausau than in packs sold in Sheboygan. Go figure.
Which brings us back to record digging, as usually happens here.
Last month’s vacation provided my first opportunity to go digging in the South. As you’d expect, there are lots more soul records in Mississippi and Tennessee than in Wisconsin. Not quite the same as the random Cookie Rojas distribution model, but there are similarities.
While digging through the soul records at one stop, I looked up and had my own you-must-be-shitting-me moment. There, on the wall, was a copy of this record, priced at $25 or so.
The Esquires, from Milwaukee, on the Bunky Records label out of Milwaukee. As you’d imagine, this is one of the soul records we see in Wisconsin. They likely don’t see it as much in the South, even if it was distributed nationally by Scepter Records.
I’ve found two copies of this LP in Wisconsin, and I don’t think I paid more than $5 for them combined. Can’t imagine paying $25 for it. I mentioned that to my friend Larry, who runs the fine Funky 16 Corners and Iron Leg blogs.
“It’s the regional discount,” he sagely advised.
That said, this summer, I think I’m going to get on up …
… seeking records (and perhaps a regional discount) not found in Wisconsin.
(“And Get Away” was the soundalike follow-up to “Get On Up,” the Esquires’ biggest hit. It also did well on the charts, peaking at No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reaching No. 9 on the black singles chart.)
(Three years ago, Larry told me his copy of this LP “was among the many fine albums sacrificed in the vinyl-to-CD purge in the 80s.” So, after I found a second copy, I sent one to Larry in New Jersey.)
Please visit our companion blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.