Me and the crate diggers


Every six months or so, they have a modest record show in one of the meeting rooms of a downtown hotel here in Green Bay. It rolled around again Saturday, and it was the highlight of my day.

It’s nice to be in a room full of people with the same interests (and, largely, the same color of hair — gray or graying). That said, I’m a rank amateur compared to some of the folks at the show.

I hadn’t heard record collectors described as “crate diggers” until I started regularly visiting Larry Grogan’s Funky 16 Corners, a fabulous place to find vintage, obscure and terrific soul, R&B and funk. Larry digs through crates for those great 45s, as did a fair number of folks at the show.

(To see how a professional does it, Jamison Harvey over at the new and excellent Flea Market Funk also went crate digging on Saturday.)

I’m more of an LP and CD guy, but I still spent two hours digging through those crates, trying to find things on a fairly short wish list. Lots of familiar sights and great memories as I dug through the crates.

The LPs I’d hoped to find but did not: Either “Down In The Boondocks” or “Cherry Hill Park” by Billy Joe Royal (especially the latter), anything by The Royal Guardsmen, “The Jungle Book” soundtrack from the 1967 Disney movie and an album of 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks basketball highlights.

The LPs I fleetingly considered buying, but did not: Cheech and Chong’s first album, the “Mannix” original soundtrack by Lalo Schifrin and an album of 1967 St. Louis Cardinals baseball highlights.

The LPs that came home: “Mystery To Me” by Fleetwood Mac, “Whipped Cream and Other Delights” by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, the “Hawaii Five-O” original soundtrack by Morton Stevens and “The Horn Meets The Hornet” by Al Hirt. (Plus the first Van Halen album on CD.)

Not bad for $7.


I just had to buy the Al Hirt after finding it online a couple of months ago at Check The Cool Wax. You know the theme to “The Green Hornet” — a jazzed-up take on Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee.” It’s on this 1966 album, as are Hirt’s covers/interpretations of popular TV theme songs of the day. They’re described on the back cover as “Al Hirt Plays TV Themes of Intrigue.”

Well, it is intriguing to ponder who thought it was a good idea to start the theme from “The Monkees” with a spaghetti Western sound, then swing into a big-band arrangement. The theme from “Batman,” fares a little better, with Hirt’s trumpet riffing high above a fairly faithful arrangement of Neal Hefti’s classic piece.

As always, you be the judge.

“(Theme From) The Monkees,” and “Batman Theme,” Al Hirt, both from “The Horn Meets The Hornet,” 1966. It’s out of print.


Filed under April 2007, Sounds

3 responses to “Me and the crate diggers

  1. i’m far from a professional, honestly, but i do enjoy a great dig. this show, while others would say it was garbage, was fruitful to the posse that i went with. looks like you got soem cool stuff. my favorite al hirt is: “soul in the horns”.

  2. It’s been a long time since I’ve hit a record show. Back when I was in the Twin Cities, I’d hit three or four a year and generally come away with a few treasures. Alas, I’ve not seen one advertised here in St. Cloud in the nearly five years we’ve been here. (As I’ve written a few times, Big Al was my first musical hero, back when I was a squirt playing cornet. And the piece of his that quickly became my favorite remains so today: his version of “I Can’t Get Started” from 1963’s “Honey In The Horn.”)

  3. Pingback: Feels like 1967 … 1979 … 1992 « AM, Then FM

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