On the first gloriously sunny 50-degree day of spring in our corner of Wisconsin, a bunch of us stayed inside and went record digging.
More than 300 people turned out for the spring Green Bay Record Convention. I helped set up, then helped my friends run their table. Some of the things seen, heard and thought during all the digging …
— Anyone who tells you men aren’t high maintenance hasn’t met a couple of our record dealers.
One of them had a small bank of recessed spotlights over his crates. It hadn’t been turned on. “I can’t sell records in the dark!” this gent whined. Never mind that all the other lights in the room were on, including the white party bulbs strung from one side of the room to the other. Never mind also that no one else complained about the lighting.
Another one wanted a deal on a $25 record. He asked me whether we would go $20. Said it wasn’t my call and pointed him to my friends. He walked over to them. They were maybe 10 feet away. So of course the first thing out of his mouth is would they go $18. Oh, come on, sir.
— This was easily the strangest record we sold: “Factual Eyewitness Testimony of UFO Encounters.” The gent who bought it had no problem with it being $25.
— This was easily the second strangest record we sold. The guy who bought it — another of my friends — conceded that he may have been buying it for the cover alone.
— My friend Dave and I go back to the ’80s, when he ran a record store near the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison, and I bought records from him. Fast forward to recent years. Dave no longer has the store but sells records at shows and online. I still am buying records from Dave. Today, while digging through his crates, I held up a copy of “Shake and Push,” a 1982 record by the Morells, a roots-rock group from Missouri.
“I bought this from you at the store on Regent Street back in the ’80s,” I said.
“Yeah,” Dave said, “I used to get those directly from the band.”
Dave isn’t high-maintenance. He’s one of our respected elders, a longtime musician in addition to being a veteran record seller. When Dave talks, I listen.
Dave and another guy were digging through my friends’ crates while I was running the table. One of them mentioned Bob Seger’s great but hard-to-find “Back In ’72” LP, which I have. That got Dave to thinking out loud that maybe he ought to get a copy of “Heavy Music,” the compilation of early Bob Seger and the Last Heard singles released last year. Dave thought it might be a limited edition and seemed to doubt there would be a second pressing.
When the record show was over, I went across town and bought it. When Dave talks, I listen.
— Finally, one last thought: Does anyone buy Linda Ronstadt records anymore? Didn’t see anyone who bought one today. Haven’t seen anyone buy one in a long, long time.
Had someone been seeking the Linda Ronstadt record with that song on it, it would be this one from 1970, which I believe I saw in someone’s crates today.