It’s been almost 10 years, March 2013, since I took this picture of an old 45 record holder in my friend Jim’s basement.
Later that year, Jim moved to Missouri to be closer to a daughter, so the days of digging for records in his tiny basement are long gone. Now Jim Young is gone as well. He died earlier this month. He was 71.
Jim was friendly but quirky. I went digging at his home in Appleton, a half-hour away, maybe a dozen times, and I never found out what he did for a living. His obit offers few clues. He served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.
“Jim loved music, spending most of his life collecting vinyl,” the obit reads.
There was a lot of vinyl in that tiny basement, all neatly organized and stored. Shelves lined the walls. Crates on tables filled most of the rest of the room. He organized a couple of record shows, but mostly worked out of his house.
Jim lived on one side of a tiny duplex. He kept his collection on the main floor, but I never saw it. He collected mostly country music, I think. When it came time for a sale, Jim set up this tent in the back yard.
The top photo is from May 14, 2011. The temperature was about 50. The wind chill was in the 30s. The bottom photo is from Sept. 11, 2011, a much nicer day. There were a lot of $1 records in the boxes in those tents.
I bought a lot of records from Jim back then, filling out my collection with mostly $1, $3 and $5 records, none particularly valuable, none in plastic sleeves. One day, I came home with 20 records for $20. Another day, 13 for $13.
As for the records I bought from Jim …
Dionne Warwick’s “Soulful,” which was good, and “In the Valley of the Dolls,” which was not. The first R.B. Greaves and Chi Coltrane LPs I ever saw. “Lonely Weekends” by Charlie Rich, bought solely for “Who Will the Next Fool Be.”
Though Jim’s tastes and his records were fairly mainstream, I found The Chi-Lites’ “(For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People,” the cool Philadelphia International comp “Philadelphia Classics” and The Electric Indian’s “Keem-O-Sabe.” The latter sounds cringeworthy, but actually is solid Philly pop produced by Len Barry and featuring studio players who wound up in MFSB.
Some records seen in Jim’s basement stayed there. “A-tom-ic Jones,” by Tom Jones, I bought elsewhere. Joe Tex’s “Soul Country,” I still don’t have.
On my last trip to Jim’s basement, in November 2013, I found “New Country Roads” by Nat Stuckey, “What’s New Pussycat?” by Tom Jones and “Band Of Gold” by Freda Payne (which I already had, but my first one skipped).
Here’s Jim at a show he organized in February 2009. See how he tilted records at the back of boxes for a nice presentation? I’ve done that when I’ve sold records.
I’ll do it again this weekend, keeping Jim’s memory alive when I help my friends Jeff and Jolee set up their crates at the Green Bay Record Convention.