Tag Archives: Bob Seger System

The long goodbye

A bunch of the record stores I once loved visiting are long gone. So it goes when you’ve been record digging for 50 years.

Prange’s basement and Evans in Sheboygan, Prange’s loft and Bob’s Musical Isle in Wausau, Freedom Records and Earthly Goods in Green Bay, Resale Records in Madison, all closed after I’d moved away. Truckers Union is still there on Water Street in Eau Claire, but it got out of the record business in the ’80s, again after I’d moved away.

But in all that time, only one regular stop closed as I watched it go.

Amazing Records, at the time the only used record store in Green Bay, closed in slow motion in the spring of 2010. Jim packed it up and took it back home to northern California.

Now another regular stop is closing as I watch it go.

James Giombetti — Mr. G — was the owner and voice of The Exclusive Company, a small chain of indie record stores in Wisconsin. He died last November. His family didn’t want to continue the business.

The Exclusive Company, Green Bay, April 15, 2022

The liquidation sale at the Green Bay store started on April 12. With up to 50% off everything, the first few days were a zoo. At the end of the second day, this is what the vinyl aisle looked like.

My friend Tom has worked at the Green Bay store since 1988. (I never knew those were called header cards.)

On the fourth day, April 15, I finally made it down there, more curious than anything. The new vinyl bins you see above on the right looked more like this.

Exclusive Company Green Bay store bins during liquidation sale, April 15, 2022

Someone had put that new Beatles release among the used records. With the Beatles header card long gone, I repatriated it to the front of the “B” bin.

On the fourth day, as I dug through the bins, Tom announced a milestone: “That’s the last Hellacopters CD I’ll ever sell in Green Bay.”

Bob Seger System 2+2=?/Ivory 45 jacket

On the fourth day, I found only a 45 — “2+2=?/Ivory” by the Bob Seger System, a 2017 release on Jack White’s Third Man Records label. Here’s the title cut from the original 45 on Capitol from 1968.

It’s fitting. The Exclusive Company bins have yielded a couple of records with the cool vintage cuts Bob Seger disavows, the LPs mentioned in this 2018 blog post.

I stopped in again yesterday, on the 18th day. Still plenty of records, still new releases on the new release wall, but the bins are clearly emptying out. The liquidation sale goes on through May and June. Still plenty of records, but none for me on the 18th day.

There will be other days for digging at The Exclusive Company in Green Bay, but they’re dwindling to a precious few.


Filed under April 2022

What I did on my summer vacation

Wait, I didn’t have a summer vacation. We moved our son to grad school in Ohio earlier this month. I saw a record store as we returned the U-Haul to Hamilton, Ohio, but we didn’t stop.

That said, I did manage to make a couple of record-digging excursions. We were in the Twin Cities on Fourth of July weekend, and a couple of weeks later, I made a swing through northern Illinois.

They turned out to be bittersweet trips.

My favorite record store in the Twin Cities was disappointing. Lots of records to look through, but it’s one of those places that’s increasingly mixing new vinyl with the used vinyl in the bins. Worst of all, the place smelled. Not that musty old record smell. No, it smelled of the pets that have the run of the place.

The good news is that I discovered a new favorite record store in the Twin Cities. My friend Todd, who runs one of our local indie record stores, tipped me to Mill City Sound in west suburban Hopkins. We’ve been going to the Twin Cities for almost 40 years, but had never been in this part of the area. Highly recommended, both for the record digging and for the small-town vibe of downtown Hopkins.

My $30 record-digging haul at Mill City Sound included the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” (yeah, a reissue, but you don’t see it often) and Sonny Curtis’ “Beatle Hits Flamenco Guitar Style” (which I’d never seen). I was so stoked to find those among the new arrivals that I forgot to circle back to grab another one I’d seen. So we returned two days later to get “Manufacturers of Soul” by Jackie Wilson and Count Basie, which was one of the records left behind on another record-digging trip two years ago.

My favorite record store in Rockford, Illinois, also was disappointing. Lots of records to look through, but one of those places that’s diversifying into new vinyl, used equipment and comic books. Worst of all, they seem to be mailing it in on the used vinyl. Bins jammed so full you couldn’t flip through them. No room in the bins? Just throw new arrivals on top, loose. Come on. Make an effort.

The good news is that I discovered a new favorite record store in Rockford. A decade ago, Culture Shock started out as a punk shop. It’s since matured into a place billed rather accurately as “half rock ‘n roll boutique and half record store.” Recommended on both counts, even if I didn’t find anything that day.

When I go record digging, whether on the road or here at home, I don’t have a wish list. But I do keep an eye out for early Bob Seger records, even though I have most of them.

Bob Seger was playing across town while I wrote this tonight. Zero interest in going because I know he never plays any of the great stuff from before the Silver Bullet days. So here’s one from the Bob Seger record I’ve never seen. Neither has my friend Dave, from whom I’ve been buying records since the ’80s.

“Noah,” from “Noah,” the Bob Seger System, 1969. It’s out of print.

More on this and some of Bob Seger’s other greatest hits in this post from 2011.


Filed under August 2017, Sounds