I made it to the show yesterday later than normal. I can usually be found walking in as soon as the doors open at 10am. I slept in and cruised in a little after noon. This disturbed me to no end. While I kept waking and going back to sleep, I couldn’t help but imagine what rarities were being scooped up for mere pennies while I was too lazy to rouse myself. As anyone who's every been to the Roseville show knows, that is never the case.
Armed with my trusty Vestax portable turntable I paid the $3 entry fee, collected my admission ticket for future raffle purposes and made my way to my usual first stop…Rod Branham’s table.
Branham is in his mid-fifties, a retired hippie if you will, having done time at the Grande Ballroom digging on the Stooges and the MC5 way back when. With his doting wife always at his side behind the tables he is sometimes clad in a loud tie-dyed shirt and his longish hair is usually threaded through the back of a baseball hat. This day he was wearing a Stooges cap replete with “Free John Now” and White Panther “Music is Revolution” pins. His stock is always fascinating…while selling me many of my prized 60’s garage singles, he always has a great batch of soul and blues items as well. He puts some stuff on eBay under the seller name “rerun45” and it’s worth checking his auctions from time to time.
I’ve got many a jams from Rod over the years…the Quests “Scream Loud” on Fenton, Roy Junior “Victim of Circumstances” on Hickory, my first copy of the MC5 “Looking at You” on A-Square, the Beaux Jens “She Was Mine” on Sound of the Sceen, the Mama Cats "Miss You" (written by Bob Seger) on Hideout and countless other garage rarities currently in my coffers. And I think he was responsible for the Michigan Mayhem compilations, so much respect sent his way as those are essential in my book.Rod can be a little overpriced, but as one who consistently turns up records I myself can’t find anywhere else, I find no problem with him. He supposedly even snagged a clean-but-cracked copy of the Keggs single at one of these Roseville shows of the past few years. I guess someone just walked in and picked Rod's table as the place he wanted to trade his stuff. What luck. Rod must just give off that record radar and the gems just find their way to him. As with most dealers, the more you buy, the more they knock off their listed price. But he had nothing that tugged at my loins this day, so I was off to other lands.
I soon found a copy of Robin and the Three Hoods “That’s Tuff” on Hollywood and snagged it for $10. Came home and found a copy of the same song, albeit on the Fan Jr. label, that I had bought at the previous Roseville show from who I believe to be the same seller. Such are the perils of my existence. I hope the same doesn’t happen to you.
Later I was “recognized” by a dealer as “the guy who did the liner notes for the White Stripes DVD.” Wow. Pretty surreal and cool and weird all at the same time. I mean, how do you recognize someone from liner notes? I guess he knew who I was before? But recognized me with the beard? I don't know. I spent a few minutes discussing the intricacies of the White Stripes cover of “Jack the Ripper” in relation to Screaming Lord Sutch’s penning of tune and not, as he thought, the Link Wray song of the same name. I also explained its similarity to the version by the One Way Streets featured on the “Back from the Grave” compilation.
He had a nice stack of paper goods and I got flyers from the ’89 and ’90 Dally in the Alley, along with two issues of Hoofsip (a zine by Dan Augustine of the W-Vibe), some old playlists for Radios in Motion and other assorted ephemera for $25. The Dally flyers were ideal for their mention of two Gories performances, letting me add those two shows to my in-progress complete master list of ever Gories show ever.
I am a dork.
My final stop was some random dude’s table. He’s got grey hair, probably in his mid-sixties and on this occasion, had a moustache. He’s kinda shrouded in mystery…he sets up, at most, once a year at the record show, but doesn’t do eBay, doesn’t have a store, doesn’t sell out of his house. In this world, that’s quite peculiar, and for some reason, makes me respect the guy even more. I imagine he was a cross-country hitch-hiking beatnik badass back when that meant something. And that he bought every record he saw.
He had lots of stuff from the HBR and Bangar labels. The Bats, Guilloteens, Positively 13 O’Clock, Unrelated Segments and W.C. Field’s Electric Memorial String band were all HBR titles he had (of course no copy of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators) and I fretted about the 13 O’Clock version of “Psychotic Reaction” for some time even though it had a significant skip in it. Even for only $10, I couldn’t justify it. Gregory Dee and the Avanties, Mojo Buford and the Accents were all Bangar stuff that he had (and of course, no copy of the Shandells’ monster “Gorilla”) that I ultimately passed on.
But this brings me to an interesting feeling that comes over me in record show situations. With the Positively 13 O’Clock single, I got excited. Never, ever a good thing to happen at a record show, as it clouds your judgement. As my Sixties garage knowledge is pretty confined to local Michigan releases and the more-elite of the Back From the Grave releases, anything else remotely interesting befuddles me. So I start to have rapid-fire succession of thoughts: “Is this comped? Have I heard it? Is it super-rare? Is this criminally under-priced? Ohmygawd did I discover this? I bet no one’s ever heard it before. They’re gonna write a story about me in the newspaper. Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit.”
But that has never been the case. At the Roseville record show I’ve never discovered anything, never got a smoking deal, never nothing. For me, it seems the dealer is always right and that is never in your favor. Actually, I got copies of the Henry and June and Detroit Cobras singles on Human Fly a few years back for $15 each and that was pretty cool. But other than that…
But this guy also had a copy of the Detroit Sex Machines “The Stretch” which was amazing. There was talk in some circles that this single didn’t even exist…that it was a complete modern fabrication that existed only as a Soul Fire reissue. Well I held one in all it’s resplendent glory yesterday. Found it inconspicuously in his soul box (which I had no idea why I was going through) and just stared at it for awhile. Trying to decipher his pencil-written code on the paper sleeve was tricky. It seemed, appropriately, that it was priced at $2000. But then there were also little squiggles that made you think it could possibly be $350. As I put it back down, the guy next to me asked if he could see it. We were both tempted to ask the price, but neither of us did. Another customer, with a large stack, refiled the single and the owner started to ask about it. He said “What’d I have that for?” to which other customer replied “Two” and he shook his head in agreement.
He also had a copy of the All Night Workers “Why Don’t You Smile” single, famous for being one of the pre-VU Lou Reed tracks along with “The Ostrich”, “My Iconoclastic Life” and “There’s a Tiger In My Tank” (and others, I’m sure) that were ish’d on know-nothing labels back when Lou was a production line songwriter at Pickwick Records. He had it priced at $70. I was tempted. It was a DJ copy. I had no idea what they usually sell for. I listened to it and determined I liked the Del-Monas cover version much better. I also think the DM's version is the basis for the fuzz bass part in the Dirtbombs song “Cedar Point ‘76”.
(Does anyone have a CD of all Lou’s pre-VU stuff? I’ve got bits and bobs here…the repress of “The Ostrich” 45 on the hilariously goof’d Dickwick label and the Beechnuts on the “What a Way to Die” comp, but it’d be nice to have it all in one place, you know?)
The only things I bought from this guy were the 3rd Power 45 and a promo copy of the mono/stereo New York Dolls “Trash” for $35. The 3rd Power were a Detroit band from the late ‘60s that you can find listed on a bunch of old Grande Ballroom posters. This was the only thing they ever released. It lacks the tenacity of the Up “Just Like An Aborigine” but I would group it in a similar category. The New York Dolls label was just too pretty to pass up.
At the 2pm they held a raffle for three $25 prizes. Or was it $50? Either way, I lost. I’m trying to imagine how many of these record shows I’ve been to, somewhere near 30 I’d imagine, and am wondering what the chances are that I go to every one for the rest of my life and continue to not win the raffle. I have never won and probably never will.