A Trip to a Well-Stocked Record Store
I’m out in San Francisco for a couple of days and I had a couple of hours to kill so I checked out a record store in Redwood City, The Record Man. It was an interesting experience and probably a shop you want to check out if you’re here, although I wound up not purchasing anything. I’d say the jazz inventory at this store is the largest I’ve seen anywhere, shelves and shelves of records and you get the feeling there’s even more where that came from. You need a ladder, which they provide, and some stamina to go through the records. There’s a lot of stuff, which means a lot of stuff to wade through, but there are also collectibles buried within, although I didn’t unearth any rare Blue Notes or Prestiges. I did find a few nice Verves I was interested in and a couple of vocal records. One of the challenges is that none of the records is priced, so whatever you pick out you don’t know how much it is going to cost you until you go to the counter. There the owner, Gary, who was quite warm and chatty, goes through a process of looking up recent prices from Popsike, supplemented with a Goldmine Price Guide. I suggested he also check out the Jazz Collector Price Guide for pricing information, and perhaps he will. In any case, I brought a small batch of records
to the counter and the prices were reasonable but all just a little bit more than I wanted to spend. A couple of examples: He had a copy of the Charlie Parker Plays Cole Porter Verve LP, a trumpeter label, and I had noticed recently that the copy in my collection was not in great shape. I figured I’d upgrade if the price was right. I figured, based on what I see on eBay, $30 was about the right price. He wanted $50, so I passed. There was also a really clean copy of Sarah Vaughan in the Land of Hi Fi, the one with Cannonball Adderley on Emarcy. Again, this is not that much of a collectible – not like the one with Clifford Brown – and you can generally find copies on eBay for $25 or $30. This one was in real nice shape but, again, the price was $50 and I decided to pass. There were also a Bill Evans Verve and a Oscar Peterson Verve and it was the same deal: The prices were around market value, but just a drop higher than I wanted to spend for that particular record. Perhaps if I didn’t already own the Bird LP or the Sarah, or perhaps if I didn’t think I could find a better price on eBay . . .
Anyway, I think that’s the extent of my record shopping for this trip. I do have to figure out a way to do a good shopper’s guide here on the site because, perhaps, there was a better use of my time, although this was an interesting experience and definitely worth a visit.