6-30-08 Record Collecting #2
Towards the end of the 60’s, I began getting the inexpensive Warner / Reprise ‘loss leader’ double LP samplers – which inspired further numerical wonderment. Why was RS 6355 (Mephistopheles – “In Frustration I Hear Singing”) the sole Warner / Reprise title in the 6300 series that wasn’t available as an 8-track tape? Around the same time, I got the inclination to write to British record companies, requesting catalogs.
Decca UK sent me a lovely full-color Rolling Stones booklet; EMI UK sent me a full-color catalog of available 8-track tapes (I wonder why – I hadn’t asked for one!) – but best of all – EMI forwarded my name to an exporter, who sent me loads of British record catalogues, circa 1970. The first big UK label I tried to work out was the Island Records ILPS 9000 series. I liked so many of the LP’s in this series, I wanted to know what all of the other Island UK releases were!
A quick letter sent off to Island Records, Basing Street netted a great 1971 catalog – a tiny little book, but it had all the numbers in it! By the time I wrote to Track Records UK, they were merely being administered by Polydor Records UK – so I do not remember receiving a response from them. No matter – I could seek out British music publication such as Sounds, Melody Maker and the New Musical Express! The advertisements were even more interesting than the music writing!
My older brother is responsible for turning me into an “import LP snob” – in 1967. He brought home a British pressing of The Beatles “Sgt. Peppers”; I asked to see it – he told me to wash my hands first (I was 9 years of age – it was a justified request!). It didn’t take long for me to understand that British records were ‘desirable’ – the debut Jimi Hendrix Experience LP had 3 different songs than the US copy; there were numerous Rolling Stones “England only” things – the “Come On” b/w “I Want To Be Loved” 45 on Decca UK, for instance. Certainly the British-manufactured LP covers looked better (most were nice & shiny, on the front – even if the paper of British LP covers seemed a bit flimsy, when compared to US-manufactured covers).
The two places that my brother told me about that had import LP’s were up in Los Angeles – “Lewin’s Record Paradise” on Hollywood Blvd., and “Ray Avery’s Rare Records”, on Broadway in Glendale, CA. I got my dad to take me to both places – numerous times. I loved the display wall in Record Paradise – with all those British import LP’s lined up – a full set of British LP’s & EP’s by The Who, The Stones, The Beatles etc. Long Beach had it’s own hippie record stores – Licorice Pizza, Platterpuss, Phineas, Wheatstone, Mundae…but it took them all a while to get on the import LP bandwagon – perhaps in 1970 or so. I had already been going to L.A. with my dad, in search of import LP’s since 1968! But I eventually patronized all of these stores – Platterpuss on 7th Street in L.B. had import LP’s and used records! Certainly there were other Long Beach 60’s & 70’s record stores – Revolver Records on 4th Street, Larry’s Recordsth Street…ah, the places of my youth! on 7