Update: I’m trying to buy the largest record collection possible with £116.99, which just happens to be the amount of hard earned cash you would have to part with were you to covet the new Oasis box set of (What’s The Story) Morning Glory.
It was time to go crate digging.
First stop? My local record fair in Southend.
The first thing I found was that Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top Ten Albums of All Time weren’t exactly waiting to be rescued in the cheap bins. If anything, as we have seen, the likes of The White Album and Exile on Main St are cheaper to buy new. If I was going to snap up a bargain, I would have to be patient – and lucky.
One stall in particular, however, did catch my eye. It had a decently priced copy of “Out of our Heads” by The Rolling Stones to plug a gap in my own collection, and also had three albums that fitted the bill for the challenge. We agreed a price of £20 for all four. £12.50 for Out of our Heads and £2.50 each for the other three, which were:
- The Rolling Stones – Through The Past Darkly – Big Hits Vol. 2 (Value on Rare Record Guide 2012 (“RRG2012”) : £40 mint) The Rolling Stone “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list includes US releases of The Stones’ LPs, which had different track listings to the UK. Because of this, and also because their original albums are not cheap**, I decided to target a hits collection. I did later spot a copy of Rolled Gold for £5 (a compilation I have a soft spot for as I owned it on cassette many years ago) and Grrr! for just £3, but then scooting around a little later I found “Big Hits: High Tide and Green Grass” for £3 (value in RRG2012 £40 mint) and that meant I had two Stones best-of LPs for just over a fiver.
The two sixties compilations are more interesting as collectibles than those later more comprehensive best-of collections:
Firstly, the packaging is great fun. “High Tide and Green Grass” comes with a six page booklet attached to the gatefold cover – with great glossy photos of the young Stones.
Not to be outdone, “Through The Past Darkly” is – uniquely* an octagonal gatefold sleeve with a picture of the Stones laid out like particularly scruffy crudités.
Secondly, the selection of songs is interesting – especially in Vol. 2 – as songs recorded around the time of “Satanic Majesties” feature prominently. It might not be their best stuff, but you don’t hear it very often. “We Love You” is worth a second listen in particular. Recorded after Jagger and Richard were released from jail in 1967, and released as a single, it features the sound of a jail door shutting, and the angry, urgent piano motif is in sharp contrast to the psychedelic “We Love You” message. Ostensibly a “thank you” to fans, it was a phenomenal anti-establishment riposte to the authorities, and now sounds all the more subversive given the police harassment The Stones were receiving at the time.
The final reason these LPs are interesting is that you get to see the original Decca labels. The very early pressings of Stones records had “unboxed” Decca labels and are valued more highly by collectors. This is good news for the non-millionaires amongst us, because it means you can pick up the later, boxed Decca logo variety for less than half the price. Even the boxed variety are still from the sixties and thus nearly fifty years old.
When I got “Through The Past Darkly” I realised why it was so inexpensive – there was a scratch at the start of it. Fortunately, I have a method to fix that (click here to read how to fix a record that skips and jumps) and it worked like a charm.
- Chuck Berry – “More Chuck Berry”. (Value in RRG2012: £25 mint. Most valuable Chuck Berry record: 1956’s “No Money Down” single on London records with triangular centre: £400) Berry’s 1982 collection “The Great 28” is #21 on Rolling Stones’ list, but was a US only release and hard to find in the UK on vinyl. This album was released on the Pye label (the same one as The Kinks) and contains some great hits:
- Little Queenie,
- Brown Eyed Handsome Man,
- Too Much Monkey Business and
- Carol (a song The Stones covered on their first LP)
- and also some less well known tunes. Hearing album-only tracks such as “Anthony Boy” brings a freshness to an artist with such a well known canon – it’s like we are hearing Berry for the first time.
What made this an interesting purchase was the inner sleeve which looked like this:
This was not the normal inner sleeve for Chuck Berry – and I knew exactly what it did belong to. In some ways, the inner sleeve might be just as valuable as the record….
- The Kinks: Golden Hour of The Kinks. (Value in RRG2012 >£10. Most valuable Kinks Album: Village Green – £200 mint in mono).
Sometimes you have to be realistic with a record collection. It’s almost impossible to find an original copy of The Village Green Preservation Society (#258 on the RS500 list) or Something Else (#289) for less than fifty quid, and usually they’re a lot more. Newer re-releases are excellent – there’s a lovely double album of each record – in mono and stereo – for around £30, but that still eats up too much of my budget.
The Kink Kronikles (#232) is a US best-of and crops up from time to time for around twenty. However, far more common is the single disc “Golden Hour” collection. I wondered whether the Waterloo Sunset single on Pye records would be a better addition to the collection for about the same price, but then thought no record collection should be without “Days”, “Victoria”, “Til The End of the Day” etc etc. I am always staggered how good a song writer Ray Davies is whenever I play a Kinks best-of compilation. Just when you finish one all-time classic song, up comes another…
So four classic albums for £10.50. Just over £2.50 each. All from artists that feature prominently in the Top 500. Decca and Pye labels ticked off. And The Rolling Stones and Kinks both ticked off the list. At this (presumably unsustainable) rate there might be forty LPs in the final collection? Surely this is already better than a mere Oasis Box Set…?
What would be next…? Find out in Part 4 via this link…
What would you buy with £116.99?
Would it be better than the Oasis box set? Or why not join in with other people here and go on your own record buying quest? I’ll link to every blog that joins in, or feel free to share your thoughts below…
* No doubt someone will correct me if this is not the case?
** I’ll write about Rolling Stones albums on vinyl another time, as it is quite a subject in itself, but original, mint first pressings of UK Rolling Stones vinyl records are valued as follows (mint):
- Rolling Stones First Album: 1st pressing £1,000. 2nd pressing with sleeve that lists “Mona” £250. 2nd pressing with sleeve that lists “I Need You Baby” £130.
- Rolling Stones #2: £130
- Out of Our Heads: £110
- Aftermath: £110
- Between The Buttons: £150 mono
- Satanic Majesties: £200 mono
- Beggars Banquet: £200 mono
- Let It Bleed: £100
- Sticky Fingers: £50
- Exile on Main St: £100.