Tales from the Crate is a zine for all of my record collector friends. Every issue is filled with pictures and written commentary on the records I purchase in a single trip to a specific record store or sale with a $50 budget. Keeping with the spoofy title, every cover is a rip off of an EC Comics pre-comics code cover.
You can buy the back issues here:
You can pre-order the new issue here:
To give you an idea of what an issue looks like, here’s a run down of a recent trip I took to one of my favorite shops in the world, Used Kids Records
About the shop:
Used Kids Records has been a Columbus, Ohio institution for over thirty years. Originally one of many Ohio State campus record stores, it has recently moved to a spot north and east of campus because the college kids today don’t give a shit about records. (Seriously. When I first moved to Columbus, the OSU stretch of N. High Street had five record stores. Now? Nothing.) Issue #2 of Tales From the Crate was about a trip to Used Kids.
Address: 2250 Summit Street, Columbus Ohio 43202
Combo Time with the Len Bright Combo
Fire Records FireLP297
Vinyl Condition: VG+: Glossy black vinyl with some light scuffs. There is a slight defect in the shape of the vinyl that causes some pops and crackles on the first and last tracks on second side.
Jacket Condition: NM: No visible wear
Bought for resale
I know that I just said that Used Kids often has great deals, but I almost couldn’t believe when i saw this record in the bins for only $10. It’s a great deal, but it more surprised me from the fanboy perspective. Why would anyone resale THIS record? To me, it’s that great. I hope it was a desperate attempt to make rent or beat out a disconnect notice. Maybe a faithful pooch needed surgery. Whatever the reason, and since I don’t think that any of the local shops carried this record when it came out, so I think this record was probably purchased directly from Wreckless Eric at one of the shows I arranged for him in Columbus. Hopefully the memory created at the show will prevent a void created by financial need.
For those of you not in the loop on the Len Bright Combo, It was a trio composed of Wreckless Eric, Bruce Brand and Russ Wilkins, both formerly of the Milkshakes. They put out two LPs, the thrice eponymously titled “The Len Bright Combo Present . . . The Len Bright Combo . . . By The Len Bright Combo” and this second effort. To me, this record is a kind of a reversal of what you normally see from a band’s first two records…. The first usually being a loose affair that is pecking at a distinct sound but has room to tighten up and a second release that is by most accounts a slicker manifesto of a band’s sound. The opposite is true of these records, where the “Len Bright Combo Present..” is a fairly clear map to the band’s DNA and “Combo Time” is all over the map. Which isn’t to say it doesn’t have it’s merits. Comedy Time, (Swimming Against) the Tide of Reason, Phasers on Stun and Ticking in My Corner are some of my favorite songs penned by Wreckless Eric.
Rudy Grayzell: Let’s Get Wild
Starday Records LP 1321
Vinyl Condition: VG+: Glossy black vinyl with some light scuffs that don’t affect play
Jacket Condition: VG+: Light general wear at edges and corners, very light ringwear
Bought for keepers
OK. Not long ago a facebook friend posted a comment along the lines of “I’m not saying that the modern rockabilly and burlesque revivals are inherently racist, but you have to examine any group of white kids who are nostalgic for pre-civil rights era culture.” It’s a point not lost on me as I look at my tastes in records. I really like rockabilly music, but it is a genre that’s rich with fruits of cultural appropriation and is dominated by people who often hold beliefs that are in direct opposition to mine. I do wonder if my appreciation for their music perpetuates social ills in some way. Mostly I think not. Sometimes I have qualms.
For instance: I was super excited to find this Rudy “Tutti” Grayzell record. He is another artist I’m familiar with from the Starday Dixie comps I mentioned above and I’ve wanted hear more of his songs forever. I was less excited to be buying a record that uses the confederate flag as a prominent design element. There are two different releases of this comp, the other just has a picture of Grayzell. I suspect that the flags and western motif were added to appeal to a southern audience and the plainer cover was for yankees like me. The western motif is just as perplexing if not as obviously problematic as the use of a flag of a bunch of racist traitors... who lost the damn war by the way...
Complicating matters: After a couple of listens, I really like this record. The fast songs are everything I want from a rockabilly record… upbeat and fun, like a Bill Haley record with twangy guitars. (Which of course, is pretty much how Haley started out, but that’s a different story for a different record.) The slow songs are doo-wop tinged moaners as opposed to country lamentations. It’s just a good record.
I guess I’ll hang on to this copy until I can find one that doesn’t offend my snowflake libtard sensibilities.
Kings of Rockabilly Volume 1
Ace Records 10-CH-18
Vinyl Condition: NM: Glossy black vinyl with no noticeable defects
Jacket Condition: VG+: Only super light general wear at edges and corners
Bought for Resale
Pro-tip for crate diggers hanging out in the rockabillly section: If you see a cheap copy of one of these British 10” compilations from the late seventies/early eighties, grab it for resale. They usually go for $15 bucks or so on sites like discogs.
Content wise they can range the raw proto-punk made-in-someones-bathroom sound to tunes that are basically just country. This one tends more towards the former, as I suspected it would based on having Benny Joy’s “Spin the Bottle” and Fred Crawford’s “Rock Candy Rock” which I was already familiar with from my beloved “Starday/Dixie Rockabillies” comps that I picked up in Boston years ago at Cheapo Records.
The Hentchmen: Ten String Trio EP
Flying Bomb Records
Side 1: All I Want To Do, Chicks and Cars ‘97
Side 2: Darling Let’s Have Another Baby
Vinyl Condition: NM: Glossy clear vinyl with no noticeable defects
Jacket Condition: VG+: light general wear at edges and corners
Bought for keepers
I saw Detroit’s Hentchmen play at Bernies Distillery here in Columbus sometime in the early or mid 90s. I was there to see some local band whose identity is lost in the haze, but I do remember how cool the Hentchmen looked taking the stage… three skinny kids with glasses in striped shirts and goofy grins. (In retrospect, that was sort of a thing in the 90s, but they were the best of the lot with that look.) I guess Jack White played with the Hentchmen early on. I don’t think he was with them for that evening for what that’s worth. The other members of the Hentchmen variously went on to also play with notable detroit acts like the PAybacks, Detroit Cobras and Dirtbombs.
Anyways, that show made me an instant fan. This is one of their records that I didn’t have, so a no-brainer pick up for $3.
Tale of the Tape:
Total Spent………………………………………….. $29
# Records………………………………………… 4
12” records…………………………………………. 2
10” records…………………………………………. 1
Average Cost Per…………………………………..$7.25