It’s almost June in 2019, so this is a little late, but if you’ll forgive me a moment – I’d like to indulge in a “better late than never” review of some of my favourite finds from last year in 2018.

It should really come as no surprise to anyone at this stage that we’re in the middle of a serious vinyl revival.  Industry figures bear witness to this, as do the sales and volume of interest around the country – if not the world.  This has a flow on effect to the second hand market, making it somewhat easier and yet somewhat harder to find big scores.

The Discogs marketplace has provided an excellent alternative to eBay and local classified type sites to target releases that have just for some reason been illusive over the almost two decades of crate digging.  However, purchases are rarely “bargains” and often incur horrible shipping costs that would preferably be avoided.  For those hard to find items, this is the cost of doing business.  That said, there’s still been the odd occasion where something fantastic has come to hand.

Last year I probably used more avenues for acquiring vinyl than I ever have.  Aside from Discogs and local second hand stores, I bought from dealers on Facebook as well as crate digging in a number of states and overseas.  I had to remove myself from selected Facebook groups towards the end of 2018 in order to save some money for a more capital purpose.  This did not really dent my appetite. 

In any case, 2018 was a good year and I’ve hand picked some acquisitions to share with you.

Bill Evans Trio – Explorations

1961 UK
White Riverside Label

My “local” (2nd hand record store) obtain a simply superlative (possibly once in a lifetime) score of original Jazz LPs from a former session player who bought pristine copies and recorded them to tape.  The collector’s holy grail of Jazz finds, there were EX condition copies of some of the rarest in Jazz.  I happened past on the day the collection landed and managed to get early picks from what had been priced. 

Much of it was outside my budget, but a few things were within reach.  This Bill Evans rarity was one.  I was perhaps helped by the fact that there was no existing Discogs entry, as no one had catalogued an original copy of Explorations on the UK Riverside label, sporting the early white label.

This is an exceptional album, and I had managed a few (cheaper) Bill Evans LPs before.  I also managed to obtain copies of Trio ‘64 and Trio ‘65 but this album was the most memorable. To this day, the photos in the Discogs entry are of my own copy.  It is in very nice condition and plays brilliantly.

George Harrison ‎– All Things Must Pass

1970 UK
Apple Records

Last year I was up in Sydney and took an opportunity to stop at The Vintage Record in Annandale, which was a solid recommendation from a friend of mine, Nate Goyer (who runs The Vinyl Guide).  I usually drop in when I can as they are open 7 days a week, and it’s not far from where some of my family lives in Sydney. 

As it happens, on this particular visit, I noticed this copy of George Harrison’s sitting notably on the wall with a $20 price tag.  I already have an Australian copy (a sample) which I inherited from family, but for that price I could not resist.

As luck would have it, it was a UK first press and the discs were between VG/VG and VG+/VG+ and thus an improvement over my tortured heirloom copies.  I had not seen the UK packaging before (a box) as the Australian copies and most of the represses are in tri-panel gatefold covers.

Tom Waits ‎– Bone Machine

1992 UK/EU
Island Records

Last year I finally made it to the Canberra Record Market which is routinely held at the Old Canberra Inn in Lyneham.  For some reason, for a few years in a row, I managed to come down with a cold or flu and had been unable to attend.  Not so in 2018, and fortune smiled on me. 

Last year I managed to find an OP copy of Tom Waits’ Bone Machine in EX condition for a very reasonable $40 (AUD).  I have been collecting Waits albums since I attempted the 100 Albums challenge, and this was another to add to the list.  Not a find I was expecting, as mid & early 1990s releases on vinyl are hard to come by and usually aren’t cheap.

Don Cherry ‎– Symphony For Improvisers

1967 US
Blue Note

I’ve respected the Blue Note label for some time, but have not had much luck in collecting an “original” Blue Note LP.  I’ve picked up many represses or even some original releases from the 1970s (on the 70s version of the Blue Note label), but it wasn’t until last year that I picked up my first “legit” OP LP. 

My local had dropped some crates at a local market (Old Bus Depot Markets – Kingston) and I naturally dropped by to dig.  The price was right and a little research told me I had a very nice OP for a change.  Even while crate digging in Dallas, Texas the OP alluded me, but not this time.  Don Cherry is a very nice addition to the Jazz sub-collection which is now bordering on 100 titles.

Not a bad years’ hunting.  You’ll have to wait until early next year to get an insight into the finds of 2019. 

Until then, keep digging!

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