<Cratedigging in a Pandemic; 87 sec.>
New Year’s Day. Phoenix airport. I ‘n’ I hate flying, even before The Covid. But SLC to Phoenix to Albuquerque back to Phoenix for Christmas, there is really no alternative.
It’s my responsibility to help out my retired parents. Mom doesn’t drive. Pops is recovering (splendidly, thanks for asking) from a horrible brain condition which made Xmas 2019 the worst ever. From wet, wobbly and whacky, to splitting up some of the drive on I-40 and I-17.
Two weeks living out of a suitcase. Good weather. My sister and her family, two goats, two dogs and two donkeys. Covid be damned!
Mom’s birthday is New Year’s eve, so after a bash at the Sun City West Outback Steakhouse (mostly deserted), time to wheel it back to Salt Lake.
I ‘n’ I love to fly Southwest, if I have to fly. I pay $15 extra for the Early Bird check in to jump the queue into the A boarding section. I grab my Burning Spear tote bag/man purse and head for the back corner of the plane. One row from the very back. Window seat. Strap in, hunker down.
They just kept coming. All the other Covid flights I have been on (SLC to Phoenix; May), (SLC to Denver to Great Falls, MT; Oct.) were mostly empty. The flight attendant comes on the intercom. “We have a completely full flight. That’s the first time I’ve said that since March!”.
As soon as we were airborne, the young guy wedged next to me slept on his seat tray and they had to wake him upon arrival. Needless to say, in the 9th month of AC Year 1, (After Covid) , I’m thinking raging infection not New Year hangover.
Is the streak about to come to an end? Bobbylon 25 – The Covid 0?
The scorecard is 25 live Smile Jamaica’s from the KRCL studio
I ‘n’ I survived cratedigging at Thanksgiving in Vegas. Six feet apart from drunken Green Bay Packer fans, only to catch a dose of the Wuhan Flu wheeling it back from Cratedigging in a Pandemic 2.0?
Oh, the irony….
I ‘n’ I have had great luck in Phoenix/Tempe cratedigging since my parents relocated there in 2016. I try to get two days taking the car. Phoenix is a huge valley and my parents live in a record wasteland that is Sun City West retirement area.
Grab a thermos full of coffee, my trusty vape pen with some Strawberry Cough. I entered all the addresses in my parents’ Buick Enclave, Deep Tracks on Sirius XM at max volume and let the adventure begin.
I ‘n’ I could have gone back to Utah and sat on the couch waiting for The Covid to come down my chimney or I could be mobile and bob and weave around it in the shops. I’m sure Fauci would approve of my strategy; not!
The Pandemic 2.0 cratedig got off to a rough start. It’s about a 40 minute drive to my first cluster, downtown Phoenix. Roll up to the first spot, shuttered and boarded up. Didn’t survive the lockdowns*.
*Lockdowns are what they do to unruly prisoners, btw.
Second spot – (Stinkweeds Records). Curbside and by appointment shopping only. Eff that. You don’t cratedig by appointment. Open up, dammit! I ‘n’ I have no problem waiting outside if it is an occupancy issue, but enough with the Karen’s! Gimme my black wax! First world problem or fighting against Covid induced depression?
Remember: 99% recover from the Rona. Stop watching CNN – The Coronavirus Nonsense Nutwork. I ‘n’ I wear my Bob Marley or Alien mask, I ‘n’ I wait my turn in the aisle, I ‘n’ I wash my hands before I start digging through the crates — at the beginning I used to wear gloves while flipping records.
Third shop was my fault. Closed on Monday. Like many one man operations, Wax Trax owner is there 5 days a week and usually needs Sunday and Monday to do things like go to the bank or do laundry, whatnot.
Fourth shop is Phoenix’s major chain store, Zia Records. 40 years in business. Interesting dynamic: All the under 30’s in the vinyl racks. The over 40’s still perusing CDs. I ‘n’ I love these types of shops: Vinyl, CDs, DVDs, books, T-shirts. It’s a department store of roots ‘n’ culture.
Throughout my cratedig in Vegas and Phoenix, there was a noticeable lack of rock ‘n’ roll masks. I wear my T-shirt and baseball cap. We’re going to be wearing masks til the end of time, so why not showcase your favorite bands on your mandatory face diaper?
Phoenix has about half a dozen boutique vinyl shops spread throughout the city: Record Room, In Groove, Record High in addition to Zia shops in place like Tempe and Mesa.
I ‘n’ I rely on an app called The Vinyl District to find shops, maps and hours. They need to update their Covid imposed shopping changes though:
I ‘n’ I usually chat up the owner at Record High, but he was closed for appointment only as well. But I ‘n’ I hit the motherlode at In Groove.
I ‘n’ I don’t like when shops combine their World and Reggae together. Both genres have plenty to offer as individual categories. The one good thing was it appeared that the World/Reggae section was three racks full.
Let’s dig….I ‘n’ I just started pulling gems out of the rack. All rare 12″ singles. They had a whole bunch of other collectible Reggae that I already possessed. I haven’t hit a “seam” of Reggae like that in over a decade. I dropped about $300 there and left at least $500 more collector quality dupes in the rack.
I ‘n’ I told the guy ringing me up how impressed I was with their Reggae section. He was nonplussed, “oh thanks whoever you are.” That’s not how they treat “whales” on the casino floor in Vegas!
So, I ‘n’ I sitting on that plane feeling that, in spite of The Covid, if that punk passed out next to me gave me a hot dose, at least I went down doing what I ‘n’ I liked — cratedigging and front running AC Year 2 (After Covid) with some fresh roots Reggae for the Smile Jamaica masses.
<Cratedig vs. The Covid; 38 sec.>
And as I compose this blog entry, Friday AM, two weeks past my infection window, I can say that lack of common sense balanced with risks versus reward was worth it. This Vinyl New Year show, rinses out my record haul from Pandemic Cratedig 2.0.
Because it’s Bobbylon 27, The Covid 0
*Phoenix 2021 cratedig
The Abyssinians – Praise Him; Forward (Alligator) ’82 Chicago blues label/vinyl – Vinyl New Year
- UB40 – Present Arms in Dub; Present Arms in Dub (Virgin/DEP) ’81 CD Dub album of the hour
- Trinity – Bad Card; Bard Card (Joe Gibbs) ’81 Miami
- Yabby You & Michael Prophet Meet Scientist – Starvation and Sufferation; At the Dub Station (King Tubbys) (Yabby You) ’81 JA
- Ranking Ann – Dangerous M.C.; Something Fishy Going On (Ariwa) ’84 UK
- Tribesman – Chant of Wisdom; Street Level (BOA) ’79 UK
- Toyan – Irie Feeling; Nice Time (Jam Rock) ’82 Miami; 4:20 Cannabis Service Announcement
- Still Cool – Insane Love; 12” (Hitrun) ’79 UK *$28
- Dillinger – Rock to the Music; Funky Punk/Rock to the Music; (If) ’79 Fr. *$10
- Third World – Saturday Evening; Arise in Harmony (Island) ’80 US
- Horace Andy – Show and Tell; Pirates Choice (Studio One) ’81 JA Al Wilson soul cover
- Sandra Cross – Children of the Night; Lovers Delight (Ariwa) ’93 UK Stylistics cover
- Hopeton Lindo – Side Walk Traveller; 12” (Music Works) ’83 FL *$9
- Jennifer Lara – Rocking Tonight; Presenting (Studio One) ’81 JA
- Prince Junior – Dread Knows; On Top (Black Ovation) ’80 Plainfield, NJ
- I Roy – Black Cinderella; Best of (GG’s) ’77 JA
- Dennis Brown – Fire; Wake Up (Natty Congo) ’85 UK
- Sowell Radix – Give Me Your Love; 12” (Dread at the Controls) ’81 *$9
- Kayawah & the Movement Band – Shame and Scandal; Culture Rock (Only Roots) ’80 Fr.
- AmJam feat. Leisha Salesman – Want It Want It; Live Off the Soundboard (Celluloid) ’87 live from CBGB
- Freddie McGregor – Never Get Away; 12” (Spider Man) *$28 UK
- Bullwackies All Stars – Black Heart Dub; Dub Unlimited (Senrab) ’76 Dub CD of the Hour
- Tony Brown Band – Prisoners in Paradise; Prisoners in Paradise (Mountain Lion) ’81 Madison Wisconsin
- Hortense Ellis – You Done Me Wrong; Family Album (Jah Life) ’80 Brooklyn
- Michigan & Smiley – We Need a One Love; Strictly Reggae (Omni) ’81 Can.
- Barrington Levy – Mini Bus (On the Telephone); 12” (Kingdom) ’84 UK *$16
- The Gladiators – Rocking Vibration; 1983 U.S. Tour EP (Nighthawk) ’83 St. Louis clear vinyl
- Marcia Griffiths & The Reggaes – Work & Slave; The Reggaes With Marcia Griffiths (Sparerib) ‘72
- Shinehead – Billie Jean; Rough & Rugged (African Love) ’86 NY Michael Jackson cover
- Steel Pulse – Steppin’ Out; 12” (Wise Man Doctrine) ’84 UK *$16
- Peter Tosh – Bush Doctor; Dealing With the Shytstem (bootleg) herbtune
- Garland Jeffreys – No Woman, No Cry; One-Eyed Jack (A & M) ’76 NY biracial rocker; Marley cover
- Johnny Clarke – Can’t Get Enough; 12” (Art & Craft) ’81 UK red vinyl *$8
- Aswad – New Chapter of Dub (Mango) ’82 Dub Cd of the hour
- Sister Frica – One in the Spirit; Rockers All-Star Explosion (Alligator) ’85 US blues label
- Singers & Players feat. Sister P – Holy Scripture; Vacuum Pumping (ON U Sound) ’89 UK
- Tippa Lee – Herbs Intersect; Dub Them With Reality (Stones Throw) 2016 US *$9
- Dub Syndicate feat. Bim Sherman – Night Train; 12 ”EP (Industrie Discografice Lacerba) ’87 Jah-taly
- Tony Tuff – Freedom Blues; 12” (Art & Craft) ’80 UK red vinyl *$28