Sunday, April 15, 2012

Toronto Musical Collectables Show

The Toronto Music Collectibles Show is a bi-annual event that brings out the crazy in me.  I always end up leaving with a bag full of records. 
This year, like all others, I left with a bag filled with soul albums, priced at fewer than 5 bucks a pop! 

I brought my camera to document my day.  Thanks to everyone who let me shoot them with their top finds from the day. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Brown and Brown Present: Scott H.

Scott H., From Jacksonville Florida was kind enough to take the time to take some photos of some gems in his collection.  I'm very excited to host this interview as our collections have a lot of overlap. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!


IDIGS: What do you collect and why?

I collect a variety of progressive music -- mostly from the '70s and mostly from Europe. It's more than just progressive rock, but that's how it all got started. Jazz, folk, electronic music and combinations thereof all interest me. It's pretty much all LPs and CDs. Sub-collections would include the ECM label and the Sky label.

I started listening obsessively to Rush in 10th grade. I eventually learned that Rush were influenced by Yes and King Crimson, so I investigated them and liked what I heard. Then I read that Robert Fripp admired the Mahavishnu Orchestra, so I got into them. I guess I'm just curious about how musical artists influence each other, so I pursued all those connections relentlessly. Essentially, I'm still investigating the most distant relations of the artists who influenced Rush way back when, and that has led me to listening to stuff as disparate as Herbie Hancock, Cluster, John Surman and Ralph Towner.

Editor's Note: I've always called it the 'Yes Effect'.  I bought Close To The Edge by Yes and entered a world of 'one offs'.  I bought every Rick Wakeman, Bill Bruford and Chris Squire LP I could get my hand on.  I found out about King Crimson because Bruford drummed for both.  I then stumbled upon UK, Fripp solo LP's and Earthworks.  That Yes album has influenced over 500 LP's in my collection.  

Back in the early-mid '90s, records were very cheap and easy to find because people were unloading their LPs for CDs. It was a really good time to be getting into records. Also, the kind of music I was getting into was very out of fashion at the time, so it was just natural for me to go buy this stuff on LP because I could get them for two or three dollars a piece, which was about all I could afford at the time. A lot has changed in the 20 years since, but the vinyl habit stuck.

Roedelius signed reissue – Purchased from and signed by Hans Joachim Roedelius himself at a concert in Atlanta last October. These Bureau 180 gram Beaureu B reissues are very faithful to the Sky originals.
Sky – My collection of original Sky label LPs by Cluster, Dieter Moebius, Hans Joachim Roedelius, Michael Rother.

IDIGS: How big is your collection?

Not very big by many collector's standards. I have about 600 LPs and about 500 CDs. Most record collectors are actually record hoarders. I don't do that. If I don't like something, I'll sell it, trade it or give it away. My collection would probably be 50% bigger if I kept every record I ever bought. I don't have room or time for that many records, so I try to keep the collection "all killer, no filler." There's very little fluff in my collection.
A collection I would call Lean and Mean. 

IDIGS: Explain your storage/display techniques.

I have an old bookshelf that someone in my family made a long time ago. When I was in college, the records didn't even fill up one shelf, and my surfing magazine collection took up most of the rest of the bookshelf. Now the bookshelf is full of records and the surf magazines are in the attic. A coworker made me a really nice solid wood shelf just for CDs a couple years ago. It's meant to match the style of the first bookshelf, but I haven't gotten around to staining it yet. I really need to finish it.

IDIGS: Tell us about an odd record in your collection.

Probably the oddest thing I can think of is Dr. Hajime Murooka's "Lullaby from the Womb." It's "a unique listening environment for the newborn baby-- designed to calm and soothe through the actual recorded sounds of a mother's body beat & caressing music by the world's favorite composers." Someone gave it to me when my son was born.

IDIGS:  What elusive gem are you still looking for?

There are always a bunch of things I'm looking for at any given time. Probably Jan Garbarek's "Afric Pepperbird" is one of the tops on the list right now. It's one of the harder ECMs to find.

IDIGS:  How do you keep track of what you have/need?

I have an Excel spreadsheet that lists all my LPs and CDs with details about where and when I bought them, price paid, etc. I struggle to keep it updated these days though. My want list is partly mental and partly listed on the welcome page in my GEMM store, where I sell my excess stuff. The idea is that someone might want to trade something I want for something in my store, but it's never worked out that way. However, I once had another GEMM seller contact me out of the blue about a couple of items on my want list, and I got some extremely rare records out of that.

IDGIS: Discuss your stance on using the Internet for collecting. Are you only using Ebay, or a combination of stores and online?

I'll collect by any means necessary. I always laugh at the purists who refuse to use eBay and other online sources. They act like real record collectors don't to that. If I followed that philosophy, I'd never have found most of the really good stuff in my collection. There are no longer any real record stores where I live, and people around here simply don't listen to the stuff I listen to, and they never did. I've got records in my collection that only pop up on eBay a couple times a year, so I'd never have found them locally in a million years. All that said, however, I love crate digging as much as anyone, and I do it when I can. That's how you find the stuff you didn't know you were looking for, and that's an important part of record collecting. Fortunately, my local flea market has been surprisingly productive in the last couple of years. I also get to go to places like Atlanta and Philadelphia once in a while, and there's lots of good stuff there.

IDIGS:  Do you have any routines surrounding listening?

I listen to music in the car, at work and at home after the wife and son go to bed. I don't listen as long and as attentively as I once did, but that's just the way it is when you have responsibilities, I guess.

IDIGS:  Are there types of covers you look for, or is it all in the grooves?

I am a sucker for a cover designed by Roger Dean. I have probably 30-40 of them. I'm a big Yes fan, so it started there and branched out to albums by Asia, Nucleus, Third Ear Band, Uriah Heep, Midnight Sun, Osibissa and others. Fortunately, most of this stuff is also pretty good music.

Some unreal English progressive rock titles.  Gentle Giant (top center) is a fantastic example of the work of Roger Dean.

IDIGS:  Do you have a long-term plan for your collection?

Not really, aside from the fact that I've willed it to a couple buddies of mine. I probably ought to just leave them specific things and let my wife sell the rest. There's a fair amount of money wrapped up into it.

IDIGS:  What is the longest you looked for a record before getting it? How did you feel once it was in your hands?

I looked hard and long for "Dedicated to You, But You Weren't Listening" by the Keith Tippett Group. It's on the Vertigo label, and it's fairly uncommon. I probably scoured eBay for it for a couple of years, and every time it got listed, it went higher and higher. I finally got lucky enough to win a less desirable Kiwi pressing of it for something like $21, which is a fraction of what the UK or German pressings go for. Now even the Kiwi pressing goes for $100. I was excited to get my copy. I think having the amazing album cover (another Roger Dean cover) finally in my hands was the best part. The music took a while to grow on me, but I like it a lot now.
The Hipnotizing Vertigo swirl.

Sadly, I think record collecting is like a lot of things. It's human nature to always want more, and the thrill of victory doesn't last long.

IDIGS:  What’s your all-time favourite record, regardless of value or rarity?

If we're just talking music, it would probably have to be "Starless & Bible Black" by King Crimson or "Relayer" by Yes. Both still blow my mind after almost 20 years.

If we're talking about the favorite piece in the collection, it's probably "Elastic Rock" by Nucleus. It's the only UK Vertigo swirl I have in my collection at the moment, and it's a magnificent and album by a band I love. It's also a Roger Dean cover, and I got a great deal on it on eBay, so it kind of covers all the bases.

German and Italian Progressive Rock.  Titles  I've dreamed of!

IDIGS:  What is the saddest record story you know.

I don't know of any really sad record stories, but I do think it's sad when people let collecting take over their lives. There's way more to life than the accumulation of stuff, and you can't take it with you when you die. That statement is blasphemy to some people in record collecting circles, and that's sad. Enjoy record collecting, but keep it in perspective.

Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Anthony Braxton, Miroslav Vitrous- Scott has unbelievable taste in music.  


   Labels – Most of these are self explanatory, but the NZ Vertigo looks this way on both sides. There is no big swirl on side one like the usual swirl labels. The Original Virgin label was used in black & white for the first few releases on Virgin and was later changed to a full-color version. Tubular Bells was the first album on Virgin, so this is the first of the first. The Pegasus label is for Steeleye Span’s “Ten Man Mop” LP, pictured in the UK/Ire Folk photo.
Quebecois prog – Albums by French Canadians Harmonium and Maneige, both of which were as good as many similar European prog bands of the era. All Canadian pressings.

Cramps Label – Famous avant-garde/prog lable out of Italy.

ECM – Just a fraction of my ECM and JAPO collection. I have about 75 in all. These are some of the more interesting or rare ones. The Elton Dean Quintet and Barre Phillips LPs are on JAPO. JAPO was ECM’s mail-order only label (the name means Jazz by Post), and it seems to have been used for the stuff that was too weird for ECM. There are about 40 JAPO releases, and all are German pressings.

Steve Tibbetts signed promo – Before his very fruitful relationship with ECM, Steve Tibbetts released two very progressive, eclectic albums on his own Frammis label. This is his second LP, “Yr.” There are three editions of “Yr”: Two on Frammis and an ECM reissue. This is basically a promo of the first sent to a radio station and comes with an odd little manipulated photo print signed and numbered by Steve Tibbetts himself. There is a bio letter explainingg who Tibbets is, and it includes a hand-writen note at the bottom saying “Tell me how you like it.” The thought bubble with the radio station call letters on the front cover were probably also drawn on by Tibbetts, who also designed the cover art. The second Frammis edition of this album has a night sky with stars, and one track is edited substantially. It was later reissued by ECM with a completely different cover, and the edited track remains.

Forrest Fang – The first three very rare LPs by a Chinese-American lawyer who happens to release an album of electronic/ambient/minimalistic music every few years. Music from the Blackboard Jungle is hand numbered #33 of 200 with hand-glued graphics on a plain white sleeve. Migration is limited to 1000 copies.

  IDIGS: Many thanks to Scott for taking the time to respond. As a fellow collector, I commend him for having such focus when buying albums and for having such a refreshing outlook on the hobby.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Swapsity does it again! The Ultimate Vinyl Swap

Yes, I dig Lps.  Yes, I dig the environment.  Swapsity suggests that you can dig both... at once. 

This Friday to Sunday (April 13th-15th) Swapsity will host a media swap as part of the Toronto Green Living Show at the Exhibition Place. 

It's simple - If you have 10 Records that you no longer dig, bring em in, get a ticket for ''media items', and voila!  Leave with 10 things that other people have brought.  It isn't limited to LP's, as CD's, DVD's, and Blu-Rays will also be traded. 

Though not all of my readers are Torontonians, I can't stress how important this initiative is. Thousands of LP's are tossed in the trash every year.  I get it, not everyone wants a beat up Conway Twitty LP.  But you will never know for sure unless its up for grabs. The Toronto Mid-Town Collectibles Show has a 'free pile' every year that includes many 'undesired LPs', only to see them vanish by the end of the day.  Do your part- either come to this swap, or organize a swap with your friends.  It's a great way to experience new tunes while saving our landfills. 

See what treasures were found at last years swap!

  • WHAT: Movie Music Eco-Swap
  • WHY: Recycle, save money, de-clutter, share stuff and build community spirit!
  • WHEN: April 13th to 15th
  • WHERE: Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, 100 Princes' Blvd
  • BOOTH: Find us in booth #2108, left of the main stage and opposite City of Toronto booth.
  • BRING: Unwanted DVDs, CDs, vinyl, and Blu-rays (on the day of the swap!)
  • GOAL: Recycle 10,000 media items in 3 days!
  • FREE SHOW ENTRY: One piece of recyclable electronic waste is your free ticket into the show.
  • SWAP ZONE FEE: $2 (bring a toonie!)

COMING TOMORROW...Scott. H. from Jacksonville, FL.  Featuring rare prog, psych, jazz and electronic titles.  Check back to learn his 'lean and mean' approach to collecting. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Brown and Brown Present -Daniel Sheldon

Many thanks to Daniel Sheldon who is 2012's first collection feature.  When I sent him the questions he asked if it was alright to do it specifically on one artist.  As a Metallica completest, I get it.  I get the need to have 'every pressing'.  Though this depth is not understood by all collectors, needless to say THIS IS IMPRESSIVE!  Thanks again, Daniel - a wonderful collection indeed. Enjoy!

IDIGS: What do you collect and why?

I was born in 1971. In the late 70’s I remember listening to the radio and really enjoying the music. By the 1980’s my love was solidified. I would listen to the radio nonstop from the time I got home from school until the time I went to bed. I loved the music and the DJ’s and everything about radio! I would buy the hit records of the day and play them on my parent’s record player and pretend I was the DJ. Most of my early collection of records was late 70’s and 80’s records, most of which were bought new. I started a mobile DJ business in 1989 while still a senior in high school. I continued to buy the hit records of the day including lots of 12” singles. In 1996 I started my dream job as a radio DJ at WXTA Country 98 in Erie PA. I have worked at many different formats including country, oldies, alternative, classic rock, CHR, new rock, adult contemporary and currently at 106.3 WCTL the local Christian contemporary station and I do an 80’s show on the local college station WERG. I have been surrounded by tons of different types of music and it is engrained in my soul. My love for all types of music is represented in my collection of over 2,000 albums, 2,000 12” singles, 4,000 45’s and over 10,000 CD’s.

I also have a “sub collection” as I like to call it and this is what I am going to focus on for the rest of my answers. In 1983 I heard a song on the radio called “Little red Corvette”. I didn’t think much about it at the time. In 1984 I started hearing more songs from this artist named Prince. First “When doves cry” then “Let’s go crazy” and I realized I really liked this guy. His songs were unique and like nothing I had heard before. I bought my first Prince 45 that year. I just had to have “Let’s go crazy” in my collection. It was an R&B song with a great guitar solo at the end which was just crazy to me. The version of the song on the 45 was much shorter than the album version. I ended up buying the cassette of “Purple Rain” to get the longer version. I liked it so much I ended up wanting to hear more so I bought his whole back catalogue. I was hooked. I ended up buying every Prince album after that on the day they were released. In about 1987 I noticed the local record store sold 12” maxi singles and they had a lot of records in their Prince bin. Most of the 12” singles included longer versions of the songs. I decided to get as many of the Prince 12” singles as I could. Little did I know that 25 years later I’d still be collecting those 12” singles! Little did I know how many there were world wide! I know I don’t have the biggest Prince 12” single collection in the world but it’s not too shabby for a kid in Erie PA!
The one that started it all...

A cool side story. In 2004 Prince was inducted into the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame. I e-mailed the Hall and asked if they would like to borrow some of my collection to their new inductee display. To my surprise they e-mailed back saying they would love to use them! The story I was told is that one of the big wigs of the Hall of Fame also worked for Warner Brothers records at one time and Prince didn’t want to help out with the display out because of it. Prince was not happy with WB records, in fact, that’s the reason he changed his name to a symbol to try to get out of his contract with them.   

 Rock&Roll Hall of Fame display with Daniel's items.

IDIGS: How big is your collection?

In my Prince collection, I own every officially released CD from 1978’s “For you” to 2010’s “Twenty10”. I own every song released as a download from his former NPG Music Club as well. I have about 100 bootleg CD’s.  As for my vinyl collection I have all the officially released US 45’s and over 200 12” singles from over 10 countries. I also have every UK picture disc and some odds and ends collectables like 8-tracks, a laser disc and a few vinyl albums.

Complete UK picture disc collection (and two Mexican pressings)
Laser Discs and 8-Tracks are important for any completest! 
US 45's

IDIGS: Explain your storage/display techniques.

There isn’t much to how I store my records. My main collection is on a homemade shelf. My Prince collection is in crates in my bedroom. My wife, for Valentine’s day, took it upon herself to hang some of my rarer pieces in frames on the wall. It was a great surprise when I saw it. I love my wife who doesn’t mind that I have a hobby of collecting Prince records.

IDIGS: Tell us about an odd record in your collection.
I don’t know about odd but I do have some pretty rare pieces. My prize piece is the unreleased “51 hours” promo. It’s believed that only 30 copies got out. It featured Prince’s back up dancers, Diamond and Pearl, on vocals and only about 15 seconds of Prince’s voice. This 12” single is the only place this song was available as it was never released, although bootleg recordings are out there.
51 Hours 12" Promo

I also have the rare UK promo copy of “DMSR” from the 1999 album. It is believed that less than 30 exist. In the UK, “1999” was only released as single album with “DMSR” missing from that version. After the US success of the album, Warner Brothers decided to release the double album in the UK, to promote it they pressed 12” promos for “DMSR” and sent them to radio stations. There was a T-shirt sent with it. Unfortunately, I don’t have the shirt.

Another rare 12” single is the one sided promo for “Gett off”. It was released to club DJ’s on his birthday. The song was not originally on the “Diamonds and pearls” album but after releasing this record they changed the lineup of the album to include this song. This promo has a longer version of the song than what is available anywhere else.

IDIGS: What elusive gem are you still looking for?
Any 12” single I don’t have yet! Including the rest of the Australian pressings, the rest of the UK promos, the rest of the Philippine pressings and Ecuador pressings. The one I am actively searching for is the Brazilian promo of “America” from 1985. I’d also really like to have the Hong Kong pressings of “Trust” and “The arms of Orion” but they go for so much I’m not sure I’ll ever get them.

IDIGS: How do you keep track of what you have/need? 

Believe it or not it is mostly by memory. I know what I have and don’t have. I think collector’s have a special memory for stuff like that. I do, however, have them catalogued on a Word document.

IDIGS: Discuss your stance on using the Internet for collecting? Are you only using Ebay, or a combination of stores and online?
I’m all for it! I started my collection by going to record stores as noted above. In the mid-90’s I started going to a record show in Buffalo NY twice a year. One of the vendors knew I’d spend money on Prince 12” singles, so he made sure he had lots of them. There was also a nice store in Pittsburgh called “The 12” collector” that had a whole section of Prince records. Unfortunately that store is no longer there. As great as that was, when e-bay came around I started finding records I never would have found otherwise. I also use and I still look at record stores too. It doesn’t matter where I find the records as long as I find them!

IDIGS: Do you have a long-term plan for your collection?

Funny you should ask. I told my wife when I die I want to donate them to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. She says she’s going to sell them to pay for the funeral! I guess I better make a will.

IDIGS: What is the longest you looked for a record before getting it? How did you feel once it was in your hands?
Sometimes it takes years to decades but that is the fun of collecting. I usually just hold the record in my hands and stare at it in awe.

IDIGS: What’s your all-time favourite record, regardless of value or rarity?
The 1986 album “Parade” is my favorite Prince album. It was the soundtrack to his second movie “Under the cherry moon”. The album is just an amazing selection that show off his different sides. It includes the beautiful song “Sometimes it snows in April”. When I saw him live in 2004 he did the song live in between all his hits. I was brought to tears by it because it’s always been my favorite Prince song and it reminds me of an old friend who died many years ago.
Parade- Daniel's Favourite from the lot!

 US 12"
 Even More 12"
 Promo 12"
 Even More Promo 12"

As of the writing of this, I have 10 Prince records on the way. 5 I bought from E-Bay sellers and 5 coming from a seller on I have a feeling I’ll be collecting for a long time to come.

IDIGS:  Most impressive.  If you are interested in participating in this series, fire me an email at  Please include what you collect, how long you've been at it, and why you feel like you should be included.  Remember - Quality, not quantity!