My record collecting

Growing up as a kid in North Dakota the best radio station of Country Music was a station out of Winnipeg Canada. I listened to both Pop and Country. When I left home and moved to Minneapolis I only had a few 45s. After I got married in 1961 I started buying a few Country Albums, mostly from used record stores. When we moved to California in 1962 I brought my collection with. Maybe 100 albums, mostly country with some Pop albums. Sometime in the 70's my wife and I were listening to Arthur Godfrey's "I Don't Want Her You Can Have Her She's Too Fat For Me Polka" and our 4 children heard it and said that's terrible, worst music they had ever heard.

That triggered me to collect every Pop song that had made the Top Ten from January 1, 1950 to December 31, 1959. At that time there was a record swap meet held at the Capitol Towers in Hollywood on the first Sunday of the month. There was also a 78 RPM collecting group that held a swap meet on the first Sunday of the month which met at a bank parking lot in West LA. Picked up many a record from those dealers.

On the last weekend that the swap was held at the Capitol Towers I pulled up on Sunday morning and found the lot virtually empty, five or six dealers left. I found out the Police had ordered them to shut it down due to complaints from people in nearby apartment buildings about the loud noise. I went through what stock was still there and the last person I hit was pacing up and down, complaining about the Police closing them down. He was really upset, he asked me what I was looking for and when I told him "Country", he said there were some mixed in the 3 boxes of albums and I would find some in the 2 boxes of 78's he had, said he didn't think there were any 45's in the 2 boxes he had. While I was digging through the boxes pulling out a few records he asked me how many I was going to buy, then said "Hell, I'll sell you everything for $15". It didn't take me long to move my car across the street and load it up. I kept the all of the Country records and the Pop that I needed for my Top Ten list, sold the rest in a yard sale for over $300.

At the 78 RPM swap I found a box of 25 or so Country 78's with a sign that said 10 cents apiece, but there was no one around to pay. So I started asking who the records belonged to and was told they were Barry Hansen's, he's over there. That was the first time I met Dr. Demento. Two bucks later the box was mine. We had a nice conversation when I found out he too was originally from Minneapolis, we shared a few memories of the "good old days".

Around that same time Wallich's Music Stores went out of business, they had several outlets around the LA area besides the main store at Hollywood & Vine. I was able to buy Albums for 25 cents and 45's for a nickel. I not only bought the ones I needed for my 50's Pop collection, I also grabbed everything I could afford of Country Music. We made many trips around the LA area hitting all of the outlets. Big Ben Records (I believe) took over the Wallich's locations and several years later they too went out of business and my wife and I hit every store throughout the LA area, again buying albums & 45's at bargain prices. By now I had completed the 50's Top Ten collection and was only collecting Country Music.

There were many record stores around LA and Orange County that I picked up many good records, both new and used. We used to make an annual trip to the Bay area to hit Down Home and a few other used record stores. I did some purchasing on record auctions around the country and used to purchase records from Old Homestead & Rural Rhythm. One time when I had a fairly large order for Rural Rhythm I asked Uncle Jim O'Neal if I could pick them up. He agreed and invited my wife & I to come up and he spent a couple hours chatting with us about his history of recording the old time music and gave us a tour of his warehouse, which of course resulted in my picking up another batch of records to buy. A wonderful evening with a very delightful, entertaining gentleman.

The Capitol Towers swap meet eventually moved to Pasadena City College and I used to hit them monthly but haven't been there in several years, need to get back up there one of these days and see what I can find to fill in my George Jones collection.


A few of the record stores we frequented, too many of them now out of business:

Down Home - both the Santa Monica and El Cerrito locations

Bagatelle Records - Long Beach (still there, still a good source, tell Steve I said Hi)

Tape & Record Room - Long Beach

Wenzel's - Downey (now gone, was a good source)

Music Market - Costa Mesa (now gone, was another good source both new & used)

Rhino Records - Claremont

S. A. Langkammerer - San Bernardino (bought many a good 78 from him, had a huge collection of 78s)

Mr. Web Rare Records - Baldwin Park

Flip Side - San Diego (happened to hit them when they closed their doors and bought a good many records at bargain prices. When I went back a week later they were gone but found out they had donated all of their records to the Salvation Army, so for the next month every weekend was spent driving to San Diego and hitting every Salvation Army Surplus store. Got many, many 45's at a nickel each, but the best was hitting one of the stores who had dumped a good share of the stock in a penny apiece sale. I walked out of there buying all 868 of the 45's for $8.68. Would you believe it, they had three clerks counting every one to make sure they got every penny, even after I offered to give them $10 for the works, showing them there had to be less than a thousand. Most of it was Pop but got a bunch that was Country.)

Folk Arts Rare Records - San Diego

Modern Music Mart - Riverside

Rhino Records - Westwood

Aron's Records - Los Angeles

Soundsations - Los Angeles

House of Records - West Los Angeles (Jane had a store full of 45s, thousands of Country)

Surplus Records - West Los Angeles (still there)

Platterpuss Records - Glendale, Manhattan Beach, Long Beach

Music Den - Los Angeles

Music + (which if I remember correctly took over the Big Ben locations and they too had a good many records when they went out of business)

Ray Avery Rare Records - Glendale

Lovell's - Whittier

There were more but just don't remember them now. Met a lot of great people in the process.

Now it's mostly buying on ebay, get to chat back and forth with a few, but it's not the same as getting to meet the people you are dealing with.