Every record collector loves a good story and of course we also love a good tune (or two). With this in mind we thought we’d ask some of our favorite vinyl lovers to share some of their quirky tales on how they first got their hands on some of their favourite records. In the first in a new occasional series, we asked record collector, dealer, DJ and graphic designer Jake Holloway about some of his fabled finds…
As a man who regularly designs record covers for some of London’s finest labels, Jake is never too far away from the stream of knowledge that can be gleaned from today’s burgeoning compilation and reissue market. Not that he needs it mind as Jake has acquired quite a useful talent in picking up those rare finds before they inevitably get licensed for a second time. As a proprieter of the the oft-overlooked Village Vinyl shop situated in the heart of Walthamstow’s Wood Street Market, he can be found serving up second-hand treats (and the odd new sealed copy) to his local clientele on a weekly basis.
A local lad, Jake got into collecting, and ultimately, DJing back in the early 1990s when he offered up his services to play records at college parties in and around the East London and Essex areas. A move to Brighton to attend the city’s university led him to promoting club nights at weekends, and after a successful sojourn into Brazilian music, he set up the ‘Mouseorgan’ event alongside his friend (and DJ) Dom Servini. This particular party would eventually run for six years at various venues, including The Clinic and Herbal, and would also help them secure guest spots at the big London clubs Heaven and Fabric.
With a taste for rare jazz, soul, funk, disco and global sounds amongst other things, Jake currently fronts a fortnightly radio show on one of the capital’s existing pirates, and when he’s not at the shop, sells records on Discogs under the name Twelve_Inch (as well as occasionally popping into our very own record fair down in E7). As a record dealer, he’s always on the look out for records to sell (and keep!), so we thought he might have a few interesting tidbits to share. Here’s what he had to say…
#1: Christy Essien “Take Life Easy”
I had a call from an elderly guy about some LPs that he had for sale. I asked him to pick one at random so that I could see what kind of stuff he had… “Pharoah Saunders” said the soft African voice. I was round there within the hour!
It was the end of a very hot August day, one of the year’s hottest, but the nice man answered the door in a scarf! I immediately got good vibes about the collection as I saw it presented to me in very neat genre racks; soul/funk, reggae, rock and after about an hour I’d pulled out around 200 excellent LPs, most of which were in great condition.
After I had finished looking I asked him if he had anything else. He said he had some African records in the other room but he was embarrassed about them as they were sub standard copies of popular Western artists such as James Brown, Sly Stone etc. I ran my finger along the spines to see what we had here. All the Blo LPs, about ten Fela LPs, five Christy Essien LPs, loads of random independent bits with awesome covers that just had to be good! In and around 100 African LPs in total. Without even checking the condition of any of them I just said “I’ll take the lot”.
What made things better was the fact that most of the stuff was near mint condition, unheard of for African records as most of the time you find them they are battered.
#2: Ray Barretto – “Right On”
It was my 2nd time in NYC, 1996 I think. Des Morgan from Yam Who and I went on a week-long digging trip, and after some excellent days in the city’s record shops, Saturday morning came and we hit the famous flea market at 06:00 hours!
After about half an hour of looking through various crates, I reconvened with Des under a table. He took the left box, me the right. There was some gold in these boxes, Fania, Vaya, Tico and other glorious Latin delights!
On perusal of a Ray Barretto LP, whilst pulling out the record for a closer inspection a bunch of Polaroids fell out of the sleeve and landed face up on the floor. Mine and Des’ heads met under the table, gogle eyed at what we both saw on these Polaroid images! The stallholder had obviously forgotten about these as they were images of said man in some very precarious positions with no clothes on!
We continued to dig thru the boxes whilst giggling like a couple of school kids!
#3: Sly & The Family Stone “Trip To Your Heart”
Fast foward a couple of days and we find ourselves at the world famous Gramercy Hotel record show, and as you can imagine we are like a couple of kids in a sweet shop!
After a few hours of digging, we had acquired some great albums, (Leroy) Hutson, (Eddie) Kendricks, (James) Brown and (Roy) Ayers, it was all there!
Just as we are about to leave I spot an LP that I think has the break to LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” on it. I wasn’t sure if the LP was the right one, it was tough going as the stall holder and his chums were continuously dropping the needle on break after break, high fiving each other with what they had found that day. As said LP was only 5 bucks, I decided to take a chance and have a punt on it.
After the money changed hands I asked the stall holder to play the track in question. Bingo… It dropped like a bomb! I left the stall with a massive grin on my face, leaving the proprietor and his ‘break’ chums opened mouthed in disbelief!