Mark Capon, co-owner of Harvest Records looked around the room, ticking off places record sellers were from: “Greenville, S.C., over there; Knoxville, Tenn, here, Chattanooga, TN over there; this guy is from Wilmington, N.C.; all over,” he said. Thousands of records filled boxes, bags, milk crates, peach crates … whatever records fit in, it seemed. Piled on tables and chairs and carts, they filled the big room at the Grey Eagle too.
Between the tables and albums were record fans from “all over.” Of course, sometimes it is hard to tell who is here to sell and who is here to collect. The two go hand in hand when it comes to collecting vinyl. Shelly Curtis of Horizon Records in Greenville, S.C., is one of those. “We are doing better this year than last as far as sales, but there are some records I want to get for myself,” she mused. Pat Boyle from Winston-Salem is in that camp too. “I spend as much time looking around as I do selling, I guess,” he said. “Most of my stuff is a lot older than the crowd here wants, good stuff, R and B, rockabilly, crooners … to each their own,” Boyle said.
While collecting records can range from fun, through hobby and into obsession, it does not have to be expensive, according to Mark Zalesky of Knoxville. “You can find a common thread, like the same artists in different groups, or the same producer of a record you like … lots of times for only a few bucks—and it can open you to a whole new musical world,” he said. “To me, that’s the beauty of records—that exploration and discovery.” On the more expensive side, and also from Tennessee, David and Edith Hardeman from Graysville, were offering, for $900, a very rare Beatles album. “It is only one of three I have seen,” David said. “In 1966, Capitol Records told the Beatles they could use any picture they wanted, not counting on the result (decapitated baby heads, blood and meat) and were not happy. They ended up pasting a new cover over the already-printed albums, which is what I have here.”
Greg Demos, from Wilmington, N.C., had part of box labeled “weird and unusual.” One had to look. In that section was a Vincent Price album on witchcraft with pen and ink drawings in a booklet. A collection of train sounds from all around the world. You get the idea—weird and unusual. Demos was somewhat disappointed with his sales this year. “I have done really well for three years,” he said. “Oh well—if I had not tried I would have made nothing, right?”
Something that several sellers mentioned, and have noticed overall in the past couple of years, was an increase in women buying records. “There seems to be a change in the base demographic for record sales, I see more women in the shop all the time,” said Capon. “As the promoters of this event, it is good to see a base grow,” he observed. Sarah Beth Tucker, who described herself as “a collector for a couple of years,” seemed to represent this trend. Shopping all around, she had a pile of records to take home. “Some interesting stuff,” she said. Next to her was Kellie Hattfield who, when asked how long she has been collecting records says, “I am 28, so I guess 20 years now, as long as I can remember.”
Traffic was steady, with most of the serious buyers pursuing a niche interest. One woman was looking for 12” disco singles. Another man was only looking for jazz from the ‘50s. Neal Richardson, who lives in downtown Asheville, sported a beanie propeller cap with the slogan “I don’t wanna grow up.”
For some, going back to the time when records were the way music was delivered, it is an apt slogan.
For more pictures of the event, click on this Image Slideshow