I bought every single one of the records pictured above from Goodwill. All at once. For just $34.
Here’s the full, alphabetized list:
The Animals — Animalism
The Animals — Animal Tracks
The Beach Boys — All Summer Long
The Beach Boys — Beach Boys Concert
The Beach Boys — Best of The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys — Little Deuce Coupe
The Beach Boys — Surfin’ U.S.A.
The Beatles — Beatles IV
The Beatles — Beatles for Sale
The Beatles — Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles — Something New
The Beatles — Yesterday and Today
The Bee Gees — Bee Gees’ 1st
Camper Van Beethoven — Camper Van Beethoven
Miles Davis — Bitches Brew
Miles Davis — Live-Evil
Bob Dylan — Bringing It All Back Home
Aretha Franklin — Take It Like You Give It
The Four Tops — Greatest Hits
Funkadelic — Free Your Mind… and Your Ass Will Follow
Stan Getz — The Greatest of Stan Getz
Stan Getz Quartet — Portrait
Herbie Hancock — Man-Child
Eddie Harris — Plug Me In
Jimmy McGriff & Groove Holmes — Giants of the Organ Come Together
Joni Mitchell — The Hissing of Summer Lawns
The Rolling Stones — Out of Our Heads
Sonny & Cher — Look at Us
The Temptations — Live at the Copa
Weather Report — 8:30
The Who — My Generation
Zapp — Zapp
And here’s how it went down: Just as I was getting ready to leave work two Mondays ago, I got a text from my musical sherpa Clay saying that an un-picked-over stack of records had appeared at a nearby Goodwill. You might remember Clay. He’s the one who gifted me a killer seed collection of 45s and told me which record stores to visit when I traveled to Nashville for a wedding. Clay knows how much I love records, and despite the fact that his interests are more aligned with CDs, he’ll often give me a heads up when there’s a used vinyl situation worth investigating. One time he walked me through a promising offering of 45s over the phone when I was getting ready to head out of town and couldn’t check them out in person:
“You want ‘Midnight Train To Georgia?'”
“Oh hell yeah!”
“How about ‘Free Man In Paris?'”
“Oh hell yeah!”
We went on like that for half an hour. That was a fun phone call.
Thankfully, fatefully, I was able to answer Clay’s most recent summons in person. I started with the stack he’d seen and found seven or eight keepers — titles by Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell and a few other familiar artists, almost every one in tip-top shape. For those of you who don’t spend your lunch breaks digging through scratched-up records at thrift stores, I should point out that, as of this point, it had already been a banner day. One Miles Davis record in playable shape is reason to celebrate. Two? Dream on.
But something truly dreamlike happened next. While I was still lingering/deciding what to buy, a Goodwill employee walked over with an armful of newly donated records, plopped them down between me and another crate digger and said seven words I’ll never forget:
“I hope you boys like The Beatles.”
In total, three armfuls came out, and I had first crack at two of them. You can see the results of the frenzied minutes that followed above. In my eyes, the pièce de résistance is the autumnally adorned Beatles For Sale, an album that was never released in the U.S. (a U.S. version called Beatles ’65 was released, but it omitted a few songs that were on the British one). I’d been looking for Beatles For Sale for years, but had never actually seen one in person, not counting the 2012 reissue. Now I have, it’s in great shape, and taking it home only cost me $1.
It’s tempting to call the whole episode lucky — like, super-duper lucky — but I know there’s more to it than that. There’s certainly luck involved, but Beatles records and being in the right place at the right time are symptoms of something bigger, I think. Real luck is having thoughtful friends who look out for you and share your passions. It’s being married to someone who is patiently letting you figure out where the hell to put all these damn records that keep making their way into the house. It’s having been raised by parents who love music and never stopped encouraging you to explore it. These are the things that make days like the Monday before last possible, and with 32 new pieces of evidence leaning against the wall in my living room, I won’t soon forget it.
None of the albums pictured above feature a song with the word “lucky” in the title, and “Baby You’re A Rich Man” didn’t feel right at all, so I’m going to ask a pair of robots play us off. Hope y’all have an awesome — and super-duper lucky — weekend.