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a little personal background information

WHEN REQUIRED TO POST A PROFILE on the internet, I usually write, “Mystical liberal likes long walks alone at night in the dark in the city in the rain with an umbrella and a flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig.” While this bit of irony works for some readers, others want a little more in terms of personal background information. [Continue reading]

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introduction to monaural press

THIS SITE IS A LIMITED BLOG that tells a few stories about the conceiving of a rice guide for some of the world’s rarest records and most passionately collected records: blues and rhythm & blues 45s of the 1950s. It started back in the 1980s when I was with O’Sullivan Woodside, publishers of the “official” line or record collectors price guides. [Continue reading]

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knocking the socks off the nattering naysayers

MY BLUES AND R&B BOOK was behind schedule and completing it was getting difficult. My plans included a full-color cover designed by a local artist that used labels from several highly collectable records from the ’50s and really cool typography. There were over a hundred high-resolution black & white photos set for the interior of the book, including both rare records and famous and not-so-famous recording artists. [Continue reading]

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alcohol and jake blues and collecting really rare records

THERE’S ALCOHOL & JAKE BLUES and there’s really rare records and John Tefteller, who has been collecting those records for a long time. And he doesn’t collect reissues of great old music on great old LPs—he collects original, brittle-to-begin-but-even-brittler-with-age 78 rpm singles. John has been tracking down 78s no matter where they may be, no matter how many other collectors assure him that copies of certain records no longer exist. I’ve [Continue reading]

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heaven above me—it’s the jets on gee!

A RECORD FEW KNEW ABOUT at the time was the Jets on Gee 1020, Heaven Above Me / Millie Brown. Released in 1956, it was a rarity whispered about by the handful of collectors who knew it was one of the secret gems in the genre. In any field of collectables, there is a ‘top ten’ of collectors—the ones who have most everything and can and will spend what it takes to get those precious few items that they do not have. [Continue reading]

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the competition I faced with others’ books

WHAT ABOUT COMPETITION? Frankly, there wasn’t much there, and what had come before wasn’t to be feared! The first price guide to take on the field of rhythm & blues—at least that I was aware of—was another O’Sullivan Woodside guide by Jerry Osborne and Bruce Hamilton. This was followed by Jeff Kreiter’s self-published guide for group collectors. [Continue reading]

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you’d be wasting your time and mine but I didn’t mind

MY RHYTHM & BLUES BOOK was first conceived in 1986, but a book that combined r&b and blues record didn’t occur to me until the early ’90s. My first and only choice for co-author was the legendary Val Shively: his store, R&B Records, had been a fixture in the Philadelphia area for decades; customers came from all over the world to get lost in the back rooms filled with little records with big holes. [Continue reading]