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Sonovox's 2013 CSC: Herndon, VA

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  • Sonovox's 2013 CSC: Herndon, VA


    So, I was called away to the US for a week by work. I'm near Washington DC, but about 20 miles into the suburbs - only about a mile from Dulles International Airport in Herndon, VA.

    Dull as ditchwater, I'm afraid. There are no nearby record shops. But a bit of searching shows me that there are two local thrift stores I can probably get to - one on Friday after the week's meetings are done, and one on Saturday morning before I head to the airport. So that's the plan: two shops within 24 hours = one CSC.

    I've never done thrifting in the States but I figure even if the stock is rubbish I'll be able to walk away with some amusing US-only records I'd never pick up at home. Or other tat. Got to be worth a shot.

    Friday PM. It's about a 30 minute walk through industrial parks, suburbs and along a main road to get to the local Goodwill store. And about the same length of time to figure I'm pressing the wrong button to operate the crossing to get over the highway:

    Culture shock is fairly minor, but there's the odd double take along the way.

    Finally I arrive at the Goodwill… a mattress sale? And they have shopping trollies too…

    It's a fairly big shop. And there's plenty of records. Phew!

    I can't see any prices, but this is familiar enough… I start digging through. I can tell I'm going to be able to pick up some US only records if I want them:

    (Actually, why did I leave that behind?)

    And there's always the option for something with comedy cover art:

    There's lots of chaff to go through, but actually the stock starts to look pretty good as I go through.

    I amass a small pile, and put a few back (which I later regret) and then go to the counter. LPs turn out to be a reasonable $1.59 a pop, the pile adds up to $18 and some cents, and I have the option to round it up to $19 at the till, which I go for.

    With the first half of the mission successfully accomplished I return to base and contemplate the finds from today - nothing that needs much explanation, I think, but a great haul compared to my typical UK experiences:

    Herbie Mann - Latin Fever
    Gabor Szabo - Baccanal

    The Ventures - Guitar Freakout
    Lowell George - Thanks I'll Eat It Here

    Slave - S/T
    Skyy - Skyy Line

    Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - Sing A Song Of Basie
    Thelma Houston & Jerry Butler - Thelma & Jerry

    Leroy Anderson - Leroy Anderson Conducts Vols 1 & 2

    Menotti - The Unicorn, The Gorgon and The Manticore. A modern "madrigal fantasy".

    This was way more successful than I was expecting. Looking forwards to the next day.


    Saturday AM. The goal is a thrift store called 'The Closet' in downtown Herndon. It's only open 10am-2pm three days a week. There's an antique store nearby that advertises vinyl too. It's too far to walk, so a cab is called. When I tell the driver where I want to go, he begs me to go to a nearby mall instead - 'There's nothing there, just a few restaurants'. I remain resolute.

    The cab driver is right, downtown Herndon is lacking in sparkle. I review the tourism hotspots, which include this historic Acetylene Gas Generating Plant:

    The museum is closed, but there is a very narrow park with a red caboose next to it. It's the old rail line asphalted over for the benefit of cyclists and joggers:

    And the thrift store is there too, again appealingly large in size:

    I'm slightly early so I try out a tasty sounding roasted coconut canned beverage from the local Hispanic supermarket (that's what the sign said). The drink is so nasty I forget to take any photographs.

    Opening time at 'The Closet' is crazy, it's absolutely mobbed with bargain hunters. There's a distorted PA blaring that the Christmas Party may or may not be cancelled tomorrow, depending on the weather.

    I brave the sea of elbows, and eventually I find the records, right next to the entrance. Hmph.

    Not so much luck here, but I manage to pick out a Mancini record I've wanted for a long time, and a 20th century classical:

    Henry Mancini - Hatari
    The Bryan and Keys Duo - 20th Century Sonatas For Flute And Piano

    The total cost here is 53c. That's 50c plus 3c sales tax.

    A good run overall, and my total vinyl expenditure is $19.53. Despite the lack of tourist sight-seeing opportunities, I've enjoyed the experience of thrift digging in America.


    The CSC is over. But hold on, what of the nearby antique store? Might as well… I venture up the stairs, canted about 20 degrees to the horizontal, of the charmingly named 'Roaches In The Attic':

    It's mostly glassware, including a cool UV illuminated display of glowing Uranium glass:

    But it does indeed have a vinyl section:

    And I pick up a couple of more top albums for $13 (plus sales tax):

    Freddie Hubbard - Red Clay
    Lalo Schifrin - Music From Mission Impossible

    Out of time! Time to stuff the LPs into my luggage and head off for my 8 hour flight home.

  • #2
    Man, NOVA - the acronym for Northern Virginia, is pretty dull.

    Still, you did all right. That Gabor Szabo title is not bad for that price. I'm looking forward to thrifting and hitting used book stores in the States. This time I'm aiming to buy mostly private gospel and 'old timey' music, at least while I'm in the South.


    • #3
      Awesome. I especially liked the Acetylene Gas Generating Plant and the dude in a dress.

      I think I'll do my 2014 CSC stateside too.
      new SPOKE release: >>> SEE HERE <<< RKM LIBRARY BEATS


      • #4
        That's a great read, thanks. I would love to go record hunting in the 'States. I'm going to do a Hackney based CFC at some stage or another, maybe even this Xmas.
        "As technology has advanced, vinyl records are outdated as they are music from the 19th Century so only hipsters and elderly people buy vinyl records".

        Mixes for your delectation:


        • #5
          Nice write up, and some good scores... Thanks a lot!
          In ((( VISUAL ))) Stereo

          Eclectic Mud


          • #6
            Originally posted by Sonovox View Post
            I've never done thrifting in the States but I figure even if the stock is rubbish I'll be able to walk away with some amusing US-only records I'd never pick up at home. Or other tat. Got to be worth a shot.
            THAT'S THE SPIRIT.

            You've nailed my thoughts on this topic in a sentence right there. It may be shite, but it is American shite and therefore different to our shite.

            There was one occasion in a house clearance centre near Allentown that my US buddies had to drag me out of the place. I was looking at everything, and so wasting valuable digging time in the process.

            "Look at these button badges!"

            "Look at those posters! I've never heard of that film!"

            "Look at these old magazines!"

            "Wow, these old drinks glasses are cool!"

            "Those old radios are well smart!


            If you're looking for a pristine copy then this isn't the one for you. The vinyl looks like someone has polished their brickwork with it and the label has been ruined by some fool with a pen.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sie Vulture View Post
              You've nailed my thoughts on this topic in a sentence right there. It may be shite, but it is American shite and therefore different to our shite.
              Back in the 90s I was a regular on the exotica mailing list -- I am still gunning for all that American shite that never made it to release over here.

              As well as all of our shite I don't have yet.