Record digger shares a great story about the discovery of a 'Holy Grail' album


Originally published at:


Makes one wonder just how many of these hidden gems are still out there.


There’s a bunch of his songs up on Youtube if you want a taste. Looks like they’re on his label’s account, so it’s no guilt (I quite like “Simbi”):


We’ve been at music a long time. I suspect most of the best music predates recording.


Very powerful video/talk and story. If this is up your alley and you’re into learning more about artists and their background i recommend Questlove Supreme show/podcast on Pandora. The show is long, 2-3 hours long but his interviews are great and Questlove is really knowledgeable and a true music historian and aficionado.

Also i listened to an episode recently where he interviewed Biz Markie and they both mention how they have records or know people who have particular records that they can never publicly show or talk about because those records were never supposed to survive for one reason or another.

Biz Markie alone said that he easily has over 2k holy grail one of a kind records that he’s accumulated over the years.


I worked on and off in a used record store for about a decade. One of the services we would provide for some of our better clients was a digital conversion of their record. They could finally listen to their prized bossa nova records in the car or their irreplaceable bootleg as many times as they wanted without damaging the disk. I treasured some of the things that came through the shop. There used to be a small recording studio serving the black community of Cleveland in the 60s, Boddie Studios. They recorded any band that could scrape together enough money for a session. Years later I got to listen to a bunch of bands who never made it bigger than a couple shows at the local club.


A lot. Well, perhaps not albums per se, but 45’s, ooh yes. There were tons of regional 45’s cut, quite a few of which are gems. I knew a collector who had an astounding amount of obscure 45’s. I was rather taken with his copy of Napoleon XIV’s “There Coming To Take Me Away” because the B side was the same song. Played backwards. Or how about The Silver Beatles (eventually those guys) doing, of all things “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”.


I hope folks keep being generous to … I do like exploring there (and the occasional well-stocked vinyl emporium). It’s really a shame when these things are lost to us.


When 45 King was in Waxpoetics magazine, he showed the guy his rare stuff. He was hired to do a remix and he wanted to use a famous Motown sample, so the label cleared it and Motown sent the master tape to get the sample. 45 King makes beats at his house, so he took it home… and never gave it back. I forget which Motown song it is, but it’s one of those big ones everyone knows, and the MASTER is at 45 King’s crib. [See my later post.]

I was never in the league of Shadow or Bam or RJD2 or whoever, but I have a respectable amount of digging under my belt and some rare and obscure stuff. I’ve had to wash mold off vinyl in the sink and wipe the sleeves down with disinfectant more than once. But I viewed it as part of the lifestyle of just “being into music,” including reading the music press, doing college radio, going to shows, and especially DJing, that I’ve always done; I never considered digging a separate discipline that I created an identity around and I’m a little wary of the concept, tbh. Most of my stuff was bought at shops. Some were obscure, word-of-mouth places but it could just as easily been Tower. But yes, untold thrift stores, yard sales, homies selling off stuff, and any other off-grid sources were also hit up (being on the sweet, sweet gravy train of receiving promo for many years was so choice. If you have the game, I highly recommend it.) The biggest get-over was managing a shop and getting first pick, particularly when one of our regular clients used to be the record boy for Grandmixer DST back in the day. Any city I was visiting would include mandatory record shopping and asking other record-heads where the good shops were. I’ve been on only one day-long road trip for the express purpose of just getting records and then going home. However, the true digging mission where you take a road trip, go to a phone booth at every small town along the way, look up “records, new and used” in the yellow pages, tear it out so the next guy can’t find your source, and systematically dig the whole town was never me. I knew those guys, though.

42 PM

and there’s a few crates in the bedroom of stuff I don’t want but basically this is it.


I definitely respect anyone that has the ability and connections to collect records, for me music is definitely important but i couldn’t dig for records. However as long as music is being found, shared and preserved i think we all win :slight_smile: I love discovering new and old music.


Why? :thinking:


I’m sure there’s more reasons than i can think of but a few they mentioned was: Accidentally using the wrong mix or an earlier/alternate version of the song, test pressings, the musician or distributor ordering certain pressings destroyed for whatever reason (see Prince’s Black album), pressings that were only supposed to be distributed internally at a studio or distributor and then having a deal not work out so a proper album was never released and those pressings also had to be destroyed, etc, etc.

From what Questlove and Biz Markie allude to is that they acquired records of that sort in secret, and if they were to reveal how they got them it would be obvious which industry people were holding onto records which could affect their reputation or business relationships. under certain circumstances might even put them in legal trouble.


Thanks for pointing out Cogaxa in particular, I can’t get enough of it!
The way he plays around with those recurring sequences is tickling some parts of my brain wonderfully.


i started making rounds of junk stores, flea markets, and garage sales with a friend of mine in high school. he was into rockabilly music and also record collecting. he and i would also do some loose jams with guitar and bass, guitar and saxophone, or guitar and household percussion with him on guitar and most of the vocals and me backing him and doing the occasional lead vocal. over the years i helped him find some interesting 45s and 78s along with the occasional lp of value or note. as time went by it became clear that i would never be more than a dabbler or dilettante when it came to record collecting, the same was true as regards music too, although i did play a couple of gigs with him in a band.

i realized that he had taken record collecting to a professional level when he came by my parents’ place one time some years after we graduated from high school and showed me a 45 he had picked up at a garage sale. in the condition it was in it was worth $160. the professional touch was how he gloated about bargaining with the old lady selling her late husband’s records from 25 cents to a dime. he currently makes a good living buying and selling records and performing rockabilly music in the states, in europe, and in south america.


Thanks for sharing the talk. Really appreciated. I tried to speak on behalf of the record collectors past and present. A beautiful passion that does help bring certain gems ignored by commercial music radio and media back into the light! Thanks again. Take care! Alexis


Thank you for taking the time to come in here :slight_smile: i enjoyed the hell out of your talk


“Best” being highly subjective, one thing is true is that music which predates recording is indeed different simply because the fact of recording, its very existence, has changed the way musicians think about and make music.

That seems wrong to me.


After I posted, I was wondering how well I was remembering that story myself, so over to the zine shelf I go…
OK, so he didn’t say “master” he said “multi-track” which means like a dub of the master and yes, that makes way more sense that he would have that. The interviewer’s excitement that he would have that–a rarity in itself–made me conflate it into something even more rare, I guess. It was also not “one of the big songs everyone knows” but it turns out it was several songs with serious breaks on them. Read from 2nd-to-last question in the left column; “Wait, wait, wait…”


“They gave me the original tapes too, Motown just gave me a copy.” has contradictory phrasing, but I latched onto the “original tapes” part, not the “copy” part, it looks like.
In my defense, I have a negative impression of Motown’s archival practices vis-a-vis master tapes due to a story Stevie Wonder told which I realize now probably overlapped with my memory of the 45 King story. THIS has the “took the well-known hit’s master tape home with me” narrative:

@Israel_B yo, I know you’re sitting on some crates yourself; anything interesting?

No turntable required! Rokblok, tiny bluetooth-enabled vinyl needle on wheels, is a wonderful disaster

“Its a copy from the 1 inch” does make much more sense, thanks for going back and checking.

Honestly? I don’t know. I had thousands of records when I lived in the US that I sold off because I couldn’t afford to move them and was kind of at a purge stage in life anyway. Nowadays I might well have some interesting stuff but of totally different genre since most of the vinyl I’ve purchased in the last 20 years has been reggae/dub.


I can’t imagine that Japan would be wildly different than the US as far as vinyl goes but i am curious, are there any quirks or unique things to the scene in Japan? :slight_smile: I’m sure they take their records more serious than here but i’m just guessing.