A fine Vintage
Chicago's Vintage Vinyl caters to the connoisseur. With LPs for $200, swirl and sniff, don't swallow.
It's amazing how record stores can have such different vibes, even though they're all selling ostensibly the same stuff. In Chicago, for example there's Reckless and its hipster tribe, or the dust-covered, cat-scratched stock jungle of Out of the Past, and now this: Vintage Vinyl, an neat old high-end store in Evanston that's selling the soundtrack from the original '60s Batman TV series for $150. Behind that is a copy of the same record in a better sleeve: $200. That's not normal.
They also have a copy of Thin Lizzy’s "Johnny the Fox" – I opted out of buying this record a while back because I couldn’t be bothered to spend $10. I've been keeping my eye out since, so I'm pleased to see it. $39.99. There's also Leonard Nimoy’s "The Way I Feel" for $150, or the Car Wash soundtrack for $60. This last one well illustrates the weirdy-weirdness of the record world: I could get the same record from Ethan for a couple of bucks. He's got tons of copies.
The guy behind the counter, Tim, explains that it’s expensive simply because they go to great lengths to source high-quality, clean product. He says he started out here as a punter, and grew to love being spoiled with the quality. He has since stopped shopping anywhere else, and has got used to paying those prices.
I ask him what he’s into, expecting something suitably haughty. He asks me if I know breakcore. ‘It's a genre only me and five other guys in the US care about,’ he says.
I ask for example an act.
Man, music is ace.
Tim tells me about a trip he once made to New Orleans. Asking a local book store if he could go and check out their upstairs record selection, which was largely unexplored, he found an album there for $3 that he knew was being sold at Vintage for $20. He didn't want to carry it on the plane, so he moved it and hid it somewhere in the racks. And every time he went back he’d check and it was still there. Eventually he took the plunge and bought it – seven years after hiding it.
I find one record I fall in love with. I’m glad I didn’t hear it till I got home, researching it on YouTube, otherwise I’d have had trouble not parting with the $100. This is really ace, and totally not what I need to be spending $100 on, so thank you, chronology:
Luckily Vintage does have a bargain bin. I pick up Yusef Lateef’s "Hush 'n' Thunder" from 1973 for $4. Happy with that, but troubled by the knowledge that Ken is still out there, sat in that rack.