2nd hand smoke
Chicago's 2nd Hand Tunes throws up records of revolutionary poetry, Morse code and, uh, lung disease?
The question of ‘how the hell am I going to get all this shit back to the UK?’ has been answered by the relatively straightforward purchase of a record bag, from Gramaphone Records (bag christened by a $2 purchase of classic early 90s hip-hop-in-a-cardigan: "Here It Comes" by MC Serch). Now at least I know my real limit – ie. as many records as I can physically stuff in before that one last 45 has it exploding in a hail of vinyl shards and torn labels like a musical Mr Creosote.
So when I head up to 2nd Hand Tunes in Evanston, beyond the northern-most end of the red line and three stops on the purple, this game has become a lot more selective. It's a state of affairs with which I'm not entirely comfortable.
For example, among the soul racks I unearth an original eponymous LP by the Last Poets, from 1970. A precursor of hip-hop, this was a group speaking revolutionary poetry over raw percussion. It’s classic, incredibly powerful music, and it's all about the message – something so lacking from much music today. Actually as I sit and listen to it now it hits me how great it is, and it definitely warrants a place in any self-respecting record collection.
However, it is $20, and I have to ask myself how often I’m realistically going to sit and listen to a bloke shouting the word ‘nigger’ to bongos. Not that often. So I put it back. I instantly regret that.
At the other end of the 'uses for music' spectrum, I also dig up another LP of music to strip by. Of course I already bought one of those.
I’m also really excited to find this.
I drop the needle, expecting a load of good chunks of a bloke telling us how to say things in morse code. But all I get, no matter what track I'm on, is 'BEEP-BEEP! BEEEEEEP! BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP! BEEEEEEEEEEP! BEEP-BEEP!'. Yep – a whole record of just morse code. It takes a while, but the rarely seen reasoning part of my head eventually wins the battle: why would I actually want a record that’s just morse code? That’s ridiculous. I put it back.
And buy this instead.
I think I need to go back and buy that Last Poets record.