Don'tcha Feel Like Cryin'
Nobody's Children Don'tcha Feel Like Cryin' 45 (Bullet, 1967)
This is not just a record to me but so much more. I found this record at Ye Olde Record Shoppe, an used store in Diamond Springs, California, run by a guy named Bruce Carlson. Before I get to Bruce, first I'll tell you what I know about Nobody's Children and this record.
One of many bands to go by Nobody's Children, these guys were from Bethesda, Maryland. They formed at Suitland Echo High School as Adam's Apples and changed their name when a local dejay gave them an opportunity to record a 45, the legendary Junco Partner (comped on Crypt's Garage Punk Unknowns). I Can't Let Go b/w Don'tcha Feel Like Cryin' was their second single and it was released on Bullet (and then rereleased on Buddah).
From the first needle drop I was floored: The fuzz guitar, the Joey Ramone style vocals, the blast of horns... This is garage pop classic! What does I Can't Let Go sound like? You know, I don't remember. I think I've played it twice in ten years. On to Bruce:
My introduction to Bruce Carlson and the Ye Olde Record Shoppe came through much hard work. Though Bruce had been dealing records since 1984, it wasn't until '92 that a couple of friends, Scott Miller & Micah Kennedy (of Tiki Men fame NOT Game Theory) stumbled into the Record Shoppe on the way home from a camping trip. Word traveled that someone had found a goldmine. However, Miller & Micah wouldn't reveal the location. We tried prodding them when they were drunk, stoned, and we got nothing. So like explorers of yore, a couple of us set out to find this Shangra-La.
One spring day, Dave Smith and I hopped into one of his hot rods and headed east. We had no idea where we were going but we knew that we would find the store. Before we left, we tried once again to pry the location of the store out of the finders. We leaned on one of their girlfriends but she wouldn't spill. "I can't remember the name of the town," was all we got. Placerville? "No." Shingle Springs? "No." Whiskeytown? "I don't remember." Fuck it, let's go. Slamming a Boys tape in the tape player, we took off down Highway 16 toward Jackson. There was once a record store in Jackson, I remembered. Maybe that was the one. A couple hours, a few thrift stores and a yard sale later, we were in Jackson. However the record store wasn't. The shop I had remembered was history. We drove back scoreless, except for a 1950s handbill for some drag show that Dave found at a rummage sale.
The next weekend we set out again. And again we worked on the finders and their gals. Truckee? "No." Soda Springs? "No." Auburn? "I don't think so." Arrrggghh!!! We ruled out Grass Valley and Nevada City. I was familiar with what was up there. So that left us the I-50 corridor.
Off we went, hitting all the towns and suburbs east of Sacramento - El Dorado Hills, Cameron Park, Rescue...until, finally, Diamond Springs. Off the freeway and onto the main road into town, we saw a music store and a bit off from the music store, in a old rundown strip of storefronts, in a dusty lot, was a record store.
We parked the car and went into the place. There were records everywhere. Bin after bin of LPs and along the walls boxes and boxes of 45s. Though the place looked chaotic and had a peculiar smell of rat piss, it was meticulously organized. Every 45 and LP was either filled alphabetically or each band had a box of its own. We found what we'd been seeking, the Ye Olde Record Shoppe.
That day Dave and I dug and dug. We pulled out records and laughed. Hey, Dave which one of these Devo records you want? The picture disc with the promo flexi or the Brit pressing with the promo poster? "How much is the picture disc?" Five bucks. "I'll take that then." Hey, look a Japanese pressing of the first Clash LP with an insert...I think I spent about $75 that day. Dave dropped about $50. Between us, we took home about 40 records. That score wasn't just a one time event. In the nine years I went up to Bruce's, I left only once without a record. And very few times did I leave without Bruce tapping me for $20.
Even as the store's existence became widely known among record geeks (in the liner notes of DJ Shadow's Private Press, he dedicates the record to Bruce, among others), our fishing hole was still well stocked. As Bruce said, he was the only used record dealer in 3 counties, at least the only one who looked at records not as a way to make a fortune but to make a living. Bruce priced his stuff to sell. Rarely was a record more than $4.50. And every 45 went for $1, no matter the condition. So you could not only find real rarities for cheap, but you could fill in gaps in your record collection, standard things like a Marvin Gaye greatest hits, for very little. But, most important, Bruce priced things so that if you wanted to take a chance on something that you never heard before, some obscure, no-name, self-released 45, you could and it wouldn't be a waste. Bruce encouraged you to discover music, not just through dropping hints but by making it affordable to experiment.
Though Bruce had an encyclopedic knowledge of music, he was always eager to know more. He'd look at the records I'd dig up with a Hmmmmm or an Ohhhhhh or a That's a good one or a What's this one? We would talk about the record biz about music. He'd curse his failing health, about how he hated to be wheelchair bound, or grumble about the last helper who filed all the Rolling Stones under "S" because he thought that was their last name. A few years after my first visit, Bruce stopped totaling my records. He'd trust me to do it myself and then knock off about 20%. I never ripped him off. Why would I?
I could go on and on about my experiences at Bruce's, about how I'd spend hours pouring though his 45s, the joy in finding real gems, or coming home, dropping a needle in the groove and, oh my god, this is amazing...
I would take out of town visitors up to show them what a real treasure hunt was. Friends knew that all they had to say was "Hey, Scott, wanna go to Diamond Springs?" and I'd fire up the Toyota and we'd be on our way. We'd talk music all the way up and compare scores on the way home.
Don't go to Diamond Springs looking for Ye Olde Record Shoppe. It's gone. Bruce died in the store he loved. He had no next of kin so the county auctioned the store off for a whole $4000. That was about six years ago.
So trapped in the grooves of this Nobody's Children record are a whole lot of memories. It's these things that make me dig through boxes of records. Plowing through a dusty stack is something point/click/download will never ever be able to replicate. MP3s are a nice thing and all but I'll never get misty over Soulseek. I am sure that every record fiend reading this will agree that this obsession is more than about the game at the end of the hunt. It is just as much about the hunt itself.
What a great and well written story. I've been enjoying the stories and MP3s but haven't taken the time to say Thanks!
Smitty "Feminist Baseball"
Great song, never heard it before. Too bad Buddah couldnt break them nationwide, but thats the story of all-too many regional hits.
Billy G - "60's Jangle Radio" on Live365.com