How to shop for vinyl

Back in November, Paragon Sight and Sound (Ann Arbor, MI) hosted Analog Night, which included a visit by Analog Planet/Stereophile vinyl journalist Michael Fremer, who I may have mentioned here in the recent past. Unfortunately I didn’t hear about it in time, but those who attended mentioned that it was an informative get-together.

Apparently Fremer had some time to visit another popular area attraction: Encore Records. Cool Cleveland caught up with him at the store, and he gave a few pointers on how he shops for used records. Turns out it’s nothing really too different than what those of us vinyl addicts do. I do many of the same things myself when I first set foot into an unfamiliar shop, which is similar to how my other vinyl hunting pals approach the task. I’m sure many of my fellow forum members do the same as well. We each have our own ways of doing it, but the basics remain. We scope out the shop to see how deep their selection is, we check titles we are familiar with to gauge prices, and we examine records closely for condition. A store with 40 ratty copies of Eagles Greatest Hits at $10 each is certainly not one I’ll remain at for long!

Here’s a glimpse of Fremer’s visit to Encore:

This is a store you can get lost in for a couple of hours. And I found it amusing that he located one of the bazillion copies of the Miles Davis You’re Under Arrest LPs that most record stores seem to be stuck with.



  1. Dave says:

    Awwww, man–a couple or MORE hours–and you wouldn't believe the haul–there's at least one other Country Artist that's on Atlantic Records, besides Willie Nelson & Troy Seals, and that's DON ADAMS (not the actor; it's entitled On His Way Atlantic SP 7280)…!

    Encore in A2 really is one of the last best places you can find really great vinyl,–and still LOTS of,–even after I'd cleaned out the Pat Boone section, save for one expensive Russian import, with not one trace of a word in English, and a few remnants of a Your Navy Presents that is missing a few volumes of–that is the records in that series, and going for a bit of an un- justifiably steep amount…

    Just try to go there on a Sunday–the parking meters have all gone Hi-Tech, though the parking garage will have you on the roof, unless you have money to buy brunch at the many expensive eateries & have four-hours sitting around, eating in 'em,to kill before Noon, when the place actually opens…!

    — Dave

  2. Dave says:

    While we're at it, Memories & Melodies is also worth noting and in the same league–yep, Pat's stuff on LP emptied by me, 'cept for the extra copies o' Pat's Great Hits and Sings Irving Berlin!–so far, not yet a similar profile there…

    I miss Car City–surely it could have been kept alive–the 2nd room in the other building and all!–finished my John Stewart fix, but yet to have gone on my Pat Boone fix when it folded…

    But, I like the idea of how identifiable pressings of vinyl are, in terms of 1st & later generational-pressings, not to mention the idea of how records should be cleaned (a monotonous task–having been briefly employed at Desirable Discs, and my main job in "Records!"–as I would say answering the phone–frequently performing Job One…) and lastly collectors value, speculating how copies of one edition going for $5 a throw, quickly escalated to $15, a mere few years, if not another 'Record Store Visit' later…! (Wow!)

    Oh, the Garland Jeffries on Atlantic: "And you thought he only recorded for Ay and eM…!" 😀

    — Dave

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