Playback: Austin’s Rarest Vinyl
Want exclusive vinyl for Record Store Black Friday? Check out some of Austin's rarest wax.
My air-conditioning repairman recently bought a cheap box of vinyl at a garage sale and sold a single LP from it on eBay for $175.
"I think it was titled Live at Raul's," he recalls.
Of course he'd stumbled upon ground zero documentation of Austin's Eighties punk boom: a split capturing the Big Boys and the Dicks leveling their scene headquarters. That's a modest example of the scores vinyl miners dream about, but it got me thinking. What are the most valuable, rarified, and coveted records that have sprung from our city limits?
In the spirit of bullshit consumer holiday Black Friday, "Playback" presents a list of some of Austin's most precious vinyl. Whereas today labels release super-limited runs to incite collectability, these largely private press editions were put out in small batches because minimal finances and fan bases dictated it. Thanks to the record gurus who helped me brainstorm: Breakaway Records' Gabe Vaughn, Antone's Records' Mike Buck, End of an Ear's Dan Plunkett, Groovers' Paradise's Greg Ellis, Chronicle record nerds Mark Fagan and Jerald Corder, and Butthole Surfers drummer/Trance Syndicate Records owner King Coffey.
Big BoysFrat Cars 7-inch (Big Boys Records, 1980) Debut single from funk/punk pioneers. Last sold on eBay for $521.55.
Major Burkes"Who Was That Fool?"/"Break These Chains" 7-inch (Gulf Records, late Sixties) Twelfth Street R&B standout who previously played with Pigmeat Markham. Median Discogs price: $197.77.
W.C. Clark with the Cobras & Stevie Vaughan"Rough Edges"/"My Song" 7-inch (Hole Records, 1979) Seventies blues snapshot. Last sold on eBay for $128.27.
CherubsHeroin Man LP (Trance Syndicate, 1994) Noise rock cult classic. Median Discogs price: $145.
Darker Shades Ltd."Trackin' Down Jody" 7-inch (Austin Custom Records, 1972) Psych soul beatdown. Last three auctions averaged $1,305.0>
Dicks"Hate the Police" 7-inch (Radical Records, 1980) Ultimate Texas punk anthem. Median Discogs price: $699.
Dr. Hepcat"Hepcat's Boogie"/"Hattie Green" 78rpm 10-inch (Lasso Records, 1949) Blues pianist Lavada Durst was Austin's first black DJ. Last sold at auction for $588.78.
The Fabulous Mark III"Psycho" 7-inch (Twink Records, 1972) Black psychedelia. Last sold at auction in 2010 for $700. Breakaway Records owner Gabe Vaughn estimates current value at $1,000-1,500.
Blaze FoleyBlaze Foley LP (Vital Records, 1984) Swashbuckling songwriting savant's lost Muscle Shoals recordings. Median Discogs price: $212.50.
Forty Seven Times Its Own WeightCumulo Nimbus LP (Fable Records, 1975) Jazzed-out space funk. Median Discogs price: $257.32.
Freda & the FiredogsLive From the Old Soap Creek Saloon LP (Big Wheel Records, 1979) Marcia Ball's seminal progressive country favorites. Median Discogs price: $209.50.
Golden DawnPower Plant LP (International Artists, 1968) Only record from George Kinney's early psych gang. Median Discogs price: $360.
Huns"Busy Kids" 7-inch (GOD Records, 1979) Riotous, first-wave Texas punk. Median Discogs price: $150.
The Offenders"Lost Cause" 7-inch (Suffering Sounds, 1981) Savage Texas hardcore. Median Discogs price: $233.
Gilbert Shelton Ensemble"If I Was a Hell's Angel"/"Southern Stock Car Man" 7-inch (ESP Disk, 1966) Famed hippie cartoonist's weirdo folk rock outfit. Average auction price: $104.
The Spades"You're Gonna Miss Me"/"We Sell Soul" 7-inch (Zero Records, 1965) Oft-bootlegged single from pre-13th Floor Elevators Austinite Roky Erickson, credited as "Emil Schwartze" Cost: $2,500–5,000.
SpoonSoft Effects 12-inch EP (Matador, 1997) Homegrown heroes' sophomore release. Median Discogs price: $170.
Stains"John Wayne Was a Nazi" 7-inch (R Radical Records, 1981) Pre-MDC hardcore punk. Median Discogs price: $512.50.
StarcrostStarcrost LP (Fable Records, 1976) Rarified jazz/rock/soul fusion. Median Discogs price: $414.02.
Steam HeatAustin Funk LP (Fable Records, 1975) Integrated funk party. Median Discogs price: $396.97.
Merlynn Tree"Look in Your Mirror"/"How to Win Friends" 7-inch (Dixietone Records, 1967) Super heavy garage psych. Average eBay sale: $1,008.17.
Joe Valentine"I Lost the Only Love I Had" 7-inch (Val Records, 1972) Emotive soulman. Median Discogs price: $172.02.
Johnny WinterThe Progressive Blues Experiment LP (Sonobeat, 1968) Trio tracked live at the original Vulcan Gas Company. Median Discogs price: $704.44.
RSD's Black Friday
April's Record Store Day and Black Friday compete as the two most profitable annual days for Austin's record retailers. No surprise, then, that the RSD organization gets in on the action with 150 special releases for holiday shoppers, hitting shelves on Friday. Here are the ones with local ties:
Gary Clark Jr."Come Together" 12-inch single (Warner Bros.) 2,600 pressed.
Janis JoplinGreatest Hits remastered green vinyl LP (Legacy Records) 3,500 pressed.
Willie NelsonSpirit remastered color vinyl LP (Modern Classic Recordings, 1996) 2,200 pressed.
Willie NelsonYesterday's Wine LP remastered (Friday Music, 1973) 180g vinyl with poster. 1,500 pressed.
Lou Reed & Kris KristoffersonThe Bottom Line Archive Series: In Their Own Words With Vin Scelsa picture disc LP (Bottom Line) 1,000 pressed.
Toni Price's Tuesday night "hippie hour" at the Continental Club came to an abrupt end last week after a continuous run – except for a couple of years spent in California – that began in 1992. Club owner Steve Wertheimer didn't respond to an email asking the reason for the quick exit of the longest-running weekly residency in Austin. The singer is currently up for an Austin Music Poll Hall of Fame nomination, for which you can find a ballot in this issue.
Shearwater's Jonathan Meiburg has formed a new band, Loma, with Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski of atmospheric indie duo Cross Record and signed with his Austin band's label Sub Pop, which will issue the new trio's self-titled album in February. Debut single "Black Willow" showcases an enchanting blend of art folk and indie rock. Meiburg initiated the collaboration when Shearwater toured with Cross Record. "I fell in love with their music and I wanted to know how they did it," he wrote.
Doug Strahan, the smoky singer and guitar monster behind doom twangers Chili Cold Blood and cosmic honky-tonkers Moonhangers, has readied an excellent new platter called Twilight Drifter. The six-song effort spins like a collection of singles representing diverse vocations: Southern boogie, outlaw country, blue-eyed soul, and barroom rock with thoughtful, left-field lyricism. RIYL Charlie Rich, Gary Stewart, and Lukas Nelson. Strahan and his Good Neighbors cook up a Thanksgiving Eve release at ABGB Wednesday.
Cindy Cashdollar is out of the hospital after falling asleep at the wheel and crashing her car into trees in rural New York, according to Bluegrass Today. The slide guitar phenom, who left Austin in 2015, suffered a fractured vertebra. Get well soon, Cindy.
Mike Judge's utterly brilliant Tales From the Tour Bus series on Cinemax closed season 1 with an episode on Blaze Foley. Many local scenesters, including Chuck Lamb, Hank Sinatra, Harold Eggers, Kinky Friedman, and Gurf Morlix, got animated for the humorous and loving look at the Duct Tape Messiah. Entertaining vignettes include Foley and a meth cook carrying a drunken Townes Van Zandt through a graveyard as he shops for a burial site, and the former getting his ass kicked by late Kerrville Folk Fest founder Rod Kennedy.