Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ten years after she began singing professionally, in a West Coast production of "Finian's Rainbow," a very different Odetta Holmes reached a career "tipping point" in New York with with a solo concert at Carnegie Hall, accompanied only by Bill Lee on bass, on April 8, 1960. The album from that concert, Odetta at Carnegie Hall, is a bona fide classic in the history of folk music, Vanguard VRS 9076. The concert was a benefit for the Church of the Master, Reverend James H. Robinson, Minister, whose choir, directed by Theodore R. Stent, M.D., was known not only for spirituals but for performances of difficult classics such as the Brahms Requiem. At the time of this recording, the popularization of folk music was in the hands of a few people who had recognized its mass market potential. One of them was Odetta's, and later Bob Dylan's, manager, Albert B. Grossman. Another was Harold Leventhal, with whom I had the pleasure of visiting, in his midtown Manhattan office in the mid-1990s. Mr. Leventhal recorded the concert featured on this vinyl album, which we have one copy of here at moneyblows books & music.
Odetta's obituary appears in today's New York Times. She was a great singer, influencing everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Tracey Chapman.
If you are in the Durham, NH area this Saturday morning, we are having a barn sale featuring record albums for about $2, all genres. Here's a link to the craigslist ad. If you go to our home page, the address is published at the top.
The folk music movement, for all its faults, blanketed the growing American middle class and spoke deeply to a select few who spearheaded the civil rights movement, the peace movement, and other bastions of social justice. Almost fifty years later, our country has scarcely progressed except in small pockets of influence. Odetta had hoped to perform at Barack Obama's inauguration. He will have to do with someone else. Presidents have no shortage of people who can help them. Some things never change.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What have we here then? Oh, just a little fun inspired by a site sent to me by a reader. Check it out: While we're doing this, another link I'd like to share with you, it's the vinyl search for Finally, they have a page you can search vinyl records from and it works pretty good. If you try to search for vinyl from any other amazon search page, it's almost futile. But this link will give you vinyl almost every time: Try amazon vinyl search.

Finally, how about one more link? We're going to sell some vinyl in the barn this weekend, so for more details check out our craigslist ad. Let me know if you need directions to the barn. We'll be offering albums, singles, 78s, you name it, most for $2 apiece. Probably some good sleeveface fodder!

Monday, December 1, 2008

I saw an ad in the New York Times that said "old bestsellers are affordable first editions." The advertiser was offering less than a half dozen "old bestsellers" for $50. This is a blatant deception, clever as it is. The books they refer to as "old bestsellers" had first editions numbering in the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands. They are by reputable and popular authors and are easily available online for 99 cents or less.
It's hard to give a sucker an even break, so I won't try.... other than to comment: clearly shoppers are upset to the point of killing store employees in a mad rush to find a "bargain." They don't stop to think that even the "bargain" may be vastly overpriced. Yes, some kind of unspoken covenant about shopping has been forever broken. Yes, the internet (initially a project of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency) had something to do with this. But, shopping really turned into a religion about the time the "consumer" movement gained traction back in the 1960s. As the movement grew--- industry and government regulation, "consumer"-directed advertising ("citi never sleeps" etc, which once referred to early ATMs)-- a notion formed, that it was not nice to exploit consumers with all their buying power. The effect of the movement has basically been opposite. Intelligent consumers have turned into chumps, to the extent they will knock over a Wal*Mart temp employee on their way to buy something that they don't understand the value of.
There was a variation on the "consumer" movement that started building in the early 1970s, the medical version of it was called HMO or PPO, etc. This was the idea that the consumer had the right to harness America's vast health care assets not just to cure problems, but also prevent them. Gee, guess what happened? Screwed again. Guerilla shopping didn't come out of nowhere. People are mad. Dine 'n dash is considered a game. Let's face it, if a restaurant operated like a hospital ER, you'd be paying for that meal the rest of your life. Unless you were flat broke when you got there, without a pot to piss in. Of course, the restaurant wouldn't serve you but the hospital would, the ER has to, the government says so. They pay the bill so the hospital won't kill you, at least not that day.
I digress. Where I'm going with this is, you're being overcharged, OK? You can't do much about it. At moneyblows books and music we have sold online since 1997. Almost everything we have is hard to find elsewhere. But, thanks to the internet, even hard to find stuff is easy to find. So, we have to price appropriately. We are still in business because we are self financed. Our prices reflect reality because our existence is month to month and a bank doesn't own us. There's no merit or virtue in this, other than, you can look for something, find it and buy it, at our store, without any more fear than any other transaction, and maybe even less, since we don't have a line of angry people outside.
Hey, what else can I say except, Shop Here! Or , if you want to find us on amazon, or abebooks, or gemm, or netsoundsmusic, or musicstack, or choosebooks, or biblio, or zvab, just ask and we will send you to the right place. If you want to use a search engine to find us, just type moneyblows. You will find us out there. You may even find some other funny stuff which we have no control over. People like to fantasize about money blowing in the wind. But let me tell you, in the last 11 years, people have bought stuff from us that is now worth more than they paid. We believe in collectible books and music and have plenty of it ourselves that you'll never see offered for sale. OK, I've rambled on long enough. C'mon in and enjoy the selection!