Hello friends!!! As you can see, I got busy this weekend and got to that extra post I promised. Besides, I had quite a bit of down time so spinning 45s takes up slack and believe me….it’s very therapeutic. I also said that I would get to the story of “Fat Chuck”, a guy I mentioned in my last post. Some of you may have noticed that a good bit of my collection have dates stamped on the labels and the radio call letters WSAY (I’ll get to THAT story in the next post). Well, as fate would have it WSAY went out of business sometime in late 1979 I believe, and this guy (Fat Chuck) buys the ENTIRE radio station library. I never knew Chuck’s last name, we just called him “Fat Chuck”. He was a big, fat, rather unkempt guy, and was what I refer to as a “pack rat”. You know, he’d buy anything and sell it. He also had a really nasty personality and was rather grumpy most of the time, especially if you were trying to haggle with him. He was actually kind of like “The Soup Nazi” on Seinfeld. If you got on his bad side, he wouldn’t sell you anything.
In the early 80s he was just a rumor until I finally found out where he had his “business” which was in a warehouse on E. Main and Goodman Streets here just outside of downtown Rochester. I first went to visit him because I was told he had a Farfisa Compact organ for sale and The Projectiles desperately needed a replacement at the time. So I pull up to his “store” (actually just the front door to his space) and there he was, standing there eating a candy bar. I inquired about the organ and he took me to a room in the back where it was and he plugged it in, and it worked . I asked him “how much” and he said “fifty bucks”. I asked if he would go any cheaper and he almost blew his stack, but fortunately I managed calm him down. I needed to get on his good side. So I hand him the cash and I say…”I hear you sell records here too”. He says…”oh yeah, I got a bunch
in the back and more “upstairs”. So I asked him if I could have a look and he obliged.
Holy shit. There it was. Most collectors today would consider this “THE MOTHERLODE
”. Boxes, and boxes, and boxes, of 45s from the 50’s through the 70’s, most sorted by label. Some boxes had two copies of each 45. This was going to be fun to say the least. A box on the Date label yielded a couple of copies of “’Twas Brillig’s” “Dirty Old Man/This Weeks Children”. The Liberty box had both Unrelated Segments 45s. One day I came across a box of stuff on Hickory and got The Sparkles’ “Hipsville 29 B.C., No Friend Of Mine”, and Roy. Jr.’s “Victim Of Circumstances” That was a banner day for me. He would also troll around garage sales and find stuff too. One day I went in there, spent an hour or two and plucked a good dozen 45s, but before I paid him he says to me..”I just got a bunch of new stuff here, you wanna check it out?” I was in a real hurry but I said OK and he shows me a copy of The Heard’s “Stop It Baby”, and The Jury’s “Who Dat” which I promptly bought. I say to him “I gotta get out of here”, and he says to me…”but I got more”. As fate would have it, “more” turned out to be a copy of Byron & The Mortals’” “Do You Believe"Me”. What a moron! I was in a rush because I had to get my freakin’ HAIR CUT!!!!
So what happens? My pal Chuck C.(no relation) shows up about a half hour later (we would do many record shows together and were collecting buddies) and scores the Byron 45. Oh well, at least I scored The Heard 45. I passed up TONS of cool 45s over that time, simply because I had a limited amount of cash and I had to take home the best ones I could find. I’d stash records in places so I would remember where they were the next time I’d go back, and sifting through boxes was a real chore because there was no real organization. It was never an easy task, but I can say one thing…all this stuff was very affordable
and would be considered steals by today’s standards so the time spent was worth it.
Fat Chuck had to give up the warehouse as rent was too high. Eventually he moved and rented out one of these storage spaces in nearby suburbia, and we had to call him on the phone and set up an appointment to go visit and pluck through records that were stacked sky high in this place. That was real difficult in the winter so we could only buy from April till maybe October. He would also show up at record shows and I heard he visited flea markets as well. Well, all good things eventually have to end, and of course the well ran dry and now Fat Chuck has a space at a local flea market here downtown, not to far away from the old warehouse but it’s slim pickin’s these days. I will, in a future post, relate as much as I can about radio station WSAY, which was Rochester’s own WKRP.
Record collecting is still fun, but those days of coming across huge amounts of cool 45s for cheap are long gone. I still go to record shows and sift through boxes of records but great 45s at reasonable prices are few and far between. In this day and age of Ebay and the internet, it’s very easy for sellers to see what some guy on the other side of this earth will pay for something, and I must say, some of it is quite out of hand, but that’s a discussion for another day. For now, let’s just enjoy this latest offering and be glad that were all around to savor it. Bon appetit!