In Praise of the Quick Dig

ziggy_web1David Bowie
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
180 Gram Reissue
2012 (original press release date: 1972)

The chances of finding an original and playable pressing of David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in used record stores are pretty thin.

I ran into one not long ago with a price tag of $20+ but the vinyl was so compromised (dirt, divots, long deep scratches that went from the outer edge to the inner label) that there was no way I was going to grab that up just to have it. And I’ve been wanting this cosmic concept record for years.

Would it be nice to have an original Ziggy? Of course. But I want to listen to it, not look at it. And, since this is a record filled with sonic intricacies, I don’t want one with a needle-wrecking sandpaper surface.

During a recent excursion, I decided to drop by my local 2nd & Charles (Naperville, IL), for the sole purpose of pricing the recent reissue release of Pink Floyd Animals. My intent was to spend no more than $25 and if I couldn’t find the Floyd at that price, I’d do a small pick up of records at around $5.00 each and remain within that budget max of 25 bills that I set for myself.

And I was not going to spend more than an hour in the joint. A quick dig.

When I got to the store’s record section I tripped over a 180 gram reissue of Ziggy. This was a totally unexpected plot twist. Because Floyd was in my head front and center, I put the Bowie in the back of my mind as a possible pick-up knowing I’d have to spend over $20 for it.

By the way, I don’t go crate digging for reissues – but sometimes, if you want something and originals are out of reach, a reissue will have to do. But I hate spending the money on them.

For one, I have a mental block when it comes to spending over $10 for a record. When I was buying heavy in the ’70s/’80s, albums averaged around $5.95, so I’m brain locked just like my grandfather who used to lament the high cost of going to the movies when he only spent a dime to see a flick during the Depression. Costs for used LPs, in my opinion (unless you’re looking at acquiring super rare or original pressings of major artists like Bob Dylan or the Beatles), shouldn’t exceed that $5-$10 range. That’s my limit and my limitation. It’s probably why I’ll never procure an original Animals or an original Ziggy. And I can live with that.

Yet I’m also getting to the point where I realize I may need to spend a little more if I want to be ensured of a clean playing LP (for the most part), so sometimes, if budget allows, purchasing a reissue may be the best option. And I have already ponied up for Hendrix, Coltrane, and Bowie reissues.

So, during this trip to 2nd & Charles, I found that they had almost all the Floyd reissues except Animals. And, because Floyd is Floyd, the reissues are in the $25 to $50 range (a recent reissue of The Wall hovers around that $50 mark – I bought it in 1979 for $9.95 – it’s a double album and I still have it and it still plays great) so, even if I found Animals, I’d have to think long and hard about buying it.

Hence, the real thrill of this trip was finding the Ziggy reissue for $20 plus change. And, as I rifled through the “P” bin for Floyd and not finding Animals, I stumbled on Gary Numan’s The Pleasure Principal, which was misfiled. This was a happy surprise as I’d been looking for a clean copy of that one for a couple of years. Diggers, of course, will say they always see that Numan but I haven’t and there it was for $3.95.

I looked at my watch and realized I’d been in the store for just over an hour and made the swift and judicious decision to get the Bowie and the Numan, keeping to my budget of $25.

By the way – Ziggy sounds fantastic.

© 2016 Chris Barry


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