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The Namesake

February 12, 2010

1970 Wurlitzer Statesman

This lovely piece of electro-mechanical engineering lives in my basement. It came with the house. Really. During negotiations on the house we were going back and forth on the price, and the owners finally said XXX money and the jukebox stays. We said SOLD.

Of course, it didn’t work. And being flat-broke and house-poor, it sat. Lonely and sad.

And I pined for it. For several years.

There’s a little record store up the street. Royal Garden Records has no website. He’s open when he wants to be. And he’s more than a little cranky if you try to negotiate the price of something. But do you want a jazz record from the beginning of time? He has it. 78s, 45s and stacks and stacks of used 33 1/3 vinyl. Serious stacks. Nearly to the ceiling, stacks. Go look when you’re done reading. He may be open today. (23812 Lorain Rd., North Olmsted, OH)

I wandered in and started looking at all of the 45s. In alpha order, sleeved, and clean. He asked if I was looking for something in particular, and I said, “Yeah, someone to fix the jukebox in my basement.” And of course, he “knows a guy.”

So I called Joe. Took him a week to call back. Turns out he lives AROUND THE CORNER FROM ME. Kismet. He came over and took a look, poked around and said he’d be back with some parts. Another week later, he was back. He cleaned it, replaced relay switch-thingies, lights, and a couple of mechanisms. We put a record in. Fired it up, and IT WORKED.

Lights up like it's Christmas

Heaven. My own personal very loud record player. It sounded like crap. No bass. We replaced the tone arm and wiring. Well, Joe did. Replaced more little transistor-ish thingies and ice cube relays (they’re square and white — Joe again). I found some bass speakers Eminence – The Art and Science of Sound from Musician’s Friend and ordered them. The Mr. installed them and yeah, that’s MUCH better. About every three months or so it does something silly like only play “B” sides or play the same song over and over and not move on. So we call Joe, give him some beer money and he fixes it.

It holds 100 records

Yup it holds 100 records. Excellent. So I started collecting records. Again. I go to record stores, (See earlier posts from last summer) flea markets, estate sales, poke around on ebay, record shows and friends give them to me. My pal Greg has a pal in England who has sent over several UK release Clash 45s. Awesome. I’m up to about 1200 45s now. There’s a couple of boxes waiting to be cataloged next to me here in my home office. Since I’m a graphic designer, I make the little labels that go in the slots. The labels are color coded by decade, Christmas, novelty and instrumental. I have a master list of each record, the flip, label, release # etc.

It’s time consuming being this obsessive.

This leads to some upcoming blog posts. There are several 45s that always stay in the juke. Each week I’m going to pull one, scan it and explain why it stays.

That is if I can learn to be as obsessive about this blog as I am the records.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 12, 2010 5:32 pm

    I found your blog on MSN Search. Nice writing. I will check back to read more.

    Eric Hundin

  2. February 14, 2010 6:09 am

    “Raise your glass for the hard working people…Let’s drink to the salt of the earth”. Indeed.

    Let’s hear it for the Joe’s in the world. You felt good about this…can you image how good it makes this guy feel?

    Loved this story. Keep us updated on the 45s. Cheers.

    • jukebox1965 permalink*
      February 14, 2010 10:01 am

      Thanks Judd, In fact Joe has his own great stories to tell. He’s been working on these things all his life. His father had a jukebox route that he took over. They went all over NE Ohio servicing jukeboxes and switching out 45s to keep them current. His only request to us is that we never ever buy anything by one artist. His company was sued by ASCAP on behalf of this “artist” for a royalty infringement. But I’m fine with that. I don’t ever need to hear “Caribbean Queen” again.

  3. February 19, 2010 5:51 pm

    I just had my Billy Ocean greatest hits CD out the other day, tormenting Annie with it. Love me some Billy Ocean!

    • jukebox1965 permalink*
      February 19, 2010 6:42 pm

      SHHHHHH. We are not to speak his name.

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