So, I gotta say… first off, today was a great day digging for records. I headed out west into a chilly February morning – into the mountains of all places. Rolled up on a grungy flea market spot where I’d always wanted to go digging. It looked rather abandoned. I get it though, the temps were hovering around freezing. Good thing for me there were a couple old-timers in the flea-market game hardcore. They had a pile of giant logs pushed up in a 20 foot circle – the coals in the middle were hot enough to radiate heat out 40 feet in any direction. Still, this wasn’t enough to attract the local vendors. I was left to dig through what was nestled inside a quanset-hut building, this was heated with a rigged up blast furnace to break the freeze off the air.

Anyway, that spot produced a half hour of digging fun and a good 20 minutes talking with the flea market old timers. Some super clean Imperial soundtracks were left in the boxes, a couple odd Bowie 45s along with a few other decent finds. A lot of stuff found in these types of places are all obscure now. Word is out on the Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and classic rock ‘gems’. The old Sanford and Son types are pulling all those out of the boxes these days. What’s left though can often be worth far more than the standard top-20 rock bands. But anyway, I digress…

Next stop was at a couple small thrift stores. Lots of poverty in the area. Nothing of real value is left in these places but I still managed to find a couple cool private press pieces and a fun 45 by The Broadways on the MGM label. Usually anything that has to do with classical music, broadway or Christianity is left behind. This is good for me since I’ve looked through about a years’ worth of those titles to get my bearings. Seriously, a year of staring at those genres. Yeah. It takes a lot of time and attention… but its proven to be worth it.

So, REM and Michael Stipe. Let’s see. Well, there’s a spot further toward a major city, still a little grungy but filled with very happy church folk who were stoked to have me scouring through their wall of records. I didn’t see ONE rock record in the whole bunch. NOT ONE!  Ha! But I did find some beautiful violin concertos and a couple of quartet pieces on EARLY labels, great finds. Found lots of odd Xian albums… and at that point I had the feeling I’d be running across the very rare Revelaires LP. Its always exciting to find this record. I’ve had the pleasure of finding copies before and now its easily identifiable – even when sifting through 500 to 1,000 albums at a time.

The significance of this record is that Michael Stipe riffed off the lyrics printed on the back cover during a recording session. Apparently, the Revelaires album was laying around in the studio when Stipe picked it up and just started singing. It makes for a great story in R.E.M.’s history and an awesome score for any fan of the band. I’ve read some threads on Reddit about this recording session and about some relatives of the original Revelaires… they really dig the idea of their grandparents becoming part of rock history. I’ve shot and edited this short video to get the gist of how the ‘Voice of Harold’ has come to life… its the B-side of So. Central Rain – a 12″ single for ‘Dead Letter Office’. Anyway, here’s the video, enjoy!