It's already a few years old but since a lot of people might have missed it first time around, and even if not, thought it was time to now post here on the Amoeblog the short but most enjoyable 22 minute documentary film on Music Man Murray in the West Adams district of LA following many years in Hollywood. Like the record store that bore his name music man Murray Gershenz, a former opera singer, was truly a treasure. Sadly both are no longer with us. The store closed two years ago and Murray died last August of a heart attack at age 91. But in his rich lifetime Murray was a passionate lifelong record collector whose vast personal collection would have put many self-respecting crate diggers/collectors to shame. In fact it got so large that half a century ago, following 25 years of simply collecting records, when he counted approx half a million pieces of vinyl in his collection, he decided to open his record store to unload some of these records, as well as stay close to records. As well as running the store in more recent years he had a more lucrative second career as a bit-part character actor in TV shows and movies. As such Murray appeared in such recent film and television productions as The Hangover, I Love You, Man, Mad Men, The Sarah Silverman Program, and Modern Family. But in the film above, lovingly directed by Richard Parks, the ever likable Murray plays himself doing what he loved most in life- being surrounded by records and music.
If the late great hip-hop producer & famed crate digger J Dilla were alive today he would have been the first in line at Amoeba Hollywood (or first online at the Amoeba.Com store) to scoop up the endless extremely rare vinyl gems that make up the absolutely amazing, treasure trove of "library music" recently acquired by Amoeba. This very rare specialized record collection is of interest to producers, DJs, and avid crate-diggers eternally looking for that never before discovered, perfect beat or sound to sample or manipulate in the mix.
Quietly unveiled a little on June 17th both online and in the Hollywood Amoeba store (in the main room "sampler" aisle + a full bin's worth in the back jazz room) word has not yet really gotten out on this unprecedented collection that will make any true crate digger salivate for days. So there's still time to unearth lots of golden finds among the close to 2000 different vinyl records from this collection that is so rare that Google searches will only lead to data on about a quarter of these rarities that found their way to Amoeba Music care of a Canadian distributor / collector who had been sitting on this rare collection for three decades.
Amoeblogger Mr. Chadwick recently described this "music library" collection as; "These LPs contain music produced and owned by production music companies, who licensed the music to film, television, radio, record producers, and other composers. The music was produced with the most accurate attention to a generic style or context, so that it would fit with any precise musical needs of the user." Extremely limited in their respective vinyl pressings the companies who made these sound library collections include the likes of Colorsound, Hibou, Spectrum, Intersound, Telemusic, and Intl. SFX, and boast rare titles like Commercial Music Bed Series by Interwestern Production Music Corp.
The short, engaging documentary Secondhand Sureshots, which every DJ / record collector must see, proves that there is indeed gold to be found in the dollar bins, and that a crate digger with a good eye and a good ear can simultaneously recycle and create from those cheap vinyl finds. Filmed four years ago as a production of dublab, this crate digging in the dollar bin documentary was very recently released on DVD by the Stones Throw label with bonus material. The film, which screened over the weekend at the Downtown Independent, was directed by Frosty, who aptly and eloquently described it as "an experiment in creative sound recycling." The film takes place in Los Angeles, where it follows J-Rocc, Daedelus, Nobody, and Ras G on a crate digging excursion (a "secret mission" is the film's official description) at the local thrift store's (Out Of The Closet Thrift Store) dollar bins to see what musical magic they can conjure up out of what most people would immediately discard as crappy records (and some are really crappy).
As any modern crate digging beat maker will tell you, it is not about what the original record you have in your hands has to offer, but what you can cull from it to transform it (via chopping up and reworking sounds) into something new and wonderful, and this is where the skills of these four gifted producers come into play. The film comes as a DVD + CD set containing the original 30 minute documentary with additional films featuring more music and art creation plus extra beats and mixes from all four producers, and some other niceness. Recently I caught up with Secondhand Sureshots' director Frosty to ask him about his love letter to dusty old vinyl.