Standing By Your Man and His Records: Lola's Story (Eddie's Record Collection, Part III)

Posted by Billyjam, July 4, 2012 07:04am | Post a Comment
It's interesting how two people can look at the exact same thing but yet see something completely different. Indeed there's always more than one way to look at anything in life. This fact was recently confirmed for me at Lola's large apartment in Rego Park, Queens. That is the NYC location of the vast unique record library, built over a lifetime of collecting by Lola's late husband Eddie, that was recently acquired by Amoeba Music and will go on sale July 21st at the Amoeba Hollywood store.

To collectors and music fanatics like myself (who spent a week packing this eclectic record collection of 30,000 units to ship cross-country back to California) and to Amoeba Marc and Kent from Amoeba Berkeley (who both flew out to New York to spend a full three days poring over this vast record library), it is a true treasure trove.

Full of nearly all sealed copies of rare records or rarely seen in such mint condition older records, dating back over several decades and covering many genres (both imports and domestic), it was described by Kent, who has been evaluating and buying records and record collections for thirty years, with words like "incredible" and "mind blowing!"

However accolades such as Kent's did little to impress Lola's long time neighbor and friend Zoya who has lived down the hall from her for many years. Born in Russia but living in the US for four and half decades with her husband, Zoya took me aside one day while we were busy packing up boxes of recordsand confided in hushed tones, "If Eddie was my husband, I would have divorced him. This many records is just too crazy!" she said shaking her head. "Too crazy," she repeated, this time clicking her tongue for added effect while offering a sentiment felt by many subjected to sharing living spaces with obsessive record collectors like Eddie.

But to Eddie's loving wife of 40 years, his devotion to vinyl was never an issue. Not once did Lola consider Eddie's record collecting an unhealthy obsession but rather a shared passion for music. Sure, Lola, in her lifetime a singer/artist/fashion designer, may not have been as much into the crate digging aspect of record collecting but she did share Eddie's love of music and of life. "He was just a great guy with a wonderful sense of humor. We loved life together," she told me more than once. Lola married Eddie in 1966 when each were 41 years of age. It was her third marriage and his second. By then, Eddie, who had been collecting music since his mid teens, had already built up a sizable collection. "When I met him, he already had one wall full of records," she describes in the video interview below. Eddie continued to constantly add to this collection.

"He was building the ultimate library. He brought it in one bag at a time over the course of his adult life and then suddenly there's thirty thousand records," said Amoeba Marc who, while he never met Eddie, felt like he knew him just from thumbing through the huge record library that this man dedicated so much of his life to. As Lola recalled, Eddie was "almost always constantly" out collecting and digging for new additions to his library. She said he was always out buying stuff in record stores all around the New York area (sometimes he would buy records via mail order too) "spending an hour or two" every week in each of the record stores he frequented where everyone knew him on a first name basis and knew what his music tastes were. In fact, many of the record shops even had a dedicated "Eddie bin" that they set up to pop in records of interest in advance of his next visit. He would also leave records of interest there himself including, as Lola noted, many rare/limited edition pressings of 20th Century classical.

Inevitably, Eddie bought these records and schlepped them home to their large Rego Park home (two large two-bedroom apartments linked into one with two big rooms with shelves floor to ceiling to house the huge collection) to add to his ever growing library. While he played a good many of the records for Lola to hear on the several turntables scattered throughout their home, the majority of them remained unopened and sealed in mint condition (a practice shared by many avid record collectors who wish to maintain a pristine music library). One of the tragic ironies of this music-loving couple was that Eddie never got to hear any of the records that Lola herself had made decades earlier before they met . As a professional club and radio singer, she would record weekly radio station music sessions (15 minute or half-hour "library service" records that were giant scale records anddifficult to store) in a recording studio in San Francisco for radio stations scattered across the continental US and beyond. Long stored in her parent's garage back in the Bay Area, these oversize records sadly got destroyed in a fire. But despite the love of music that Lola and Eddie shared, there was, she speculated, perhaps another (darker) reason as to why Eddie originally got so preoccupied with record collecting before she met him. This, she confided in another interview, was likely due to his "abusive" first wife who did not support his passion for music and would "disappear for days on end." Music and record collecting became a place of refuge for Eddie, she said, and then he just stuck with his favorite pastime.

Lola, never one to dwell on the negatives, focused on the positives of Eddie's hobbies and passions, and always supported him and shared his love for music and music collecting. Lola, who counts Mel Torme and Ella Fitzgerald among her all time favorite artists, says that she always has a song going round in her head. "There is no given moment that I am not singing a song in my head."

Mark your calenders now for July 21st when this huge record collection goes on sale at
Amoeba Hollywood.
And check all the other Amoeblog posts on this treasure trove of vinyl.


Relevant Tags

Classical (24), Amoeba Hollywood (753), Record Collecting (23), Lola (3), Vinyl Event (8), Eddie's Record Collection (3), East Coast Vinyl Collection (7)