Sound Advice: Garage sale patience, persistence can pay off

By  Tim Neeley

Elvis Presley. Courtesy Rhino Home Video/SOFA Entertainment.

Elvis Presley. Courtesy Rhino Home Video/SOFA Entertainment.
Question: At a “block-long yard sale” I found one house with a pile of records and asked how much they were. They replied “10 cents.” I believe I may have picked up some treasures. One was a Triple D label with one side “Party Doll” by Buddy Knox , the other side “I’m Stickin’ With You” by Jim Bowen. The other record was RCA Victor label 47-6382, Elvis Presley “Milkcow Blues Boogie.” According to my friend, they could be worth money. The records are in fair condition.

— Mike De Martino, Chicago

Answer: You did very well, especially with the first record.

The Triple D label was named after a radio station in Dumas, Texas, called KDDD, where Buddy Knox, Jim Bowen and the rest of their group, then known as The Orchids, had played. The songs “Party Doll” and “I’m Stickin’ with You” were recorded in 1956 at Norman Petty’s studio in Clovis, N.M., where Buddy Holly and The Crickets would make many of their classic records. The band received an acetate with the two songs, and after playing it for a local businessman, he had about 2,500 copies of the record pressed. It became a local hit in Amarillo, Texas.

The sister of Don Lanier, another member of the band, worked in New York and passed along a copy of the record to Phil Kahl, a music publisher who was a partner in a brand-new record label called Roulette. He became the group’s manager, and shortly thereafter, the songs were split from each other and appeared as A-sides of the first two Roulette singles in the 4000 series. Jim Bowen became “Jimmy Bowen,” a name he continued to use throughout his professional career. The band became “The Rhythm Orchids.” Knox’s “Party Doll” became a #1 hit single, and Bowen’s original B-side made the top 20.

The Triple D record was such a vanity project that it doesn’t even have a “real” catalog number. The two sides have RCA Custom master numbers, G8OW-797 and G8OW-798. Two different pressings exist of the Triple D single. One of them credits the publishing on both sides to “Blue Moon Publishing;” the other one, to “Oliver and Son Publishers.”

Even in VG condition, this is a rare record and can bring $200-$300. A near-mint copy, of which very few exist, could push four figures. If your record is truly in only “fair” condition, it wouldn’t play through all the way and would look dreadful, but someone still should pay more than 10 cents for it!

As for the Elvis Presley record, this is one of his hardest-to-find “regular” RCA Victor 45s. The label issued it in early 1956 after it had bought his contract from Sun Records, simultaneously with three of the four other singles RCA inherited from the label. (RCA Victor had issued the double-sided hit “Mystery Train” and “I Forgot To Remember To Forget” first, because it was still on the country charts when the label got the rights and wanted to maintain the momentum. After its reissue on RCA, the latter song hit #1 on the Billboard country chart.) The Sun label version of “Milkcow Blues Boogie” is a multi-hundred to multi-thousand dollar record, depending on condition. The RCA Victor reissue, in near mint, is closer to $60. In lesser condition, it goes for a lot less. Overall, not bad for a 20-cent investment!

Question: Recently, I had the good fortune at a garage sale to find an Iron Butterfly LP In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida in its original tight plastic seal. It has a “Manufactured by Columbia House Under License” printing [on the back cover]. Is this a re-release, and if so, how long ago, and would you have any idea of value?

— David Myers, Portland, Ore.

Answer: Sorry, you didn’t hit the motherlode with this one. Columbia House, for the most part, is the latter-day name of the Columbia Record Club, though the label also issued some compilations that were sold on television. Most Columbia House records from labels not part of the CBS family were pressed in the 1970s and 1980s. Your record is definitely not an original.

Generally speaking, it is only the original, pink and brown Atco label editions of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida that have much value. Your copy should be worth a little more than an unsealed later pressing of the album, but only about $10.

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