Thrift-store record run turns up long-sought Louise Huebner treasure

By Dave Thompson

I’ve always been in two minds about thrift-store record shopping. On the one hand, there are definitely finds to be made, if only you can wade through more Osmonds, Carpenters and oom-pah dance bands than you ever dreamed imaginable. On the other, there’s a lot of other people who feel the same way, and they usually get to the good stuff before I do.

But just occasionally …

Louise Huebner Seduction Through WitchcraftI first heard Louise Huebner’s “Seduction Through Witchcraft” (Warner, 1969) courtesy of a 1973 David Bowie bootleg, with excerpts from a couple of the tracks spliced into the Bowie stuff for reasons of … I dunno, atmosphere, I guess. Super-spacey, synthy, mystery music, and a dark, seductive voice intoning the correct conditions under which to stage an orgy seemed to blend perfectly with Bowie’s Ziggy-era message.

I cannot recall how I actually came to identify the source of these sounds, but from thereon in, “Seduction Through Witchcraft” — a Los Angeles occultist’s electronic psychedelic guide to getting it on with magic — topped that subsection of the wants list where we keep the records we’ll probably never find.

There was a vinyl reissue a few years back. In fact, there’s been a couple. But the original release always eluded me. eBay offerings always had a “scratchy” caveat, or a ratty sleeve or some other failing. And then, tucked within a nest of clearly overplayed and all-but-worthless ’60s Motown albums, there it was. Huebner smoldering out from that arterial, blood-red jacket, the handsome flat-green Warner label recalling all the other joys that gave the company such cachet, and vinyl that had certainly been played a few times in its life, but which promised — and delivered — pain-free playing. And all for just one dollar. Or, $149 less than a mint copy currently goes for.

I cannot imagine how many other collectors had flipped through those bins and passed this beauty up. A lot, I’d guess, because I found nothing else. Maybe they all had a copy already. Or maybe they just overlooked it. Either way, it only took me 40 years, but at last I can hear the rest of the track that was excerpted on the Bowie boot. And it was worth every hour I waited. GM

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