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Jazz records hit all the right notes with Market Watch buyers

Jazz records — especially ones from Lee Morgan — hit all the right notes with record buyers in online auctions. Of course, there was still plenty of room for genres, including grunge, rockabilly and all-out hard rock. So what record took top honors?

By Susan Sliwicki

Jazz records — especially ones from Lee Morgan — hit all the right notes with record buyers in online auctions. Of course, there was still plenty of room for other genres, including grunge, psych, rockabilly and all-out hard rock. So what record took top honors? Well, you’ll just have to keep reading to find out!

Lee Morgan Sextet

10. Lee Morgan, "Lee Morgan Sextet."

10. $2,602 — Lee Morgan, “Lee Morgan Sextet,” LP.

Mix Lee Morgan’s trumpet with sax work by Hank Mobley — we’ll see more of our pal Hank in a bit — and Kenny Rodgers and a support crew of Paul Chambers (bass), Charlie Persip (drums) and Horace Silver (piano) and you get a darn good time on this 1957 deep-groove pressing of Blue Note 1541.

“This is a very well-preserved record with great mono sound. And a collector’s item beside,” the seller wrote.

The still-shiny, VG++ vinyl bears some small paper scuffs and micro scratches. The VG+ cover has some wear spots, dinged corners and glue residue. But if the collectibility angle wasn’t enough to hook you, the performances should do the trick.

“Morgan has gorgeous solos throughout,” the seller wrote. “Hank Mobley always plays interesting jazz. Kenny Rodgers was ALL OVER his horn on ‘D’s Fink.’ Paul Chambers plays on the bottom of his instrument and soloed nicely. Charlie Persip gave a good account of himself. Silver’s choruses on ‘Slightly Hep’ and the last tune were especially sharp.

Jazz collectors, keep your eyes posted for more finds from this source. The seller noted that he would be releasing new albums for sale each month from a personal collection of jazz and classical music covering the past 50 years.

Sixteen bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

9. $2,700 — Nirvana, assorted records.

We admittedly give some sellers grief for exercising excessive creative writing skills and churning out novels instead of sales descriptions. But here’s a seller from Chatsworth, Calif., who took things to the opposite extreme for this Nirvana grouping.

“Original ‘Love Buzz’ single. Signed ‘In Utero.’ Original ‘Bleach first press.’ Guaranteed authentic,” the seller wrote.

And that was all she (or he) wrote. There wasn’t even a picture shown with this lot. Still, it was enough for a single bidder to decide to snap it up.

Lee Morgan "Candy"

8. Lee Morgan, "Candy" LP.

8. $2,835 — Lee Morgan, “Candy,” LP.

Back for another stop on the countdown is Lee Morgan, this time with “Candy” and sidekicks Sonny Clark, Doug Watkins and Art Taylor.

This copy of Blue Note 1590 is an original deep-groove RVG-stamped “P” pressing on the label bearing the West 63rd address.

The seller declined to give grades for either the record or its cover, stating simply that the playing surfaces are in beautiful condition, with a high luster and the laminated cover is clean, save for a small brown discoloration on the back slick.

Personally, we like the playful cover art, but that could be because we're having some kind of a sweet tooth attack. Too bad it wasn't photographed in color!

10 bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

Lee Morgan "City Lights"

7. Lee Morgan, "City Lights" LP.

7. $3,494 — Lee Morgan, “City Lights,” LP.

In a feat we typically only see from The Beatles, Lee Morgan makes his third appearance in a single Market Watch countdown, this time for a deep-groove “P” pressing of Blue Note 1575, aka “City Lights” featuring Curtis Fuller (trombone); George Coleman (tenor and alto sax); Ray Bryant (piano); Paul Chambers (bass); and Art Taylor (drums).

“Side 1 has the ‘New York 23’ address (BLP 1575 was never pressed with the “New York 23” address on both sides),” the seller wrote. “The playing surfaces are in beautiful condition, with just a few light inaudible surface scuffs and splotches that are typical of records that have been long stored in their original inner sleeves.”

The seller declined to give a formal grade for either the vinyl or the cover. Eight bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

Hank Mobley on Blue Note

6. Hank Mobley LP.

6. $3,618 — Hank Mobley, “Hank Mobley,” LP.

As promised, Hank Mobley appears in his own right in this edition’s countdown with a deep-groove, RVG-stamped “P” pressing of his eponymous album on Blue Note 1568. Other featured artists are Bill Hardman, Curtis Porter, Sonny Clark, Paul Chambers and Art Taylor.

In the past year, Hank’s made it to our countdown several times with this LP. Most recently, his “Hank Mobley Quartet” 10-inch brought $2,050, as noted in a previous Market Watch.

The labels show the West 63rd address, with the New York 23 address mark only on the Side 2 label. No formal grades were given for the vinyl or the cover. The vinyl was described in “near-new condition” with a few light scuffs. The cover had some chips and cracks and wear, including a 3-1/4” break in the center of the bottom beam; a 1-1/4” split on the bottom at the opening.

Nine bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

The Factory "Try A Little Sunshine"

5. The Factory, 45.

5. $3,941 — The Factory, “Try A Little Sunshine” / “Red Chalk Hill,” 45.

If you’re a fan of U.K. freakbeat psych music, you’re probably know everything you need to about this 45.
“Stock copy of this chocolate soup monster — here it is!” the description declares.

Since “chocolate soup monster” doesn’t shed much light on the subject for those of us NOT in the know, we consulted to learn a little bit more about The Factory. Brian Carrol, an engineer at IBC studios in London, wanted to get into production, so he teamed up with colleague Damon Lyon-Shaw and The Factory, a combo whose members included a 16-year-old drummer and a 17-year-old guitarist. The Factory’s first single, “Pat Through The Forest,” came out on MGM in the U.K. in late 1968. “Try A Little Sunshine” followed in 1969 and is described by as sounding “a little like a mating of The Who and The Moody Blues (in the best sense of that combination), with its crunching guitar chords and catchy, wistful vocal harmonies.” That description sure makes us wish we got our hands on this 45 for a closer listen.

This 45 has shown steady growth in value based on When it sold in September 2007, it brought a handsome $1,534.82. By June 2009 it sold for $2,738.63, and in November 2009, a copy brought $3,713.42. Not bad at all.

This copy’s A-side, “Try A Little Sunshine,” earned a grade of EX to M-, while the B-side grabbed a grade of VG to VG+, due in part to some small marks. Pressed in the U.K. in 1969, this copy of CBS 4540 is in a CBS sleeve and has a CBS stock-copy label, according to the seller.

Twenty-one bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

Music and Moondog

4. "Music and Moondog" acetate.

4. $4,570.20 — Moondog, “Music and Moondog,” acetate.

Considering the seller wasn’t entirely certain what this record contained, $4,500 and change sure seems like a tidy sum to earn.

“An oddball 12-inch acetate “Music and Moondog,” the seller wrote. “Side A 12/9/51 ... various cuts of the original MOONDOG, avante garde jazz drummer/poet and infamous New York street chraracter ... and folks, I ASSUME that this is him!... two sided CONTEMPORARY CLASSIC.”

Since it’s been nearly 60 years since the acetate was recorded, its extremely fragile condition is no surprise. The acetate’s playing surface shows a loss on the rim of the B side and a tiny tear into the first track, according to the seller. This seller, who used the 78 grading scale, assigned it a grade of E (a grade of 9 out of 10).

The seller later added a note stating that the item is a radio program with a narrator, varied tracks, some “weird-sounding intrsuments” and “at least one interview with Moondog.”

Eleven bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

U-2 "Three"

3. U-2, "Three" EP.

3. $5,100 — U2, “Three,” EP.

This first-edition copy of “Three” by U2 — billed then as U-2 — on CBS 12-7951 features the songs “Out of Control,” “Stories For Boys” and “Boy/Girl.” The EP was originally released in October 1979.

“This is basically the start of U2’s discography and exposure to the world,” the seller wrote. “Hold and touch it, and it feels like you are holding the beginning of U2, one of the greatest bands of all time.”

The first printing was limited to 1,000 copies, all individually numbered in either blue or black ink; this one, which is numbered 287, was owned by an Irish dj, the seller wrote. While editions two through six of this EP appear on eBay frequently, the original printing hasn’t turned up for about two years, according to the seller.

If you’re wondering whether you’ve got a first edition in your hands, the seller recommends you:

1. Check the spelling of “Ireland.” It’s spelled correctly on the first pressing but spelled as “Irelnad” on pressings two through six.
2. Check the capitalization of the word “Stereo.” It’s in all caps on the first pressing, but only the S is capitalized on later issues.
3. Look for a white sticker indicating the pressing number. The first issue has it, but the others do not.

“The band made it very easy to distinguish between the original edition and the subsequent common editions,” the seller wrote.

Forty-eight bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

Led Zeppelin The Final Option

2. Led Zeppelin, "The Final Option" LP set.

2. $5,600 — Led Zeppelin, “The Final Option,” 70-LP set.

It seems there’s always one in every countdown, and this week, the dubious honor of dropping the descriptive phrase that shall not be named — at least, not directly by us — into a sales pitch falls to this 70-LP set of Led Zeppelin records housed in a black acrylic box, numbered 12 of 150.

According to the manufacturer, each record was pressed by hand on 100 percent virgin black and white vinyl, from the original plates.

“Each record was played once, about 10 years ago. All of them played fine at the time. All 70 are still in the case. They haven’t been removed from the case since that time, so I cannot vouch for the condition of the records or how they play. I can say that the item was stored at all times in a climate-controlled facility.”

The seller declined to grade either the box or the records — , but stated that each of the records in this set was played once, about 10 years ago and “all of them played fine at the time.”
Three bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

Elvis Preseley on RCA

1. Elvis Presely/Presley 45.

1. $6,000 — Elvis Presley, “That’s All Right” / “Blue Moon of Kentucky” 45.

Apparently, even when you’re The King, some folks still can’t spell your name. At least, that was the highlight of this copy of RCA 447-0601, which featured Elvis’ songs recorded in 1955 for the Sun label, but for which he is credited as Elvis Presely on “The Blue Moon of Kentucky” side. The seller assigned a grade of NM to the record.

“This record comes from my own personal collection and the only one I have seen,” the seller wrote. “Bid now — before it is gone — you may never see another.”

Not to nitpick, but we noticed the printing on these labels seemed rather uneven, which seems surprising given how established of a firm RCA was at this point. Apparently, that didn’t bother the lone bidder, who was happy to meet the seller’s buy-it-now price.