Real Music & Real Estate . . .

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy.

He knows about the band biz and – check this out – the real estate biz, too.

You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. (See you.)

This is a blog with a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets.

Stratton has written op-eds for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.



My records were heavy, and I didn’t want them. I hadn’t listened to them in about 20 years. I said to my friend Carl, “In 10 years I might not be able to physically pitch them. I’ll be sitting in my La-Z-Boy and making my kids choose between Bob Dylan and Jefferson Airplane. So I’m doing it now for my kids’ sake.”

Harvey Pekar used to rifle through my albums. The only album he ever wanted was my Charlie Parker Memorial Album, Vogue Records, England, 1956. I didn’t sell the record to Harvey because I figured if he wanted it, it must be worth something.

A record-store owner came to my house; Pete from Blue Arrow Records stopped by. This was in 2012. Pete went through my record collection a few times as I said goodbye to Aretha Live at the Fillmore West, Herbie Mann’s Memphis Underground, and some Paul Butterfield, Gary Burton, B.B. King and Mayall. I got $300 for about 100 records. Not bad. Pete didn’t care about the condition of the records. Pete said his target market — millennials — “won’t buy the reissue LPs, they want the originals like yours.”

I said, “What jumped out at you? Is there any album worth ninety percent of what you paid me?”

He said, “I like your two Fred Neil’s — Everybody’s Talkin’ and Sessions. You don’t see those often.”

“Let me take a photo, Pete, of the collection. Don’t worry, I don’t want the records back.”

I want them back now. I also want my baseball cards back, which I sold in 2007. I’m King Tut II, and I can take this stuff with me.

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1 Mark Schilling { 09.16.20 at 9:07 am }

We listened to the Fred Neil records in your room at Mich House. You sold them? BTW, I’ve got a rare Beatles album that’s worth something — maybe a hundred bucks. But I’ve hung onto it too long. Sentiment trumps the Benjamin.

2 David Korn { 09.16.20 at 9:51 am }

Yep, Fred Neil. I have Everybody’ Talkin, and I still like it. Also I have some free jazz and other stuff that sounds good now only under certain influences (you know). My Miles Davis might be worth a few bucks.

3 Charlie B { 09.16.20 at 12:09 pm }

Why, pray tell, do you want them back? It’s just more cargo for you or someone else. That fast scan of liner notes or a scratchy play (if you even happen to have a 33 1/3 rpm turntable) may not be as satisfying as you imagine. Especially when the phone in your pocket can deliver a pristine digital remastered reissue in seconds, piped thru to those AirPods Pro.

4 Kenneth Goldberg { 09.16.20 at 12:26 pm }

You’re getting to look more and more like Tutankhamun every year, Bert, if he would only have made it to your age (he died at 18 or 19)….
I unloaded some of my records and some of Lillians’s to the extent that what I have left, including a lot of my children’s records from the ’50s, all fit into one quite crowded cabinet, and I have a phonograph too, but it’s not user-friendly. Besides the stores that sell old (and new) records I run into large collections on display, such as at the Phoenix on Bridge Avenue in Ohio City.

5 marc adler { 09.16.20 at 2:30 pm }

Speaking of vinyl records….La Shana Tova to you and all your followers

6 Dave Rowe { 09.18.20 at 9:38 pm }

On Prospect Ave in the seventies and eighties there was a record store whose name I can’t recall that featured bootlegs- they were labelled Flat Records (“the only good record is a Flat One. Prominent in my collection is a live Stones one including the infamous C09878754 Blues.” Also invaluable is Neil Young solo acoustic at Carnegie Hall, 1970. Neil plays the great stuff he was coming up with those days plus memorable non sequiters.

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