Last night, I met up with Mike Garber, WorthPoint’s vinyl record Worthologist and owner of Zero Street Records in Omaha, NE to see how things were going in the record collecting world. Mike just returned from a buying trip in Colorado and said that he had a good time finding records for the store and for trade.
I asked Mike to pick a few records from his inventory to talk about and he selected three obscure records from Nebraska that are in demand because of their scarcity and sound.
The first record is a 45 released in 1960 for the rockabilly / instrumental group The Shades. The tracks are “Tidal Wave” and “Shady”. This record was never issued with a picture sleeve, but Mike’s copy retains the original dust sleeve with the label (Eyeball Record Company) and address ink stamped on it. Mike said, “What might at first look like a surf record in actuality is a real nice and obscure instro from the rockabilly era”. I naively asked Mike if there were other notable rockabilly bands from Nebraska and he listed artists including Sparkle More, Lou and Red Berry, Carl Cherry, Dennis Volk, and Bobby Lowell. I googled Bobby Lowell and read that he is considered to be Nebraska’s first Rock n’ Roll recording artist.
The next record Mike showed me was a self-titled LP for a band called Heaven. It was released on W/W records in 1969. Mike described Heaven as a horn-rock band influenced by the psychedelic era. The term “horn-rock” made me grimace with thoughts of the band Chicago, but Mike reassured me that this record was nothing like them. He said, “While most horn-rock records are not desirable to psych collectors, the true underground and progressive nature of this record has made it sought after on that scene”. Only 500 copies were pressed, which gets a collector’s blood pumping.
The third record Mike wanted to show me was what he claims to be his “All-time favorite Nebraska record.” It is the 1978 LP release for the band Crap Detectors entitled, “Victims of the Media”. Crap Detectors are special to Mike because they represent the true DIY (do it yourself) artistic creativity from the time period when punk was new. This era quickly faded and Victims of the Media is a time capsule melding early rockabilly with early punk and even electronic. Only 300 were pressed with hand glued, mimeographed covers. The record was reissued in 1999 (along with their first 7”) on the label Brain Transplant. Crap Detectors were also featured on the famous Killed By Death compilations of obscure punk and hardcore bands, making early Crap Detectors releases very sought after by collectors.