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Music done cheap 

Shopping at thrift stores for tunes --- it's like the day the music keeps dying. You'll find soundtracks from bygone eras preserved in their dated formats --- LPs, cassettes, 8-track tapes. Cool finds, like some early Jim Reeves or Elvis, can be weeded out of a heap of musicians that seemed so, so important at the time (see: Andy Gibb). Thrift stores are the first places I'll hit in hopes of a dusty old Frank Zappa, Artie Shaw, or Pretenders LP for 50 cents.

                  You can't walk into one of these stores' record sections without tripping over a Mantovoni or a Sing Along With Mitch record. The fans in these artists' heyday are dying off, the remainder of their picked-over belongings winding up in the trash or goodwill. But good Frank Sinatra, Don Ho, Dean Martin, Martin Denny, or some insane Alabama Pentecostal Choir's records are getting harder to find as their collectibility increases and dealers beat the thrifters to the check-out.

                  At most thrift stores, a mere $5 will buy you stacks 'o' wax after wading through all the dusty Fleetwood Mac, Herb Alpert, Kingston Trio, Journey, Boston, Loggins & Messina, Sesame Street, and just about anybody's Christmas records. Occasional skips and scratches aside, records routinely prove to be the biggest bargains going at these stores.

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