Platter World in Garfield, NJ Closing End of December, 2014

I first visited this store in 1986 when LPs were "going away". Now they are back but Platter World is closing. The owner passed away, his daughter is running it and liquidating. All single LPs are $3.00. Most of what I saw was the usual usual and not in particularly great condition but there are always gems to be had in such an enormous stash of records and if you're looking to try some new music $3.00 will get it for you in whatever condition.

I found a very clean stereo copy of The Best of Nina Simone on Philips, a mint stereo rainbow label original Nat King Cole The Christmas Song, Santo and Johnny's Hawaii in stereo that has a box on the back jacket saying "ATTENTION DEALERS-This album is highly recommended for demonstrating all High Fidelity and Stereophonic Phonographs"—and whoever wrote that was correct—an unplayed copy of Gerry Rafferty's City to City mastered at Artisan, a 1AC "360 Sound" unplayed in the shrink-wrap Simon and Garfunkel's Parsely, Sage.... and most interestingly, an obscure record called Urban (folk) RENEWAL Blue Dog Cellar Project No. 1 culled from a live 1962 show at a Baltimore, MD. area club that features two songs from a banjo playing Biff Rose, probably his first recorded gig. I had helped producer Pat Thomas reissue a Biff Rose CD about almost decade ago by transferring from vinyl some material that didn't exist on tape. The other performers were Jim Hoswell, Bob Sessions, and George Stevens, who owned the club. Stevens sings four tunes on the record. He ended up dying in the same plane crash that killed Jim Croce and he's referred to in every online reference I could find as "comedian George Stevens".

The point of all of this is that visiting used record stores, even ones like this that's packed with mostly standard '70s fare that forces you to look through a lot of records to find a few gems is a fun way to spend an afternoon and you never know what you might find.

The same is true of the owner and the guys working there who are still making their way through thousands of buried records in the back of the store. They'd just unearthed a mint green/blue original Atlantic stereo pressing of The Young Rascals' Groovin' album. There were a lot of Rascals records there. Not surprising since Eddie and David Brigati grew up in Garfield, NJ. There were a lot of Four Seasons records too for obvious reasons though they were not from Garfield. The store had but one Led Zeppelin record left but there were surely more in the back. I told them to be on the lookout for Led Zep II and that "RL" in the lead out groove area!

Mrsgmp's picture

Thank you Michael for this wonderful article on my late Dad's store. You ROCK!


Superfuzz's picture

I've always thought the US pressing of City to City sounded great (I've got a couple originals, Artisan mastered, found cheap). How would you rate it against the UK pressing, which runs at a slightly slower (correct) speed?

Michael Fremer's picture
I have original UK and Mobile Fidelity and now this one that I played last night. I found it bright and lacking in bass weight compared to the U.K. and I thought the Mo-Fi was thuddingly bass heavy. I didn't know about the speed differential and didn't replay the U.K. last night but the bright and lacking in bass weight is what you'd expect from running the tape too fast! My favorite Rafferty album is "Can I Have My Money Back?" -UK Transatlantic original that has a different version of "Mary Skeffington" (his mother) than the American Blue Thumb. A year later he formed Stealer's Wheel with Joe Egan and the second album "Ferguslie Park" (A&M) remains a great and cynical look at the music biz circa early '70s. Gerry died last year. A minor folk/pop figure for sure but for some reason his stuff resonated with me and of course "Stuck in the Middle With You" from the eponymous Leiber/Stoller produced first album remains a classic. The UK original of that one mastered by George "Porky Prime Cut" Peckham is sonically INSANE and worth finding.
Bigrasshopper's picture

Funny that you mentioned Stealers Wheel's first album as I just happen to have purchased one from the UK
while shopping for a Honky Dory. I was hoping to get an earlier pressing and although mine is pristine and sounds fine, I wish I could say the sonics are insane. There is a stamped K A in dead wax ? no G P to be found. I'm partial to Stuck In The Middle, but I wouldn't have bought it if it weren't for Next To You, which just melts me. This album was recorded by Geoff Emerik at the Apple studio that he designed and built throughout a chaotic period in which on a whim the building was promptly torn down after the studios completion. Having recently read Emerik's book on recording the Beatles, I set out to get one. If the sonics can be insane I may have renew my efforts, but shopping in the UK from the US is fraught with danger.

Jazzfan62's picture

to have three large record stores like this....however much much larger. I could spend a whole day just sifting through stores like these. Sad to see it go, Hope all is well for his family.

Paul Boudreau's picture

"The point of all of this is that visiting used record stores, even ones like this that's packed with mostly standard '70s fare that forces you to look through a lot of records to find a few gems is a fun way to spend an afternoon and you never know what you might find."

I do miss doing that although shopping online is much more efficient in a way. However, holding the disc in your own hands and visually evaluating it is very important vs. most eBay sellers' "interpretive" gradings (I'm being nice). "Everybody's been burned before," although David probably wasn't talking about records.

Michael Fremer's picture
It's a laminated cover, AMLS68121, brown A&M label, PORKY on side 1, PECKO on side 2. It's INSANE. So is Peckham's cut of T-Rex's "Electric Warrior". The others sound broken.
sluggobeast's picture

Darn, never knew about that store when I still lived in NJ. Then again, 30 years ago there were lots of record stores.

But used to get some mighty fine pizza in Garfield!