I must be nuts. Here are my low-cost tips and sources for buying Cajun, Louisiana Creole and zydeco 78s, 45s, and 33s online. Leave a few for me, okay?
1. Don’t buy at auction if you can help it. There’s that’s the most important thing I have to say. People who sell through auction sites are in it to make money. I know because I’ve sold there, too.
2. The best bet is to buy in person. There are great used record stores all over the country, most in larger cities. In New Orleans, I go to the second floor of the Louisiana Music Factory, where all used recordings are displayed. In Ville Platte, LA, go to Floyd’s Record Shop. Why? You can see what you’re buying without relying on someone else’s grading system. And you may be able to haggle a bit, especially if purchasing several recordings. Talking to the people who work there can’t hurt; they know their stock best and can alert you to new stock.
3. Buy online from the labels first. Floyd’s also sell used 45s online. When an auction site says that the seller has “recently acquired in Ville Platte,” that’s where they’ve been. The excellent California-based Arhoolie sells both 33s and 45s. In many cases these are new, sealed copies, in great shape.
4. Try the used music sources next. I’ve had pretty good experience with GEMM and Alibris. Dealers often set prices below what you pay at auction. And you can set up ‘agents’ or saved searches to find out when something you want comes on the market.
5. Finally, if you just can’t find what you need elsewhere, use the auction sites. You know them, the biggest one has a name like a body of water.
This is probably the only post I’ll ever make that will save you money. And consider giving or leaving them to the ULL Dupré Library’s Cajun and Creole Music Collection. That’s when you’ve enjoyed them enough.