The regional record fair, like the comic-book conventions with the 25-cent treasure chests that gave me hours of pleasure as a child, has been replaced by mega-shows that attract dealers and collectors from the far reaches of the world. However, one perennial favorite from the "good old days" still exists: the WFMU Record Fair in New York City. Given its location in one of the most diverse cities in the world, this gathering offers the collector a real chance to find unknown minimal-synth seven-inches from Germany, random rap 12-inches from the Bronx's Golden Age, and Japanese Kabuki-psychedelia.
The WFMU Record Fair in New York City offers a venue for music lovers to discover unknown gems.
After bargaining for a dealer's pass to last fall's fair so I could make my way through the space as the vendors settled in, I found myself transfixed by the offerings at two competing stands. There was Franco, a German native fresh from a three-year stint in Africa, and a native Nigerian who insisted on going nameless, who offered some of the heaviest West African funk, highlife, juju and psychedelia I'd seen in some time. Here are some of my greatest finds.