Friday, November 25, 2016

Sum Sum & Bun Bun Sisters

Artist: Sum Sum & Bun Bun Sisters
LP: 7" single
Song: "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" 
[ listen ]

Have I ever told you about the time I was working at Scarecrow Video and a group of young Asian college students came in and asked if we had the film "Chicky Chicky Boom Boom?" I honestly thought they were looking for some rare soft-core Russ Meyer film that had never been released on video. 

Anyway, I figured my upstate New York record hunting was finished once I left Ithaca, since I'd found a notice online that the one and only vinyl shop in Jamestown, NY had closed in 2015. But I had to visit Jamestown anyhow, since that's where Lucille Ball comes from and they've got a museum, her grave, the "Scary Lucy" statue, and other things like that strewn all over town. As I was walking through downtown Jamestown to take a gander at a humongous I Love Lucy mural painted on the side of a building... eyes were instinctively drawn to the word "RECORDS" painted on a column outside Collector's Paradise, a store with a treasure trove of odds and ends assembled inside. 

As I browsed through the bins, I heard the store owner bragging about how he'd taken over the shop from the previous owner, a woman who, according to him, "was just giving things away. She didn't know the value of anything! You have to know what you've got so people don't swindle you! Now I know what things are worth. You won't find any deals here!"

"You won't find any deals here." Not the most effective advertising slogan I've ever heard. When I came across a batch of 45s from Singapore in the 1960s that didn't have prices on them, I was prepared for the worst. The owner had left by the time I brought my few records to the counter, and the friendly gal working there wasn't allowed to do any pricing. She couldn't reach the owner by phone, so I had to leave my name and number. She was going to have him come back in to price the records, and then I could stop by again after visiting the Lucy & Desi Museum to see what sort of deal I wasn't going to get (my words, not hers). 

Of course it's hard to imagine that the good people of Jamestown have been scrambling over each other, forming lines around the block to acquire 1960s vinyl singles from Singapore, but evidently the owner posts things like this on e-Bay and they go for a pretty penny—a pretty penny, indeed. I'd found about ten singles in all, and when I returned from the museum and saw what some of them had been priced at I had to stifle a scream...not a scream of joy. Let me just say this: I'd suggest changing the name of the shop from 'Collector's Paradise' to 'Collector's Quandary.'

I picked out three of the singles that I was most excited about that didn't have six-figure prices on them and made an offer for the trio. The nice gal I was working with, who did seem to really want me to have the singles, I must say, called the owner to present my counter-offer. (I tried to sweeten the deal by also purchasing a nice vinyl copy of The Beatles' "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band," which wasn't overpriced there any more than it is at every other record shop in America.) My offer was accepted. So I guess you really can find deals at Collector's Paradise. Well, actually, no. You can't. But things can be arranged in such a way that you feel like you got a deal at Collector's Paradise, and sometimes that will just have to do.

I know I put myself through an awful lot of trouble for three measly 7" singles. But I just couldn't imagine pulling out of Jamestown knowing that I'd left behind a copy of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" as recorded by the Sum Sum & Bun Bun Sisters of Singapore in 1969. It was worth it. The record is more than spectacular! (Or, to use the vernacular, it's wizard; it's smashing; it's keen.) Go ahead and look for more pics of these sisters, but all you're likely to come up with is a bunch of photos of these.
[ Sum Sum & Bun Bun Sisters ]

[ Collector's Paradise — Jamestown, NY ]

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