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Chris Bade - Vinyl Stories

  by Dave Goodwin

published: 30 / 8 / 2023

Chris Bade - Vinyl Stories


Dave Goodwin in ‘Vinyl Stories’ talks to New Jersey music fanatic about his discovery of a long-lost acetate of the 1967 only album by New York Latin band The Nitty Gritty Sextet.

Welcome to another edition of ‘Vinyl Stories’ and welcome indeed to Chris Bade, a vinyl nut from the other side of the pond. I met Chris via a social media site on a vinyl collectors’ page. The last time that Chris and I spoke he was off to a record store in Princeton, New Jersey called the Princeton Record Exchange, which is one of the biggest on the East Coast and where on another successful mission he bought an album by the band Positive Noise called ‘Heart of Darkness’. Chris was also one of the first people that used to go to the infamous City Gardens Club in Trenton, New Jersey that opened in 1979 and finally closed in 1994. He told me he bought The Rolling Stones’ ‘Some Girls’ record in 1978 when it first came out at a store called Two Guys, which was like a low end department store, and he never opened it. He doesn't know why but he probably just forgot about it. Chris also made a discovery that would stay with him to this day at a record store, but first we need to know a little about the man: “I live in Ewing, New Jersey in the United States. It's a suburb of the capital of Trenton. I work for a company that manufactures robotics equipment for warehouses and I am a technician for them. I am stationed at Estee Lauder maintaining the robots that they use to pick orders. These robots can pick up to 600 orders per hour and I am there to make sure that they work and perform preventive maintenance to keep them running properly. I'm not married but I have a girlfriend and no children. I enjoy collecting records of all kinds. I especially enjoy classic rock, hardcore and some jazz artists such as Miles Davis and Gato Barbieri. I mostly like going to flea markets and thrift stores to search out records that I may not have. Most of the time, I find absolutely nothing, but, however, there are times such as when I found this Nitty Gritty Sextet acetate and it made everything worthwhile. Rockafort Records recently celebrated their 10th anniversary and they have repressed the Nitty Gritty Sextet record with a different cover. When i was in sixth grade, music really jumped out and became something that I listened to rather than just what my friends listened to. One of our classes for the day was Music and the teacher, Mr K, taught us The History of Rock. It was very cool and interesting. I learned a lot of things that I didn't know. He first played a Simon and Garfunkel song ‘Feeling Groovy’. That did not do much for me, but the next song he played was ‘Things Going On’ from Lynyrd Skynyrd's first album. That bass really hooked me as well as the opening lyrics: "Well, have you ever lived down in the ghetto/Have you ever felt that cold and blow/Well, if you don't know what I mean won't you stand up and scream/Coz there's things going on that you don't know.” I was not allowed to go to concerts until I was 15 and my mother and her friend took me to see The Who on their ‘It's Hard’ tour in 1982 at JFK stadium in Philadelphia. The show was one of the largest crowds ever at the stadium- 110,000 people. After that concert, I wanted to see more and more shows and I would beg borrow and steal to get rides to Philadelphia to see many great bands such as Van Halen and Neil Young and Rush. It was not easy to bum rides as you can imagine. Luckily I met a girl on my bus stop and she was into the same music as me. She had an older boyfriend and she said they would give me a ride to the concerts if I would camp out and get tickets for them. Of course, they gave me the money for their tickets. This little inconvenience ensured me rides to some of my favourite concerts. When I began driving in 1984, an entire new world was opened up for me, as I was driving to Brooklyn. New York to witness thrash metal at L'Amour. I saw many incredible bands cutting their teeth in the club circuit and climbing their way up to headlining such as Overkill, Nuclear Assault, Carnivore, and Whiplash. It was amazing to be in the mix with these incredible thrash bands. Anthrax would often play the club and pull out new songs that were slated for their next record. The excitement level was at 110% at these shows. So great Another kid on my bus stop kept begging me to go see shows at this place called City Gardens in Trenton, New Jersey. He kept saying take me to the show to see the Dead Kennedys or take me to that show to see Suicidal Tendencies. I kept saying no because I did not know what he was talking about and Had heard this club was dangerous. Finally I relented and in June 1985 we went to City Gardens to see DOA and The Dicks. My life was forever changed. Witnessing the raw energy with my eyes and ears had a profound effect on me and I would go to City Gardens almost every week to check out any hardcore, punk or thrash metal band that came through the area. I met tons of great people that were into the same music as me and were also into collecting vinyl. About 35 years later, everything has gone for a circle in my life and I enjoy classic rock the most, but there are times when I will spin some punk or hardcore or even thrash metal. I DJ'd for the first time this past weekend and I had a blast spending all kinds of music. My favourite moment of being a DJ for a few hours was starting off my set with Motorhead’s ‘Back at the Funny Farm’. While the song was playing, I saw a guy drinking his coffee and he was singing along to Motorhead! This made my morning and after that I knew I was going to be okay my first time DJing. My second favourite moment of the afternoon was I was playing Godflesh’s ‘Like Rats’ and a guy came up to where I was and said, “Is that Godflesh you're playing?” and I said, “Why, yes, yes it is….”” Just talking about vinyl brings out the best in people for me and Chris’ random stories are just brilliant. He is always on the hunt for a good disc and Chris now describes his ‘best score ever’: “I was at a thrift store in Warminster, Pennsylvania, in October 2014. I was really bored because my girlfriend and her sister were looking at tons of jewellery in this co-op thrift store. I began to look at the disastrous record section and I actually had time to look through a pile up of unsleeved records. Many of them were cracked, broken and scratched beyond playing. I did find some interesting white label records that did not have any information on them except for one. That one said ‘Nitty Sextet’." Recorded in 1967 and lost for almost 50 years until its discovery and release in 2015, the self-titled The Nitty Gritty Sextet album features the best musicians from the 60's NY Latin scene: Jimmy Sabater, Louie Ramirez, Tito Puente, Charlie Palmieri, Willie Torres and has often been described as one of the best boogaloo era albums. The top image is of Chris in the record store. “Kellie Rushinski took that picture of me as I was digging for the record. That is probably moments before I found it. There is also a picture of the albums That I purchased that day laying in my trunk just for the photo. I paid my $3.60 plus tax for six white label records and brought them home. Five of them were traditional Spanish music that really didn't do much for me, but the other one was really cool. It was like R&B mixed with rock and there was singing in English as well as Spanish. I did some research and it turned out to be this band/project called The Nitty Gritty Sextet. They were around in 1967. Tito Puente was one of the members as well as Bobby Marin and many other well-known New York Boogaloo artists. I started snooping around the internet and I discovered that there was a record label called Rocafort Records in Switzerland that released two tracks from The Nitty Gritty Sextet. Playing dumb, I emailed the owner of the label and asked him if there was going to be any more Nitty Gritty Sextet music besides the two songs. He got back to me and said sadly no because he had the master tape and after baking it all they could pull off of it was the first two songs. I told him prepare to be happy because I have an acetate and all of the songs played through beautifully. I was honestly trying to sell him the record. The last thing I thought he would ever say to me is "Do you want to partner with me and release this on vinyl?" I said, “Hell, yeah!” Bobby Marin is now the owner of the Nitty Gritty Sextet's music. He obtained the rights from his brother, who passed away. Bobby granted us a licensing deal to release 1000 records and 500 CDs. I got the acetate transferred at a studio near me and I sent the wav files along to a studio in Texas to be mastered. About eight months later, I had the Nitty Gritty Sextet record in my hand. I even got to write the liner notes on the back cover. It wasn't a great money-making thing, but it was beyond satisfying to find something in the wild that never saw the light of day and have it released to the masses. I went back to the same thrift store about two weeks later and all of those records that were un-sleeved were gone. They probably threw them away. If I waited any longer to go to this thrift store, The Nitty Gritty Sextet full album would have been lost forever.” And there we have it. I think you will agree that Chris is a vinyl connoisseur of the highest order. Again the black wax conjures up another wonderful subject for me to terrorise and turn the contents into another ‘Vinyl Stories’ article. Until next time, keep ‘em spinnin’…

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Chris Bade - Vinyl Stories

Chris Bade - Vinyl Stories

Chris Bade - Vinyl Stories
Photo by Brian Chicano

Chris Bade - Vinyl Stories

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