SOMEWHERE IN THE PAST, someone gave me the nickname of the “Price Guide Guru,” because my first books for O’Sullivan Woodside were the most accurate price guides the record collecting field had seen. I have long forgotten who assigned it to me, but I have used it on and off ever since, both in pieces that I contributed to Goldmine magazine and in the commentary sections of my books.
The word guru is Sanskrit for “teacher” or “master” and in the United States, it was used to describe a teacher from an Eastern religion or philosophy and is more and more often used to describe a teacher of any sort.
The first such guru that I was aware of consciously learning from—as opposed to school, where I was essentially coerced if not actually forced to learn—was Krishnamurti.
The way she moves her hips down to her fingertips I feel I’m Heaven-bound. And when she starts to sway, I gotta say, she really moves her ass around.
I found a copy of his book Think On These Things, which contained perspectives on life and its living that were unlike any I had read in traditional European-based philosophy.
Around the same time, I discovered the books of Alan Watts, especially The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are and This Is It. He was the second writer who I adopted as a guru of sorts. (Joyous Cosmology, an account of his experiences with LSD, remains perhaps the best such book ever written, but that’s another story.)
I feel I’m Heaven-bound
Another sobriquet that I used in articles that I wrote and in personal communication with other record collectors (usually my friends) was “The Rockahula Baby.”
Silly, I know.
But Rock-A-Hula Baby was a silly song—and the first truly silly song that Elvis released as a single—but an energetically silly song, so why not?
In the recording in the video from the movie Blue Hawaii (1961) above, I always hear the lyrics as, “And when she starts to sway, I’ve gotta say, she really moves her ass around.”
Maybe it’s just a part of getting seniorly (becoming more comfortable with being silly as I await the dawning of the promised wisdom of the ages to come upon me) but whenever I sign off with that nickname, I feel I’m Heaven bound!
POSTSCRIPTUALLY, I can also tell you about how a few guys in junior high who were street-smart-punk-wannabes and came up with “Spinout” as a nickname for me that wasn’t meant to be friendly and usually came with a few pushes and shoves (this is back when it was almost embarrassing to admit to being an Elvis fan), but that’s another story.
Mystically liberal Virgo enjoys long walks alone in the city at night in the rain with an umbrella and a flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig who strives to live by the maxim, “It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble; it’s what you know that just ain’t so.
I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a college dropout (twice!). Occupationally, I have been a bartender, jewelry engraver, bouncer, landscape artist, and FEMA crew chief following the Great Flood of ’72 (and that was a job that I should never, ever have left).
I am also the final author of the original O’Sullivan Woodside price guides for record collectors and the original author of the Goldmine price guides for record collectors. As such, I was often referred to as the Price Guide Guru, and—as everyone should know—it behooves one to heed the words of a guru. (Unless, of course, you’re the Beatles.)