I grew up in Central Florida. By the time I was in college, I’d often hear about exciting concerts in Atlanta, Georgia; the New York City of The American South. Chances were, that if any UK New Wave group ever played south of the Mason-Dixon line, it would be in Atlanta or nowhere. When my good friend Charles lived near Atlanta in the early 80s, he would regale me with tales of Wax N’ Facts. I never made it to Atlanta until I had almost graduated from college. It was the first OMD concert I saw that proved to be the irresistible bait. My friends and I went there on a Sunday for the show and stayed through the next day. Not so we could get a good night’s sleep before returning the eight hours back to Central Florida. Oh no. We stayed through Monday because Wax N’ Facts was not open on a Sunday!
It can be said that every trip I’ve ever made to Atlanta, and in the 90s, there were many, has always included time for a stop at this store. My first visit there was a mind blower. Back in 1985 it was vinyl only and I bought my first Mari Wilson record that did not require mail order! Not only did they have a Mari Wilson section in their 7″ bins, they even had a John Foxx section as well! To me, that’s always a mark of a store that’s more than a cut above! I also bought Virginia Astley’s “Promise Nothing” LP on Les Disques Du Crépuscule. That was the single time that I saw it and it’s impossibly rare today.
The store is owned by Danny Beard, who is also known as the big enchilada of DB Records; the man who brought the world such luminaries as the B-52s, Pylon, Love Tractor, The Method Actors, and Guadalcanal Diary. One of the perks about visiting WNF is that even in the 90s, it was possible to buy a copy of the DB Records version of “Rock Lobster” b/w “52 Girls” [later recut for their Warner Brothers debut] for less than a king’s ransom!
The photo above shows the store as it is today. Half is the counter space and where they stock CDs. There are sometimes music books and boxed sets behind the counter. In the 90s there were a good many music videos, but this seems to have faded away with VHS. They don’t make a point of stocking too many music DVDs. Over the years, I have been spending less and less time browsing the CD bins. The selection is good with decent pricing, but personally, I am drawn first to the vinyl.
The 12″ vinyl is rather well organized and sorted according to genre. The selection and pricing there is exceptionally good. There have been many records I’ve bought there over the years that I’ve not managed to run into again elsewhere. Case in point, the US promo of Vicious Pink’s “Fetish” on EMI Manhattan. I bought it there for $3.00 in 1994 and never again saw it for sale anywhere. The last time I visited, there was an identical copy of the record; again for the same $3.00! Since I’m all about New Wave, there is a healthy percentage of desirable material in the bins to give me positive feedback for my searching time invested. Shown below is my last haul from there last month.
Wax N’ Facts | March 2011 haul
- Cabaret Voltaire: The Living Legends – Mute – 9175-2 – CD – US – Wax N’ Facts/$5
- The Lover Speaks: Every Lover’s Sign – A+M – Sp-12203 – 12″ – US – Wax N’ Facts/$2
- Joe “King” Carrasco + El Molino: Self Titled – Lisa Records – SA-1007 – LP – US + crown insert – Wax N’ Facts/$3
- Skafish: Self Titled – I.R.S. – XSP 008 – LP – US – Wax N’ Facts/$5
- Tom Tom Club: Call Of The Wild – Sire – 0-21285 – 12″ – US – Wax N’ Facts/$4
- Colourbox: Punch – 4AD – BAD406 – 12″ – UK – Wax N’ Facts /$4.50
- Fingerprintz: Beat Noir – Virgin – V2201 – LP – UK – Wax N’ Facts/$5
- Marianne Faithfull: Broken English – Antilles – AN-801 – 12″ – US – Wax N’ Facts/$5
- John Cale: Animal Justice EP – Illegal Records – IL 003 – 12″ – UK – Wax N’ Facts/$5
- Wall Of Voodoo: Ring Of Fire [remix] – Index – 12.001 – 12″ – US – Wax N’ Facts/$3
- Swing Out Sister: Twilight World – Mercury – 870 015-1 – 12″ – US – Wax N’ Facts/$3
- David Werner: Live – Epic – AS 609 – LP – US Promo Only – Wax N’ Facts/$3
- The Bears: Aches & Pains – PMRC – L33-17523 – 12″ US – Wax N’ Facts/$3
- Heaven 17: At The Height Of The Fighting – Virgin – VS483-12 – 12″ – UK – Wax N’ Facts/$3
Check that list out! That’s an eclectic and relatively obscure selection of wax for sure! Lots of records that are in scant supply and all at prices to love. The Joe “King” Carrasco album was their indie 1978 debut and it even had the golden paper crown insert still inside!
Certainly, the 7″ selection is no longer the stunning selection that was available through the mid 90s. All of the vintage New Wave material has pretty much evaporated, leaving only contemporary single wax. But the 12″ vinyl is still the reason to go there. The excellent selection of soul and funk also had many browsers rifling through the bins during my last visit there. Wax N’ Facts have managed to survive the downturn for a simple reason. They have managed to maintain their finger on the pulse of record hounds for two or more generations now.
P.S.: Hey ho! Even the lords and masters at Spin Magazine agree with my praise.
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