Record Shopping Road Trip: Charlotte [part 1]

How long had it been since I sold records to a store… two decades?

How long had it been since I sold records to a store… two decades?

Last Wednesday, there was no post here because I was out of town, on a record trawl with Ron Kane. Ron wanted to spend a week in Raleigh, and during the time of his visit from California, time was tight. I could only rendezvous with him in Charlotte for one day, and since Charlotte was almost exactly half the distance between Asheville and Raleigh, it was a logical choice. I am going on vacation next month, and when this popped up I set aside a c-note to fund gas, food, and records for this day; in that order. A slim budget, but I’ve done as much with even less in the past.

I knew of two stores that I had shopped in there, but I picked out a few more since we are diving deep into the record trawling for Ron’s sake. The guy is all about the records. I had not been to Manifest Discs in a while, but the huge store has been a place to visit several times since I moved to North Carolina. I had not been there in some years, but it’s still open, so we agreed to meet there and move on.

While shaving that morning, a thought struck me; I could take records and CDs that were in my “sale” bins and see if I could flip them at Manifest. While I loiter frequently in used record stores, it’s been almost 20 years since I tried to reverse the cashflow in those places! I use to trade and sell music all of the time but at a certain point in the 90s, I stopped cold. There were too many instances of regretfully buying records back after selling them off, and by then I had become a “collector.” Possibly to my detriment.

It wasn’t until 2013 that, faced with a four month period of much travel to concerts around the time of my 50th birthday, I decided to thin out the Record Cell. Some collectors treats stoked the budgets of many trips from late 2013 to late 2014. A lot of big money items are long gone, and I currently had a milk crate of 12″ vinyl and a box of CDs that were in my Discogs store to little action. That stuff sells in dribbles over a long period. I would be up for seeing what I could get in one big chunk this go round, just for kicks.

I hadn't seen this disc in 34 years!

I hadn’t seen this disc in 34 years!

Manifest Discs

I hit the road by 7:45 and arrived at Manifest Discs some time after 10 am. I looked through the store for a while. The density of stock was less than I had remembered from previous visits. One whole section that was packed with vinyl was now tchatchkes. the vinyl had been moved onto the main floor space instead during this resurgence of vinyl. I wasn’t seeing too much of anything that I needed there. The most astonishing thing I caught was a rare copy of Toyah’s “Anthem,” her breakthrough 1981 album. I had not seen since I had bought my copy in a used record store [Orlando’s Retro Records] and this copy still had the gatefold lyric insert! Jiminy!

thomas dolby - goldenageofwirelessUKDLXRMCDAI saw a few remasters I wouldn’t mind, at used prices, but the notion of just buying the same old albums over and over [even when it’s the bonus track copy of Blondie’s debut album] is a bit despiriting. The one I bit for was the 2009 DLX RM of Thomas Dolby’s debut album. It marked the first time that the initial UK pressing [acquired a decade ago at great cost] was on the preferred silver disc. And the bonus tracks were intriguing with unreleased materials winning over B-sides. The DVD of the “Live Wireless” concert was also a nice plus. I had the DLX RM of “The Flat Earth” so I was now done with Dolby DLX RMS. They can do all they want for “Aliens Ate My Buick;” I’m still not buying it.

I found a few other things that I definitely wanted, so I went to my car to carry the records in for inspection. The manager would not touch CD singles, but he pretty near cleaned out my milk crate, which was almost full. There were a few records that I could have gotten about ten dollars a piece for [eventually] in my Discogs store, but most were just records. All purchased second hand and in varying states of cover wear. The verdict? $142 trade value, or $114 cash. I took the cash. This doubled my budget. With any luck, the $100 bill I had might stay unspent.

Next: …Lunch… and Lunchbox

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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8 Responses to Record Shopping Road Trip: Charlotte [part 1]

  1. Gavin says:

    It’s great when you can set aside time for hardcore record shopping,especially if you are with a chum who knows what you like and vice versa.My friend Mikey and I can clear the shelves in half the time as we just flip through and hold up stuff the other might be after.We have done his for 24 years now so it’s pretty automatic!Great you saw Toyah on vinyl,she is still my favourite and most collected artists after 35 years.
    I agree with you regarding Dolby’s ‘Buick’-with the exception of ‘Budapest by Blimp’ it’s utter bilge.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Gavin – Record shopping with friends (or my wife) is one of my greatest pleasures. As you say, when your partner knows what you might want, it makes it go faster and more sociable! The only mishap occurs when you are both gunning for the same records, but that only happened in the college years.

      In the last 30 years I can count the Toyah releases I’ve encountered on the fingers of one hand. As for Dolby, his campaign to snag another freak novelty hit bottomed out fully with that album! Thank goodness!


  2. SimonH says:

    Love your record shopping posts, sadly the options for cd shopping in the UK these days are not what they once were, the vinyl comeback is making that worse…
    The Golden Age of Wireless is a great example of an indispensible remaster, high quality sound, worthwhile extras and interesting notes.


  3. JT says:

    Umm yes, this vinyl comeback we all keep hearing about…


    • postpunkmonk says:

      JT – None dare call it “hype!” Note the inflection points concurrent with:

      1) video games
      2) CD introduction
      3) Peer-to-peer
      4) Record Store Day, which seems to be the tail wagging the dog.


    • SimonH says:

      Would be interesting to see a graph plotting the level of mark up made on vinyl…might explain why the window of my local store is a vinyl only zone!


      • postpunkmonk says:

        SimonH – While I’m sure the profit on new vinyl is high there is a second, more logical reason why the window of a record store would be vinyl only. The 12″ square format is ideal for retail display! If you were a youth before the advent of CD you’d remember this!


        • SimonH says:

          Very true, am old enough to remember.
          I briefly worked in a chain record store in 87, we used to get quite elaborate advertising displays created by someone whose job was visiting all the shops doing purely that, none would have looked too great based on a CD cover!
          However my local store is very much pushing the ‘retro cool’ of vinyl, if it helps them survive so be it! (If you preorder releases on vinyl you even get 10 per cent off…)


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