Record Shopping Road Trip: Charlotte [part 4]

The Wax Museum was a haven of 7" singles

The Wax Museum was a haven of 7″ singles

The Wax Museum

Our final stop was not far from Repo Record. I picked this store to end our jaunt because they had a reputation of being a place with a lot of 7″ singles. My friend Ron had been turning his attention to the smaller format in recent years, so I felt he might find something to his liking there. I had not been there before, but I had been anticipating basically a place for Ron to shop. Their online rep seemed to point heavily to “beach music,” a regional music scene that has lasted from the late forties to the present. It’s sort of the US equivalent of a hermetic soul scene like “northern soul” is in the UK.

The small shop was crammed mostly with 45s. As I expected, there was almost nothing here to call my name, but Ron began looking with an open mind. Most of what I want on 7″ single are specifically UK import pressings from ’78-’85. When faced with a building full of US 45s, my mind goes pretty much blank. Then I remembered one specifically US 7″ record that I needed: the Mercury US 7″ edit of Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn.” I bought the UK edition mail order years ago because I need to own all three of my “seminal singles.” I later discovered that the UK 7″ edit is not the same as the US 7″ edit of “Autobahn,” so that book was not yet closed.

What better way to file records?

What better way to file records?

I do have to admit that the store’s method for filing singles was inspired; one wall of the store had filing cabinets where alphabetized records dwelled! An inspired take on a common problem. And one which would protect the records from light and dust, on the face of it. When I opened the cabinet in the “K” drawer, I then saw that it was a wasted effort; almost all of the records for sale had neither sleeves, nor pricing! Double bummer! And no Kraftwerk, either. But Ron was having better luck with US promo Leonard Cohen 7″ers making him very happy. Still, with no prices on the merch, one gets into that uncomfortable squint zone where you take the fistful of records to the owner, then he squints at them [while sizing you up] and gives you a price off the top of his head, which doesn’t help if you want to put a few things back afterward to hit your price comfort zone. Give me record stores where each record is clearly priced, please! I don’t have the stomach for these mind games.

As Ron was getting some feedback, I continued to bounce through the files, to pass time. I actually found a single record that I did want! A US promo of “All Around The World” by Robert Palmer from the “Explorers” OST from 1985. It’s a fun, non-LP cover of the Robert Blackwell rock and roll number that seems to have slipped through the cracks of Palmer’s career. This copy has the generic sleeve to protect it, but when I inspected the record, I saw that the surface had been damaged any way. C’est la guerre.

stranglers - the raven UKLP3DARon managed to get a few 45s of note but after 40 minutes or so it was time to make a bee-line to some dinner before we went our separate ways. Charlotte was a strange city to buy records in. Mainly because of one factor that united most of these stores, but that I had not mentioned until now. While each store varied wildly in their vibe, style, and content, there was one wildcard that the first three stores all shared. Namely, that this seems to be quite the American city to find a lot of Stranglers records and CDs! The first three of these stores had reasonably fat selections of Stranglers material. And The Stranglers are not a band that I typically find a lot of releases for, in spite of my enthusiasm for their albums. Repo Record went so far as to have the 3D lenticular LP of my favorite release of theirs, “The Raven.” Fortunately, this has been in the Record Cell for over 20 years, but still…! There are only 20,000 copies of that floating around. It’s not a record one sees on any sort of regular basis.

That Charlotte was the city where I finally saw Hugh Cornwell play a concert in late 2013 leads me to believe that somehow, it is a hotbed of Stranglers fandom for some possibly arcane reason. Does anyone out there have any insider information to help account for this? PM me. That’s what the contact form is for. Meanwhile, I was happy that I managed to pay for the day with the milk crate of no longer needed vinyl I took with me to Manifest Discs. Though my original budget would have sufficed, there are many things to spend that money on instead. The experience has re-awakened me to the fact that many of the records I want to unload that aren’t really worth the effort of selling online and shipping out might be better sold to used record stores instead. My final conclusion is simple; the next time I find myself in Charlotte, I really must just cut straight to the chase and head for Repo Record to the exclusion of any others. Shopping in that store was such an unmitigated pleasure that was its own reward.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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7 Responses to Record Shopping Road Trip: Charlotte [part 4]

  1. Echorich says:

    I remember having to bargain with the owner at Freebeing Records off St. Marks Place for that 3-D The Raven album!!! It is definitely a prized possession!!

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – I think I paid $12 for mine back in ’93 at some amazing record store in Deland, FL that blew my mind with the goods crammed into such a sleepy downtown storefront. When I went back in subsequent visits, I discovered that it was only the accumulated stock of the previous dozen or so years that made my first trip so memorable. The “churn” there after even six months was negligible. But when does one find things like the JPN Bananarama “He’s Got Tact” 7″ ever, much less in such a sleepy hamlet like Deland? Heck, in 1993 it was pre-Internet. I had no idea that record even existed!

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  2. JT says:

    Have you seen the Kraftwerk compilation LP Excller8? It’s a collection of edited tracks from their early LPs (through Autobahn), including an edit of the song Autobahn that is different from the 7″ version that I’m used to. I wonder if this is the same edit that you’re looking for?

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      JT – I was dimly aware of this but the “Exceller8” album you speak of
      Kraftwerk - UK Exceller8 album
      has the 3:06 edit of “Autobahn,” which is the version I have on UK 7″. A different timing to the US 3:27 edit. But wait! There exists a US promo only 7″ with both the 3:27 edit [which was the one I probably heard in 1974] as well as a “long” 5:46 edit that is completely unknown to me… until now!

      Can you say “want list?”

      p.s. Notice the umlaut over Ralf’s name. The “ü” looks like the umlaut was added to the mechanical art with a rapidograph®!

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      • Vlad says:

        Oh those endless Kraftwerk single edits! This must be one of the bands most badly served in this way – so little in a way of compilations and even those are mostly filled with album versions! I still cannot find any reason to feature an LP version on a compilation – those are made for various 7″ edits or mixes – and yet…

        And I won’t even start on the numerous differences between the German, UK and US releases (let’s not mention other contries) – those are copious. As I understand Herr Hutter wants to have only one “canonical” version of a song – but we fans think otherwise! And doesn’t he need our money? Those can be generated with a good compilation or two (or even three?) of those versions with little effort. Ralf, it seems, belies the whole stereotype of an efficient and business-astute German :o)

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  3. jt says:

    Yeah, Exceller8 is probably important for the completist because ALL of the versions on it are edits of the longer original LP versions.

    I like how the 5:46 Autobahn is called “long”.
    Ha. Still butchery, only 1/4 of the original!

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