The Great Record Stores: Wuxtry, Decatur [part 2]

Wuxtry was a cozy space, dense with neatly arranged formats of all kinds in two rooms

Wuxtry was a cozy space, dense with neatly arranged formats of all kinds in two rooms

As I entered the space, there were two to three other shoppers in the two rooms there. Display cases showcased rare specimens and the like. I immediately hit the CDs at “full price” since the dollar bin had been so encouraging. I was happy to see that the median price for a used CD here was the comfortable $5.oo price point. I had budgeted about $360 for this trip, and dinner had been a modest affair. I was mentally holding out a portion of cash for the merch stand at the Midge Ure show I’d be attending in a few hours, but all in all, I had a $50-$100 “comfort zone” I was willing to play in. It all revolved around the stock. After all, my last trip to Grimey’s in Nashville, I had budgeted $100 for and was hard pressed to spend half of that once the rubber hit the road.

A good sign, this

A good sign, this

My wife had by this time wandered off to the consignment shop while I hit the CD bins. I started somewhere in the middle. There was a PIL section that had the wonderful Post-Punk classic “Jah Wobble In Betrayal,” but that’s been in the Record Cell for ages. still, it’s the kind of album that I wish I could buy every one of the scant times that I see it. I looked in the rest of the section to find that yes, they had the one PIL studio album on CD that I still needed [apart from the latest one] for a five-spot! Finally, the long-departed “This Is What You Want, This Is What You Get” album was coming home to roost on a silver platter after 31 years with no copy to my name! I had bought the album on release in 1983, only to trade it in with the intent to re-purchase it on CD one day. Well, that day was now.


The “S” section was, as usual, rife with desirable products. Have I mentioned that the “S” section in the Record Cell is by far the largest alphabet representation there? Well, it’s true. There’s something about bands with an “s” up front. I don’t know exactly what, but whatever it is, it’s there. In spades. I saw two Suede CDs that I thought I needed. One was a single from “A New Morning” by the looks of it. Then there was a “Filmstar” #1 CD that I couldn’t remember if I had or not. At the $3.00 asked, buy now and regret later! I was thrilled to see David Sylvian/Holgar Czukay’s “Plight + Premonition” for sale. I’d have paid $15 for it at this point, but $5.00 didn’t hurt any. I have dragged my feet on these Canbient albums with Czukay for a shameless amount of time. These days they are pretty light on the ground, not that they were ever ubiquitous. Finally, there was that second Screaming Blue Messiahs album [“Bikini Red”] beckoning. It took me forever to get the first one, so another 15 years for the seconds seemed about right.

prefab-sprout-crimson-reduscdaBack-tracking back to the “P” section, I looked in the Prefab Sprout section and was rewarded with their latest one, “Crimson/Red.” I buy every new Prefab Sprout album I see, and this means that in the last 17 years, I have bought exactly three. I still have yet to see “The Gunman And Other Stories.”  Lately, we have been hearing a lot about Budd/Eno’s “The Pearl.” When John Foxx repeatedly talks up and album I don’t have, it looks bad! When you have a Budd and Foxx fan wife like mine, it’s simply not viable! So with “The Pearl” swirling around our consciousness for the last month or two, it was a relief to see the little gem sitting in the bins for a fiver, I happily snatched it up. No longer would I have my wife asking “do we have that?” and “why not??!!” when its name came up. Phew!


Musique Under Glass

talking-heads-speakingintobguesuscdaFinally, there was that CD of “Speaking In Tongues” by Talking Heads that I’d managed to never own, ever. Sure, sure, I had a copy of the Rauschenberg vinyl edition, but that had been flipped to fund some travel activity back in 2013. Besides, I had never actually played the copy! Too cumbersome! I had balked on the CD due to a misapprehension about the CD edition. I recall back in 1983, when the album came out, that I’d heard that the cassette edition had “extended mixes” on it, as they did back then to get people to buy the cassette format. I should probably post on the phenomenon of “cassette bonus tracks” in the 80s, but my understanding was that this album had just that: the 12″ remixes that were issued on vinyl appended to the cassette. In addition to the full, regular album version of the songs, as was on sale on LP. I avoided the CD of this title due to me waiting for a deluxe edition with the “bonus tracks” the cassette had.

“Not so,” says Little Nicola! I only discovered by probing around on Discogs on this topic a year or two ago that what the cassette had instead were longer versions of  five of its songs than were used on LP, due to the “45 minute curse” of the LP format. The cassette and the CD actually had longer edits of the same material, and were one and the same since day one. This meant that there was no reason to wait any longer. I could buy “Speaking In Tongues” at any time, since it had the full, maximum amount of music on it. Today was that day. That said, I am still a bit miffed that the Jellybean mixes from 12″ of “Slippery People” and “Girlfriend Is Better” remain on vinyl to this day.

Next: …Other Formats…Other Triumphs

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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10 Responses to The Great Record Stores: Wuxtry, Decatur [part 2]

  1. Echorich says:

    The currency of The Pearl should never be underestimated. In the past few months it has topped or been near the top of at least 3 Ambient Music listst I’ve read. If Music For Airports changed the nature of “ambient” music – a music that will always have more in common with Jazz than Rock – The Pearl showed that this genre had matured in less than a decade. Eno has always been an artist who was on to the next thing before the current thing was even fully realized, but Budd is a man who makes music when he feels the time is right. Budd brought real beauty to Eno’s form. Budd is the colorist, building hues and shadows over Eno’s atmospheres.

    I look forward to your opinions on Crimson|Red. It’s a very satisfying album for me.

    Finally, Speaking In Tongues was a musical “bridge too far” for me. The transition from Fear Of Music to Remain In Light was one of a band and producer locked in sync and burning jet fuel. Speaking In Tongues works hard to live up to those two albums, but as understandable as it is for the band to move away from Eno for a third album, they make some very underwhelming attempts at matching that magic. There is a repetitiveness within many of the songs – both in instrumentation and rhythm that just never caught my fancy. There’s a jam session feel to many of the songs and that can probably be put down to the rather large array of guest musicians on the album, as well as the environs of Compass Point and uncredited tea and sympathy from Sly and Robbie. Where the album works best for me is on Pull Up The Roots. It’s a tight, urgent skank and Byrne sounds more committed to the song on his delivery than on most of the rest of the album. Slippery People is the other track that manages to touch on the sound created by the extended live unit that helped to change my musical life when I saw them in Central Park on the Remain In Light tour.


  2. tim says:

    “The Pearl” is a must have, however in my haus it’s “The White Arcades” that receives more play. Good job snagging that Sylvian/Czukay cd. I bought that one & Flux and Mutability together right away when I jumped into the deep end of the Sylvian pool and have never regretted it.


    • Echorich says:

      I am with you there on Sylvian/Czukay. Those albums and Holger’s contributions to other various Sylvian projects has always seemed a perfect fit. One of Sylvian’s best attributes is learning from and incorporating some of the best aspects of the work of his collaborators and then finding a new starting point from which to expand his own musical journey.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Tim – Fear not, good sir! “The White Arcades” has been in the Record Cell for 24 years; a perennial Budd Classic. In fact, since buying the Budd Box in 2014, I’ve had two copies under our roof!


      • Tim says:

        While the Harold Budd lovefest is going, Through the Hill and By the Dawn’s Early Light were two albums of his that received a ton of play in this house in the 1990’s. I am really enamored of Though the Hill, especially.


  3. KeithC says:

    Hope you enjoy “Crimson / Red” as well. I had to wait awhile to get it in Canada on CD so I snagged it when it was labelled “Devil Came a Calling” months before news broke of a physical CD (at least that’s what the ‘net said). Fantastic to listen to on headphones; absolutely stunning arrangements. As for “The Gunman And Other Stories”, I broke down and bought it on Amazon US when I could never find it locally; impressive for first 6 cuts; the remainder I find just odd (especially Farmyard Cat as it varies in description from being total crap or actually enjoyable — definitely depends on your mood). Visconti’s production is superb as always; clean with being overly ‘plastic’. It is the only Sprout CD that I always listen to in its original running order with a few extra repeats of Cowboy Dreams.


    • Echorich says:

      Nice to see some love for The Gunman And Other Stories. Cornfield Ablaze is a Jimmy Webb song he never got to write….I always think of what it might have sounded like having Glen Campbell sing it as well. The Gunman, as a song, has some of that Jordan magic about it. I leave it to the individual listener to decide how Cher did on her 1996 cover of the song. If nothing else, Paddy put some money in the bank. The Streets Of Laredo is just classic Prefab Sprout.


  4. The Pearl is a staple of my Budd collection, though my usual favourite is his and Eno’s The Plateaux of Mirror. I also play a lot of the Foxx/Budd albums.

    On Speaking in Tongues there is a natural sense of disappointment as generally accompanies the end of a streak of brilliance or a return to the form, but I do think the album continues to have some good tracks and generally reminds me a lot of what their third album would have been like if they’d not met Eno (but had met Bernie Worrell et al). They seemed determined to be a simple art-rock foursome once more, but as someone once said, “you can’t go home again.”


    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – Having finally heard this I agree spot on with your analysis. Pretty tepid stuff following RIL and FOM, but still miles ahead of the albums that followed. It would have been better had they stayed apart after 1980. Gimme “The Red And The Black” any day! It upped the intensity ante while also being far groovier than subsequent Heads releases.


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