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.
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.
Back-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!
Finally, 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