[…continued from previous post]
When I had last set foot in Lunchbox Records, it had been a taxing experience. It was my second time in the store and the scant amount of product of interest, compared to the first time, had dropped off precipitously. Worse, the conditions in the store actively worked to dissuade my purchase. To wit:
- difficult parking
- poor lighting
- inadequate/no air conditioning
- inadequate space/stock under tables
All pretty much deal killers when you’ve spent as much time in record stores as I have. This time my wife suggested that I go there since she had scouted it out and had already found something I knew that I wanted. Boy, was I glad I gave Lunchbox one more chance!
I was surprised when we did not go to exactly the same location as the last two times. Lunchbox had moved out of the hectic downtown area they had been in and now were in a kinder location on the same road in a huge stand-alone store space. With a large parking lot. Bold graphics announced the store. When we entered it was a completely different proposition. Compare interior shots of the then and now.
The experience was completely transformed for the better. I could almost call it The Repo Effect®. Here was a store that was now well organized and extremely browsable. With excellent lighting, comfortable air conditioning and a large, spacious floor it invited me to spend between 60-75 minutes carefully examining all of the stock. Let’s take a look at that stock, while we’re at it.
When browsing the “D” section, I always look to see what Dylan Dylan records are there. I joke, of course, because Duran Duran and Bob Dylan are always close binmates with the likelihood of deep stock available for either act in theory. Duran have covered Dylan [horribly] but as far as I know, Mr. Zimmerman has not returned the favor. Someone had dumped a rather large Duran Duran collection in the store. Most of the usual records, but some that were less typical. I always appreciate seeing “Nite Romantics,” but truth be told, that one is surprisingly common around these parts. I see 1-2 a year in my travels, which suggests a lot of copies out there. How many other Japanese pressings does one commonly come across?
Well, the “Tiger Tiger” Japanese EP was there as well, but it’s as common as dirt compared to the later period Japanese EPs like “Strange Behaviour.” This was the Japan-only “Notorious” era remix/B-side collection that the Japanese market got on a regular basis. The sharp Frank Olinsky design pops nicely, but the record does even better; this was an etched rim EP with artwork apart from the music tracks on each side. I had never seen one of these outside of my home. I was wondering if I had sold mine off in my Great Duran Purge® but I just checked. I still have it.
What I no longer had was the Italian picture disc version of “Strange Behaviour!” If the Japanese version of this was a rare sighting, then the Italian edition [there are no other ‘Strange Behaviour” EPs] pegs the Rare-O-Meter® in the red. I am simply not used to seeing these discs out in the wilds. I sold mine off since a) it was not Japanese, b) there was no content on it not elsewhere and c) I could get decent coin for it. Much more than the going rate in this store. All of the Duran releases here were $10.00 or less. What was shocking was that though I did not re-buy any of these, I did end up buying two Duran Duran 12″ers that I had never gotten back in the day when it was an active collection of mine. These are the first DD singles I’ve bought in almost 20 years. What were they? Glad you asked.
One of the “Electric Barbarella” US promo 12″ers had a mix not on the CD5 I have of this single, which was the only copy of “Electric Barbarella” I ever had, surprisingly. But by 1996 my collecting had pretty much stopped cold; these singles dated from the next year. I also bought the UK 12″ [I had never even known of this back in the day] of “Out Of My Mind,” the theme song for the ill-starred movie “The Saint” and the only Duran Duran release on Virgin Records. This had some dub mixes not on the two CDs I had of this title. For $3.00 each, how could I say no?
The Ultravox bootlegs are in the Record Cell. They were the only boots of this band that I ever saw in my years of collecting. The “Systems” disc on left was a hot Swedish radio show of the Foxx band on their “Ha! Ha! Ha!” tour. The “Terminals” boot on the right was an Italian “Rage In Eden” show of poor quality. I had not ever seen a UK pressing of “Pinky Blue” by Altered Images [complete with hype sticker!] since the time of its release. I saw it as an import months ahead of the domestic release in Record City but waited as I knew the US Epic pressing would eventually follow at lower cost.
The vinyl was salted with plenty of the ’80-’85 action that I thrive on. Seriously! This was a great selection of 12″ singles, all priced to move. I got things that were on my want list! I got things that were put on the want list the previous week! In short, it was a great shopping experience. Between the comfort and ease of browsing, and the plentiful releases of interest [which let me state are no longer thick on the ground] this was shaping up to be a game-changer of a visit. Third time lucky and all. I got the “D’ya Like Scratchin'” EP by Malcolm McLaren for a pittance. A pair of Kid Creole + The Coconuts UK 12″ers. The holy DEVO “Peek-A-Boo” 12″ which, believe it or not, has never been in the Record Cell prior!
I saw the sealed Cold Cave 12″ and it was from the earlier  period of the band than I have currently. I saw that the remixer was Arthur Baker, and the thought of this New Order MK II band being mixed by Baker himself was musical catnip for my ears. I had to have it. I also had to have the 12″ of Adam Ant’s brilliant “Viva Le Rock” 12″ single. I had been thinking about this single lately but had not yet added it to my want list. One record I had done that with was The Boomtown Rats “House On Fire.” Just the week prior. I was researching rare tracks and recalled that I was missing the B-side to this killer single.
I went to the CDs and found more goodness to buy. Certainly there was the Franz Ferdinand third album I needed to hear. The band are playing in town this Friday and I have tickets. I was thrilled to see Lou Reed’s “The Blue Mask.” When Lou died, I was aware of pivotal albums from his canon that were sadly lacking and I really wanted to hear “Street Hassle” and this one the most. I quickly found “Street Hassle” but this one took a while longer to find. I recently found out that Scott Walker had recorded another soundtrack album, for the film “The Childhood Of A Leader.” They had the new 4AD release here… on CD …as a used promo!
I can’t tell you how common it is these dark times, to see albums that I want badly to buy in record stores… but only on LP format! There are albums from the last five years that I only see on vinyl, so I still don’t own them! When Neneh Cherry teamed up [five years ago already… it feels like yesterday] with Swedish free jazzers The Thing to record “The Cherry Thing,” I had only ever seen the LP of this in my local hipster joint.
“No CDs for you, granddad!”
I thought, “this just might be the sort of place to have that album on CD” and it was. Used. Score! Last week I was also thinking “maybe it was time to get a Joy Division greatest hits disc?” I looked at “Substance” but my wife found the eerily similar “The Best Of Joy Division” so I am finally ready to try to re-approach Joy Division.
Here’s the full monty purchased there:
- Joy Division: The Best Of Joy Division – Rhino Records – R2 474236 – US – CD – Lunchbox Records/$6.00
- Franz Ferdinand: Tonight – Epic – 88697372552 – US – CD – Lunchbox Records/$4.00
- Bob Dylan: Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits – Columbia – CK 65975 – US – CD – Lunchbox Records/$1.00
- The Magnetic Fields: Holiday – Merge Records – MRG151CD – US – CD – Lunchbox Records/$5.00
- Neneh Cherry + The Thing: The Cherry Thing – Smalltown Supersound – STS229CD – NORWAY – CD – Lunchbox Records/$5
- Lou Reed: The Blue Mask – RCA – 07863 54221-2 – US – CD – Lunchbox Records/$5.00
- Scott Walker: The Childhood Of A Leader OST – 4AD – CAD3620CD – UK – CD – Lunchbox Records/$5.00
- Malcolm McLaren: D’ya Like Scratchin’ – Island Records – 90124-1-B – US – EP – Lunchbox records/$3.00
- Kid Creole + The Coconuts: I’m A Wonderful Thing – Ze Records – 12WIP 6756 – UK – 12″ – Lunchbox Records/$2.50
- Kid Creole + The Coconuts: The Lifeboat Party – Island Records – 12IS 142 – UK – 12″ – Lunchbox Records/$2.50
- DEVO: Peek-A-Boo – Warner Bros. Records – 0-29906 – US – 12″ – Lunchbox Records/$4.00
- Cold Cave: Life Magazine – Matador – OLE -941-1 – US – 12″ – Lunchbox Records/$3.00
- Adam Ant: Viva Le Rock [Remix!] – CBS – 49-05261 – US – 12″ – Lunchbox Records/$2.00
- The Boomtown Rats: House On Fire – Mercury – MERX 91 – UK – 12″ – Lunchbox Records/$3.00
- Duran Duran: Out Of My Mind – Virgin – VST 1639 – UK – 12″ – Lunchbox Records/$3.00
- Duran Duran: Electric Barbarella – Capitol Records – SPRO 7087 6 12097 1 6 – USP – 12″ – Lunchbox Records/$3.00
We left Charlotte nearly a hundred dollars lighter, but had 24 excellent additions to the Record Cell to show for it. I was happy to spend more than $17 at Repo Record for a change, but I was really impressed by the profound changes wrought at Lunchbox. They had moved the store a year earlier and I complimented the clerk [possibly the owner] on the vastly improved browsability of the store and the nearly $60 worth of records and discs certainly evidenced it. Charlotte’s record buying scene just got twice as good; maybe moreso. When in town, make room for both stores.
– 30 –