The last weekend of 2018 found my wife and I in Winston-Salem, NC for not the first time. We often meet with our friends Elisa + Tom from the Chapel Hill area and often visit the Reynolda House Museum of American Art there, which tends to get shows of interest to us at least once a year. This time it was the show Dorothea Lange’s America. It featured photos from Lange and her contemporaries documenting the emotional cost of the Depression to better give Congress an idea of how bad things were outside of Washington D.C. [really]. Photojournalism at its most useful.
Afterward, my wife needed to shop for some shoes and accessories, and maybe I should look for records? Well, in all of my trips to Winston-Salem, the usual Monastic pastime has never entered into it. And I’m thinking that’s it’s been maybe 5-6 trips over about a decade. Shocking, I know! A quick trip to Vinylhub.com [you all use this to find stores, right?] yielded four results. I quickly narrowed things down to a McKays location [usually great places to find stuff] and another Earshot store. I had good experiences at both of the other locations I’d seen in these regional chains so that would be it for me.
Earshot – Winston-Salem
As I stepped into Earshot I saw another of the rock mannequins I’ve been lately seeing store feature. This time is was a vintage Ziggy Stardust job that approximated the impact of seeing the “David Bowie Is” exhibit. Sorta. Except that no one cared if I snapped a photo. The store was about 60% vinyl and 40% CD. Pretty good as these things go in the end times. I looked for some things I was interested in in the CD section: Janelle Monae and “Sorry To Bother You” by The Coup. No dice. About half of the vinyl was the modern variety, and just for grins, I looked for any of the later period Visage LPs, which I am fine with buying. Also, no, but I’ve never seen them anywhere. I next noticed that there was a section of 12″ singles?! I must investigate!
Now that’s more like it! Right up front in the bin was The Cage featuring Nona Hendryx with “Do What You Wanna Do!” This little gem slipped by me in 1982, but after hearing the dub mix on Trevor Jackson’s awesome “Metal Dance” compilation, I was hot to have this! It’s basically most of Visage 1984 [Rusty Egan, Steve + Gary Barnacle] with Hendryx singing and John Luongo producing. I was particularly interested in hearing the B-side, “The Slammer.”
A glance at the used vinyl LPs [at least they were there] revealed nothing in the way of obscure New Wave, But another “New Releases” ares [they had two] revealed a new album I was vaguely aware of and picked up to buy even at full price.
The new Bryan Ferry album was the third in his “Bryan Ferry Orchestra” trilogy, and the only one I have ever seen a copy to buy. It felt good to be buying something at full retail that was rather new [in the store for 3-4 weeks by that point]. While they had the LP [at an attractive $19.95 price point] they also had the CD for $13.99. The only Ferry albums I lack now are the other two BFO releases. That was all, but it felt good leaving the store with two purchases and change back from my $20 bill. I actually preferred seeing only a few nice things instead of $100 worth as I want to curb spending.
McKays – Winston-Salem
The McKays stores are similar to the eerily similar Edward McKays and Mr. Kays chains in the Quad State area. I think I heard that they were all family owned until the divorce tore the united empire asunder. Whatever the personal details, these are interesting shops to visit; filled with stock at decent prices. Asheville has a Mr. Ks which yields real finds on occasion. I wouldn’t drive by any of them without stopping. The shops are large, but with at least 60% books at a minimum and other entertainment media [DVDs, video games, music] filling out the stock.
This time my wife was with me and she immediately grabbed almost everything I walked out of there with. I had gotten Steely Dan’s “Aja” a few years back and my wife’s favorite Dan song was :Dirty Work” so she grabbed “Can’t Buy A Thrill ” RM and the DLX RM of “Steely Dan Gold” as well as “Two Against Nature,” their reformation from 2000. She also struck paydirt with a good Rod Stewart comp drawing only from his pre-“Hot Legs” era when he was actually talented. Given that Rod The Mod has about [checks] 230 compilations to his name, I had no hope of actually finding one online that only drew from his first four solo albums – without hours of research, yet my wife found such a disc! Perfect. I thought that case would never be solved!
She also dug up a Don Dixon album for a nickle. And a Prince “Batdance” CD5 for $0.19! Especially dear to me where the four Jah Wobble titles she brought to the table. Given that I’ve never heard a dull Wobble album, I was certainly ready for these. One of these was “In Dub” a 2xCD from 2016 on Cherry Red’s 30Hz label that came out in 2016 and had I known about it, it surely would have been on my want list! I also viewed the used LP bins, which were still in the minority here; revealing the store’s unhipness factor as primarily a book store with other media. Nothing much of interest was in them except for a copy of… gloryoski…
“The Bloodied Sword” by Maxwell Langdown, Midge Ure + Chris Cross! I’d have certainly bought this had I not owned a copy from day one. And even a second copy of this title bought in a flea market in Cherokee, North Carolina in 2001 – just because that what one does when confronted with “The Bloodied Sword” in a rural NC flea market! As you can see, the price was right.
I looked and looked at the CDs and was largely unmoved. I did snag a copy of Blondie’s “No Exit” and a copy of season two of “Sherlock” on DVD for a good price. Seasons three and four were over $20. Why? I was ready to leave when I saw the Box Set section, so I ambled over and looked on the shelves and saw this…
My heart actually stopped beating for a second, I think. Long time readers might be aware that I blew off Roxy Music’s “The Complete Studio Recordings” that came out with 8xCDs of each studio album and a 2xCD with every possible rarity. I had imagined in my fever dreams that the bonus material would be appended to the Super Deluxe Boxed Set of each Roxy Music album released on each album’s 40th anniversary. Thus there would be no reason to buy this box. This year the 46th anniversary Super Deluxe Boxed Set of the debut album shipped and none of the bonus materials here were included with it. By which time the box was trading hands for a very solid three figures… except for today where I would abscond with the box for about 12% of the current market value!!!! This was Willy Wonka Golden Ticket® time.
What more can I say?
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