Record Shopping Road Trip: South Charleston Antique Mall – South Charleston, West Virginia
So anyway… last month we took almost a week to drive to Akron/Cleveland to see Mott The Hoople. We planned to stop in Charleston, West Virginia to eat lunch at Yen’s Sandwiches – an intriguing banh-mi shop at the halfway point. We navigated there, got our [tasty] lunch and my wife couldn’t fail to notice that the downtown district we were in was fairly thick with antique shops. When we met we didn’t just bond over a shared love Bowie/Ferry. In addition to the same local garage rock acts, my wife and I also shared a penchant for antiquing and a mutual love of mid-century modern style. At the time we married, we had crossed a line and my wife ran a booth in an antique mall like this one for several years that were never less than profitable. The bloom wore off the rose when she found herself trying to pull an object at an estate sale back from a senior citizen trying to snatch it from her grasp.
Then we moved to Asheville, and downsized three times. This effectively killed our line in antique shopping/collecting. No more room, and scant money for the pursuit. We will window shop, though. We went into a smaller shop next to the restaurant that was uninteresting, but across the street was the South Charleston Antique Mall. Three stories of goods. We still had half the trip to Ohio to make but no deadlines, so we began browsing.
Like most antique malls, there can be found lots of vintage vinyl. usually of the MOR schlock or Classic Rock variety. And usually priced by antique dealers who don’t know the market. I spied some caches of records but nothing of interest. All of this changed when I saw the space of Dealer #12.
The first thing that caught my eye were the boxes of UK music press all individually bagged and priced to move. It looked like the mid-80s period, but there could be interesting things there. I appreciated the Sigue Sigue Sputnik cover. If I’d had a wild hair I might have grabbed it, but space is at a premium in the Record Cell. But they had the “Big Three.” Melody Maker, NME, and Sounds. If any of the freebie records or tapes were there with them, of course I would have been all over that. Too much to hope for, I surmised. I actually ended up buying a paper to give to a friend who had an interest in the cover artist. I was more than willing to go that far. But then I turned my attention to the nearby records with some degree of anticipation. After all, if Dealer #12 was selling these, I could only imagine that the wax might also follow suit.
In the glass case I saw a fine selection of classic material from The Stranglers; including the black + white vinyl copy of “Black + White” that was the first thing by them I’d heard. Lots of tasty 7″ picture sleeve action too! Any 40 year old picture sleeve 7″ singles get more then my cursory interest. I looked around further as the dealer had a fair amount of stock. All of it seemed to be reasonably priced as well. Nothing makes me madder than seeing nice goods at far above market norms; as is common in the antique market. Then as my wife was also looking, I found a holy grail item.
Gott Im Himmel! There was the green vinyl 12″ debut single from Fingerprintz! “Dancing With Myself,” from 1979. Not the Generation X song, either. It pre-dated that song by a year and has only been on my want list for several years now. It’s deucedly difficult sourcing this one from a US dealer. The overseas postage is a deal-killer; and here it was… in my hands! With the dam broken, I looked for more gold in the racks and came up with only one more record that I felt that I had to buy. I already owned a copy, but when one sees the next record [near mint] in an antique mall in West Virginia for $1.50, one simply buys it all over again and thanks one’s lucky stars that you were able to do so.
Oh, yeaaaaah. A M- copy of Propaganda: “The Nine Lives Of Dr. Mabuse (13th Life Mix)!” ZTT – 12 ZTAS 2 – the white hand sleeve. Those turned out the be the only records here for me, but with one being a want list item that took me to near completion of a collection and the other was the best single of the 80s [did I just say that?] it can hardly be called slim pickings. Even if with the 20% off the dealer had meant that these cost me about five dollars for both. It’s funny; I had entertained thoughts of not shopping for records on this trip. I wanted to cut back. Way back. And now I’d crossed that line before even getting to Akron, where I knew of a store that always gave results. Join us for Part 2 of “All the Way To Cleveland: The Mott the Hoople Saga.” Where we investigate further.
Next: …Store Number Two