A month ago I went to a record show and even as I was walking out of that one, I was aware that there would be another one on November 2nd! Years may pass between record shows in my sleepy hamlet, but the hipster vinyl wave must be still cresting because they managed to fit another one into a brewery this time. Beer and “vinyls” together?! That makes for hipster-bait in this town! The occasion was to mark the 10th anniversary of Asheville’s 103.3-FM, the community radio station that I have ignored for ten years. I was involved for a short time with helping to start up WPVM-FM, the newer station’s predecessor, before I managed to get employed and thus unable to make all of those 9:00 a.m. meetings. But as a rule, I have completely ignored radio in North Carolina.
When I entered the space with my friend, I was amazed at how much the place resembled a Bond-Villain® techno-lair. As I recall, one Dean Martin Matt Helm® opus did feature a villain who brewed beer as his cover, so I’m not far off base. As we got there at 10:50, and the show was a fund-raiser for the station, we got buttonholed into paying the $10 “early admission”scam. This was something I used to do in the 80s when I was still a member of the “hip” record collecting demographic. When the show was catering to my tastes strongly, then it sort of made sense to pay more to get an edge against your “competition” on the floor for those thousands of records and CDs. This is no longer the case! Whatever is selling best at shows now is of no concern to me any more. It hasn’t been for decades. I couldn’t just say “no” and step outside for seven more minutes to pay the recommended $3.00 door donation for the station. I’m cheap, but not that cheap! We were given our swag bags [sort of like a V.I.P. ticket generally provides], and we were inside.
I expected that most of these vendors would be re-hashes of the ones who had been at the last show, and I was mostly right. The gent I spoke to at such length that time, had to step down for a family issue at the last minute and so he would not be here today. As usual, I first looked at the local dealer who always has his “80s + New Wave” bin out in front like the Monk-bait that it is. And every time I get caught looking even though there has never been a single record in it that I would ever care to buy. I mean, you can see the dreaded Men At Work “Business As Usual” LP sticking up as if to mock me! If that lame album is your standard of New Wave then any vendor proffering such a box is doomed to failure in seeking my pocket money. Memo to self: stop falling for this trick at the next show!
There was only a single table with one bin of familiar krautrock and prog titles in it. I recall this from the last show but I can’t afford to pay $25 for JPN pressings of La Düsseldorf CDs, no matter how badly I need them. I will pay domestic new prices [“$12-$15] at most.
In the corner was a dealer that my friend Jacob was looking through his stock. Jacob was contemplating a US “Country Life” LP with the censored cover that was actually on my own want list. But I’d go up to $8.oo on the album. This was $15.00. But the dealer did have some nice wares. 12″ singles were in the $5-6 range. Pretty fair! Many nice things were there but…I already had them. That’s not to say that I didn’t feel like buying some of them again! It took me way too long to source a copy of the Godlike Trevor Horn Remix® of Spandau Ballet’s “Instinction” to not twitch during the few times I’ve run across a copy in later years. The dealer was a friendly guy with a 2019 Bryan Ferry t-shirt so we talked Roxy for a while before getting sucked into the Duran Duran zone after talk went to the induction of Roxy into the RRHOF by DD. He claimed the ear of St. Nicholas himself, but when I noted [with approval] the presence of both Mark Ronson and Giorgio Moroder in the Producer’s chair for the upcoming Duran opus, he was blindsided enough to text St. Nick on the spot asking why he had not heard it from the horses mouth. Probably because it was John Taylor that spilled those beans prematurely in a podcast that has now spread like wildfire throughout the DD community.
I had not seen much that I needed here, but I came to the show with a month’s worth of “discretionary budget” or $40 in common parlance. I had run across a dealer at the last show from Dalton, Georgia who had a sheer holy grail album that was so holy grail, that I did not yet know of its existence! This Jack gent of Jax Wax was not only a fun dealer to talk to, but his goods were Krautrock, Prog and New Wave with a heavy emphasis on JPN pressings. Last month he had a $40 JPN copy of The Tourists “Reality Effect” album. But I had already spent my money, which was not even close to my $20 budget in any case.
I had bought the album when it came out in America in 1980. It is one of my favorite 1980 albums, which is saying a lot. But when I got the first import only Tourists debut album soon afterward, I saw that US Epic had added two tracks into the running and that implied that I had missed out on some material that Epic had shaved off of the album. By 1983, I came across the only import pressing of “Reality Effect” that I had found until last month. It was a Portuguese pressing that looked and sounded like a 4th generation pirated record. Full stop. It had simply awful sonic and visual qualities! But that was the only way I could hear the song “Something In The Air Tonight” for decades. At least “Summer’s Night” was also the B-side to “I Only Want To Be With You,” and I had two copies of that single.
So I was hoping that I would see Jax Wax again and was not disappointed. I spent long minutes talking with the gent and when I was ready to buy, took the Tourists album as well as the German Shriekback “Knowledge, Power, Truth + Sex” EP he also had [one of the few Shriek records that I still need for The Collection] and the $48 in goods he sold me for a straight $40. Buying more than one, and with cash, had triggered dealer largesse, but that’s his policy. Quite delightful. I don’t often drop two serious figures on a record too often these days, but this was more than worth it to me. I can now remaster my “Reality Effect” CD to my satisfaction. For years I had tried to get a German pressing of the album from Discogs since German Teldec pressings tended to be the next best thing to JPN wax to these ears. Trumping even the original UK pressings, which can be very hit-and-miss. But while the records were about €5.00 with shipping from Germany putting them at about $20 for a VG copy, I never saw much in the way of VG+ or [even better] M- copies for sale. Like I said last time, I had not yet run across the Japanese pressing on Discogs [it was added only three years ago] just yet and had no ideaI had subsequently checked and there were two JPN copies for sale in the $25 [inc. postage] range but these were VG copies without obi. $40 for a higher quality copy was worth it to me. I more had confidence in Jax Wax’s caliber of goods.
The overall vibe to this show was a weaker rehash of last month’s show. Some of the better dealers from that one were absent this time. The amazing range of 7″ material was completely absent. The one new dealer who was interesting didn’t have anything that I needed. But the dealer I was hoping would double dip into the Asheville market just a month later did not disappoint. I would have mail ordered the disc from his business card had he not been there. Finally, my cruddy sounding Portuguese copy of “Reality Effect” that has gnawed at me for 36 years will finally be superseded by the best possible vinyl copy of that music.
– 30 –