Sherry and I were in Chicago last weekend for an esthetician’s conference. When I say “Chicago” I should say the suburbs– we stayed at the Oak Brook Hills Marriott Resort where the conference was held. I did some Googling to find what record stores were in the area and I found two that were worth visiting.
The first one we hit was Remember When Records (309 W Ogden Ave, Westmont, IL 60559 (630) 963-1957). This place is one that I would have liked to spend more time. Unfortunately they are not open on Sunday when Sherry was at her conference and I had more time alone. She hung out like a trooper for a while while I dug through the vinyl. They had a combination of used and new. I saw the new Ryan Adams and the Cardinals Easy Tiger colored vinyl that I was tempted to pick up. They also had Tonight’s the Night sealed and really pricey 200g Living With War. I was hoping to spot some Thrill Jockey vinyl since this was Chicagoland and all. They had Town and Country’s 5, but that was it. Apparently there is a whole basement full of vinyl to look at as well as the six or so bins upstairs. They had a bunch of 45’s, too. I’d recommend hitting this place if you visit. I didn’t end up purchasing anything.
The next day I was on my own so I hit Frugal Muse (7511 Lemont Rd., Darien IL (630) 427-1140) In Chestnut Court Shopping Center, Frugal Muse is really more of a book store than a music store– it reminded me of Half Price Books. They had seven tables and a rack of CD’s split into Rock and R&B, Jazz/Blues, Classical, Country, World Beat, Hip Hop/Electronica, New Age and Children’s. A pretty decent selection of used CD’s. They also have a table of overstock items for really cheap. There are a number of crates on the floor under the CD tables of vinyl. Most of it was priced pretty reasonably. I recommend hitting this place, too. Here’s what I picked up:
Bombs Away Dream Babies – John Stewart (LP, RSO Records RS-1-3051, 1979) ($0.93) Former Kingston Trio signs with Robert Stigwood to make rock album with friends Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Dream Babies yields three Top 40 singles with “Gold” marching to #5. This album has Buckingham’s unmistakable fingerprints all over it. Actress Mary Kay Place (“Big Love,” “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”) lends her vocals to “Over The Hill.” I didn’t know that she sang! Razor and Tie released a CD version of this in 1994 which is now out of print and going for well over $50 and upwards of $100! I’d like to have this on CD, but not for that price!
In The Weeds – Bo Ramsey (CD Trailer Records trailer 10, 1997) ($0.93) I already own this CD, but I felt compelled to “rescue” it from the cheap bins! Features guest vocals on “Desert Flower” by Lucinda Williams. This is a different version of the CD than the one I bought from Bo when he played the park in Marion in 1997. This one has a different running order and cover. “Desert Flower” and “Ain’t It Hard” are flipped and the cover art has brown type instead of the purple on my original one. Different mastering credits, too. On Bo’s site they say that the U.S. release of In The Weeds has an improved running order, so maybe the one I originally bought is the European version?
Tiny Voices – Joe Henry (CD Anti- 86683-2, 2003) ($6.98) I’ve been a casual fan of Joe Henry’s since his Short Man’s Room album from 1992 backed by the Jayhawks. Over the years Joe has transformed himself from an Americana to a sort of R&B/Jazz artist. Tiny Voices is his most recent solo record. It seems he has concentrated his efforts on producing lately including working on the critically acclaimed Bettye LaVette album I’ve Got My Own Hell To Raise, Aimee Mann’s boxing concept album The Forgotten Arm, and the Alan Toussaint and Elvis Costello album The River in Reverse. I always keep my eye out for his work in the bins.
Demolition – Ryan Adams (CD Lost Highway 088 170 333-2, 2002) ($5.98) A collection of outtakes and demos from Alt-Chameleon Adams. A mixed bag of country crooners, rockers and sleepers. I’m planning to complete my collection of Adam’s catalog out of the used bins. I have a few left to go…
Black Hole – Love Tractor (CD Fundamental Records 8 AD, 2005) ($5.98) Love Tractor was a band that I was introduced to (as many were) in the movie “Athens, GA Inside/Out.” I was struck by the brave naive sound of a band that created instrumental works while clearly not having mastered their instruments. The results were at once simple and unique. At that time I was in a band struggling to carve a sound in a similar fashion and felt a kind of kinship to them. Love Tractor has gone through as many lineups as record labels and these days the only remaining member from those early days is Mike Richmond. These days Love Tractor sounds more like a jamband than anything else. Black Hole is the first part of a trilogy that includes last year’s Green Winter.