B-Sides in the Bins #55 – Around Memorial Day Weekend 2011

Over the long weekend, I was hoping to get in on some of the sales that were going on– specifically Guitar Center in Cedar Rapids, and the full-weekend 20% sale at Half-Price Books. While I didn’t actually get over to Guitar Center, I did hit HPB, but also managed to see David Lowery and Johnny Hickman tape a Java Blend session in Iowa City with my friend Erik, which also resulted in a great trip to The Record Collector. I also visited Moondog Music in Dubuque on Thursday and picked up some “missing titles” and hit a Half Price Books in Chicago on Saturday (whew!)

Record Collector, Iowa City:

Bob Mould – Workbook (LP, Virgin Records 91240-1, 1989)($8.00) HUGE SCORE! Found in the “Recent Arrivals” bin (much to Erik’s dismay). Promo-stamped and notched cut-out with a “When You PLAY IT, SAY IT!” sticker prominently on the front cover. The record is in overall good condition, but there was a very visible scuff on tracks 3 and 4 on side 2. It doesn’t affect the play a lot except for a slight tick. I heard this album being played at a party in college and went out and bought it the next day. The first time I ever heard Mould, incidentally. Though I was a fan of Minneapolis bands like Soul Asylum and The Replacement, I hadn’t dove into the Husker Du catalog. I started getting into their catalog posthumously after this album. This is still my favorite Mould record, though Black Sheets of Rain is a close second.  (Note to self: add Black Sheets of Rain to my vinyl wishlist).

Van Morrison – Moondance (LP, Warner Brothers 1835, 1970)($12.00) Also in the “Recent Arrivals” bin. Amazingly clean copy and early pressing! Well worth the slightly more expensive price. Not much to say about this release other than it is probably the most consistent record in Van the Man’s catalog. Nice mellow jams for early evening consumption of red wine.

I had also grabbed a collection of Talking Heads records which were on my wish list, however, when I got to the counter to check out I spotted a copy of Neil Young’s Zuma in the glass case for $20. Realizing that this is a tough one to find, I put the Talking Heads back…

Neil Young with Crazy Horse – Zuma (LP, Reprise Records MS 2242, 1975)($20) Brilliant record all the way through. Of the “bigger songs” in Neil’s career, this has “Cortez the Killer” on it. First album following the “Ditch Trilogy” of Time Fades Away, Tonight’s the Night and On The Beach. I guess it is a little crazy for me to pay $20 for a record that will allegedly come out on the next Neil Young Archives LP box (cue laughter from die hard Neil Young fans). Cover in good shape with some slight staining which is typical of the matte covers of this vintage. Includes lyric sheet.

Big Star – Radio City (LP, Stax/Concord Music Group ADS-1801, 2009)($13.00) New. Wasn’t planning to pick this up, but I entered into a conversation with Kirk about the $50 original pressing of Big Star’s #1 Record that has been on display for a while. I mentioned the reissues that had come out and he went back to the bins and came back with this. I’m a big fan of Big Star and had been planning to pick these up at some point. This is a reissue done by Concord Music Group which owns the licensing of the Stax and Ardent catalogs. Interestingly, aside from the very small “Licensed By Concord Music Group” at the bottom of the back of the jacket, you couldn’t tell easily that this was a reissue. Recorded and mastered at Ardent Studios in Memphis and mastered by Larry Nix whom I worked with on the vinyl pressing of The Right Now’s 2010 album Carry Me Home. Nix told us stories about working with Big Star and how Chris Bell nearly destroyed the plates for the vinyl version of #1 Record! I’m thinking I need to get that #1 Record

Moondog Music, Dubuque, IA:

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (LP, Columbia PC 33453, 1975)($12.98) Hot stamped with “For Demonstration – Not For Sale” on the back cover. Sleeve in VG condition with some slight ringwear and the LP is VG condition– no scuffs or scratches, but seems to need a thorough cleaning as it has a some crackles. The recording sounds great other than that. BL 33453-3F 1T matrix information on both sides. Also came with original “Monosee Lake” postcard!

R.E.M. – Murmur (LP, IRS Records, SP 70014-1, 1983)($5.98) According to the internet, this is a later repress as the catalog number changed and it has a barcode on it. Vinyl just needed a quick brush with the anti-static brush and a wipe with 91% isopropyl alcohol. Cleaned up with no surface noise! Sounds great and reminds me why I loved them so much back then. R.E.M. has always been a band that changes its sound every few albums, and the Chronic Town, Murmur, Reckoning set of albums defined that Southern jangly sound that so many bands that followed emulated.

Greg Brown – Freak Flag (LP, Yep Roc YEP 2244, 2011) ($19.98) 180g vinyl! Cool that the man who lives analog would get his new album on new label Yep Roc pressed into virgin vinyl. Produced by Bo Ramsey and recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis after a lightning storm destroyed the original recordings done in Minneapolis! Read my review of Freak Flag in Little Village Magazine.

New Order – Movement (LP, Factory FACD 05, 1981)($12.98) Still sealed! Was in the bins there since 2004. Has the light blue cover indicative of the non-US Factory Records versions. Looks like a Canadian pressing I guess, but the matrix information looks like it is based on the original UK pressing. I need to look into this a bit more. Not my favorite New Order album, but still worth having in the collection.

Simple Minds – Sparkle in the Rain (LP, A&M Records SP-6-4981, 1984)($4.99) This is one of my favorite Simple Minds albums, second probably only to New Gold Dream. Sparkle in the Rain is considered Simple Minds’ breakthrough release in the US. Side A has a fantastic procession of songs– “Up on the Catwalk,” “Book of Brilliant Things,” “Speed Your Love to Me,” “Waterfront” and “East At Easter” most of which are on the excellent live album Live in the City of Light.

Steely Dan – The Royal Scam (LP, ABC Records ABCD-931, 1976)($5.98) This is an “upgrade” from a later MCA Pressing I had of this. Great record, though it doesn’t have the big hits on it. It also seems to embody the snideness of Steely Dan. Sometimes Steely Dan hates the subjects and characters in their songs, and never more than they seem to on The Royal Scam. Classic Dan songs on here, though. “Kid Charlemange,” “Don’t Take Me Alive,” “The Fez” and “Haitian Divorce.”

Half Price Books, Village Crossing, Niles, IL

Derek & The Dominos – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (LP, Atco SD 2-704, 1970)($14.99) While Sherry was doing makeup for a wedding in Chicago, I busied myself with a trip to the closest Half Price Books. They had a lot of “essential” titles in the bins of varying quality and I nearly picked up a couple of Who titles, but ended up finding this really clean original pressing of the classic Derek & The Dominos album.

B-Sides in the Bins #33 – Zzz Records – Des Moines, IA 10/18/08

Sherry and I were in Des Moines to talk to an Espresso Machine distributor about a machine for her cafe/bakery that she is planning. While were were there, I got to make a quick visit to Zzz Records. Apparently this would be my last trip to their old location as they have moved. I quickly thumbed through the new vinyl and then made my way back to the 80’s/New Wave/Alternative section. It was an 80’s day…

Simple Minds – Once Upon A Time (LP, A&M/Virgin SP-5092, 1985) ($4.25) I’m getting pretty close to having all of the Simple Minds I want. If there are any other period 12″es maybe I’ll pick those up. I want to get Live in the City of Light, which was recorded during the tour of this album.

The Fixx – Reach the Beach (LP, MCA Records MCA-5419, 1982) ($3.50) Possibly one of my favorite albums. I can put this on and listen to it at any time. I got this on cassette from the Kennedy Mall Wards in Dubuque along with U2’s Live Under a Blood Red Sky on the same day. I remember seeing footage on TV of U2 at Red Rocks and knew I wanted that. I distinctly remember being sick with the flu at home in bed with the vaporizer running listening to those two cassettes back-to-back all day long.

B-Sides in the Bins #31 – Zzz Records – Des Moines, IA 9/23/08

Sherry was attending a skin care conference in Des Moines, so I took the day off and drove her there. While she was in the class I visted Zzz Records (424 E. Locust Street, Downtown Des Moines), I’d been meaning to get to that store for a while, so I was pleased to have the opportunity. Zzz Records has been in existence since 2000 and is in its second location. Apparently it will be moving again on November 1st to 2200 Ingersoll. Zzz Records, also hosts a record show that I’ve been meaning to get to. The next one is December 7th, so mark your calendars.

As far as record stores go, Zzz is one of the better ones I’ve been to. They have a decent-sized used CD area at the front of the store that unfortunately on a warm afternoon seems like a greenhouse. They carry a good selection of new CD’s and LP’s as well. The used selection is pretty amazing. They split the record bins into sections by genre, with a very impressive New Wave/Alternative/Punk section towards the back of the store. I spent two hours there and came out with some cool pieces. Not as much used as I had expected, but I was keeping myself to a budget and the new LP’s ate into my ability to load up on used.

The Tourists – Luminous Basement (LP, Epic NJE 36757, 1980)($4.00) Promo-stamped by CBS. This one kind of took me by surprise. They also had Reality Effect which was a compilation of the Tourists’ first two albums. The Tourists are notable as being the pre-Eurythmics band for Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart. My friend Michelle’s brother Lynn had this LP as well as the posthumous Should Have Been Greatest Hits. A cassette of these two records used to be a staple in my car in high school. The Tourists existed from 1977 – 1980 and had a number of minor hits in the UK and a very low charting (#83) single of their cover of “I Only Want To Be With You” originally recorded by Dusty Springfield. Luminous Basement was their last proper album and shows Lennox and Stewart stepping into writing their own material. Lennox’s “One Step Nearer the Edge” is one of the best tracks on the record. The Stewart-penned “Let’s Take A Walk” and the Lennox/Stewart “From the Middle Room” are pretty good as well. Amazon has some really questionable pricing on this from some resellers starting at $48 and going to $72.95 for one that still has the cellophane on it. A cool record that reminds me of hanging out at Michelle’s listening to records.

Simple Minds – “Promised You A Miracle”/”The Miracle (Dub Version)”/”The American” 3 Tune EP (12″, A&M SP-12057, 1982)($3.00) I’ve sort of become a collector of Simple Minds vinyl from this period. BJ’s Music World in Dubuque had a bunch of import Simple Minds in a closeout bin that I purchased one day in the 80’s that included a number of 12″es. Ever since then when I spot a really nice piece, I buy it. Last December I picked up New Gold Dream at Reckless in Chicago, which I consider to pretty much be their pinnacle release. I know that 1985’s Once Upon A Time was really the one that pushed them into the charts with the singles “All The Things She Said,” “Alive and Kicking,” and “Sanctify Yourself,” but I really like the stripped down version of Simple Minds on this album (minus the female member of the band). This record is the A&M pressing of the “Promised You A Miracle” 12″ from Virgin. Super clean copy.

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Easy Tiger (LP, Lost Highway 34410, 2007)($11.34) When I saw the price on this one, I needed to buy it. I’d seen this at other record stores for over $15. This is the interesting orange vinyl record in the plastic sleeve with the picture of Ryan in a lion mask. Cool pressing, great album. Much more focused than the three releases from the previous year, in my opinion. The vinyl pressing– which came out after the CD release– credits the album to Ryan Adams & The Cardinals rather than just Ryan Adams. I’m not sure why the CD release ended up not crediting the rest of the band.

Ryan Adams – Rock N Roll (LP, Lost Highway 61004, 2003) ($11.34) Another one that seemed like a good price. This is really the album that got me into Ryan Adams to begin with. I know that most of the Ryan Adams fans don’t like this album– and there’s the whole Courtney Love accusing Ryan of stealing money from Frances Bean to make the album and the whole drug use. Apparently he was influenced by the Strokes and he even has a song called “This Is It” on it (which might be a flip on the Strokes album Is This It). Apparently, he has in recent years said that he made the worst record he could in Rock N Roll. Well, I really like it, and it seems to be the only Ryan Adams album my wife will listen to other than parts of Love is Hell (which was recorded around the same time. I guess this is the beginning of my Ryan Adams on vinyl collection.

Zzz Records also sells record flats for $1 apiece. I picked up a record flat for Beck’s Modern Guilt. (actually, I picked up two of them). I also bought some LP mailers.

What I didn’t buy: I almost picked up a fricken MINT copy Suitcase Full of Blues by the Blues Brothers. In fact, I’m still kind of kicking myself for not picking this up. I also considered the Smithereens rare Live EP that is on Enigma on CD.