Leamington Record Fair

I went to the Leamington Record and CD Fair on Saturday, and was a little underwhelmed. I’ve been several times before but I wold, more often than not, go every six months or so, I’ve been to the last three and the frequency is quite possibly the issue. There was less for me to get excited over and a lot for me to get a bit miffed over. I don’t buy records to own something that has a different coloured label or a fantastically rare catalogue number, I genuinely don’t care. I go there to find records that I can play that are less than the £20 needed for a re-issue on 180g vinyl.

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I did find a few things but I came way from there with most of my money still in my pocket, and I made the mistake of buying something (for £3.50) that I already had, not for the first time, which suggests that since I bought the first one I haven’t listened to it and begs the further question, do I need either of them?

So what did I buy? Well, I bought these (album titles are links to Spotify):

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‘Mind Bomb’ by ‘The The’ – £5

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The Seer’ & ‘Steel Town’ by Big Country – £2.50 each

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Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell – £1

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Jose Feliciano by Jose Feliciano – £2.50

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My Life in the Bush Of Ghosts by David Byrne & Brian Eno – £5

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Coldsweat 12” by t The Sugarcubes – £4

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Street Legal by Bob Dylan – £3.50 (and the one I already had)

If you were counting that’s 7 vinyl LP’s and a 12” single for £28.50, which is lovely, although really it’s 6 with the duplicate, but I should be more positive about it, I did get some things I wanted, so that’s good. Where I get frustrated is with some of the stall holders who have albums that, to my mind, are massively overpriced. Now this may well be because I don’t want to play £150 for a record that I can buy re-pressed at 180g for £20, but also because some of these albums are there month after month after month and never sell, and probably never will at the level they are asking.

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An example is The Beatles and The White Album. I can buy a perfect copy for £25. It’s not 40 years old, it doesn’t have pops and crackles, the cover isn’t worn nor are the corners dinged. A perfectly playable copy in perfect condition. I picked up a copy for £8 and thought, well I’ll have that, even though it looked a little tired. I had misread the label, it was £80 and had no indication anywhere on it as to why. I didn’t buy it, obviously.

I know there are collectors out there who want rare items, but I just can’t quite grasp why. If I have an album that I bought for £5 from a second hand bin and somebody else has exactly the same album but with different colour label that is supposedly worth £200, so what, if you put it on a turntable it will play exactly the same songs, and that’s really all I care about. And why is it worth £200? Surely this is theoretical as the prices should be driven by supply and demand. It’s only £200 if somebody is willing to pay that much for it and judging by the number of high priced records I see over and over again, the vast majority of people are not prepared to pay.

I do understand that there are some items that do command higher values, such as Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan from 1963 that featured 4 tracks deleted from subsequent releases is purported to be worth $35,000. If those 4 tracks are not available anywhere else then I get that, but if they have been released elsewhere, why that much money?

Ringo Starr’s own copy of The Beatles – The Beatles (The White Album in fact) from 1968 sold for $790,000, presumably because it was numbered – No.0000001. If you want to listen to it on vinyl then spend £25 on a new one. It’s madness!

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I get nostalgia, and have paid a little bit more for something simply because I once owned it, or wanted to own it, sometime back in the past and now have the opportunity and resources to get myself a copy, but that has its limits from a price perspective. As an example, in 1979 I was rather taken by the song ‘Bang Bang’ by B.A.Robertson and had the 7” single. I really wanted the album (I was 12 years old, don’t judge me!) in the way that somebody that you does, I obsessed over it, but never actually bought it. I saw a copy of the album at the record fair and it was £6.50 but I wouldn’t pay it, because it simply isn’t worth that much to me, it was at one point, but not now, it would have to be £2.50 maximum for me to buy it, and I realised some time ago that B.A.Robertson was crap, which was a big influencer on my decision. Now, if I knew that the album was worth £60 I would have bought it and immediately stuck it on Ebay, but I would never be the one paying £60 for it.

There are a number of albums that I know are rare, such as a lot of the Krautrock stuff that came out in the early 70’s which is not currently available elsewhere, if you want to listen to it you might have to pay £100 for the privilege, I understand that, but if it was re-released then the re-release would do, or even the ability to stream it on Spotify as it could quite easily be crap. This happened with Tago Mago by Can, which is an album I adore. An original copy sells, on average, for about $110 (£70), I could have paid that for it but, instead, paid £19 ($27.50) for a re-release and am extremely happy with it, why wouldn’t  be? It’s brand new!

At the record fair one of the stallholders was telling me that his colleague once had original copies of the first 15 Elvis Presley singles, which he sold for a couple of hundred pounds several years ago, when now they would be worth thousands. It was entirely meaningless to me. I had an original copy of ‘Return to Sender’ by Elvis when I was a kid and I played the damn thing until it was almost worn out, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. Had I kept this 1962 release in pristine condition it would now be worth somewhere in the region of £1.50. I had a lot more value out of it than that and didn’t have the hassle of keeping it perfect all these years.

I do sound like I’m moaning a bit, but I genuinely can’t get my head around paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a vinyl record, even though I love them, I could buy a couple of very nice houses for that. Perhaps somebody could explain it to me.

I’ll leave you with what might appear to be an odd choice for me, but I do really have rather eclectic tastes:

What’s in the bag? (86)

I was in a record shop today and there was a 30th anniversary edition of ‘Soul Mining’ by THE THE, which was fortuitious as I’d been listening to it after adding the track ‘This Is The Day’ to Volume 1 – Side 1 of the current (and first, which is why it’s Volume 1) Mix Tape.

The_The_-_Soul_MiningI had this on cassette when it was first released and played it to death. It caused quite a stir with folks round our way when it was released, which was quite surprising as these were Prog and Rock fans, Zeppelin, Floyd, AC/DC, Sabbath and so on. ‘Soul Mining’ wasn’t a good fit but it seemed to slowly spread until everybody knew about it. I seem to remember that there was an accompanying story that it was just one guy, Matt Johnson, who made the whole thing in his bedroom, which would have resonated with a lot of people as they were trying to do exactly the same thing, except it wasn’t true. It was studio recorded and they had a record deal, it wasn’t ever a DIY affair, how could it have been with a Jools Holland piano solo on it?

As an album it is a strange listen as your own mood can discern exactly how it makes you feel, it can be an uplifting listen, or it can be rather heart wrenching, full of self-doubt, but it is always a good listen regardless of which mode you are in as there are enough pop elements in there to make it listenable. It talks about destruction but in a good way, a positive way, “you can’t destroy your problems by destroying yourself” but has many moments that search for answers, “How can anyone know me, when I don’t even know myself”.

My anniversary edition has two discs, here’s the product description:

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This lavish boxset celebrates the 30th anniversary of The The’s major label debut album, Soul Mining, originally released in October, 1983. The re-packed and expanded version contains an authentic reproduction of the album, with newly remastered audio from the original master tapes (overseen at Abbey Road by Matt Johnson), as well as an extra 12” gatefold vinyl of alternative versions and remixes..

The remastered audio has also been dubbed from new vinyl test pressings recorded from Matt Johnson’s original 1982 Thorens TD-147 gramophone player using patent ‘Dubbed-From-Disc’ technology, obtainable via a download code contained within the boxset. The boxset also includes a unique ‘news-poster’ containing extensive notes written by Matt Johnson that detail the making of the album.

Disc: 1
1. I’ve Been Waitin’ For Tomorrow (All Of My Life)
2. This Is The Day
3. The Sinking Feeling
4. Uncertain Smile
Disc: 2
1. The Twilight Hour
2. Soul Mining
3. Giant
Disc: 3
1. Uncertain Smile
2. Perfect
Disc: 4
1. This Is The Day
2. Fruit of the Heart
3. Perfect
4. I’ve Been Waitin’ For Tomorrow (All Of My Life)

Below is the original 7 track release, except for the US where an extra track was added against Matt Johnson’s wishes:

Here are some videos from the whole of Matt Johnson’s/The The career, begining with a couple from ‘Soul Mining’.

MIX TAPE: VOLUME 1 – SIDE 1 – TRACK 14

Side 1, Track 14:

Total Run Time: 59:00

The The: This Is The Day: 4 Minutes 57 Seconds: 1983

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The Album from which this track was taken, ‘Soul Mining’, caused quite a stir round our way when it was first released, and rightly so. I had a cassette of it and wore it out, but never replaced it, so I shall be on the lookout for a decent vinyl copy now. If you do happen to watch the videos that accompany this post, I urge you to seek out the video for this one (14th in the video playlist), it is one of the worst promotional music videos ever made.

And so ends Side 1 of this virtual mix tape. Onwards to side 2!

Audio:

Video:

Side 1:

1. Echo & The Bunnymen – The Cutter

I used to have a bit of a downer on Echo and the Bunnymen (for those that don’t know, Echo was the drum machine), mostly due to a feud they had with The Teardrop Explodes, although I only ever read The Teardrops side of the story, well, the Julian Cope side of the story actually. I’d always liked this track, and ‘The Killing Moon’, but never explored their catalogue much further until a few years ago. I missed out. I should have not been such a bloody fool and let the music do the talking.

2. The Psychedelic Firs – Sister Europe

My first introduction to the Psychedelic furs was with the release of ‘Forever Now’ back in 1982, which caused quite the stir amongst the circles I used to be a part of. I went backwards through ‘Talk Talk Talk’ and the eponymous debut album. There are a number of tracks that I could have chosen from these three albums, which is the best of their output in my opinion though I stopped listening to anything new by them in about 1987, such as ‘Dumb Waiters’, ‘Into You Like A Train’, ‘Pretty in Pink’ of course and almost anything from their debut. I decided not to choose anything from ‘Forever Now’, but instead plumped for ‘Sister Europe’ from ‘Talk Talk Talk’, then I changed my mind to ‘Imitation of Christ’ and then back to ‘’Sister Europe’!

3. Julian Cope – The Greatness & Perfection

Taken from what is probably my favourite Cope album, ‘World Shut Your Mouth’, which doesn’t contain the song of the same name. This was the first release by Cope after the break up of The Teardrop Explodes and it could easily have been a Teardrops song.

4. XTC – Senses Working Overtime

Back in the days when I used to buy 7″ vinyl, I had this, along with a couple of their other singles. I also had the album ‘English Settlement’, which I think was a double. I’ve never been a massive XTC fan as I found that I couldn’t get along with a lot of their tracks, but when they were on it, they were really on it and this was a great single.

5. Squeeze – Up The Junction

I would think that ‘Cool for Cats’ is probably their best known song from this era but I just think the writing is better on ‘Up The Junction’ and really very British, which I like. I think I may have had ‘Cool for Cats’ on 7″ vinyl at one point. Looking at their back catalogue now, perhaps they should have been much bigger than they were as the writing is just brilliant at times.

6. UB40 – Food For Thought

I was pondering where to go next with song choice and decided to go somewhere that would, perhaps, be unexpected. I like early UB40, from back when they had something to say, before they became a covers band. I’ve said here before that ‘Signing Off’ is a really good album, certainly their best in my opinion, so this is off that. Now what next?

7. Talk Talk – Life’s What You Make It

Having given a great deal of thought to what to choose next I gave up and chose this, because I like it, and although I never had the 7″ I do have a vinyl copy of the album, ‘The Colour of Spring’. Oddly enough I think I just thought of the next track, well that’s a surprise.

8. The Waterboys – A Girl Called Johnny

I had the first and third Waterboys when they were released, I don’t recall why I never bought the second, and this track was probably my favourite of what I’ve heard (it’s on the first album). ‘Whole of the Moon’ is the bigger hit and better known but I really like the lyrics in this one. A girl called Johnny/ Who changed her name when she/ Discovered her choice was/ To change or to be changed/ I remember a girl called Johnny/ Black as hell, white as a ghost/ “Don’t talk about life and death”/ She said, “I’ve had enough of both”

9. Lloyd Cole and the Commotions – Lost Weekend

‘Lost Weekend’ from the album ‘Easy Pieces’ is probably my favourite track of theirs. As a single it only reached 17 in the UK charts, I thought it deserved better. I discovered today that I had two copies of the album and might give one away free soon. Might as well really. ‘Perfect Skin’ is a good track too but I really like the lyrics of ‘Lost Weekend’, I was a king bee with a head full of attitude/ An ashtray heart on my sleeve, wounded knees/ And my one love song was a tattoo upon my palm/You wrote upon me when you took my hand.

and, of course: It took a lost weekend in a hotel in Amsterdam/ And double pneumonia in a single room/ And the sickest joke was the price of the medicine/ Are you laughing at me now?

10. New Order – Temptation

I never had the original release of this track, but did have it on the double vinyl best of, ‘Substance’, although it was a re-recording specifically for that release. As it was originally released in 1982 there was still a sense of Joy Division about the music, as they transitioned into their New Order guise. The accompanying video seems to have been made quite a while after 1982, or at least it appears that way from the quality of it.

11. Kraftwerk – Das Model

I recently bought a used vinyl copy of The Man-Machine but never owned this single at the time. As I understand it the track started off as a B-Side, having originally been recorded in 1978, and was re-released as an A-Side in 1981, against the bands wishes. It was number 1 in the UK and I remember it well, it was so different to everything else that was around at the time.

12. Japan – Ghosts

I had a copy of tin Drum, which this single was taken from, back when it was released, and I still have a copy now although I think I originally had a cassette rather than vinyl. Japan were not everybody’s thing, but ‘Tin Drum’ was a very good album and quite different to much of the ‘New Wave’ music that was a round at the time. For me it is the sparseness of this track that sets it apart and it’s total unsuitability as a single release, which still managed a No.5 placing in the UK charts. It isn’t the cheeriest song but it does have a haunting beauty.

Just when I think I’m winning/ When I’ve broken every door/ The ghosts of my life blow wilder than before/ Just when I thought I could not be stopped/ When my chance came to be king/ The ghosts of my life blew wilder than the wind

14: The Associates – Waiting For The Love Boat

I never really took much notice of The Associates back in the early 80’s, having only really listened to ‘Party Fears Two’, but have listened retrospectively and I really should have paid a bit more notice. I do remember thinking at the time that it was all a little odd and not my thing but singer Billy Mackenzie did have a fabulous voice. Sadly, he committed suicide in 1997 at age 39, shortly after the death of his mother. He had been suffering from clinical depression. I chose this track because I like it, which is a damn fine reason.