Wax Trax Records

Wax Trax in Denver was very kind to me last weekend.  With an phenomenal selection of used and new vinyl for great prices (esp. the used!), my stack of records grew and grew until I had to get out before it got to be too much to carry back to the car several blocks away.  I found some stuff I’d been looking for in KC (The Pretty Things and “Who Are You”) for over a year.

The used records were in beautiful shape, and I only paid $3-4 for each!
The only disappointment; no “Kinda Kinks” or other early Kinks stuff I’d have liked.

Here’s the full list:

  • The Pretty Things, “Savage Eye” and “Freeway Madness.”  Drew’s gotten me into The Pretty Things, a ’60s-’70s British band that was psychedelic before The Beatles, sprawling before Pink Floyd, heavy before Led Zeppelin, and somehow managed never to break in the U.S.  These two albums are mid-’70s stuff, right before some personnel changes, and so they’re not classic like “Parachute” or “S.F. Sorrow” but have some solid tunes.
  • U2, “Boy,” “October,” “War,” and the “Where The Streets Have No Name” single.  I already have most of this stuff on CD, but the condition of the records and low price were irresistible.  The “Streets” single has two B-sides I haven’t heard, which is cool.  Old U2 really comes alive on vinyl; it can seem kind of bright and empty on CD, but the LPs fill in the space around Edge’s ringing guitars and make it all gel.
  • Art Tatum, “Gene Norman Presents Art Tatum at the Piano,” vols. 1 and 2.  Tim loaned me a two-disc Tatum compilation a year or two ago, and I loved it.  I’ve been looking for some Tatum at a good price ever since, and these seemed like a good place to start.  His piano style is fully his own, taking familiar tunes and embellishing, improvising, and ultimately transforming them into music more original than most artists’ own compositions.
  • The Who, “Who Are You.”  Besides being a great rock record, I’ve wanted this to continue filling in the gaps in my Lifehouse playlist.
  • Bruce Springsteen, “Nebraska.”  I’m not a huge Springsteen fan yet (“Born in the U.S.A.” is my only other Boss record), but this seemed essential for several reasons: the title, the yin-yang it makes stylistically with “Born…,” and its reputation as a masterpiece.
  • Neil Young, “Hawks & Doves.”  Young’s discography is intimidating, but I have a start, and this seemed like a good next step.  It’s pretty classic Young.
  • The Cars, “The Cars.”  Six of these nine songs are on a Cars “Greatest Hits” comp, but again, the pristine physical quality of the LP and low price seduced me!
  • Billy Joel, “Cold Spring Harbor” and “Storm Front.”  Neither of these are Joel albums I really planned to pick up, but there they were, calling out.  “Cold Spring Harbor” was his first as a solo artist, and most copies of it were pressed at the wrong speed; Billy was famously unhappy with it.  “Storm Front” is late-period Joel, so my expectations are low, but it does include “And So It Goes,” which I love.

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