Tag Archives: vinyl

10 Landmark Records at Play It Again Records

mby flyer

 

These will be in chronological order.

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1. Simple Minds- New Gold Dream

Blame this band and this album for my opening a record shop. I was mildly obsessed with Simple Minds and wanted access to all the imports LPs, and singles. Glad I did it.

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2. Echo & The Bunnymen- Ocean Rain

Biggest band in the shop, at least thru the Southfield years. Any Bunnymen news was huge. Especially tour news. Ocean Rain was the biggest selling Bunnymen record in the shop.

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3. Jesus & Mary Chain- Upside Down UK 7″

This is where things took a giant left turn. John Huston scoured the NME & Melody Maker every week. He asked me to order this. Then the Segal brothers came in and asked about it. Eventually I hired Michael and he and John took the store in a totally different direction then I would have. I have them to thank and blame(ha ha) for this. This is where the whole UK Indie thing started in the shop.

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4. The Smiths- Hatful Of Hollow

The Smiths were obviously big news in the shop. The first few singles, This Charming Man and its gazillion mixes and then Accept Yourself, but the first album was just so underwhelming at least production wise. Then Hatful Of Hollow was released and at a really fair price for a gatefold import. This is where things really took off for the Smiths at the shop. The production was more stripped down and the effect was immediate.

It was also the Smiths that introduced us to the Warner Brothers Alternative Marketing department. These folks made it so much fun to work in the shop. Countless promos, meals, travel and lifelong friends. Jo, Bruce and Cathy who had she not locked her keys in the car outside my shop we may have never bonded like we did.

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5. Spacemen 3- Playing With Fire

This was the first Spacemen 3 record we could get in on a regular basis. It used to bum me out to constantly have to tell people we were out of Perfect Prescription or Sound Of Confusion never knowing when we would see them back in stock. This is also a fantastic record. Which helps.

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6. Mercury Rev- Yerself Is Steam

I remember the day this came in. Michael immediately put it on and I though to myself out loud this may be too noisy. Then track by track I just loved it. It was at this point I realized to keep my mouth shut and listen to my employees. Eventually we sold shitloads of Mercury Rev records. Only to be screwed every time they toured they stopped before Detroit.

loveless

7. My Bloody Valentine- Loveless

This could easily have been Isn’t Anything and maybe it should. We sponsored that Isn’t Anything tour at St Andrews. See flyer on top of page. I hope the roughly 100 people liked it. While Isn’t Anything has this beautiful yet brutal sound Loveless has a more feminine pretty sound. Soon anyone?

screama

8. Primal Scream- Screamadelica

I suppose this was the shop’s foray into dance music sort of. Such a happy record. It reminds me of the scene in High Fidelity where John Cusack says “watch me sell three copies of the Beta Bands’s 3 EPs”. You could do that with Screamadelica.

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9. Spiritualized- Lazer Guided Melodies

Not sure what to add to just how important this record was to the shop. It still is to me. So much so I wrote an entire blog on Spiritualized on this site. We all fawned all over this record. We became friends with the band too. I would say this was thee most important record in the history of the store.

voyager

10. Verve- Voyager 1

The story. 1000 pressed by Hut. Made to look like a bootleg. 400 destroyed by heat in a warehouse. We wound up selling 275 copies of this or nearly half the entire pressing. Why are there no used ones floating around Detroit? Too damn good probably.

 

There are some honorable mentions:

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Ride- Nowhere

Another HUGE band in the shop. Those early singles were so good. That built up to this. Massively popular. So much so we had a nickname for a customer Ride Girl.

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House Of Love- Destroy The Heart 12″

Another great UK band who’s early singles sold well but this one exploded out of the box. We were so into it we chose sides over the b-sides. Blind or Mr. Jo.

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Primitives- Really Stupid 12″

Sounds nuts doesn’t it? Well this was a massive single in the store. We were so into this band we had all their UK tour shirts for sale hanging like flags from the ceiling in Southfield.

Remember that?

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Flaming Lips- Hit To Death In The Futre Head

First major label release by the Lips. What a great record this is. That Ronald Jones era was amazing. Played the hell out of it at the store.

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Screaming Tres- Buzz Factory

Pre grunge. Anyone could sell Nirvana records or Sub Pop stuff. I always loved Screaming Trees and it started with Buzz Factory. They knew how to add the right elements of psych and hooks yet still retaining that heavyiosity.

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Pixies- Surfer Rosa

Another record I thought might be a bit too noisy and they just took off.  I recall taking Michael to a Red Wings game where he kept pulling the tape out of his pocket and looking at it.

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Galaxie 500- Today

I wasn’t sure what to make of this when it came in and got a lot of play. Eventually it crept into my subconscious and I became a fan. I love this record and it was certainly different than what was huge at this point.

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Verve- She’s A Superstar 12″

This is one magnifcent 12″. The extended version of this could go on forever as far as I am concerned. We sold a lot of it because this was the only way you could get it. That edited version on the Verve EP just doesn’t cut it. Nice try.

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Spiritualized- Fucked Up Inside

This is where my OCD got a little out of hand. Someone saw a blurb about this mail order only live LP/CD. I must have sent Dedicated’s office in London so many letters(pre email for the shop) and made way too many calls. Eventually we got the CDs and sold over 100. Then I found a shop in London that had them on vinyl and every trip I would buy 10 copies. This went on for 3 or 4 years. Could be the most beautiful sleeve ever.

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Stereolab- Low Fi 10″

Stereolab deserve to be on this list somewhere and this is my favorite release by them. They were an important band in the late stages of the shop. With all those limited edtion things they did. Collectors heaven.

yc2 yc1

You Cant Hide Your Love Forever fanzine.

John Huston, Dave Segal & Michael Segal.

If you want a glimpse into just how much these guys knew and how passionate they were about music look no further than this fanzine. It still ranks as some of the best music writing I have ever read. To have it associated with the shop in any way was a huge feather in Play It Again’s cap.

 

 

Verve

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On the heels of this amazing Verve- A Storm In Heaven triple “Japanese” LP it is time for a look back and or celebration of just what an amazing band Verve were.

From the first single- All In The Mind I was hooked. The second single She’s A Superstar just absolutely floored me.

What it was about these two singles was the band just let the music go wherever it took them. Both really long songs but well worth the the time spent listening. Not a great thing for those with short attention spans but a huge payoff for those who just let the songs play out. They bucked a trend.

The debut LP A Storm In Heaven is a stone cold classic. Of any genre. Every song is fantastic. The Brian Cannon cover is stunning. Every attention to detail regarding this band was spot on. The music, artwork, the band persona, everything.

We, my shop, were lucky enough to meet them on their first tour of the US. Wide eyed guys really into their music(and weed). Very energetic and happy to come into shops who championed them. They loaded up on Can & Funkadelic CDs. Smart guys.

I saw two shows on this tour. Detroit and Grand Rapids. The Grand Rapids show at the Reptile House remains the best show I have ever seen by any band ever. It was on Halloween. I actually felt like I was levitating at various points. The way Nick McCabe’s guitar sound flowed off the stage like a rolling ball of lava engulfing the entire crowd is something I will never forget. This was a band in every sense of the word. Even Richard Ashcroft seemed to get swept up in the sound these guys were making. Less a front man and more just a cog in one helluva wheel.

See for yourself.

Then, out of the blue, my shop was offered this Verve Voyager 1 live LP. Turns out is was a promotional tool made to look like a bootleg. We were told there were 1000 pressed up. First I ordered 25 copies. Sold out immediately. Then another 25 copies. Same thing. We sold 100 copies in about 4 months and then they were gone. About six months later I got a call from someone at Caroline Records letting me know 173 copies were found in a warehouse in LA. I know some were ruined by heat. I asked if I took them all could they give me a better deal. They did and I scooped up the remaining stock. We eventually sold them all meaning out of whatever the original pressing on blue vinyl that were not destroyed we sold nearly 275 of them. Easily the best selling record ever at my shop. There are a lot of these in the Detroit area.

We were also the record shop for Lollapalooza’s 4 day run here and saw them every day. I do recall them playing what were two new songs that I think finally made it on to Urban Hymns. Rolling People and Mover. They stopped by the shop to sign for fans as well.

A Northern Soul was less immediate but over time is right up there with ASIH. Just a beautiful record. See Stormy Clouds/Reprise for what is the high point of this LP and also in the live shows on this tour. Once again the live shows were simply amazing.

I must admit I thought Bittersweet Symphony was a great single. In fact I still do. While there some great songs on Urban Hymns it saw Verve head into a direction I didn’t really like. I saw one of the early shows in Chicago on this tour and they were still great live but then saw them later in the summer and the magic was gone. Completely.

I am not going to comment on anything after this point because my Mom always told me if I dont have anything nice to say dont say anything at all.

Still, one of the most underrated bands of the era and those first two alums and the singles surrounding them have stood the test of time and really need the proper, legit, deluxe reissue treatment there is more than enough material.

Those early live shows are burned into my memory. That is a good thing. Trust me.

Paying It Forward

records

I am taking a break from the music related blogs to write about something I have been thinking a lot about lately.

Paying It Forward.

You hear that phrase a lot. I hope it doesn’t sound trite or overused. I do feel it is important.

I try and start out every day doing something nice for someone. It could be letting them in in traffic, holding a door open, giving someone short change at the register some money so they can complete their purchase or just helping anywhere I can. It makes me feel my day is starting off on the right foot. Many days the person that started the day bears no resemblence to the person arriving home later on. Such is the world we live in.

A few stories. Those who know me know I scour record shops and thrift stores looking for things to re-sell. I love spreading my luck to friends. Living in Detroit there are a lot of thrift stores and if you happen to walk in at the right time, before any other dealers or collectors get there, it is an amazing feeling. Like, Eureka! I have a lot of friends in the UK and here in the US looking for certain records that are either really difficult to track down or way too expensive. I enjoy spreading the luck or love or whatever you want to call it.

I have sent an original Neil Young- Tonight’s The Night LP, an original Miles Davis- On The Corner LP, a few Rolling Stones- Exile On Main St(original US flap sleeve w/postcards), a few Link Wray- S/T 1971(there is a DER blog about that LP here), Big Star LP, the first two Band LPs, Durutti Column flyers, several Spiritalized items to people all over. Maybe what I get back is “record karma”.

That explains yesterday’s haul. A short day hitting three record shops and two thrift shops. What I dug out of the thrift shops is probably worth 30 times what I paid. Then I get to give back in my own way.

 

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Take this record, Paul Jackson- Black Octopus. Ultra rare Japanese only pressing. Also cut Direct To Disc. The cover is fantastic. The name is even better. Record is mint except for the promo sticker removal on cover. Turns out this is a $100 record. A Jazz Funk classic. Also rescued from a box of 45’s hidden under a table at a thrift store were about forty 60’s promo singles that look unplayed for the most part. This includes a few psych gems. Since I was never a Jazz/Funk/Fusion fan I will sell or trade these records and pay it forward in some way by gifting a record to an unsuspecting friend. Same with the 45’s.

Here is another story so crazy and touching I need to re-tell it. Apologies to FB friends who have heard this already.

There is a thrift store chain locally called Value World. A couple of times a year they run coupons for 50% off your entire purchase. They are available in the local free paper here and come in your junk mail. I was standing in line at one and there were two women in front of me. They were buying mens clothes. An entire outfit. I simply asked if they had a coupon. They said no. What coupon? I said here take mine. They started crying. I thought to myself it is just a coupon and I had under $5 worth of items. They had like $25 worth. Not a lot but in a thrift store it is. Not the reaction I expected. One of the women grabbed my arm and said “Thank you so much. I want to tell you something. We are buying these clothes to bury our father in. He lost so much weight while he was sick none of his clothes fit. Neither of us work and we have very little money which is why we are shopping here. That coupon means so much to us”.

This is a true story. The cashier started crying too. Then other people in line started talking to me and thanking me. The moral of the story is you never know how doing a nice thing for someone affects them. In this case it was instant.

Life is complicated enough. It can grind you right into the ground. Somehow or other to be able to come out the other side and do something nice just makes the world a better place.

Bottom line- Pay It Forward.

 

We would love other stories. Comment below.