It’s been a while since I went out and bought new music, but the Barnes & Noble had sent me a coupon worth 40% off on all CDs, after whatever sale prices applied. Sunday, I took the bus to the ever-expanding Colonie Center. B&N used to be in a free-standing building on Wolf Road in Colonie across from the mall. But at some point in the past few months, it has moved to its new location across the street.
I went in figuring I’d buy some new music, the new k.d. lang, the new Herbie Hancock that won a Grammy for best album(!) or maybe its predecessor which featured Paul Simon and Sting. I was also looking for the soundtrack of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, either the Julie Andrews or the Lesley Ann Warren version. NONE of them were there. O.K., now what?
So, I just systematically started looking through the albums. I was trying not to buy on CD the exact same albums I already own on vinyl, because a friend of mine told me about her recent experience converting vinyl to CD. That eliminated greatest hits by Bob Dylan, Queen, the Guess Who, Hall & Oates (yes, shut up), The Association (YES, shut up), and a couple others.
First album picked, much to my surprise: Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy by Elton John. I have all of the other “classic” period EJ albums on vinyl, save for the early Empty Sky, but never got this one. At some level, the garish cover, and the fact that the album went to #1 in its first week, turned me off at the time. But it was Elton’s 61st birthday recently, and the only CDs I had to play were various greatest hits collections, plus the later Made in England. I’m sure I was affected also by Johnny B.’s recent discussions of all things early Elton. What sealed the deal was one of the additional tracks. Along with Lucy in the Sky and Philly Freedom was One Day at a Time, which I assumed was not the theme song of the Bonnie Franklin TV show that debuted in 1975, but rather the John Lennon cut, and it was.
Second album: The Ramones Greatest Hits. I have a couple LPs, but have massive holes in the collection. Probably influenced by Gordon.
The third album: The Very Best of Todd Rundgren. I have various Nazz, Utopia and solo LPs, but still wanted this.
The fourth album: OK, no recent Herbie Hancock? How about some classic Herbie Hancock, Head Hunters, featuring the classic cut Watermelon Man? All right then.
These were all $12.99 each list price, so $7.80 after the coupon, and I might have quit there, but I discovered The Millennium rack. If you’ve been in a record store lately, you’d recognize these. Black and white picture, gray top. And there were several to choose from: the Platters, Tom Jones, the Allman Brothers were all considered. The cool thing about these is that they were $9.99 each, but three for $20 if I used my MasterCard. I ended up picking Joan Baez, who my father admired as far back as 1959, when he brought home the oddly-named The Best of Joan Baez; and John Mellencamp, probably in part because of the love Tosy had given him after his recent induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The final album was also on the Millennium rack, but was not a Millennium album. It was Lucinda Williams’ 2003 album World Without Tears. $16.99 list, but still with the 3 for $20 sticker. I might have gotten this one anyway, but Lefty Brown’s affection for her did not hurt. Also the fact that, because I had the 40% off coupon, 3 for $20 became 3 for $12, or $4 apiece. (BTW, there’s a second version of World Without Tears with three extra songs available out there. Oh, and the three for $20 continues through May 5.)
Total price, less than $47, under my $50 mental budget. So thanks, guys, for going shopping with me.
Elton Joe Performs “Dogs in the Kitchen” , the never-completed song, the lyrics of which appear in Captain Fantastic.