One of the enduring pleasures of being a devoted fan of music is the hunt. Even in the long-tailed world of Amazon and the other well-stocked purveyors of recorded music out there in the wilds of the Web, there’s still a unique joy to be found in perusing a new record store, especially one with abundant used bins, discovering lost little gems or that album you’ve always wanted at a price that’s irresistible.
The one and only time I was a patron of the Minnesota Monstrosity, I went in under the delusion that have more retail space would mean a resulting increase in the variety of goods to be offered. Of course, it was all the same crap that could be bought anywhere in America, just now available in overwhelming quantities. Despite the plentiful evidence that it would be a fruitless excursion, I braved the CD emporium.
There were walls of Garth Brooks and Mariah Carey–they may have achieve a platinum record simply by selling stock to this individual store–and eye-searing displays touting the worst artists of the era around every shaky rack. But amazingly, astoundingly, unbelievably there was also something I had never seen that I wanted. I don’t bother asking employees where the Robyn Hitchcock is located in a store like that since I’m confident they’ll try to direct me to the adjoining video store shilling classic movies (and that Hitchcock may not even register with them). Instead I go and find him myself, usually discovering a little plastic sleeve with his name stenciled on it and no accompanying CDs. In this instance, there was an odd disc called The Kershaw Sessions, collecting several tracks recorded in BBC studios for DJ Andy Kershaw and other live tracks cobbled up and thrown together.
I bought it without hesitation despite a hefty price tag that didn’t mesh well with my freshly post-collegiate bank account. Because sometimes when you come upon your quarry in the everlasting hunt, you need to pull the trigger no matter what. I offer up a familiar song in a fairly unfamiliar version from that CD.
(Disclaimer: The Kershaw Sessions is long out of print, but this live version may very be out there and available for purchase on one of the exhaustive Yep Roc reissues. And, let’s face it, as one of the few songs that can be described as a hit without blatantly abusing the word, it’s not especially hard to come by in its original version. And there’s lots and lots of Robyn Hitchcock out there you should buy anyway, including a new record that sounds amazing and that I experience a touch of heart pain every time I think about the fact that I don’t have it yet (I’m waiting like a good kid to purchase it from my favorite record store in the whole wide world, and I won’t be there until April). So there’s lots of ways for you to give Robyn Hitchcock money if you like this. The best way is by seeing him in concert if he comes near your place of residence. He’s reliably amazing in concert. As usual, if someone with due authority asks me to remove this from the Interweb, I will gladly do so. It’ll be easy for Robyn to get in touch with me if he wants it taken down; we’re totally MySpace friends.)