Record Weirdo - Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead

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Catchy title, huh? I stole it from a movie I hadn't seen (*see footnote). In the name of research, I watched the movie and it turned out to be a dark, violent mobster flick that had very little in common with my recent trip to Denver. I thought the film was somewhat derivative and predictable but, then again, so is my writing. Fair enough.

I made a short list of record stores I wanted to visit while I was in the city, but Wax Trax was the only one I actually made it to. I chose well.


Wax Trax Records in Denver is the best record store I have been to in a long time. It has the dusty ambience and huge selection of most collectors-type stores, but without the condescending attitudes and highway robbery prices. They have a huge vinyl inventory in the 3-5 dollar range that enables thrifty shoppers like myself to accumulate a healthy stack in no time. I did check out the small "collectible" section and it was a pretty good one. They had an original copy of the first Big Star album for $25.00. You don't see that one every day. I thought about it and I'm still thinking about it. That ship has sailed.

From the collectable bin, I did snag a copy of "Here I Come and Other Hits" by the Fall-Outs. I remember The Fall-outs from when I lived in Seattle - they were a great live band. After a minimal amount of research, I found out that they're still active - which is nice to know. To describe the Fall-Outs as a great Northwest garage-style rock band doesn't quite do them justice. This copy of the record has a skip on one song, but that still leaves 14 songs that don't skip. I'm okay with that.

On the cheaper side -

"With the Naked Eye" by the Greg Kihn Band. You might remember him. He had a couple of hits - like the one that went "ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah." I prefer his earlier albums, like this one. I saw him play a few times in Northern Cal.

"Short Back and Sides" by Ian Hunter was co-produced by Mick Jones of the Clash. It is not a great album but I like it.

I've been on a Beach Boys kick for a while now. I thought I had it under control. I've been casually looking for, and was pleased to find Carl Wilson's eponymously titled first solo album. In my opinion, he was the best singer in the group and criminally underrated. The first side is made up of slightly R&B-influenced, mid-tempo rock songs typical of the late 70's/early 80's era, but the ballads on side two are where he really excelled. I can't pin it down, but something about this album demands repeated listens.

Okay, speaking of the Beach Boys, I know that Carl Wilson made a couple of solo albums that are worth hearing. I also know that Dennis Wilson made a really good solo album.
However, there is also...


"Looking Back with Love" by Mike Love. I could not pass this up. I have read too many negative things about this not to want it. This universally panned solo album by the longtime Beach Boys front-man features the infamous song "Rockin' the Man in the Boat," which can be best described as two and a half minutes of groan-inducing double entendres. If that's not enough for you, the song takes a serious turn for the creepy when Mr. Love starts singing about his telescope. As questionable as that song is, it's pretty much the highlight of the record. I don't need a Q-tip to clean my ears - I need a blowtorch.
Why do I keep listening to this album? I admit that I've never been burdened with particularly good taste, but there is definitely something wrong with me.

I can't follow that with anything.

I bought a couple more records, but discussing them would just lead to more of my boring "I saw this band" or "I used to live there" stories. You're welcome.

*footnote - The movie "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead" took its title from a Warren Zevon song (I lose some serious music geek points for not knowing that).

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