RECORDS RECORDS RECORDS

There’s a store near where I live. It says SECOND HAND GOODS on the outside and has a small wooden sign on the sidewalk with RECORDS RECORDS RECORDS written in glitterscript, one over the other. There’s no place to park, so you have to either walk up the street to or stop illegally using your four-ways (I’ll leave to you to decide what I do with my car). When I first visited, I had one of those great record-buying moments: asking the clerk (a young woman who was listening to AmbientNoise on the stereo) if she had any 45s, and then having her point to a set of long cardboard boxes beneath the album racks. Pouring through the records, I noticed they were unpriced. I asked her what the deal was and she swept her arms through the air: “A dollar each!” After about twenty minutes, I’d built a fine stack, chancing on music that cost less than a pack of gum. It’s something I always tell people: 45s are pleasantly affordable art, and they’ll take you to music you might not otherwise discover, short of the Youtube rabbithole. In the case of RECORDS RECORDS RECORDS, it’s how I ended up with three dark April Wine pastries, including ‘You Won’t Dance With Me,’ from 1976. This song reminds me less of April Wine than it does John Sayles, the film-maker. In one his early films, ‘Baby, It’s You,’ (from 1983), Vincent Spano falls in love with Rosanna Arquette– his love goes unrequited– and, at the film’s climax, the couple slow dance to a rock band playing Frank Sinatra’s ‘Strangers in the Night’ (Spano, a young Italian-American whose idol is Sinatra, requests the piece. The band looks at his note and the singer, says, “Well, this is weird,” but they play it anyway. It’s awesome, and, for a moment, you think the couple will stay together. But the song ends, and in the next scene, Arquette’s character is getting on a plane). April Wine’s ballad reminds me of the band in the movie: a hard-rock group trying to slow themselves to see what might happen. In ‘You Won’t Dance With Me,’ it’s as if the guitar players are on a smoke break while the keyboardist pads a string-synth. Myles Goodwin– the writer and singer– does what he doesn’t do a lot of– crooning– and the producer bathes the song in blue reverb; spring-released and delicious. Some would argue that April Wine were, in their own way, the most interesting popular Canadian band of all-time, ricocheting between pop and white funk and hard rock and New Wave over a twenty year period. Also, they were a consistently great singles band, and so, a great 45 band. This record is on Aquarius; baby blue label. I never danced to it in highschool, but I’m sure there’s lots of kids who did.

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