RECORD STORE TALES PART 132: Tremolo
One of the perks to working at a record store was taking first crack at anything that came into the store. Frequently, people who worked other record stores would sell us their promos, and often we’d happily buy them, especially when they preceded the actual album.
In spring 1997, Blue Rodeo released their next album, Tremolo. Some guy from another chain sold us a promo copy several weeks before its release date. Me being a big Blue Rodeo fan, I made sure we snagged it. We couldn’t really sell promos on the shelves, but I knew several people who’d want a copy, if I didn’t take it myself. It was just a simple black and white sleeve, so I didn’t offer much for it.
I eaglerly put it into the player. Their last album, the experimental Nowhere To Here, was a hard one to love but it became one of my favourites. I was surprised to hear that Tremolo was nothing like it. I gave it a couple spins in store but it wasn’t doing anything for me. Nah, I could live without it, I thought, at least until the original release. Then I’ll try ‘er again.
I called up Bethany, one of our best customers, and massive Blue Rodeo fan. She came in immediately to pick it up. Even though us record store guys usually prefer an official release to a promo, Bethany preferred the promo. Not only was it weeks in advance and cheaper, she considered it to be a collector’s item, so it worked out for everyone!
Eventually the real thing came out, and when a cheap used one came in, I bought it and took it home. It still didn’t click. It took several months to really grow on me, but by winter it finally had. Like an onion, I had peeled the layers and uncovered the beauty within. Tremolo, like Nowhere To Here, was far from immediate for me. Its acoustics and almost complete lack of anything electric or uptempo had thrown me for a loop. But somehow during that laid back winter of ’98, Tremolo and I saw I to eye, and we have been companions ever since.
Lesson: Albums must always be listened to over time, in different contexts, before abandoning!