Part 260: GUEST SHOT! Sho’ Nuff – The Return of STATHAM

Good things come to those who wait.  Longtime contributor STATHAM has returned to talk about shoppin’ for Black Crowes.  He’s in italics, me in burgundy.  (That makes him Snake Eyes while I remain the Crimson Guard.)  Let’s boogie!

RECORD STORE TALES Part 260:  Sho’ Nuff – The Return of Statham

I believe in being friendly to record store employees. A lot of people just treat them like any other retail clerk, but not me. Talk to them, find out common ground. They learn your interests, make recommendations… it’s a way better world than just treating them like a gas jockey. And there’s no reason why you can’t be nice to the people at the gas station, either, you know.

I started going to Mike’s shop sometime in 1995. And I left to go live in Montreal in 1999. In those four years I was in that shop a lot. I like music, and it was basically across the street from where I lived. My favourite was the Bargain Bin. Always a treasure or three in there. And Mike always seemed to be there. Rare was the trip in that he wasn’t on duty. I think he slept in the back room.

True to my practice, I talked to the guy, we discovered a lot of common ground. He was most fair on CDs I was trading in. He steered me to many great records (and laughed with [or at] me when I chose some stinkers). We never hung out outside the store, though there’s no reason why not. But over that time I got to know him as a stand-up guy.

IMG_00001779In late 1998, The Black Crowes were gearing up for what was hyped to be a “comeback”; a “return to their classic sounds.” The fact that Chris Robinson had shaved off his cave-beard was supposed to indicate something to fans that fell off the wagon after 1994’s Amorica. Part of this calculated campaign including reissuing all four original Black Crowes studio albums, remastered, with bonus tracks and videos.

Statham kept me apprised of the latest Crowes happenings. He had his finger on the pulse, and during his regular visits he would update me. We discussed the band, the reissues, what we hoped for, and as always we disagreed over favourite albums. I’m an Amorica guy.  He’s a Southern guy.

One day, Statham phoned me at the store with some exciting news.

IMG_00001780Somewhere in 1998, my sister (who took my introduction of her to the Black Crowes and ran with it something fierce) told me the Crowes had announced a box set, called Sho’ Nuff. This was exciting for many reasons, mainly the extra tracks that were rare (at that point), two on each album, and the live EP to be included. We already owned the four albums in the box, and couldn’t care less about any remastering job done to them.

Also remember, this was in the days when the internet existed, but it was nowhere near what it is now. We certainly never ordered CDs online. It was pure brick and mortar for us. Seemed this set was (purportedly) some kind of exclusive release. We HAD to have it.

IMG_00001784He’s right, the box set was an American exclusive — no Canadian release. However, the big HMV in Toronto was going to be importing a limited quantity. The live EP included within was from the Amorica tour which put it high on my priority list, and it was also exclusive to the box set. It is simply titled The Black Crowes Live.

I told Mike about the set, and how we were going to Toronto to get them ASAP. I’d called ahead to the HMV at 333 Yonge and they said they might still have a couple on hand. We panicked. “A couple?” Gah! We need to get these! Our course was set. I asked Mike, did he want us to bring one back for him? I don’t think his reply was precisely “hell yes!” but the level of enthusiasm was in that ballpark.

Even today I can recall the tingle of anticipation, the trip there taking too long. We got downtown, made the trek to the flagship HMV and… the staff didn’t know where the sets were. Computer said there should be some on-hand, they’d have to look… finally they were found in some corner, nowhere near anywhere that one would think (like, near the Crowes section, or in a Boxed Sets section. No, that would’ve been too easy). And there were enough for each of us (and not many more). Hooray!

Box sets procurred, we made the most of the rest of our day, and headed home. I brought Mike his copy on my next trip in to the store. He seemed pretty damn happy about it. I wouldn’t do something like that for everyone I meet, probably, but Mike was another story and it was a pleasure to help out. He’d helped me out with a lot, in the store. It was good to return the favour, in some small way.

I wouldn’t be lying if I said whenever I listen to that Black Crowes set, it always reminds me of all the great conversations with Statham. Some obscure memory always flashes back, be it a conversation or a long meandering email thread.

I still have the box set (of course), everything intact including the four stickers (one included in each studio CD) and the fragile blue jewel case for Three Snakes and One Charm. I’m not sure how I would have acquired (or even known about) Sho’ Nuff without Statham. Thanks man. I still owe you for this one! (Figuratively, I did pay him!)

33 comments

  1. A touching tale of Bro-Love! I do have this Box myself but I don’t remember it having stickers… I’ll have to double check. Maybe I got a subsequent edition or something? I did buy it a good while after it was first released.

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    1. The stickers are inside the individual jewel cases — and yes I wouldn’t be surprised if that was only for the first few runs as is often the case! At least you have the live EP.

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      1. I’ll have a check tonight but I’m fairly sure my set was sticker-free! I’m not bothered in any case. The main thing for me is to get the bonus tracks and the EP. I like to have the physical copies but I’m never fussed about runs and stuff like that as long as I don’t miss out on songs.

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        1. Same here. The songs are priority one. A sticker isn’t a huge deal. As you implied I think most people didn’t know there were stickers inside, and all of them were identical anyway.

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  2. D’awwww… you know, you could read that and start to believe that underneath all that gruff exterior, Statham is actually a nice guy. But shhh, don’t tell him I said that. I’m still in physiotherapy after the last beating…

    Hahaha I kept my copy too (it is visible in the upper left corner of that intro photo on the WOM). Those were some fun times. I actually kind of miss the thrill of the chase, never knowing what you’ll see in the shops, finding out about releases you never knew existed just by random chance of it being in the store one day… The internet sure makes things a lot easier now, sure. I can’t imagine much that would require a specific trip to Toronto now, when most things can be shipped to your front door. But is easier better? I dunno.

    Glad I could help out, man. I’m sure you helped me more than I did you, in the long run. And that version of Remedy on the live EP still kills me. Damn.

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    1. I can remember going to Toronto looking for specific Japanese imports, knowing they were there. Then I would get to Toronto and they would have so much more than just what I came for, that it would be a serious conundrum for me. Do I spend all my money in one place? I certainly could have.

      Although I would not trade internet shopping for the world, I do wish a world existed where I could get whatever I wanted online, and still walk into a store in Toronto knowing they will have all the rare stuff and imports for the major bands I like. Ahh well.

      As for Statham I have a feeling you’ll be hearing from him again.

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        1. Yeah it was a pretty simple question. Do you have it or not? I have more Japanese imports in my collection than she’s ever seen in one place, I already knew they were expensive.

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  3. I bought Sho Nuff at The Future Shop and mine was sticker free but what sold me was the live Ep …man I had to,get it!! And I did!!
    Haha…for me I really like the first three Crowe albums and By Your Side…Lions was ok always dug the Big Sugar reference in Losing My Mind(think that’s the track??) and well I just discovered the live boot from 91 that is phenomenal as well and I bought that off of iTunes ??
    Go figure!!!
    Great band….

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    1. Dude, I didn’t even know such a thing existed. Looks like I’m making an iTunes purchase. I love early live Crowes. Chris used to do what I called his “preachin'”. He’d be up there on stage, “The Black Croooooooooowes…are coming to your town. The Black Crooooooooowes…” just like a preacher sounds.

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  4. Yeah he does some “brother and sisters of the new revolution ” he’s tripping ..haha…plus it’s Jeff Cease on guitar..now that’s really going back….
    Keep me posted!

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  5. Actually it’s a radio broadcast but the mix of the album is awesome!!…..I just listened to it again today that’s the great thing about your reviews you post sumthin and if I have it I throw it on!
    Thank u my friend!

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