Many times I’ve opened advantage Lucy’s home page, gone to the discography section and scrolled all the way down, and gazed longingly at the picture of their first cassette, ‘Red Bicycle’.
I own everything else by this outstanding Tokyo pop band (including the CD single ‘Memai’, which is now apparently sold out). But not the cassette version of ‘Red Bicycle’, the first thing they ever recorded and sold, which is out of print.
Red Bicycle cassette.
With bands I really like I try to buy everything they’ve recorded because I think unless you listen to everything, you can’t get a full picture of a group’s music – their artistic growth, peak, and decline.
I therefore want to own the ‘Red Bicycle’ tape, if only to know what I’ve missed. But there’s also a collector mentality at work. The more nicknacks you collect, the bigger your desire becomes to acquire the final, rare, mint-condition Nicknack that makes your collection complete.
I’m also a big fan of a Japanese pop band named Cecil. They are a mysterious group – they almost never perform live, and one member of the ‘band’ is an illustrator who appears not to be involved at all in a musical capacity.
Cecil also has a CD that would make a collector's heart flutter if he/she ever saw it on sale.
That's a four-song CD called ‘Rikka’, which has long been sold out. I have almost all of their CDs, but not this one. As a Cecil fan it’s especially frustrating not to own ‘Rikka’ because the four songs on it aren’t in any other of their CDs.
I want this disc.
Lest you think I’m a nut, let me inform you that at least I’m not a lone nut. There are others out there who are looking for this CD. Consider -- I first found out about ‘Rikka’ reading an Internet bulletin board, where fans were complaining about the fact that the record label wasn’t re-issuing the CD despite evidence there would be decent demand for it.
They also noted that on Yahoo Japan’s Internet auction site, ‘Rikka’ is selling at many times the original retail price. I myself saw a bid for ‘Rikka’ at over 6,000 yen (about $60) compared with its retail price of 1,000 yen.
To make a long story short, ‘Rikka’ is available again. The dark days are over for we Rikka-seekers. The record label hasn’t re-issued the CD, but they’ve put the whole thing on MP3 files on their website, allowing us to listen to it in its entirety. You go to the section that says Real Audio, and click on the album image.
So now I can go back to plotting ways to get my hands on a copy of advantage Lucy’s ‘Red Bicycle’ cassette.
But the collector's job is never finished. Their singer, Aiko, mentions on her web diary that there’s a tape that the band recorded BEFORE ‘Red Bicycle’ that they gave for free at their first live show.
Wow. I envy anyone who owns THAT.
On the 'Red Bicycle' tape, she writes that she and guitarist Fukumura dubbed the ‘Red Bicycle’ tapes at home, so the speed is slightly different for different copies of the cassette. Brings back memories of the good old pre-digital days...