What's All This Then

Why should I care what this guy has to say?

The correct answer is that you shouldn’t. We’re all entitled to our opinions. Develop your own. I try to be sane and rational, but that may change with the level of caffeine intake. I’m just telling my stories in the hopes they may amuse and/or inform others. And... I Confess... I'm showing off my bitchen collection a bit.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Library of Congress - In the Lobby

The lobby area is open to the public.  There is a theater showing treasures from the archives free of charge on the weekends.  The only item on display in the lobby is an old 78 player for visitors to enjoy.

A bin of '78's are there for your enjoyment.  Pick a record and put it on.  I played Bessie Smith among others.

In addition we have catalogs from various record companies.  Titles you can order from your dealer

The archive promised that all records in the bin are duplicates.   They have better copies in the archives underground.

Next post I'll take you inside to the part the public can't see.  Put on a jacket.  They keep it cold in there.

Lots of interesting things to say about film, but this is a record blog.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Library of Congress Audio Archives.

It lies about two hours west of Washington DC in the small town of Culpeper, Virginia.  

Built into the side of a mountain that used to house $3 billion in cash to jump start the economy in the event of a nuclear holocaust.    It's now used to store the film and audio archives of the Library of Congress

The official title is the Center for Audio and Visual Conservation.

Yours truly got a tour of the facility, not open to the public, through the connections of my wife Winnie Margate.  She was doing some work there and I got an in to see the archives first hand.  There are many posts to come where I will give you an exclusive look at the insides of the joint.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Return of The King

No '70's prog band has kept themselves as vital as King Crimson.   Formed in 1969, they made a big splash with their debut album In the Court of the Crimson King.  From there they went through several personnel changes over their subsequent three albums.   In 1973 the lineup stabilized a bit for albums five through eight.    Robert Fripp is the only constant throughout all incarnations of the band.  In 1974 they disbanded.

Fast forward to 1981,   Art Rock/New Wave bands like Talking Heads are all the rage.   King Crimson emerges with a new lineup featuring:

Robert Fripp - the only constant in the King Crimson lineup,
Bill Bruford  - from the 1973-1974 lineup.  He quit Yes in 1973 to join King Crimson,
Adrien Belew the guitar whiz fresh from live/session work with David Bowie, Talking Heads and Frank Zappa
Tony Levin - Chapman Stick player from Peter Gabriel's band.

They emerged with this one.

King Crimson - Discipline (Warner Brothers 1981)

The band sounds fresh and energized.   A near perfect blend of New Wave and Prog which appealed to both audiences,

A year later they released this one.

King Crimson - Beat (Warner Brothers 1982)

Their ninth album and the first King Crimson album to have the identical lineup as the album before. The lyrics on this one are inspired by the beat poets of the '50's.

So to complete the trilogy we get this one,

King Crimson - Three of a Perfect Pair (Warner Brothers 1984)

Same lineup for the third album in a row.   Side One consists of accessable songs.  Side Two gets a bit out there.

After this release, the band went on hiatus again.  The current linup is touring this summer as an eight piece featuring Fripp and Levin.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

A Thrift Store Find I Want to Tell the World About......

Seldom do  I - OK Occasionally do I - OK often do I-   Scream about some incredible bargain I got at Thrift Store.  Be it the first Modern Lovers album for 99 cents or some Elvis picture sleeves for a quarter I sold for over $100 each, whatever.

Yesterday I came across these....

A pair of Kenwood JL - 601 floor speakers marked at $9.99 each.   

The cones looked good.  The cabinets were a little beat up.  For that price, I could paint them with primer and be happy.

I didn't really need speakers.  I have a freshly re-coned set of RSL studio monitors on my main setup.  Upstairs in my office/record room I'm running a Technics SL-D2 through a Kenwood receiver through some Sony bookshelf speakers.    These would be too big for the room, but what the hell, they're less than an overpriced beer at a fancy ass concert venue.

So pounce I did.  The clerk insisted it was $9.99 for THE PAIR.    Not wanting to swindle a charity, I questioned it.  They insisted this was the case.  I didn't argue much further.   I did, however, insist on getting the over 55 discount.  

Bottom line, I have a pair of speakers too big for the room - but great sounding.  I'm listening to The Ventures Play Telstar at extreme volume right now.

When my last kid moves out and we turn her bedroom into a media room, these will do quite nicely.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

West Coast Punk - The Screamers

Of all the bands that came out of the first wave of the LA Punk Scene, The Screamers were one of the best.   Their lineup features two keyboards, drums and vocals.  No guitar.   This doesn't mean they weren't loud and raunchy.  Quite the opposite.   They never released a record.  While up in Berkeley recently, I came across this bootleg of demos.

The Screamers - Demos 1977-78

The band was fronted by the charismatic Tomata Du Plenty.    A maniac in the highest order onstage who had the appearance and mannerisms of someone who just put his finger in an electric socket.   The drummer, KK, played a massive battleship gray set that was heavy on the bass and tom.  The keyboards screamed with electronic distortion.

KK (left), Tomata (second from right).

The band's logo, designed by artist and punk scenester Gary Panter, went on to be an iconic representation of the LA punk scene.  The band was the first unsigned band to play the fancy ass Roxy nightclub in Hollywood.  7/21/79.  I was there and have a stub to prove it.  Tomata held his breath onstage until the veins on his neck popped out and his face got red.  How punk!

Blue vinyl bootleg with band logo on the label.

Tomata went on to a career as an artist and later died of AIDS.

KK (Barrett) went on to success as an art director in film.   According the an anecdote in the John Doe book, KK was a skilled artist during the punk era and would replicate the re-entry handstamps from the Starwood on his friends hands enabling a bunch of people to get in for free.  He later received and Academy Award nomination for his work on 'Her'