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.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A Rare Jefferson Airplane Find

The other day I was thumbing through the bins at a nearby used record emporium when I came across this:

Jefferson Airplane - Jefferson Airplane Takes Off  (RCA 1966)

I took a big chance.   I had this title on a 70's reissue.   Why spend $12.99?   I will spin a yarn below this picture.

A brief history of this record.   The first run of 15,000 copies included Runnin' Round This World which contained a thinly veiled LSD reference.   This was dropped from subsequent pressings.   But this wasn't the end.   Two other songs with risque (for 1966) lyrics remained.   These were altered for the third and most common pressing.  Keep in mind this was not a massively popular record just yet.  The pressing runs were small.

So I see this one was mono.  This tipped me off that it was early.  I didn't think I had any way of knowing which pressing it was unless I played it and heard 'that sway as you lay under me' instead of 'that sway as you lay here beside me' 

Some quick internet searches before I got home revealed that I could tell by the etchings on the run our groove.   I had a rare one!   The second pressing.  TPRM-0171.

So what does all this mean?    It means what I paid $12.99 for is valued at $1,000 in the Goldmine Guide to American Records.    One sold recently on eBay for $1,200. 

Had it been the first pressing, the value would be closer to $5,000.

I won't mention the store where this was purchased.  I don't want to embarrass them. They're good guys.  I want them to continue their current pricing strategies.  By the way, if the price sticker is any indication, It had been sitting in their bins unsold for five months.

Friday, March 16, 2018

One Of The Best Live Albums Ever Has One of the Worst Covers Ever.

The Velvet Underground.  Unappreciated at the time. Broke up in 1970.  Cult heroes years later.

In 1969 they went out on the road for a few gigs.   Once interest began to catch up with the band, Mercury Records released this live album in 1974.

1969 - The Velvet Underground Live With Lou Reed (Mercury 1974)

With a butt ugly cover - no pun intended.  To quote Nancy Kerrigan - "WHY!!!!"

The music is stunning.   But do be forewarned.  These are Lo-Fi recordings.  Some recorded on a 4 track.  Others with a mic in the audience.  It doesn't take away from the power.

Some highlights:

What Goes On - a stunning hypnotic peppy guitar jam revolving around repetitive DAG chords.  If you're playing guitar with friends, this one is a joy.  The rhythm pattern doesn't matter as long as the chord changes are in sync. 

New Age - This track appears on the VU's final album Loaded.  It's a story of an aging actress and a young fan.  The version on Loaded is from the point of view of the young fan.  The version here is from the point of view of the actress.  Completely different set of lyrics.   Can I have your autograph? He said to the fat blonde actress  is replaced with Waiting for the phone to ring.  Diamond necklace on my shoulder.  And so on.

Sweet Jane  - Includes the bridge edited out of the album version.

And a few heretofore unreleased songs.

Too bad they didn't take more care with the cover.

The inside includes a promo picture of the band, but they left in John Cale (far right) who had left the band a year before these recordings.

I came across the original photo.   The primary focus in Nico, who stopped performing with the band in 1966.  They blacked her out for this release, but missed Cale.

Clearly a posed publicity shot.  Guitars aren't plugged in.  Maureen Tucker didn't play a conventional trap set.  Her setup employed a bass drum flipped on its side.  She stood while playing.  That probably looked too odd for a standard photo.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Vaughn Meader and The First Family.

I don't believe I have ever been to at thrift store where it wasn't available.

The First Family (Cadence 1962)

It sold 10 million copies and won a Grammy as Album of the Year in 1963.  It spawned a sequel.  It permanently identified Vaughn Meader as the guy that does JFK.

Not to let a perfectly good record go to waste, a sequel was released a few months later.

The First Family Volume Two (Cadence 1963)

So rushed were they to get this out, they used the same picture.  Vaughn was on the road soaking up (what he hoped would be) his two terms of fame.  It did not sell as well due to some events involving Kennedy in 1963


After the assassination, the record was pulled from the shelves.  Vaughn Meader's appearances were abruptly cancelled.  Even non JFK related guest spots on sitcoms got pulled.  He was so associated with JFK, that nobody wanted to see him during this period of mourning.

His career tanked and he moved back to Maine where he ran a bar.

Lenny Bruce was right! According to legend, he stepped on stage the night of the assassination and stood quietly.   To an audience expecting a comment on the events of the day he said 'Boy, Vaughn Meader is fucked.'

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

I Love Record Covers With Pictures of Records On Them #4 - The Four Roses Society

Sing With the Four Roses Society (RCA Custom 1958)

Don't know much about this one, but I tend to see it often in thrift stores. 
Let's do a quick analysis of the cover.
1.  It looks to me like everyone is getting drunk and seeing if they can get the dog to sing.
2.  They're in an upscale mid-century modern house. 
3.  They all seem to be having a great time.
4.  The dog is wearing the Four Roses Society pendant on his collar.
5.  And - the reason this gets lumped in with my record covers with records series - a turntable that is obviously hi-fi enthusiast level.  A single play table with a counterweight.   Most consumers in this era went for consoles with heavy-ass tone arms.

Now we come to volume 2.

Join The Four Roses Song Fest Vol II (RCA Custom 1960)

The mood is more subdued.  The house isn't as upscale.  There are no drinks. The fire appears to be coming DOWN the chimney like a flamethrower.


The turntable has gone from hi end audiophile to one of those school portable players.

Check out the guy in the brown top center.  He looks positively pissed.  My guess is he brought his cherished record and can't stand it being played with a three pound tonearm.  His wife is kicking him not to say anything, but his expression doesn't hide his anger.

And let's not let the blo-hard in the lower right go unnoticed.   Everyone else is trying to sing a long.   He's pontificating about something.   The women in the lower left are pretending to be interested, but I'm sure they'd rather sing.