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, September 30, 2014

Jukebox Fun with John & Yoko

In the immediate post-Beatle years, John Lennon released a series of standalone singles.

They say behind every great man is a great woman.  This applies to these singles as well.  Behind every great John Lennon A-Side, there is a Yoko Ono B-Side.

Here's where the jukebox fun comes in.  Follow these easy steps  - if you can find a jukebox and it's 1980.

1.  Locate a John Lennon 45 in the Jukebox.  Instant Karma was common.  
2.  Choose the Yoko Ono B-Side.
3   Find a place at the bar where you can observe the entire room.
4.  Wait for the Yoko B-Side to play and marvel at the reaction.

I actually once heard a bar patron ask 'Who kicked that dog?'   

Below are some of the Lennon 45's I have.

Instant Karma b/w Who Has Seen the Wind

Cold Turkey/Don't Worry Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow)

This B-Side is actually pretty amazing.  Power trio backing from Ringo/Klaus Voorman/Lennon.   The only Yoko B-Side to be played LOUD.  The single is kind of a rarity as it wasn't a big hit.  To top it off, most American pressings have a defect that causes a skip in the third chorus.  It's hit or miss (mostly miss) to find a good one.  I've come across three and they all have the defect.  I never got to play the jukebox game with this one  - only wish I could have.

Give Peace a Chance b/w Remember Love

Power to the People/Touch Me.

This one works well for playing John & Yoko jukebox.

B-Side jukebox fun works for lots of artists if you know the 45.  There was a time when it was common for professional songwriters to pen the A-Side while the artist penned the B-Side to share in the royalties for the single.  The B-Sides were often not up to snuff.  That doesn't mean they don't serve a purpose.   Let the fun begin.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Football Season!

I'm not a fan, but I just wanted to say it's football season.

I've only watched games on TV when someone I like is on the halftime show.  I've only been to games if my daughter was in the marching band.  Even then, we'd often leave in the 3rd Quarter.

This record is about as close as I get to liking football.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Third Man Records, Nashville, TN

Jack White is a big fan of records and all they represent.  He set up shop in Nashville, TN where he founded his record label, Third Man Records.  In addition, the enterprise consists of a rehearsal and recording studio.  Many artists came through these doors and cut one-off singles.  

I paid a visit to the studio store. Excuse the quality of the picture.  The sun was not cooperating to give me the best lighting of the facade.

Hipsters impressed by my late model rental car from Avis

The store itself is in an industrial part of Nashville just east (or south - got turned around) of Downtown.  Stock consists almost exclusively of vinyl.  Most everything recorded at the studio is available there.  T-Shirts and souvenirs as well.  It's all designed in Jack's current color scheme for the label - yellow and black.

Third man pulled off a stunt to make the world's fastest record on Record Store Day 2013.  They recorded something quick in the morning and had the finished product available for sale later that same afternoon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Meet Goober Pyle

George Lindsey played Goober on the Andy Griffith Show.  His character was the brother of Gomer Pyle who set out to join the marines.  Sometime after Gomer left Mayberry, he manages to record a bunch of songs where he sounded like one of the three tenors.

Well if Gomer can do it, why not Goober.   He doesn't sound like one of the three tenors.

Check it out.  It's signed by the artist, but I got it for less than a buck.  

So it looks like Goober decided to hitchhike to Bakersfield.  Bakersfield would be about 3,500 miles from Mayberry.  Looks like he made it pretty far as he's already on the 5 near Gorman.  Hope he gets to stop for ice cream at Dewar's.  

On the back there seems to be an ad for a previous album called 'Goober Sings'

You'll also notice that the album was at one time in the cutout bin (as evidenced by the giant hole in the cover).  I can imagine the fan coming up to him asking to sign an album that was already in closeout.  Would he be touched or humiliated?

I got this record at Record Trader in Reseda which is no longer there. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Memories of the Capitol Records Swap Meet

Back in the late '70's  - on the somethingth Sunday of every month (I don't remember which), the parking lot at the Capitol Records tower in Hollywood was transformed into a record swap meet.  Admission was free.   It seemed to always be crowded.

As the event got more popular, it opened up earlier and earlier.  Just like the early birds that pester those having garage sales earlier than advertised, crate diggers began showing up earlier than start time.  It's understandable.  Crate diggers are an odd bunch.  Of course they wanted to be first.  I did.

As a result, the start time of the event got earlier and earlier until it basically started very late the night before.  My normal plan was to see the late set by a band at the Whisky A-Go-Go (or some other happening club at the time) and head over to the swap meet after.  After a while, it seemed like I got there too late.  I started seeing the early set by bands in Hollywood and then heading over after - foregoing the late set.  (I remember seeing Pere Ubu on one of those nights and debating whether to leave or stay).    After a while - that seemed too late as well.  The swap meet then tended to start at about 10:00 PM on Saturday night.   

Lighting was poor.  I had a miners helmet purchased at a thrift store so I didn't have to hold a flashlight and crate dig at the same time. 

It was half party/half record fair.

I remember getting some cool bootlegs there and a copy of Bob Dylan's 'Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window' 45.   I remember being outraged that it cost $3.00.   Most of my other purchases remain fuzzy.   

As with all good things, the swap meet didn't last.  I'm not sure who shut it down.  It may have been Capitol Records as I'm not 100% sure if it was sanctioned.  It could have been the LAPD.   I remember going through crates with a beer in my hand.  LAPD no like.

They paved paradise and turned it back into a parking lot.    The parking lot is still there.   That's one historical cultural landmark that hasn't been torn down - although there are plans to build condos on that space that would dwarf the iconic Capitol Records Tower.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Who - Lifehouse Singles

After the Who released Tommy - and toured with it relentlessly -  they had to come up with a worthy successor.  Pete Townshend worked on an ambitious project he was calling 'Lifehouse.'   It was not to be as the next Who album.  Some of it got released as a series of singles.  Some showed up on Townshend's first solo record 'Who Came First.'  A lot of it ended up forming the backbone of 'Who's Next'

The recurring theme of 'one note rules us all'  crept up in a lot of these.

The following singles are referred to as the 'Lifehouse Trilogy'

1.  Let's See Action b/w When I Was a Boy

The first one.  A version appears on Pete's solo record, but this is the definitive Who version.  B-Side is written by John Entwistle.  It was common for the Who to give the B-Side to a non-Townshend composer.  Since royalties were distributed equally between A-Side and B-Side, the composer of the B-Side gets a cut even if only the A-Side was a hit.  UK pressing of this one.  I don't think it was ever released in the USA.

2.  The Relay b/w Wasp Man

The second one and one of my favorite Who tracks. Still gets an occasional airing in their post-Keith Moon shows.  B-Side is by Keith Moon and is primarily an instrumental riff with Moon repeating the word 'sting.'  I tried to get the sticker off.  Honest.  It might have another year or so worth of work left.

3  Join Together b/w Baby Don't You Do It.

The third one and the only one that could be considered a 'hit.'  The B-Side is a cover of an old Motown classic.  The performance of Entwistle and Moon during the verses is the same as 'The Real Me' from 'Quadrophenia'  It was recorded in England at Winterland in San Francisco, California. (Yes, I know this doesn't make sense)  

Bonus - The Seeker b/w Here For More

This is the single that came out after Tommy.  Not really part of the 'Lifehouse Trilogy' but it certainly is a missing link between those singles and Tommy.  To the best of my knowledge, the B-Side is the only Roger Daltrey composition The Who ever recorded.  They couldn't get it together to spell his name right on the label.  Got this one a long time ago at the Capitol Records Swap Meet in Hollywood.

Extra Bonus - Here's a picture sleeve I have. Art by Ralph Steadman.  Somebody penciled in the names of the band members, but they got 'em wrong.  Couldn't spell Daltrey's name right on this one either.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

When in Berkeley, Visit the Mad Monk of Telegraph Avenue.

The Mad Monk of Telegraph Avenue

Whenever I visit Berkeley, California, I always make a point of checking out Rasputin's on Telegraph Avenue.   Telegraph Avenue is like a 24/7 Grateful Dead parking lot.  I haven't observed any changes in 40 years.   The sights,sounds and smells remain the same.

I've been coming here since the late '70's when I had some friends who attended the University.  Now I have a daughter who attends the same school.   I'm up there quite a bit.

Rasputin's Basement

The store has a great basement.   An ample selection of used LP's and 45's abound.  Great prices too.  Inventory hasn't been picked over that much. At one point I picked up a few Enoch Light records.  On the way home I was wishing I would have gotten the others in the bin.  I went back months later and they were still there.  They now live with me in Southern California.

Rasputin's is a survivor.  Back in the day there was another store on the north side of campus.  Rather Ripped I believe it was called.  There was also a Tower Records nearby.  Amoeba is a newcomer and still very busy.  I much prefer Rasputin's.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Jack in the Box - How Pain Helps Us

There was a time when Jack in the Box was an unassuming hamburger chain.   McDonald's began getting into the kids meal market by creating cartoon characters to sell their burgers.  Mayor McCheese, the Evil Grimace and the Hamburglar are just a few of their characters.

Jack in the Box tried to follow with some of their own characters.  As part of this promotion, they put out a series of giveaway flexi records with comic books.  I managed to save two of them.  

How Pain Helps Us

The cover depicts our friends at Jack in the Box (Jack, Small Fry, Onion Ring Thing) teasing the Hamburgermeister with a giant bowling ball.  An experiment to test pain, I guess.

I couldn't find a name for that criminal guy in the picture.

The package consists of a comic book and a flexi disc.  Included in the booklet is an attempt to teach American kids the metric system.  They could have taught good nutrition, but that would go against their business model.  It's a good thing pain isn't associated with childhood obesity, otherwise it would have scared people away from their products.

This one deserves a reprint of the lyrics

Pain's a warning signal
And it keeps us out of harm
For Mother Nature uses Pain
To give us an alarm
When something harmful is happening
The Pain will indicate
We should stop the thing that's harmful
Before it's too late

All the the skin are nerve ends
Each smaller than a hair
If something hurts one of these nerves
It signals to beware
The signal goes to larger nerves
the same as through wire
And then into the spinal cord
Then to the brain up higher

And in the brain this message.
Us the feeling we call pain
And right away the brain will send
An order back again
To any part that's been hurt 
The brain says 'move away'
And when it gets the brain's command
That muscle will obey

Now if the hurt is bad
The brain remains aware of it
Until we fix it up
Or have someone take care of it
Now pain may seem a nuisance
But I'll tell you how I figure
I'd rather have a little pain than injuries much bigger.

Place a coin here if soundsheet slips.

I don't know how many of these they put out. I have Volume 1 'Why a House Makes Noise' and this one. 

I'm not a food snob by any means, but I don't eat at Jack in the Box.  They tried to get rid of the clown in a big explosive ad campaign and become more classy.  After a few years the clown came back, but he's now a very sophisticated gentleman in a business suit.

I'm sure I got this with some forgettable meal.  I may have gotten  the meal just to get the record.  Probably at the Jack in the Box on the corner of Leffingwell and Telegraph in Whittier, California. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

RIP Series - Poly Styrene

Since I just started this here blog recently, I'm going to periodically do some posts in tribute to some musical greats (and not so greats) who have departed in the last year or so.   I'll catch up at some point and be more timely.  Until then, I've unfortunately got a lot of catching up to do.  

I'm avoiding the well researched career tributes and appreciations.  I'll leave that to the paid professional scribes.  I'm sticking to my basic subject matter and blogging about the records.

X-Ray Spex - The Day the World Turned Day-Glo  b/w Iama Poseur

X-Ray Spex came about shortly after the first wave of punk hit the UK.  A few things set them apart.  Most notably the vocal style of their singer, Poly Styrene.  In addition to the vocal sound, they also sported a sax.  Not a common thing in punk music then. 

My niece used to venture into my room as a toddler and want to hear this record over and over when she visited.  She's now in her 30's and has no memory of her love for this record.

X-Ray Spex didn't put out all that many records. Just one album and a few singles.  Not sure they were ever released in the USA.   The singles and album I have are UK issues.  Pressed on some pretty colored vinyl as well.

Poly Styrene left the punk scene to become a Hari Krishna.  Can't get more punk than that.

Poly's passing warranted nary a mention in the mainstream press.  Not that she'd care.   

Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard, but I think OH BONDAGE UP YOURS!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen - The Rolling Stones!

That says it all!.  The most exciting phrase in show business! 

I've been posting a lot of oddball and goofy stuff lately, but that's not my primary focus in amassing records.  I love Rock and Roll.  And I love the Rolling Stones.   

As those who have been following know, I also love 45's.    Well one thing that's even more fun than a 45 is a vintage 45 with a picture sleeve.  Here are some Rolling Stones ones that I particularly enjoy.  I won't disclose where I got these.  Let's just say I paid much less than they were worth.

Jumpin' Jack Flash b/w Child of the Moon    (1968)

The Rolling Stones emerge from the psychedelic detour of 1967 with one of the strongest and most durable rock and roll songs ever.   Played at virtually every show since.  Usually in the important  opening, closing or encore slots.

This 45 has a lot of umph.  A very loud mono mix.  Sounds great cranked up to 11.  The last single for Brian.  Charlie's doing Uncle Fester.

Honky Tonk Women b/w You Can't Always Get What You Want   (1969)

Mick Taylor joins the band as lead guitarist.  This is his debut recording.  The standout performance here is blending of Keith's guitar riffs and Charlie's drumming.  They're completing each other's sentences.   Another one of those songs the Stones have to play at every concert.

Mono mix of both.  YCAGWYW (as the setlist transcribers call it) is the short version without the choir.    Picture sleeve features the new guy behind the bar.  Mick is dressed as a sailor.  It wouldn't be the last time.

And as an extra added treat....

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Having a Jewish Party vs. Having a Polish Party

It's Party Time.  Pick your ethnicity.   Whether you do the hora or the polka, there's a record for you!

Both of these records feature traditional music accompanied by party sounds.  I'm not sure why these were made.  If you were having an actual party you wouldn't want the party noises piped in, you'd want to make your own.

Perhaps it's a duck call to all of the same ethnicity to come in and join the party.  Say a Pole was walking down the street and heard polka music with lots of whoops and hollers.  Wouldn't he be curious and check it out?  Others may join the fun.  Poles may call their friends.  Pretty soon you're having a real Polish Party  - just by playing a record.

Same goes for the Jewish party.   Of course you'll put on a pot of coffee and have some noshes available.    

So whether you're sitting alone in a schmata drinking Manischewitz or wearing one of those colorful Polish vests drinking vodka - just put on one of these records and you'll soon find yourself surrounded by people ready to party.     Then you can take off the record.  You'll be all set.   

I don't remember where I got the Polish one.  The Jewish one has a sticker from Record Trader - a store that used to exist in Reseda, California.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band vs.We're Only In It For the Money

In 1967, The Beatles released 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.'   The Beatles were so big that even though there were no singles on the album, each track was played on AM radio in the USA.  

The album's design set a new standard in 'album cover as art.' 

It's so iconic that it can be parodied and instantly recognized - even by those who aren't record geeks.

In 1968, The Mothers of Invention released 'We're Only In It for the Money.'  It featured a very detailed parody cover of something exalted by an entire generation.

 It even included the cutouts.  

Legend has it that Frank Zappa sought permission from Paul McCartney.  Paul told Frank to 'check with the business manager, because that's what they're for.'   Frank tells Paul 'the artist is supposed to tell the business manager what to do.'

At any rate, the album was held up for months while the legal folks at MGM figured out how they could release it without a lawsuit.

Their ultimate solution, print the cover in reverse (the outside is in and the inside is out).

Thematically, Zappa addresses the commercialization and marketing of the counter-culture.  It's only fitting that this image was chosen.    

If you look closely at the Mother's cover, you'll see that Jimi Hendrix stopped by for the shoot.  Designer Cal Schenkel is seen holding a carton of eggs, and producer Tom Wilson is striking the Sonny Liston pose on the left side.

"Is This Faze One of Lumpy Gravy?"

Friday, September 12, 2014

U2 - The Rattle and Hum Singles

Continuing on with U2 singles.  This series came out with the Rattle and Hum singles.  Same concept as The Joshua Tree batch.  One band member on each of the four releases.  Same basic graphic design.

Desire b/w Hallelujah, Here She Comes

This one is gatefold.

Angel of Harlem b/w A Room at The Heartbreak Hotel

When Love Comes to Town b/w Dancing Barefoot

B-Side is a Patti Smith Cover

All I Want is You b/w Unchained Melody

Yes, THAT Unchained Melody.  Righteous Brothers Cover.

The next album, Achtung Baby! went from vinyls singles to CD singles.  In the UK, they got vinyl.