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.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ye Olde Cutout Bin

In the 70's, most record stores and major department stores had a 'cut-out' bin.   Cut-Outs were overstocked records in the distributor's warehouse that didn't sell.   A portion of the cover was sliced, drilled or given a divot.    The imperfection in the cover signaled the record couldn't be sold at full price.   I'm not sure if the term cut-out refers to the cover mutilation or the removal of the title from catalog.  Prices ranged from 49 cents to $3

Jefferson Airplane - Thirty Seconds Over Winterland  (Grunt 1972)

I'm pretty sure I got this one at Montgomery Ward in Rosemead, CA

Each record company had their own method of cut-out.   RCA slit the cover.  This particular cover has the slit in the upper left.

Capitol drilled a hole in the front (see upper right)

Often times stickers proclaiming 'factory sealed for your protection' or 'music is your best value' cover up price stickers from the stores that returned unsold copies.

Warner Brothers lobbed off the corner  (see upper left)

Cut Outs weren't limited to deleted catalog items.  Sometimes they popped up because of a corporate change or a label redesign.  Asylum pressings of Bob Dylan's Planet Waves showed up in the cutout bins when it was about to be reissued on Columbia.  I got a few Grateful Dead titles on the green Warner Brothers label in the cutout bin after they went to that butt-ugly tree design.

I once scolded a record store for selling a cutout at full price.   The clerk referred me to the manager.  His response was 'How did you know that?'   I guess he thought that nobody would notice.  The title, by the way, I would have paid twice full price for.  It was the hard to find and out of print 'The Modern Dance' by Pere Ubu.   I ended up getting it for the cutout price  --  I think two bucks.

The cutout bin was a great place to take a chance on new music.  Something that is sorely missed in this new vinyl age.

Monday, May 25, 2015

John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band vs Yoko Ono - Plastic Ono Band.

Plastic Ono Band

Lennon and Ono tended to release albums in pairs. Lennons Classic plastic Ono Band album was simultaneously released with Yoko's.  

The Lennon album is regarded as an artistic triumph. A deeply moving work with Lennon exorcising some demons and expressing a bit of anger.  The band is stripped down consisting only of Ringo, Lennon and Klaus Voorman.

The Yoko one (in my humble opinion) is awesome.  Side one consists of the same band turning it up to 11.  Side two is from a live gig with Ornette Coleman.

The covers are nearly identical. The same photo of the two of them under a tree - except  - Yoko is leaning against John on one and John is leaning against Yoko on the other.

Yoko Ono - Plastic Ono Band
John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band

The back covers were also similar.   Both featured a childhood picture of the artist.

And they each featured a white apple on the label..

I've had the Lennon one since it was released.  I think I got it a Gemco in Fullerton, CA.  The acquisition of the Yoko one has a bit of a backstory.

I used to go the the La Mirada Swapmeet on Saturday mornings.  I'd get a beer and apply for credit cards under fake names to get the free gifts.  Once my dog actually got a charge card for Sears.  

Anyway... There was a record vendor I visited regularly.  According the Clinton Heyland's Bootleg book, it was Ken from Rubber Dubber (the bootleg label).  I spied Yoko in the bins and needed it.  When I presented it for purchase I was warned 'You know that's the Yoko one, right.'   I knew, but thanks for asking.  

This is a great record to put on when it's time for guests to leave.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

I Put Cork On It - Part 2

In The Previous Episode on this Subject,   I showed how to make a cork turntable mat out of cork sheets from a craft store.  Since my artistic skills are Neanderthal at best, the end result was a bit off from a perfect circle.  It looked OK in a static position, but looked like a loose wheel when spinning.

After a while of doing it that way I went to plan B:

At a local home improvement store they had 12" circular cork mats to place under plants.  Cost was around $3.   I simply took an Eagles album, clamped the cork to the record (being careful not to damage the cork), took my drill and drilled through the spindle hole.  

The result is a pretty spiffy looking and functional mat.

Link to the old way:   The Previous Episode on this Subject

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sebastian Cabot, Actor - Bob Dylan, poet

The world was begging for it, and it was given unto the world.

Sebastian Cabot, better known as Mr. French from TV's Family Affair thought it would be good idea to recite Dylan lyrics as poetry.  Personally I think it's a big fail, but a very entertaining one.

My personal favorite track is 'Who Killed Davey Moore'

Here's 'Like A Rolling Stone' for your pleasure.

As a side note, on the old Family Affair TV show, the older daughter loved a band called The Velvet Vultures.  I wish I could have heard them.   Sounds like a great psych band.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Another Thing I Once Believed That I Now Know to Not Be True - The Basement Tapes 1975 LP

Myth:  The Basement Tapes double LP released on Columbia are presented just as they went down.

Reality:  There are overdubs recorded many years later.  The Band tracks were not part of the basement sessions at all.

Bob Dylan and the Band  - The Basement Tapes (Columbia 1975)

Bob Dylan got into a motorcycle accident in 1966.  During his recovery, he became a recluse in his Woodstock retreat.  He was still writing songs and summoned his friends from The Band to lay down some tracks to fulfill his publishing contracts.  Some of this material ended up being covered by other artists.  At the time it was a big coup to have your song written by Bob Dylan.  One of my personal favorites of these is Manfred Man's Quinn the Eskimo.

This Album was released by Columbia shortly after Bob's brief stint at Asylum to help David Geffen's ego.  Robbie Robertson took the tapes and prepped the release.  During the prep, he overdubbed guitar parts and drums onto the original tapes.  

The Band tracks were from sessions at Capitol Studios in Hollywood.  Their fidelity was dumbed down to fit in with the sonic feel of the basement tapes.  The versions of these recordings that appear on their 'A Musical History' box set sound great.

And what's with the mix?  I have bootlegs that are more pleasing to the ear.

The cover photo is from 1975.

Don't get me wrong.  I still like this record.  If you've yet to discover the legendary basement tapes sessions, I would recommend the recently released 'Bootleg Series Volume 11: The Basement Tapes Raw' over this one.  No overdubs or sonic mixing tricks.   Just unadulterated basement magic.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Record Care Tip - Never Leave Your Records Near the Phone

I'm a fan of Roy Wood.  He's one of those unsung musician geniuses.  He could and did play almost any instrument.  Cello, woodwinds, flute, drums, piano, etc.  He was the founder of The Move.  Jeff Lynne joined The Move for their last two albums.  Electric Light Orchestra was originally a side project of The Move.  Roy Wood had a different vision of ELO's direction.  Wood wanted to use classical instruments in a rock and roll sense with amplification, distortion, effects and whatnot.  Lynne felt the classical instruments should be used to enhance the rock and roll, not replace it.  Wood left ELO after their first album.  The Move never made another.

Roy Wood - Boulders (United Artists 1973)

This is his first solo album. He plays everything on it.  His records are neither that collectible nor easy to come by.  I found this one at a Goodwill in North Hollywood.  

Which brings me to the record care tip in the title.  If records are left near the phone, someone in the household who doesn't value your vinyl as much as you do may answer the phone.  They'll think it's OK to write on whatever when they're taking a message.  This copy of Boulders was a victim of this destructive person trying to do good.  They took a message and jotted it down on the front cover.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Something I Once Believed That I Now Know to Not Be True - Three Dog Night Captured Live at the Forum

The Myth:  Three Dog Night was so hugely popular that they could play The Fabulous Forum early in their career.

The Reality:  They were opening for Steppenwolf.

The Forum

For a long stretch, the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, California was the premier concert/sports venue in Southern California.  I spent many summer nights there in my youth.  Tailgating with the fine bouquet offered up by Boone's Farm Apple Wine.  Occasionally with some Annie Green Springs.  No corkscrew needed.  Even now, when I visit the venue, that feeling of (not so) innocent youth returns.

Saw a bunch of great shows there.  Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, George Harrison, Grateful Dead, etc etc etc.

The venue fell out of favor when that hideous Staples Center opened in Downtown Los Angeles. I'd rather drive to San Diego  or Anaheim than see a show there.  Crappy sound.  Exclusive luxury boxes to show off the haves to the have nots.  Their special section has fancy food and wine.  The cheap seats have crowded public spaces and McDonalds.

When you were at The Forum, there was no class separation.  The rich and the poor sat in the same bowl.  From the last row to the front, you were part of one single unsegregated crowd.  And besides, the ushers wore togas!

The Forum has recently reopened as a concert only venue.  I haven't been there since the refurb, but I hear The Forum is Fabulous once again.

So this brings me to Three Dog Night.  At the time, playing the Forum was the pinnacle of success.  Long before stadium shows, this was as big as you could get.  This is why releasing a live album supposedly recorded at your sold out show was a good idea. 

Three Dog Night Was Captured Live At the Forum (Dunhill 1969)

The album cover sports some nice photos of a sold out crowd. 

But take a look closely at the back photo.  The adoring fans rushing the stage while one of the Dog Nights moves closer.  The stage, obviously is from a well trodded permanent stage at another venue.  Arenas didn't have wood floor stages like that.  Security at The Forum would probably have beaten those teenage girls to a pulp.  Chances are nobody was even paying much attention to the opening act.  The venue was probably not even full by that time.  My hunch is that this photo was probably taken at the much smaller general admission Hollywood Palladium.  In fact, I doubt that any of the photos, save for the ones with the house lights on,  are from the Forum gig.  

And a side note, Chuck Negron lives up the street from me in Sherman Oaks.  Read his book - Three Dog Nightmare.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Who on Atco

What are the Who doing on ATCO?  I have no idea.  They were on Decca before this and remained on that label until it was sucked up by MCA in the mid 70's.  

For some reason, this one single was released on ATCO in 1966.

The Who - Substitute b/w Waltz for Pig (ATCO 1966)

The version of Substitute featured here is different from the version that later appeared on Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy.  The instrumental breaks are in different places.  The line 'I look all white, but my dad was black' is replaced with 'I try going forward, but my feet walk back.'

The B-side is even more curious.  Although it's credited to The Who, the performance in an instrumental by The Graham Bond Organization.   It features Ginger Baker on Drums.  Evidently ATCO only had rights to one song, so they made the most of it.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

West Coast Punk - The Deaf Club

The the late '70's, there was a club in San Francisco that hosted punk rock bands called the The Deaf Club.  This wasn't some sort of creative punk rock kind of name, it was actually a Deaf Club.   A long established gathering place for the hearing impaired. They didn't mind the loud music.  Ordering from the bar was easier than other clubs where you had to rely on voice while the band was playing.  

There was a live album released of a few bands that played there.  The Dead Kennedy's, The Offs, KGB, Pink Section (a female band named after the entertainment section of the Sunday newspaper), Ralph Records recording artists Tuxedomoon,  and my own personal favorites The Mutants are featured on:

Can You Hear Me?  Music from the Deaf Club (Optional/Walking Dead 1979)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Enoch Light

The young hipster types discovered Esquivel and Martin Denny.  This sent prices of old vinyl through the roof.  Thankfully, they haven't discovered Enoch Light.  Bachelor pad music at it's finest.  Most of it designed to impress the ladies with your fancy hi-fi's.    I've acquired most of his albums for around $2.  This one went for more on account of the cover.

Enoch Light - Spaced Out (Command 1969)

This one offers up plenty of his trademark ping pong percussion as well as trippy effects.  Includes a few Beatles songs to show how hip you are.   I guess nobody is concerned that there is no atmosphere in space - and it's very cold as well.  She don't seem to mind, because she's   (drumroll - wait for it)   SPACED OUT!!!!  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

B-52's Rock Lobster

The B-52's - Rock Lobster b/w 52 Girls (1978)

This is their first 45.  There is no record company credited.  I don't know if the light printing on the back cover is intentional or a misprint.

A fun band.  I picked up this single after hearing it on Rodney Bingemenheimer's radio show.  They later got signed to Warner Brothers.  I saw them right around the time their first album came out as the opening act for Talking Heads.

Supposedly Rock Lobster prompted John Lennon to get back into the studio after his 'house husband' period.  Legend has it he was in a bar, heard Kate Pierson's Yoko Ono impressions and thought the world was now ready for a new John/Yoko record.    He grabbed the missus and began work on Double Fantasy.