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.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Sway be Different

With all the recent hype and such regarding the re-release of Sticky Fingers, I'm a bit surprised that this single wasn't included in the boni section of the package.  

Sway (B-Side of Wild Horses)

The version of Sway included here is different from the album track.  There are no strings (even though they're credited here) and the vocal is a different take.  Backing track appears to be the same, but Mick Taylor's leads are either different or mixed more up front..  

Not many know of this little obscurity.  I wonder if Jo Ann Palmer knew.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Annoying Paul

So John Lennon could get away with being political, why not Paul McCartney?   In 1972, the same time Lennon was doing Sometime in New York City, Paul McCartney attempted to make a political statement about the struggles in Northern Ireland.   He released this single credited to his new 'band' Wings.

The BBC didn't take kindly to the record in defiance of UK politics.  It was promptly banned and sank on the charts.  The Americans didn't care too much for it either.

McCartney (or Wings as he was now known) followed up with a single they thought would be safe for the BBC.  Unfortunately, the McCartney pedigree was not enough to make the most annoying single in all of Beatledom a success.

Some purists may have issue with the allusion to the fact that Wings wasn't a real band.  This single supports my stance.  Any real band would have told their 'leader' there was no way this should be put out.  I doubt if the drummer ever said to Paul 'play your bass differently to fit with my fills better' 

The only person who seems to have made out here is our little cover model. She shaved the lamb to make a fashionable wool cloak.  Then she traded the lamb meat for a bitchen ride.

So following all this, Wings comes back with one of their best singles.  Alas, this one was also banned on the BBC because of the perceived drug references.  Or maybe because there were lyrics like 'I want you to lie on the bed and get ready for my funny gong.'   Or maybe it was 'I'm gonna to it to you mama.  Gonna do your sweet banana.'   You never know.  'Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll' in a single is apparently more successful than nursery rhymes or political posturing.  It was a hit in the USA.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Columbia Records Manifesto

I enjoy company issued inner sleeves.  Not quite as much as custom ones, but more than blank generic ones.  Below is a late '60's company sleeve from Columbia records touting why records are your best entertainment.  Not sure what impending competition was.  Were 8-Tracks about to kill music like home taping.

For those who prefer larger text, here's what it says:

Here's How Records Give You More Of What You Want:

  • The Best For Less. Records give you top quality for less money than any other recorded form.
  • They Allow Selectivity Of Songs And Tracks. With records it's easy to pick out the songs you want to play, or to play again a particular song or side. All you have to do is lift the tone arm and place it where you want it. You can't do this as easily with anything but a phonograph record.
  • They're The Top Quality In Sound. Long-playing phonograph records look the same now as when they were introduced in 1948, but there's a world of difference. Countless refinements and developments have been made to perfect the long-playing records' technical excellence and insure the best in sound reproduction and quality available in recorded form.
  • They'll Give You Hours Of Continuous And Uninterrupted Listening Pleasure. Just stack them up on your automatic changer and relax.
  • They're Attractive, Informative And Easy To Store. Record albums are never out of place. Because of the aesthetic appeal of the jacket design, they're beautifully at home in any living room or library. They've also got important information on the backs--about artists, about the performances or about the program. And because they're flat not bulky, you can store hundreds in a minimum space and still see every title.
  • If It's In Recorded Form, You Know It'll Be Available On Records. Everything's on long-playing records these days...your favorite artists, shows, comedy, movie sound tracks, concerts, drama, documented history, educational material...you name it. This is not so with any other kind of recording.
  • They Make A Great Gift. Everybody you know loves music. And practically everyone owns a phonograph. Records are a gift that says a lot to the person you're giving them to. And they keep on remembering.

And Remember...It Always Happens First On Records.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Jethro Tull a Little Off Center

When records were mass produced in the '70's, quality control seemed to be a little lax.  I remember being in the habit of opening new records before driving home from the store to make sure there were no visual abnormalities with them.   I remember when I bought The Rolling Stones 'Some Girls' on day of release.  After searching for one that was 'good on the side'  (possibly a post on that topic later), I purchased one and opened it in the car before driving home.  Alas, it had a side 1 label on both sides.   Returned it.  Opened the next one in the store.  Same thing.  Got another.  Opened it in the store.  The glue holding the inner sleeve together was applied too liberally and seeped onto the record itself.  Back that one went.  Fourth time was the charm.  Got it home to discover a convex warp.  That was OK,  My turntable could handle it.

Below I present a copy of Jethro Tull's 'Thick as a Brick.'   I've had the original since I was in Junior High.  Needless to say, it's seen better days.  Found this one in the used bin.

As you can see, the label is a bit off center.  Congratulations, you have ten times more observational skills than the people working quality control at Warner Brothers.   You don't need a precision tool or a microscope to know something's wrong with this one.  Where the hell was Biggles?

Why would a fuss budget record guy like me buy such a thing from the used bin?  Well the copy I had from 1972 was a bit wornout.   Upon inspection of the grooves, this one looked pretty clean and was only 99 cents.   Whomever got this one first time around was too lazy to take it back and too scared to actually play it.  What I ended up with was a near mint condition record that I can't stand to watch play and I've got to be on guard at the end to make sure I get to the tonearm before the tonearm gets to the label.  Works for me.  This isn't one I play once a week or anything.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Short Time When Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page Were in the Yardbirds Together

'60's beat band The Yardbirds are best known for being the band where three stellar guitarists got their start.  Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page all served time.  Except for a few months where Beck and Page were in the band, none of their tenures overlapped.

During those few months, the band released one single and appeared in Antonioni's Blow Up.   The one single released during that period is a stunning sample of how heavy blues meshed with psychedelia.

Happening Ten Years Time Ago b/w The Nazz Are Blue  (Epic 1966)

I found this one at my local record emporium with a rare picture sleeve showing the Beck/Page line-up.  Left to right we have Jimmy Page, Chris Dreja (eventually the bass player), Jim McCarty (drums), Jeff Beck and Keith Relf (singer).

The B-Side features one of the few vocals by Jeff Beck.   I can see why he opted to get other singers in his subsequent bands.

Gradually this lineup dissolved.   Jeff Beck left after a few months and started up the Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood.  Evidently his ego didn't allow for contribution from others.  A personality trait that kept most of his subsequent bands short lived.  The Yardbirds carried on as a foursome for about a year,   Chris Dreja left to pursue a career in photography and graphic design.   Relf and McCarty left to form their own band Renaissance.  Relf later was killed Spinal Tap style by playing electric guitar in the bathtub.

Jimmy Page was left holding the bag with some gig commitments to fulfill in Scandanavia.  He ended up filling the obligations with Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham.  The departed band members got miffed that the current band played the gigs as The New Yardbirds.   Page ended up changing their name to Led Zeppelin.  Their first album features a band photo on the back by Chris Dreja.

Here's a fuzzy clip of the Beck/Page line up. For some reason, Keith Relf always reminded me of a cross between Brian Jones and Davey Jones.

Friday, August 14, 2015

When Your Food Comes Alive in Hawaii

I can think of few things that would be more frightening than your food coming alive, sporting faces and playing music.

Evidently someone thought it was a cute idea.  How would this reveal looks with a horror movie jump scare score?

There is a Mexican Restaurant in Los Angeles that advertises itself as 'Mexican Food With Attitude.'  Personally I prefer my food to lie there quietly in complete submission.  It's best to leave the attitude back at the chopping block.  Once you're on my plate, I expect no talk-back or resistance of any kind.  Definitely not a cutesy face staring back at me.   Who could eat that pinapple?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

T Heads True Stories Singles

Talking Heads released the soundtrack to David Byrne's film 'True Stories' in 1986.   Originally the release was to be an actual soundtrack featuring the vocalists from the film.  The record company insisted that it be released with David Byrne vocals, so the vocal tracks were redone.  Some of the original tracks with other vocalists snuck out as B-Sides to the 45's from the album.

First Up

Wild Wild Life b/w People Like Us.

Vocal in the B-Side is by John Goodman.

Next we have

Love for Sale b/w Hey Now.

B-Side vocal by a local children's choir.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Jethro Tull Stands Up....

Jethro Tull's second album, Stand Up was released in 1969.  In addition to being one of their best records, it sports an unexpected surprise.

Open it up and the band 'stands up!'

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Clash - Spot the Difference

The Clash's second album, Give 'Em Enough Rope,' was their first release in the USA.   The US division of Columbia/CBS didn't think their first album was fit for domestic consumption.  The sound was raw, unprocessed, unproduced and immediate.     It only added to the impact of the music.  Subsequently, it became one of the top selling import albums.

Since the US executives knew what the kids today wanted, they hooked The Clash up with heavy metal producer Sandy Pearlman for their second release.   Initial reaction had those who loved their first album recoil a bit at its slick arena rock sound.  

When it was initially released 1978, it was a bit hard to find.  I remember going into my local Music Plus (at one time fairly decent chain store in Southern California) on my lunch break to pick it up day of release.  I couldn't find it.  The clerk said they didn't carry 'obscure punk rock records.'   I replied that it was on Epic/Columbia and shouldn't be considered 'obscure.'  Since it had the punk stigma, it wasn't carried.  Music Plus soon changed their tune and began to carry local independent punk '45's.

So on to another store to complete the purchase.  I don't remember where.  Possibly Lovell's in Uptown Whittier, CA.

There are some cover variations as well.

The first pressing had block letters

It was soon replaced with a faux oriental font.

There are a few variations on the back as well.   The tracks on the back are listed out of sequence (how punk!).  The first press lists the title of the last song as 'That's No Way to Spend Your Youth'

The second pressing correctly names the last track as 'All the Young Punks (New Boots and Contracts).'  It also adds a credit for mastering.  I wonder if that's why there was a scramble for a cover redo.

I'm told there is a third version with a slightly different font that lists the tracks in the correct running order.

Around this time, I was in the habit of saving concert ads from the Los Angeles times in the related album.  This one is from the first time the Clash visited the USA.  One of the best shows I've ever witnessed.  In addition to Bo Diddley, local band The Dils also opened.

Bo Diddley was a very cool choice. Evidently the promoter didn't know who he was.  It looks like they thought it was a band as they describe him/them as 'special guest stars.'

 Punk was in danger of being pigeonholed with all the rules of conduct, instrumentation, appearance, volume and speed.  What set The Clash apart was their ability to expand on the genre.  Other bands sort of imploded as they couldn't take their music beyond the basic 1-2-3-4.   The Clash seemed to realize this early on.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Ventures - Expo 7-0

The Ventures, America's premier instrumental guitar band, was a big deal in Japan.  Probably because they didn't have to deal with the language barrier.  They toured there often.  An oft quoted statistic has them outselling The Beatles in Japan 5 to 1.  

In 1970, Japan hosted Expo 70 in Osaka.   The Ventures supplied the official theme song.  

I found this on EBay. This particular pressing came via Canada.

The B-Side is a take on Swan Lake.  I always thought the tune was from the original soundtrack of Lugosi's Dracula.  I know now that I'm mistaken.