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.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

For Halloween - What Ever Happened to Eddie?

What else can a washed up child actor do.  'cept to sing in rock and roll band.

This is the fate of Butch Patrick who played Eddie Munster on the Munsters TV show.  It's nothing special.  Basically bland vocals atop a groove reminiscent of the Munsters Theme.

Of course it's distributed by MCA.  They're very protective of their Munsters intellectual property.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

My Out of Our Heads Quest

Cover of My Mono Copy

When I was in high school, I began to replace all the hacked up albums of my youth with nice new copies that I would care for eternally.  It was around this time I discovered that the UK versions of early Beatles and Stones records were better sequenced, better sounding, better pressed, etc.  I sought these out.

Around this time (mid '70's) a new chain store, The Wherehouse, began popping up around Southern California.  This was the first record store that seemed to have contempt for its customers.  Turnstiles, sneers if you left without buying anything, 45's devoid of picture sleeves on first release when they should have had them (I know because I purchased 45's there only to see them with picture sleeves a few days later at another store).  Stock that consisted of 30 copies of the latest release and maybe one or two items from back catalog.  And as an extra added bonus, they tended to hassle you when you returned defectives.

Their deal was all single disc domestic releases at the same low low price.  They also carried imports from the UK.

At this time, UK records weren't shrink wrapped.  They were imported in loose plastic bags.

Since they didn't trust their clientele to leave them alone, The Wherehouse decided to shrink wrap them.  This made them appear as though they were single disc domestic releases.  All one had to do was place the record on the counter upside down or between single disc domestic releases and the clerk would ring them up for about $3 less than they were supposed to be.  This kept me a loyal customer.

The first two Rolling Stones albums were in mono - just as they were recorded.  They sounded so much better that the US 'electronically reprocessed to simulate stereo' versions.

Then came the third one.  Out of Our Heads.  This particular release held a sentimental place with me as the first Stones LP I ever owned was December's Children* (*and everybody's) which sported the same cover.  I had this one since 1965.  I was in 2nd grade.

Back of My Mono Copy

  The only import available at the time was stereo.  I bought it, but it sounded muddy and distant.  Just like 'reprocessed' stereo.  My old hacked up US mono copy even sounded better.

UK 'Stereo' Pressing

This started my quest for a mono version in good shape.

Before the internet, this was nearly impossible.   Then a few years ago we get eBay.

First stop was eBay.  I found one that was advertised as mono, but it was a German pressing on Decca.  German Decca had a red label which was mistaken as a UK maroon label which indicated mono.   Strike  one.

German 'Stereo' Pressing. Cover didn't say Stereo, so seller listed it as mono.

After a few more years of searching, the second time was the charm on eBay.  Found one.  Great shape. Sounds as good as the first two albums in mono.

Finally, A genuine mono pressing

I only wish some asshole didn't put a sticker on the label.

Now that this has been reissued on SACD, the mono master tapes are being used.  Glad to see that fake stereo is a thing of the past.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Seeds

Los Angeles had it's very own psychedelic garage band.  The Seeds, led by Sky Saxon, put out a few records.  The first album, featured here, includes the hit single 'Pushin' Too Hard.  The rest of the tracks sound like outtakes from the first two Rolling Stones albums.

I really don't know much about the personnel other that singer/acid casualty Sky Saxon.  The other guys are trying hard to be longhairs.  The guy on the right was probably once a pompadour wearing guy in an East Side band.  He just couldn't let it go.  Pompadour on top, hippie in the back.  And don't get me started on the Indian Guide second from left.  Singer Sky Saxon is sitting between them.

The back.....

My copy is an original on GNP Crescendo. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

PIL Finally Makes it to the USA

John Lydon (FKA Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols) followed up that band with Public Image LTD.  Their first album was never released in the USA.  The second one initially was released as three 12 inch singles packaged in a metal film can.   That never made it the US either.  What we ended up with was a double LP entitled Second Edition.  A pretty grand record.  Not anything like the basic punk that defined the era.   Drone beats.  Ranting Lyrics.  Long Tracks.

The Sex Pistols never visited Los Angeles.  If they had, I certainly would have been there.  Nobody knew the infamous Winterland gig would be their last.  The first glimpse we get of Johnny Rotten is this gig at the Olympic Auditorium.  The venue was a dump in the true sense of the word.  My concert going friends and I used to rotate driving responsibilities for shows.  I was told this one counted as two.  As usual, I parked my dumpy car next to the best looking ones in the lot.  After the show, they were all broken into.  Not me.  

The Olympic was a small arena which normally hosted roller derby and fake wrestling.  The building is still there.  I think it's a church now.  

Opening acts were The Plugz and Los Lobos.  Unruly violent crowd.  Show ended abruptly with 'I've had enough.  Good Night.'

Tickets were mail order only.  The dates changed, so all ticketholders got this cheery little letter with their tickets.  How punk!

I have a poster for this gig that I tore of a lamp post.  It's rolled up with a bunch of posters in the garage.  Some day I should have it framed.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

My Gear

My setup is below.  I moved into one of those mid-century modern type homes nearly 20 years ago.  Everything was built in - including the stereo.   The cabinet you see below held a turntable/radio combo on a pullout shelf if the upper right.   The other three cabinets were designed to hold records,  There were dividers that fit into the little slats to hold the LP's upright.   I did a little adaptive re-use to hold all the junk I have.  The speakers were built into the bookshelf above.  That wouldn't do for my needs either.   Details on the gear below the picture.

Top to bottom left side.

Technics SL-D2 turntable.  One of my two trusty workhorses,
Onkyo Cassette Deck - My cassette decks were idle for many years.  When I went through some old tapes I realized that none of them worked anymore.  Probably due to disintegrated belts.  I got this one at a Thrift Store for $10.  Works grand and my Grateful Dead tapes thank it.

Top to bottom right side.

Sennheiser Wireless Headphones.  Allows me to play records while kids are doing homework or I'm out in the yard,
Yamaha Receiver - a  400 Watt job.  The newest piece of equipment I own.  Had to search far and wide for one with a phono input and only two channels
Sony Blu-Ray player - Since this whole system is connected to the TV in the next cabinet, video equipment is part of this setup.
Denon CD Player - Originally the plan was to retire this when I got the Blu-ray, but I soon discovered that this has a better sound than the Blu-ray.  This was a high end audiophile piece.  I auditioned it with acoustic music at the store and it had the best sound by far.  I got it for a good price at a store that claimed to match any price at other stores.  I lied that I saw it for $100 less at Costco.  They gave it to me for that discounted price.
SonyVCR.  I still have occasion to play video tapes.  Same thing as with the cassettes.  Deck sat idle.  When I wanted use it, I discovered it no longer worked.  Found this at a Thrift Store for $20.   My late night B-Movie collection (complete with car dealer commercials)  thanks it.
Tivo HD.  For time shifting. No cable box,  I'm a cordcutter.  Have an antenna on the roof.

On the built in shelf above - The speakers.

RSL Studio Monitors - Had them since the '80's.   The woofers were re-coned a couple of years ago.  . The repair shop was taking a long time.  The holidays were quickly approaching.  I pleaded with them to hurry it up as I needed to hear Robert Goulet's Wonderful World of Christmas through them or my holiday would be ruined.  They told me they'd do it for Goulet.  Speakers still sound really good.

There's a TV in another cabinet with a Roku Box and an HTPC.  This isn't an AV blog wo I won't go into much detail.

Everything connects to the receiver.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Red Army Choir

Everest Records owned the patents on the best recording technique in existence at the time.  Unfortunately, they didn't really run a record company like the other big guys.  They had no roster of artists.  All of their releases tended to be one-offs.

So at the height of The Cold War, they managed to get The Red Army Choir. Most likely because nobody else would touch them.

They made a point that the cover was 'Printed in the United States of America.'

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Talking Heads First Singles

1977.   'Corporate rock', 'arena rock', 'cheap rock' or whatever you want to call it was dominating the radio.  As some sort of backlash, arty non-commercial bands began springing up playing original material on their own terms.  This would later be termed 'new-wave' as music promoters love to label music.   The New York scene gave us several bands that would later go on to great acclaim and/or success.  The Ramones, Television and Blondie to name a few.   Rising to the top of the heap were Talking Heads.  (Yes folks, no 'the.).

Around the time of their first album '1977' came a few singles.

First up:

Love -> Building on Fine b/w New Feeling.

The first single released in advance of the first album features a stand alone A-Side which would be part of the live show for many years to come.  As the cover photo indicates, Talking Heads was a three piece at this point.  Jerry Harrison had yet to join.  The B-Side was re-recorded for their debut LP.

Between the release of this and the first LP, distribution of Sire Records went from ABC to Warner Brothers.  As a result, this single went out of print quickly.

The album gets released and the first single is dropped hoping to get their music on the radio.....

Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town b/w I Wish You Wouldn't Say That

They graced us with a B-Side.  A cute little track that clocks in under two minutes.

As the reputation of the band grew through their live gigs in clubs and at college campuses across the USA, one track from the first album became a standout.  It got the single treatment.

Psycho Killer/Psycho Killer (acoustic version)

Psycho Killer would be played at every Talking Heads live show throughout their career.    The single release gave us an acoustic version as the B-Side.  On Talking Head's 'Stop Making Sense' tour - their last - an acoustic version of this song opened the show.  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Baseball Surprise

So I pulled out an album by Johnny Burnette and the Rock and Roll Trio.  Not the original release on Coral - which can sell for a few thousand dollars.

I don't own that one. I'm not THAT rich or lucky.

The one I have is a reissue on the San Francisco based label Solid Smoke.  I got it a few years ago on one of my many visits to the Bay Area of California.  Either Red Devil in San Rafael or Rasputin in Berkeley.

When I'm putting the thing away, I heard something shift in the cover.  I reached in and pulled out a 45.  I love it when that happens.

What I got was a San Francisco Giants themed song from 1978.  Be a Believer in Giants Fever by The Paid Attendance.  A disco song with player name drops and references to Candlestick Park.  It's on Home Run Records.

Since it's nearly October, the nation's attention turns to baseball.  No telling if the Giants will be part of it this year.  I'm sure every city with a baseball team has a 45 or two like this.  Our Los Angeles Dodgers got a legitimate release on Reprise.

I reported on that one last year:

Danny Kaye Los Angeles Dodgers