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, April 28, 2016

Prince - The Black Album

In 1987, Prince was still a top selling artist at Warner Brothers.  As a follow up to Sign O The Times, The Black Album was slated for release.  A week prior to its release date, the album was pulled.  All copies were supposedly destroyed.  A few remained in circulation.  A few of those found their way to the bootleggers who released it.  Below is a bootleg copy from 1987.

The cover is supposedly a replica of the original release.  Glossy black graphics printed on a matte black background.  Very hard to read.  In some lights it's invisible.  It even came with a sticker.

No official reason is given for the recall.  The material on this record is well into 'parental advisory' territory.  The music and most of the lyrics venture into gangsta rap.  Some say Prince was trying to address those critics who said he had lost touch with his African American roots.  He was tight lipped even then.  I would imagine he purposely allowed it to creep out.  Those who were true fans rather than Purple Rain tourists would seek and find it.

Actual song titles printed on the label.  Not a common thing for a bootleg.

When the album was pulled, Lovesexy was released in its place a few months later.  One track, When 2 R in Love, was the only one from The Black Album included.

Two tracks, Bob George and Superfunkycalifragisexi, were part of the Lovesexy tour setlist. Saw that show at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on 11/8/88.  Sat in the very last row, but it didn't really matter as I self upgraded for the second set.

In 1994, Warner Brothers finally released it, keeping it in the catalog for only a few months.  At the time, they offered a free copy of the CD if you mailed them your bootleg.  The fine print said it was only for the first 1000 and the bootleg would not be returned if you weren't one of the first 1000..   I'm sure there were thousands of poor suckers who gave up their bootlegs and got nothing in return.  I held onto mine.  It's more of a timely artifact than a CD could be.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Prince - Batman in Four Colors (Three of Them Not Purple)

In 1989 Prince got the gig to provide the soundtrack to the Tim Burton film 'Batman.'   Originally the plan was to use existing Prince songs from the Warner Brothers catalog.  Prince being Prince wrote and recorded a full albums worth of tracks in a few weeks for use in the film.

Naturally there were singles released in picture sleeves.  The prolific Prince usually had so many songs in the coffer that we more often than not get B-Sides that weren't included on the album.

Here are the ones from Batman.    

Batdance b/w 200 Balloons (Warner Brothers 1989)

The lead off single depicting the standard color batman/film logo.

Partyman b/w Feel U Up (Warner Brothers 1989)

Yellow this time out.

The Arms of Orion b/w I Love U in Me  (Warner Brothers 1989)

Purple this time out.

Scandalous! b/w When 2 R In Love (Warner Brothers 1989)

Now we get red.  The B-Side is taken from the previous album.  Just bought this one for the picture sleeve.

I got these as they came out. At the time I lived walking distance from two record stores which stocked 45's.  I was usually in there at least twice a week.  I've always been a big fan of 45's - especially the ones with picture sleeves.   Since they were about $1.50 a pop, I got a lot of them.  They'd go directly from the store into a plastic sleeve -which is why you see these 25 year old covers in great condition.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

This Is What It Sounds Like When Doves Cry

RIP Prince Rogers Nelson, a rare artist that followed his own muse until the end.

What we have here is the pre-album single from Purple Rain, an album that would catapult Prince into the mainstream for a spell.

When Doves Cry b/w 17 Days (the rain will come down, they U will have 2 choose.  If you believe, look 2 the dawn and you should never lose.)  (Warner Brothers 1984)

Yes, that non-LP B-Side title is a mouthful.  The A side features Prince playing all instruments.  The B side is the recorded debut of his first backing band, The Revolution.

Comes with a pretty snazzy custom label too, not very common at the time for 45's,

Probably be having more Prince related posts in the coming days.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Record Store Day Diary

I celebrate Record Store Day at my local shop in The San Fernando Valley.  I like the scale of the whole thing and I think their organization and methods are the best.  Great guys too.  I stop in often and we're on a first name basis.

I used to go to other stores as well. Rockaway in Silver Lake no longer participates.  Amoeba is so overrun with vinyl tourists that I've driven by without stopping the last two years.

This year, the plan was to just visit my local shop and call it a day.

7:30AM.  Arrive at store.  About 10th in line. In front of a place where people take their dogs for play dates.

It's Record Store Day!

Hipster hats.   Ironic t shirts.  Girls with tattoos.   Beards on both old guys and young guys.  

A beautiful sunny day.

9:00 AM.  One of the guys from the store goes down the line handing out coupons for the pizza place across the street.  It's one of the region's finest and where my family insists we get our pizza - even though it's not the closest.

9:30 AM.  The other guy from the store goes down the line asking each person what the one thing they want the most is.  Each person is assured to get that one title (assuming all copies weren't claimed by those closer to the front).   When they got to me, I asked what title they had the least of on my list of wants.  Turns out one of them they only got two copies.  I picked that one.  By this time the line behind me is down the block and around the corner.

10:30 AM.  A few roadie types start dragging extension cords and amplifiers out of the store and down the sidewalk.  We're treated to a three song 'show' on the sidewalk by Dylan Gardner.  Better than watching people enter the store next door for doggie fun time - or - watching the 'resting bitch face' women go into the spa for skin peel.

11:00 AM.  Store opens.  My want list is handed in at the door.  As I snake around the bins, a happy store guy is filling my order.  I got everything on my want list except for some Japanese Garage/Psych compilations.  Here's my haul.

11:30 AM.  Back on the couch, playing records.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

B is for Blue Cheer

Continuing that silly game of mine.

B is for Blue Cheer

The loudest and shortest band of the San Francisco scene.    Yes, each member was close to 5 feet.   Their amplifiers towered over them.    Their first album remains a classic precursor to heavy metal.   

Blue Cheer - Vincebus Eruptum.  (Philips 1968)

Liner notes by Owsley.   Fitting as they took their name from a 'brand' of LSD.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Put a Straw Under Baby

Put a straw under baby.....

I recently found this seemingly innocent and darling record at a thrift store.  On second glance, I found it quite shocking.....

First off, that baby looks somewhat terrified and sleep deprived.  For someone so young to have bags under their eyes tells us this is not a rare ocurrance.

I live in California and have always put the kabosh on hanging things over beds.  This picture is way over the top.  Let's itemize (and possibly take a wager) on what will land on baby's head first.
  1. A nice soft suffocating stocking cap
  2. A copper jello mold thing
  3. A metal model steam engine
  4. A pair of old shoes
  5. What looks to be an iron pencil sharpener or hamburger grinder
  6. Huge metal keys
  7. An oboe!
No wonder baby is terrified.  The whole rack could come tumbling down at any moment with something as innocent as a door slam or the cocktail party getting out of hand in other rooms of the house.

This is an RCA 'New Orthophonic' recording.  Baby will need an orthopedic surgeon if that hamburger grinder falls on it's legs.  I guess that's appropriate.

Personally, I think the oboe will fall first.  Or perhaps all of the above if the entire rack falls.  Care to wager?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

I'll Miss 'Em

Much has been said about the closing of Tower Records.

Well they were the biggest, but towards the end I got very annoyed with them.  Once known as the largest record store in the known world, they got more corporate towards the end.

When CD's came out, there was a public outcry about the waste of the longbox, Tower decided to publicly do recycling of your longbox on the spot.   Well gee, I got into the spirit.  I told them (gasp) I didn't need one of their iconic bright yellow bags either.   That didn't sit well,  You see their marketing visibility trumped any environmental concerns.  They wouldn't let me leave the store without a bag.  The defiant punkish youth I was at the time had me unbag the item and leave the bag on the stack of free magazines at the door.

They no longer had the depth in stock they once had.  If they didn't have something they would special order it, BUT YOU HAD TO PAY IN ADVANCE.

Once I had a book I purchased across the street at Book Soup.  An employee approached me and demanded I hand the book over to him.  I told him if they didn't trust me with their merchandise, I didn't trust them with my book.  Case closed.

The are other places I miss more than Tower.

Aron's in Hollywood.

At the time of their closing, this place was my favorite.  Great used selection.  I used to go there looking for clean used vinyl copies of catalog items released on CD two weeks earlier.  Suckers were ditching their records and buying CD's of the same title.   Ten Years After Deram catalog coming out on CD!   Great, I'll wait two weeks and scour the used bins.  There's got to be at least one sucker who buys the CD and tosses his vinyl.    $2 sure beats $12.

Moby Disc in Sherman Oaks.

Cant find a picture.

My local store,  They'll be missed, but I'm now blessed with the excellent Freakbeat down the street,

Rhino in Westwood

Started as a pretty decent store near UCLA.  Store is long gone, but Rhino survives as one of the finest reissue labels.

Licorice Pizza  - all over Southern California

A big chain that managed to hold onto its hippie charm.  All stores had a beat up old couch next to their magazines,  I once saw Richard Carptenter buy the first Tubes album at the store in Downey.

Zed in Long Beach

The go-to store for import LP's and 45's.  I remember getting both London Calling and Sandinista here a month before the US releases.

There are many others.  Some of my old favorites are still alive and kicking.   My teenage store, Lovell's in Uptown Whittier is still going strong.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A is for Animals

Here begins a silly little series.  Sometimes I know I just need to do a post.  Nothing comes to mind to say anything about.  I decided to go through my LP's and pick one record from each letter.  I may have some trouble with a few letters, but this silly game just might work.

So it begins.

A is for Animals

And I present what I think is their best album

The Animals - Animalism  (MGM 1966)

This was their last LP.  All subsequent records were billed as Eric Burdon and The Animals featuring an all new band.

Here The Animals run through great blues covers.   The opening track, All Night Long,  was written by Frank Zappa.  According to rumor, he produced this track and The Other Side of This Life.    There's a Bo Diddley arrangement to a Donovan song, Hey Gyp.

For some reason, this record was only released in the USA and quickly went out of print.  My copy is in glorious mono.  I purchased this one at dear departed Aron's Records in the Melrose district of Los Angeles.   Amoeba put them out of business.

Get it if you can.....