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, June 22, 2017

Austin Record Shopping Adventure 2017

I recently visited Austin, Texas for a business meeting.  As I always do when visiting other cities, I go to the vinyl shops.   Austin is one of the best places to do this in the country.

First Stop was End of an Ear.

They've moved to a larger location since the last time I was here.   Nice store with friendly clerks.   They even threw in a free canvas bag when I told them I was playing record store tourist.

The building itself is kind of nondescript, but I expect that will change as they settle into their new digs.

I came away with this stack.

I had just enough time to get back to the hotel for a business dinner at The Salt Lick.   Don't look at the picture if you're vegetarian.   One individual in our group was a vegetarian.  He decided to make other arrangements for dinner.

The following evening I was on my own and hit up two stores on the other side of town.

First up Breakaway Records.

A nice little store seemingly in a residential area.

In addition to vinyl, they sell restored vintage turntables at reasonable prices.   A few of the kiddie players line the windows.    They also are fans of the Technics SL-D2 models as am I.  It's the house turntable in the store.

I came away with this stack

What  - Let It Be?   All those records and you don't have a Beatles title.    Rest assured.  Long ago I replaced my beat up Beatles albums I had since elementary school with UK pressings.  The UK Let It Be had no gatefold.   The record pictured here is pretty hacked up,   I bought it for the cover.

Next up was good old Antone's

Nice store.   Found some decent titles reasonably priced.    There was a guy in the store who couldn't decide which Eagles record to buy, so he kept playing them while the clerk advised that he might like Hot Tuna.  Thankfully for my shopping enjoyment, the clerk put on Burgers for him to sample.

I came away with this stack.

And I ain't done yet.  Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth fame was playing in town.  I snagged a ticket in the afternoon.  I bought the vinyl they had on sale at the gig.

And those you familiar with Austin are probably asking  - "What about Waterloo?"    Sure it's a huge store with lots of vinyl.  The biggest in the state.  I find it too big and expensive.  Every time I've been there I've waked out without any records.    Just too overwhelming for me. I actually get bored going through the bins.    Call me a grumpy old man, but I have the same issue with Amoeba Hollywood and Amoeba Berkeley.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Name Game

A stupid game that's so catchy it stood the test of time.

Shirley Ellis - The Name Game (Congress 1963)

You can't say she's a one hit wonder as she had another hit, The Nitty Gritty.

It's a fun game to play,

but there are rules you must follow:

Using the name Katie as an example, the song follows this pattern:
Katie, Katie, bo-batie,
Banana-fana fo-fatie
A verse can be created for any name, with X as the name and Y as the name without the first consonant sound (if it begins with a consonant), as follows:
(X), (X), bo-b (Y)
Banana-fana fo-f (Y)
Fee-fy-mo-m (Y)
And if the name starts with a bf, or m, that sound simply is not repeated. For example: Billy becomes "Billy Billy bo-illy"; Fred becomes "banana fana fo-red"; Marsha becomes "Fee-fy "mo-arsha

I feel sorry for those named Chuck or Mitch.    They couldn't play at school.

It's on Congress Records.  If only our congress could hammer out something as time tested.

The record bears a stamp of a previous owner with an address in Altadena, CA.  I wonder if they expected it be returned via the USPS if found.  I'm tempted to drive by the house to see what kind of neighborhood it is.  I'm sure it's quite different from how it was in 1964.

Friday, June 16, 2017

A Korean Let It Be

I know nothing about this.  I saw it in a record store in Santa Barbara (Warbler's I believe) and had to snatch it.

The cover bears an uncanny  - and I presume intentional - resemblance to The Beatles Let It Be.

I can't help but think this was the final album by some big band in Korea.  The music is pretty awful.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Other Side of The Doors

The Doors were primarily an album band.  Singles were scarce.  Even scarcer were the Non-LP B Sides.   I'm only aware of two released during their existence.

Wishful Sinful b/w Who Scared You  (Elektra 1969)

The second single from their poorly received The Soft Parade LP.  The first single, Touch Me, was a hit.  This one - not so much.  Seems The Doors tried to expand their sound with a horn section.  It didn't resonate so much with the fans.

Who Scared You was not included on the album.

The Doors returned to their blues roots for their final album, LA Woman, in 1971.  It was a big hit.  Jim Morrison's death shortly after its release certainly didn't hurt sales.   The first single pulled from the album contained a Non LP B Side.

Love Her Madly b/w (You Need Meat) Don't Go No Further  (Elektra 1971)

The B side covers of a Willie Dixon composition.  Vocal by Ray Manzarek. 

My cringing at this label shouldn't go unnoticed.   The '70's sure produced some doozies.  Most companies who tried to 'modernize' their labels ended up reverting to a more classic design (Capitol, RCA, Warner Brothers).  Perhaps I'll post on that later.

And then we get a posthumous bonus.

Jim Morrison Music by The Doors  - Roadhouse Blues b/w (really who cares?)  (Elektra 1971)

After Morrison's death, The Doors tried to carry on.  They released two more albums that ruled the used bins for most of the decade.   As a money grab, they found a tape of 'rock god' Jim Morrison reading poetry.  They set out to record background music and make it appear to be full fledged Doors album.   There was one heretofore unreleased live Doors track tacked on the make people shell out for the album.  Fortunately for those of us that didn't buy into the concept, the one track was released as a single.

Note how Elektra reverted to a more classic design.

Friday, June 9, 2017

I Think This Might Be the First 'Rock' Custom Label

In the '70's, occasionally records came with a custom label.  These labels extended the design of the cover art into the label itself.

The last time I pulled out the below title, I began to ponder when custom labels began.   I think this one was the first.

Apple Jam - The bonus disc from George Harrison's All Things Must Pass.  (Apple 1970)

The third record included in George's landmark release.  All those songs that didn't make it on Beatles records burst forth when he was free.  The jam record presents a nice contrast to the Phil Spector production on the 'regular' records.

Oh yeah, the music.  It's a loose jam featuring Derek and the Dominoes plus George Harrison and Dave Mason.

Custom Labels weren't all that common as most releases tended to feature the current company label.    Releases with one era appropriate company label would then change to the current company label.  It seemed odd to see early Beatles records carry the Apple label, then the red Capitol label (the one with 'Capitol' on the bottom) or the green label with the short lived round logo.   They should have left them alone.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


The Mothers of Invention - Mothermania The Best of the Mothers (Verve 1968)

I've been looking for this title for quite some time.   (yes, I know I could have probably just popped  onto EBay and snatch it up, but that's no fun).  It's a greatest hits compilation delivered to Verve records by Zappa as a lovely parting gift (aka contractual obligation)

So why would an obsessive record collector such as myself search out a greatest hits record when I have all the original Verve albums already?   There are a few reasons.

This record was compiled and remixed by Frank Zappa.  The mixes are hotter than the originals on Freak Out, Absolutely Free and We're Only In It for The Money.

There is a different version of The Idiot Bastard Son.

and - after the photo of the back cover - all in German.

During the compilation process, Zappa snuck in the censored verse in Mother People which was replaced by a snippet from Lumpy Gravy on We're Only In It For the Money.   Not sure if anyone from the record company noticed or if they didn't care at this point.

Verse goes.....

Better look around before you say you don't care
Shut your fucking mouth about the length of my hair
How would you survive
If you were alive
Shitty little person

As an aside, Verve made them add 'Of Invention' to their original name 'The Mothers'  Judging by the front cover, they didn't care about this anymore either.

The inner gatefold shows the mouths of the band.

And on the original Verve label.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Beatles on Apple

In 1968, The Beatles launched their own record company.  The first release was this....

The Beatles - Hey Jude/Revolution (Apple 1968)

At the time, picture sleeves were usually just garish pictures of the bands. The Beatles were no exception.   For Apple, they opted for a simple design in both the label and the sleeve.

A simple 'The Beatles on Apple' in cursive against a black background.  Non Beatle releases simply said 'Apple.'   The label was unique at the time as the name of the company is not shown anywhere.  The photo of the apple said it all.

For the B-Side, Apple releases showed a cross section of the Apple.  Unique at the time to have a pronounced difference between side 1 and side 2 in a standard record company label.

And as an aside, my pressing of this title is an original as evidenced by the tiny 'Capitol' logo at the bottom of the B-Side.

Revolution has never sounded better than the original mono cranked up to 11.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

RIP Greg Allman

This weekend we lost Greg Allman.  Greg, along with his brother Duane, defined the genre of 'Southern Rock.'  Often imitated by lesser talents like Lynyrd Skynyd, Wet Willie and others, they we never topped.

Duane was a well regarded guitarist who could hold his own with Eric Clapton in Derek & The Dominoes.  Prior to the Allman's first record, he was the lead guitarist on many a Muscle Shoals session.  Including, but not limited to, Aretha Franklin's recording of Respect.

With a lineup consisting of two drummers, two guitarists, organ and drums, their marathon early live shows were the legendary.

So here's their first record.

The Allman Brothers Band (ATCO 1969)

Recorded in just a few days in 1969, the record shows Duane's guitar and Greg's vocal chops fully formed.  It was not a hit.

It wasn't until a few years later with their third release, the classic Live at the Fillmore Easy, would they attain the attention they deserved.

The back cover features bass player Berry Oakley watching over the rest of the band like some sort of angel..  Didn't quite work out as expected.  Only two of the original six members survived to this day.  Two died by motorcycle, one by suicide and one by a life of hard living.

For the gatefold, the band was persuaded to pose for a naked shot in a stream.  This was 1969 and  what all good hippies did after Woodstock.   Butch Trucks had stitches at the time and couldn't sit down.  I hope there weren't leeches.

This record contains 'Whipping Post,' the most requested song at any rock concert - by any band - for years to come.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Before the Internet, Politicians Had to Give Away Things to Get the Housewife Vote

I pine for the days when politicians gave out pot holders, kitchen towels and other useful gadgets to get out the vote.  I still have a pot holder or two.  Growing up, we'd occasionally have competing potholders.  I always judged the best candidate by the best swag.   I still do that in my line of work with software vendors.

Now all we get is email bombardments and unwanted robo-calls.  At least with a trinket, you could throw it in the trash.

Fortunately for me, my in-laws didn't toss this one......

Inaugural Addresses - Commemorative Edition (Seal of the President of the United States 1973)

Courtesy of Jim Keysor who was running for California State Senator in 1973

I, of course, never heard of the guy.  A quick Google revealed that he lost his bid for California State Senator.   He had a few other races throughout the '70's.   He withdrew from a Los Angeles City Council race in 1977 with this quote.

"I would have lost if I won and would have lost if I lost."

A great rock and roll lyric if I ever heard one.

And I wonder what the market must have been for records like this.  For a fee, I't looks like one could order custom back covers.  I would expect to see a generic label, but I see Jim Keysor on the label as well.  That must have cost extra.

Nobody gets records  -or pot holders for that matter  - from candidates anymore.  I got a Bernie Sanders record, but I had to pay for it and now get tons of unwanted emails.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

RIP Chris Cornell

Heard the news this morning.

Chris Cornell went the classic way of rock stars - in some hotel room in some God-forsaken city (Detroit) after a gig. Mysterious circumstances, but most likely the result of some bizarre magic fingers accident (OB Zappa).

I'm 'working from home' today while addressing some first world problems at my home.  The heater in my hot tub has malfunctioned and I have a flake (OB Zappa again) coming to look at it.

So while I'm working, I'm listening to this:

Soundgarden - Louder Than Love (A&M 1989)

That's right kids, check out the price.  In the old days before vinyl was a badge of hipster honor, one could pick up stuff in the used bins for real cheap.  This one came in at $1.85 which made it an even $2.00 with sales tax.

But this shouldn't be about me nor my bargain record scores from the past.....

Soundgarden was one of the first 'grunge' bands.  Never quite understood what that label meant.  Probably from the style of clothing most young residents of the Pacific Northwest wore at the time.  These guys were from an environment where it could be 40 degrees in the morning, 75 in the afternoon, then back to 40 in the evening.   People dress in layers.  For most young struggling bands, the layers didn't match.  Hence the grunge 'look.'

But this shouldn't be about fashion either......

The sound here owes a lot more to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath than The Velvet Underground. Chris Cornell's vocal owe a lot to Robert Plant.  The guitar player had a bit of a Tony Iommi/Jimmy Page sound.   Still holds up today.

This was their first record and got the 'special label' treatment from A&M

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Bryan Ferry at the Movies

Back when 45's were still being released, single song contributions by established artists could be obtained without having to shell out big bucks for a album filled with lesser artists or incidental music from the film.  My English teacher might criticize me for the massive run on sentence.

Bryan Ferry did a few.

Bryan Ferry - Is Your Love Strong Enough b/w Windswept (Instrumental)  (MCA 1986)

One song contributed to Ridley Scott's Legend.  The film starred Tom Cruise and Tim Curry.  It was not a big hit.

Bryan Ferry  - Help Me b/w Broken Wings  (Warner Brothers 1986)

Ferry also contributed a song the David Cronenberg's gynecological horror remake of The Fly.  Appropriately titled 'Help Me' as an homage to the original.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Record Shopping Adventure in New Orleans

This Record Store Day I found myself in New Orleans for a corporate retreat.  I didn't really have time to wait in line for stuff.  Fortunately, my daughter gave it her best shot at my local store back home.  Between the two of us, we made out OK.  We only struck out on three titles between us.

Of course I went record shopping as I always do in other cities.


Possibly the smallest store I have ever been in.   Don't let that fool you.  They had well curated stock and very friendly clerks.  Got there about 15 minutes after they opened on Record Store Day.  The campers already got most of the good stuff, but I managed to get the Springsteen live album, the Ramones singles box and two Kinks EP's.

Image result for skullyz records

The next day, the retreat was over and our flight wasn't until later in the day.  My wife and I took a long walk which was routed to pass by some other stores in The Big Easy.

Louisiana Music Factory

Located in the Frenchman Street area where they keep the jazz clubs.  Still managed to snag a few Record Store Day titles, but mostly loaded up on used stuff.   A great store.  Very heavy on the local music styles.   A must to visit when in the neighborhood.

Euclid Records

We made our way to the Bywater district which, ironically, is by water.   This is an area of old warehouses that seem to be being taken over by artists.  Euclid Records is a satellite store of the one in St. Louis.   It used to be pink and almost missed it in its new yellowish coat.  

Great selection.  Also a must-visit in the area.

While I was in shopping, my wife went outside to call home to make sure the kids were still alive.  While outside she found a Dean Martin 45 on the sidewalk.  Of course we snagged it.

I love found records and will always take them home for a spin.  This one is special.  It's a Roger Miller style 'ridin the rails' type song.  Appropriately she found it near some railroad tracks.

We dined at a bratwurst place next door that had picnic tables in an empty lot. From there, Uber to the Ritz to pick up bags and a cab ride through the cemeteries to the Louis Armstrong Airport.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Record Store Day Haul

This was another year where I saw the first list and said I didn't need anything.  As more titles emerged, my want list expanded.  Unfortunately, Record Store Day happened on the weekend of my corporate retreat in New Orleans.

My daughter stepped in to save the day.  A few months ago, I gave her a Technics SL-D2 cobbled together from a few old ones that fell into disrepair.  I couldn't have a kid of mine get a Crossley.

She came down to housesit while my wife and I went to The Big Easy.   She took my list and compiled a list of her own.

So I ended up with this:

I went out shopping a bit in New Orleans and got a few more titles.  The Ramones box is for her as it's a title she couldn't snag in LA.  If she managed to snag it, I would hold onto this.

On Sunday, one store was still giving away the canvas bags - which were already selling on eBay for about $15

Friday, April 28, 2017

Have You Ever Dreamed of A Fat Elvis Impersonator in a Reggae Band Doing Led Zeppelin Covers?

Well, there actually was such a thing.

Dread Zeppelin - The Immigrant Song b/w Hey, Hey What Can I Do? (Birdcage 1989)

And they chose as their first single an A and B side combo that was one of the few singles Led Zeppelin ever released - and the only one to include a non-LP B side.

It came is a very DIY punk wrap around sleeve in plastic.

On red vinyl with a label that aped the Atlantic label at the time.

I saw them once at the dear departed Palomino club in North Hollywood.  It's a latino banquet hall now.  Book your next Quinciano there.