Wednesday, July 04, 2012

4th of July Record Shopping

  • Went swimming at a lovely swimming hole with Maria and the boys and the dog and then we stopped by the Bookmill in Montague. Maria and the kids got a bite to eat and I went to the Turn It Up! store at the Bookmill. Where else was I gonna go? Plus, I was just at the book store the other day and they didn't have anything for me. I always want to offer to make their fiction section look nicer there (for instance, pull the books that are sun-bleached from being near the windows for so long), but I figure that would be rude. Like, really rude. I'd do it pro bono! The vinyl at the Turn It Up! at the Bookmill is limited, but I always find something. I can find stuff anywhere. Or almost anywhere. When people tell me that they stopped by a record store in the area and didn't find anything good I want to kick them in the pants and throw them to the curb. I'm not saying that everyone has to be a gluttonous omnivore like me when it comes to records - but if you are stop by my store! - but a little more imagination wouldn't hurt. This lack of imagination is the reason why most rock writers bore the hell out of me. So many people are stuck in their comfy comfort zone niches and they rarely leave them. When they do its always supposed to be a big deal. "Hey, I never thought I could ever like..." "This isn't usually my kind of thing at all, but..." Yay. Hooray. Your medal is in the mail. This goes for the most well-known music writers and the most anonymous bloggers. Wait, who cares, I was gonna talk about record shopping. The hell with rock critics. Do they even make rock critics anymore? I mean, I have my comfort zone too. It's called 1970 to 1979 apparently. These days anyway. As far as what sparks me to write about music. I spare people my thoughts on plainsong and polyphony. Here's what I bought today. Set me back $54.
  •  Moby Grape – Omaha (Columbia) Basically Moby Grape ’69 + the song “Omaha”. Kinda weird, but also kinda nice that someone at Columbia STILL had faith in the Grape despite their lack of sales. And this repackaging SOUNDS amazing. Like, they went out of their way to make it sound good. For some reason they don’t include Skip’s “Seeing”. I had to get it just cuz I don’t see it often and I am a child of the Grape. 
  •  Peter Kaukonen – Black Kangaroo (Grunt - 1972) I love this record. Had to get it for four bucks. Might be cleaner than my copy. As far as non-Airplane Grunt releases, this is up there. And if you dig Jimi-esque guitars, you need this. 
  •  Punishment of Luxury - Laughing Academy (United Artists – 1979) Never seen this before! I will buy pretty much any u.k. rock album from 1979. Especially one with such a great gatefold cover. Great post-punk/art-rock. Kinda reminds me a little of early Adam & The Ants at times. Amazing Mike Howlett production. Pretty much my favorite rock production sound for that era. The bass and drums are huge and loud and clear. Great guitar tones/sounds. Most American rock records that came out in 1979 – and that were recorded in the states – didn’t sound anyewhere near this good. Not even close. 
  •  Thee Image – Inside The Triangle (Manticore – 1975) Not as good as their previous album on Manticore, but its nice to see that they were still wearing lovely capes.
  •  Quacky Duck and his Barnyard Friends – Media Push (Warner Brothers – 1974) Someone at the record store stuck a little card on the front of this record that said: “2 sons of Tony Bennett. Opened for Gram Parsons.” Sold! All the media push I really need.
  •  Ambrosia – Somewhere I’ve Never Travelled (20th Century – 1976) I will always buy this record if I see it cheap. It’s so great. Ambrosia right up there with Chilliwack in the great bands best known for songs that sound nothing like their best work sweepstakes.
  •  Man – S/T (Columbia) Nice copy! So clean. Clean Columbia records from this period make me drool a little. 
  •  Wayne Berry – S/T (RCA – 1974) Jim Gordon, Jeff Baxter, Ned Doheny, David Briggs, Pete Carr, Jackson Browne, Kenneth Buttrey, Weldon Myrick, Charlie McCoy, Norbert Putnam, and many more. Muscle Shoals + Hollywood.
  •  Noah – Peaceman’s Farm (Dunhill – 1972) Wow! So good. Made for me, I tell you! The production is a dream and the guitars make me melt and the harmonies are outstanding. I have another Noah album – the silver one with the Noah’s ark cover – that isn’t nearly as good. This is a true gem.
  •  Gentle Giant – Giant For A Day! (Capitol – 1978) I don’t know why I needed to hear this, but apparently I did.
  •  The Purple Gang – The Purple Gang Strikes! (Sire/London) Basically worth owning for “Granny Takes A Trip” and “The Wizard”. And, now that I’m hearing it, “The Shiek”. Plus, the electric mandolin is kinda underrated. Kazoos are not however. PLUS, the lead singer’s nickname was Lucifer and he practiced black magic and always wore a hood and cloak. Which I approve of.
  •  Paul Davis –Ride ‘em Cowboy (Bang – 1974) Rock + twang all housed in a record cover shaped like a denim cowboy shirt that opens up onto a tableaux of Paul and his band and some Deadwood ladies of the evening hanging out and shooting pool and the shit.
  •  Michael Franks – Burchfield Nines (WB – 1978), Skin Dive (WB – 1985), Sleeping Gypsy (WB – 1977), with Crossfire – Live (WEA – 1980) MINT and I mean MINT German pressings for 50 cents apiece. They’ve never been played! So pretty. This will impress all of 3 people that I know. Hey, I was excited. I’m a big fan. Audiophile quality, for real.
  •  Three O’Clock – Vermillion (Paisley Park – 1988) I’ve never heard this! The paisley underground on the purple one’s paisley imprint. How perfectly perfect.
  •  Herb Pedersen – Sandman (Epic – 1977) Dolly Parton and Lowell George together at last! On the same track even. Haven’t listened yet. I’m anticipating.
  •  Jimmie Mack – S/T (Big Tree – 1978) I got nothing to say about Jimmie! I'll report back. 
  • Robert John – If You Don’t Want My Love (Columbia) I never see this album. "If You Don't Want My Love" was a big hit, right? I think they still play it on oldies stations. John's falsetto could be glass-shattering, but i dig it. Great dreamy falsetto take on "By The Time I Get To Phoenix". Fat drum break at the beginning of "I'm A Believer" for all you drum break fans out there. I’m also just a sucker for album covers where a photo of someone’s huge head has a superimposed photographic image of that same person inside the huge head.
  •  Johny Nash – Celebrate Life (Epic ) Despite the fact that everyone knows his humongous hit and everyone knows his name, Johnny is still one of the most underrated and underdiscussed singers and artists I can think of. This is a great album to get too. It has a lot going on. Funk, soul, rock, great ballads, gospel, 50’s r&b touches. What more can you ask for?
  •  Python Lee Jackson – In a Broken Dream (GNP Crescendo) 50 cents! Untouched vinyl! Cover in the shrink! It pays to get on your hands and knees and dig a little. Title track is one of Rod Stewart’s finest moments. Killer song. And the whole album is great if you are a blooze fuzz fan.
  •  The Spencer Davis Group – Gluggo (Vertigo – 1973) I’ve been seriously digging 70’s Spencer Davis stuff. Kinda like how I’ve fallen completely in love with every Manfred Mann album ever made. I probably own 10 or 12 Manfred Mann records in all his/their various incarnations and I like all of them. A lot! It’s never too late to fall in love. This was also 50 cents. Great copy. That Vertigo swirl always looks like the eye of God to record people.
  •  Songs and Sounds of the Orient (Japan Air Lines Custom Pressing – 1966) I don't know if they gave these away free on flights to Japan, but it looks great.
  •  Don Francisco – Brother of the Sun (Newpax – 1976) This is not great. Great cover though. I’ve seen it before and never bought it, but for 50 cents I can’t complain too much. Someone I know might dig it. Don was in the sorta-supergroup Pan with Ron Elliott of the Beau Brummels and I've been enjoying their one and only album a lot lately. At least I think its the same Don Francisco.


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