August 31

For today’s episode of Take Your Vinyl To A Concert; Eddie Money and Huey Lewis and the News:

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Another Summer Concert Series event at our favorite local venue. This time, taking a record out on a date actually paid off… I managed to snag an autograph from Mr.  Edward Joseph Mahoney (AKA Eddie Money)! Here’s a better look:

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“Mark, Best, Eddie Money”… in silver sharpie across the cover of my well loved copy of 1983s Where’s The Party?

The other album featured was purchased at the venue’s merch table, HL&TNs 2010s Soulsville.

I hadn’t heard of Soulsville, but it’s an interesting mix of semi-obscure (to me, anyway) Stax numbers. The thing was recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis as an homage to Stax and radio station WOIA where the young artists heard this inspiring music.

August 30

Even a blind pig finds an acorn every now and again.

Take my latest thrift store find, From Here to Eternity – Giorgio:

I bought this 1977 release on a lark. I had no idea who Giorgio is? But the cover photo! The perm, the glasses, that stache! It looked like a movie poster for Larry the Lounge Lizard meets The Terminator!

The sleeve is a bit worn, but has a disclaimer in the credits that “only electronic keyboards were used in the making of this album”, sweet! The vinyl was in excellent shape and, for $0.50, I figured it’d be worth it for a laugh…

Just look at that stache!

Home and cleaned up the album was pure synth- disco with sparse, robotic, vocals assumed to be Giorgio… or his ‘stache!

Little did I know the mustachioed, mysterious, mononymous Giorgio was Giorgio Moroder, the brain trust behind a slug of those awesome Donna Summer tracks from the late ‘70s, numerous soundtracks and the founder of Musicland Studios in Munich.

Notable only for their names (since this record sounds like one long single song) are the tracks First Hand Experience In Second Hand Love, I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone and (my favorite) Utopia – Me Giorgio.

Played in the company of others, this thing is like dance crack… it is irresistible and infectious. Spun several times over a three day period, my wife finally announced that this may be her favorite record I’ve ever thrifted!

I guess I’ll need to start working on my ‘stache?

August 29

August 28

Happy Fleetwood Mac Friday!

Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve FMF’ed all of my proper FM records. I’ve still got to find a few (Tango in the Night and The Dance) of the modern FM records, will probable pass on the live stuff, and need to jump all the way back to the Peter Green FM to fill out The Collection… someday.

So, on to the solo stuff I’ve managed to collect.

I thought, as a counterpoint to yesterday’s blog about Graceland, that I’d check out the 1981 album The Visitor from Mick Fleetwood:

Whereas Graceland used township jive (and tex-mex, and zydeco) as the foundation of a pop album, The Visitor mainly uses pop as the foundation and adds non-western traditional music as an instrument or a sideman in the band.

There’s a Buddy Holly song on here for crissake!

Not that that is a bad thing, the record is well recorded and, being produced in that golden age after digital but before CD, sounds amazing. Two FM songs are covered, Rattlesnake Shake from the Peter Green era and Walk a Thin Line from Tusk. As a matter of fact, Peter Green sings and plays guitar on Rattlesnake Shake (marking my only recorded evidence that Peter Green actually exists) while Lindsay Buckingham and George Harrison are both credited on Walk a Thin Line.

The album’s gems, much like Graceland, are in the more collaborative efforts; particularly the title track and Amelle (Come on Show Me Your Heart).

August 27

August 26

“What is your favorite (song/record/etc.) from (artist)?”

It’s a familiar ice breaker when people get together. But it’s such a hard question to answer!

It depends, right? I mean, depending on the mood, or time of day, or whatever… the answer can change. But sometimes an unwavering answer burbles up to the top.

It may be an obvious choice. Or it may be unorthodox, shunning convention… peers and critics be damned!

So, here is my full throated defense of my favorite Led Zeppelin record.

Presence from 1976.

I love this record! Don’t get me wrong, I love all the LZ records, but if there is one that I constantly find myself craving to listen to, it’s Presence.

First off, it’s a guitar record. Jimmy Page’s playing is fantastic! A cut above his other work. There is some kind of urgency to it… almost like a live in the studio kind of feel. This record shows Page asserting himself as the rightful leader of the world’s biggest band.

Second, it’s a straight-up rock record. There isn’t an acoustic guitar, keyboard or crap Tolkien reference in sight. This is LZ’s heaviest record, with three stripped down rockers fighting back against four howling, dark, anthems.

Third, Robert Plant’s vocals, a bit weak due to a post-accident convalescence and at least (as legend has it) partially confined to a wheelchair, manage to have a commanding… well, presence! He’s the Golden God of rock, he knows it, but he’s come perilously close to the edge. He wants to get on with it already!

Finally, it just sounds like the boys are having fun! Write a few songs, rehearse a bit and then play the shit out of the things… roll tape! It doesn’t feel over produced of over texturized like some of their stuff can be.

For Father’s Day this year, the cat ordered me the Super Deluxe Edition Box Set of this album.

The box includes the remastered album on CD, on 180-gram vinyl (plus companion), high-def audio download card of all content at 96kHz/24 bit, Hard bound, 70 page picture book and a numbered print of the original album cover.

This thing is absolutely gorgeous and it just reinforces my opinion of this record.

August 25

Happy Birthday Declan Patrick MacManus (A.K.A Elvis Costello)!

I’m an Elvis Costello fan, but more of a “greatest hits” type fan. The Saturday Night Live controversy, I saw as a kid, did affect me. It showed me that artistry must take precedence over commercialism… and I still feel that your represent that ethos today. Here’s my blog about that event:

My CD/cassette collection of your music was growing (Some Girls, the Burt Bacharach album, etc)… but my vinyl collection of your stuff is cool but limited:

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My Aim Is True (1978), Armed Forces (1979), Get Happy! (1980) and Punch The Clock (1983).

I have to say, if you want poignant, hooky, smart, sarcastic and funny music in your life, you can’t go wrong with any of these records. So which is my favorite?

I love the rawness and grit of My Aim Is True, the hits and familiarity of Armed Forces, the pristine-ness* of Get Happy! and the beauty of recording of Punch The Clock.

If I had to pull one of these to listen to on your birthday? It’d have to be the beautiful recording of Punch The Clock… truly a gorgeous sounding piece of PVC.

Anyway, happy 61st birthday and best wishes to your lovely wife Diana Krall.

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*I found a still sealed copy and haven’t been brave enough to open it!