For today’s episode of Take Your Vinyl To A Concert; Eddie Money and Huey Lewis and the News:
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 (AKAEddie Money)! Here’s a better look:
“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.
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!
You ever pop into a favorite pub, have a couple of beers and the bartender gives you a free one? Kind of like saying “Hey, you come in here often, spend some money and aren’t a douche… have one on me!”
Something kind of like that happened recently at the local record store 4000 Holes.
I’d been in and out of that place dozens of times, almost always lighter in the wallet when leaving. The owner, an older guy with an encyclopedic knowledge of The Beatles, was always nice to me and patiently answered my dumb questions… but I didn’t think he ever remembered that I’d been in before.
This time he had just acquired a personal collection of some thousands of records from the estate of either a concert promoter, DJ or record store owner. The records, mostly 60-80 rock was almost all in near mint condition. Many were promos including recommended track lists, tour dates and the like. There were so many records that it overflowed the “New Arrivals” section of the record racks and he had built a temporary rack to handle the processed pieces from this collection.
The rest, undiscovered, un-molested and un-priced, were in a dozen or more boxes on the floor in front of the counter.
“Would it be OK if I looked through these?” I asked sheepishly. “Sure, go ahead!”
There were dozens of things in these boxes that I craved, but being more on a thrift store budget, I focused on a few records that filled gaps in The Collection… Heart, CCR, Rush, an unplayed British pressing of Second Chapter from Danny Kirwan (for an upcoming Fleetwood Mac Friday).
I also found this:
U2’s 1983 release War.
I’m kind of in the same boat with U2 that I was/am in with Fleetwood Mac; I know quite a bit about some of their career and almost nothing about other bits. I’d like to remedy this.
I first heard U2 on their live Under a Blood Red Sky Red Rocks album:
And I was quite a fan of the songs Gloria and I Will Follow, neither from this record.
Anyway, this particular copy had a water stained cover… but the antistatic sleeve the vinyl was in protected the record. The vinyl looked VG+… I wonder what he’ll take for this.
At the counter, he looked a few things up (the Import Kirwan), knew precisely what others would cost and started to tally things up. We haggled a bit over price, but when I looked around and started to consider what it would take to maintain the overhead of this record shop; the power and lights, heat in the winter, AC all summer… all based on dudes like me walking in the door (open 6 days a week) and dropping a few bucks…
Do I really need to talk him down $5? $10? What if everyone did that, would this place survive?
Finally, I just told him straight up, “Whatever you price them at is OK. I love coming in this store and want it to do well. Just ring ‘em up!” He got through the CCRand Heart, reminisced a bit about the Kirwan, added the Rush and tossed the U2 on the pile. “That one’s on me. With that water damage… I couldn’t put it out on the floor anyway. I hope you enjoy it.”
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).
“World Music” was not a term I was familiar with in 1986. The record stores I remember had three basic sections… Rock/Pop, Country/Folk and Classical. Sure, there were tiny outposts for Jazz/Blues and Soundtracks… and there was always a rack dedicated to Spoken Word shoehorned under the window AC, but the Big 3 was where all the action was.
The release that summer of Paul Simon’s Gracelandchanged all that:
It wasn’t that I hadn’t heard and appreciated non-western music before, or that Paul Simon was the first western musician or pop star to feature these foreign instruments and rhythms on a record. The difference was that this record seemed to celebrate the similarities and the differences in musical styles fairly equally. It was the antithesis of some of the overindulgent raga-fests I had previously cowered from and just, well, fun!
Side A is where most of the meat is, featuring four of the full on collaborative efforts with the African artists that inspired the endeavor. Side B, while still great, veers into Zydeco and Tex-Mex styles… which meld nicely with the Ladysmith Black Mambazo-ized tunes.
Apart from the music, I also remember there was some controversy surrounding this record. Critics claimed that it somehow benefited the ruling class in South Africa. Other than an occasional bumper sticker, I had no idea what apartheid even meant… until this record shown a spotlight on the issue.
It’s a theme that has played out time after time in my life; I have the world all figured out, I hear a piece of music that challenges my world view, my eyes open anew. Anyway, it seemed absurd to suggest that this introduction of the region’s music to much of the world strengthened apartheid… I’d argue that it more than likely, in at least some small way, hastened its undoing.
My midlife crisis, I dust of my vinyl records. His midlife crisis, this experiment he called Graceland, may have just helped change the world.
“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.
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:
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.
*I found a still sealed copy and haven’t been brave enough to open it!
In the musical and cultural stew that was dormitory life on a military base in the mid-1980s, there were few surprises. Everybody listened to rock, hip-hop was surging and the pop music of the day was an (at times) unfortunate necessity of programmed FM radio dominance. Hearing newly released music was easy, but hearing a new style of music was rare.
So, my introduction to electronic music was a treat. Specifically the “new age” stylings of French composer Jean Michel Jarre and his 1978 release Équinoxe:
This record’s origin to The Collection was a bit, er, shady. An older dorm denizen had this record (in mint condition) he wanted to trade for beer money. Seemed reasonable. But when it happened a second time with a few other records in the “ambient” genre I had to ask what was up?
“They belonged to my ex”, he said with a long face.
“Oh, sorry dude”, I said.
He cracked a smile, cracked a beer and said “Let me show you what else I have for you!” I ended up with the seeds of what would eventually become a decent collection of “new age” recordings… all for the price of a few beers.
My introduction to progressive rock came in the form of a blasted boom-box from the backseat of my car in the summer of 1981. I was working as a trap set at the local gun club and had gone around early to pick up a few of my buddies who were also working this job weekends that summer.
One of them had a battery powered stereo with a cassette of the new Rush album, Moving Pictures playing:
As my ears tended toward hard rock and pop of the day, the addition of synthesizers to a rock track was not unheard of, but the complexity of the songs on this record was totally new to me. This was the genesis of my digging around into earlier progressive or prog rock bands… but, so far, none have taken seed.
My copy of Moving Pictures was a nearly unplayable relic from the local record store, visited dirty, sweaty, cash paid and exhausted from my work that day. I went straight to that store, the Morse code of YYZ playing in my head; DA da DA DA DA da DA DA DA DA da da
Today I welcomed a new, scratchless and clean copy of Moving Pictures into The Collection. Side A of this record contains three of the bands biggest hits, Tom Sawyer, Red Barchetta and Limelight… but it was the side B tracks, familiar but overlooked, that are ringing in my head now.
Sometimes you just need a little ear candy. Just some tunes to play in the background while enjoying drinks on the deck with friends. When the vibe is right for some fun and light music I will often dip into the world’s largest collection of K-Tel records… mine!
Today was just such a day. Recuperating from the weekend’s festivities, a little hair-of-the-dog in hand, I asked a friend to pick something, anything, out of The Collection. She went straight past all this great and important music I’ve been working so hard to collect and right into the candy jar.
She was a little wide eyed when she came across this collection from 1979… “We had this when I was a kid!” she said excitedly!
ABBA, Hall and Oats, Alan O’Day, Kiss… superstars, has beens, never was-ers. We listen on lo-fi for most of the afternoon.