September 30

For today’s installment of What In The Heck Is This Doing In A Thrift Store In Spokane Washington file:


Have a chair, stranger. I’ll get you a beer!

A couple of no kidding Australian folk records from a band known as Cobbers.

The first is a beautiful collection of called Portraits Of Australian Women which is, surprise surprise, an album of songs about the female species.

Second is a double live album called Bushland Dreaming. I’m assuming that this live record captures the essence of who Cobbers are?

It was a very interesting and enjoyable listen. But I still can’t get over the fact that I found these at a Salvation Army here in the US of A.

September 29

From the Lightning Does Strike Twice Department: thrift store twice thrifted treasures, volume 4!


Paul McCartney’s Choba B CCCP album (also known as the Russian album). The title translates to Back In The USSR.

These are both on the Russian Melodiya (Μелодия) records label and we’re obviously owned by the same person and donated to the same thrift store sometime before I came along.

This 1989 release was recorded specifically for fans in the former Soviet Union as a gift from Sir Paul. Seems that fans there could not obtain Western recordings easily and had to rely on copies and bootlegs. McCartney thought that releasing this record only in the Soviet Union would be a nice gesture.

The thing It is 13 tracks of rock and roll standards and jazz standards like Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, That’s Alright Mama, Summertime and Midnight Special.

Surprisingly they don’t have a great resale value! I was expecting this to be quite rare here in the states, especially in the rural western US, but apparently it is common on the used record market.

It appears one of mine has been played, owing to the spindle marks on side one, but the other appears to be new. I’ll add the better of the two to The Collection and trade the lesser in for record store credit.

September 28

Rest in peace Miles Dewey Davis III, born May 26, 1926 – died this date in 1991.

My recent education in jazz has included many master sessions by Miles Davis. The latest came when I found a 1970’s reissue of the 1958 classic Milestones:

For this lesson we have Davis fronting a sextet including saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley and John Coltrane, double bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Philly Joe Jones, and pianist Red Garland. The album swings through many bluesy bebop and post-bop styles before settling in on the modal title track.

Side number two of this record is a real treat! Includes they look into the future title track (just listed as Miles on my reissue) the Ahmad Jamal arranged traditional song Billy Boy in the middle and the epic Straight No Chaser from Thelonious Monk as a closer.

Beginning my jazz education with Kind Of Blue was both a blessing and a curse. It did get me interested in exploring the genre, but it was a little like starting art study by replicating the Mona Lisa.

I’m thankful to Milestones for showing me the half open door that led to Kind Of Blue. I don’t imagine I will search back too much farther. There’s just too much to look forward to!

September 27

This evening we experienced a rare cosmological event; a
supermoon/harvest moon/blood moon/total lunar eclipse!



First, the media hyped “supermoon” is just the moon’s perigee during this 29ish day lunar cycle. It happens to be full at perigee as well (which happens several times a year). Tonight the precise full phase and the precise perigee occur within the same hour.

All this will make for the biggest, brightest and closest “supermoon” of the year. “So what?” You say? Exactly. The moon tonight was ~31000 miles closer to earth than at apogee (which was only two weeks ago). That’s a far piece to be sure, but only nets a ~10% increase in observed size… hardly noticeable but still cool.

Second, it’s a “harvest moon”, which is just the first full moon after the autumnal equinox, which was last Wednesday.

Third (and I had to look this one up after a buddy mentioned it tonight) it’s being called a “blood moon”. Now, I’d heard of blood and moon being referenced together in the past, mainly having to do with hunting or horror story folklore, but this one was a new one on me.

Now, a fully eclipsed moon does take on a ruddy color due to the diffraction of the Sun’s rays through Earth’s atmosphere and illuminating the moon’s face… if we didn’t have this atmosphere, the moon’s face in the Earth’s shadow would just be black. It’s the same red we get here on Earth at sunrise and sunset… just cast toward the moon.

This whole “blood moon” thing seems to stem from an end of times book from 2013, affixing some prophesy to an event know as a tetrad… when there are four successive total lunar eclipses occur each separated by 5 full moons with no intervening partial lunar eclipses in between.

There will be a total of eight tetrads this century, and have been a total of 54 from the first century through the 20th century… but this one seems to be significant to the authors of the end times book for its occurrence in association with the Jewish holidays of Passover and Tabernacles… and the need to sell books to morons, apparently.

There is a biblical passage that references the moon turning to blood, but the same passage also alludes to the sun being turned to darkness. If these two things did occur at the same time, we would have something to worry about!

In celebration of all of the above, I took the opportunity to dust off my original US release (with stickers, but no posters) of the Pink Floyd album Dark Side Of The Moon:


What could I possibly say about this record that hasn’t been said a million times over? It’s fantastic. It’s one of the greatest albums of all time. It still sounds fantastic and fresh 40+ years later.

My wife joined me for the listen tonight, then we walked up on the ridge-top to enjoy the (nearly) total eclipse of the
superharvestbloodhype moon. It was awesome. We’ll do it again in 2033, assuming the “prophets” are wrong… again. 

September 26

Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a flawlessly crafted pop record:

No Jacket Required from Phil Collins.

This album takes the default prog/alt-rock star turned pop sensation (of 1978s Follow You Follow Me fame*) to its logical conclusion.

This is not a challenging record. Its nothing that you have to study. From the opening bars of Sussudio right through the Sting and Peter Gabriel backed Take Me Home, this record is a pop music masterpiece.

Absent the dark and brooding songs of his first solo LPs, No Jacket Required has Phil Collins going all in on horn sections, drum machines, and ballads.

Will it make my end of year top 50 list? Who knows! But it sure was a blast listening to after a long night at work. **

* I remember I had a decent copy of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway in my AF dorm days… I wonder what ever happened to that record? It sure ain’t in The Collection today. I remember digging it, although not quite understanding it. Maybe I’ll need to get after the Genesis catalog next?

** If you watched the video of Take Me Home, the mic Phil is singing into is the fabled Byerdynamic M88 N. I have a matched pair of these mics from my soundman days and they can truly make a hillbilly belch sound like an angel chorus. Trust me, if you ever need to mic a vocal ***, put one of these in front of the drunkest karaoke slob on the planet (with the appropriate amount of reverb) and the nearest A&R man will be pushing his card at you.

*** Or a kick drum. They sound fantastic on a kick drum as well.

September 25

Rest in peace John Henry Bonham!

It was 35 years ago today that Bonham joined the all too long list of famous musicians who choked to death on their own vomit:

Tommy Dorsey, Jimi Hendrix, Bon Scott (just the February before) and now Bonham had joined those ranks.

I love Led Zeppelin II for many reasons. It has some of Led Zeppelin’s best and most recognizable songs and it includes my all time favorite air guitar song Bring It On Home:

Of course it also includes the Bonham showcase Moby Dick:

Is the best exhibition of drumming in rock and roll history? It is surely the most well known and perhaps the most popular. And to someone like me, who couldn’t keep a steady beat if I was sitting atop a metronome, it is very impressive.

So here’s to you John! Let’s all go dust off our copies of LZ II and celebrate with some good old fashioned air jamming!

September 24

So, I had to go back.

A couple of weeks ago I went to the local Value Village thrift store in Spokane Valley. This spot had never really produced any meaningful additions to The Collection. But that day, interspersed with the Andy Williams and Mitch Mitchell garbage… were a few sixties and seventies pop classics.

I had hope! I pawed my way through dusty and musty copies of Zorba the Greek and Doctor Zhivago and then there it was!

A record sleeve that has eluded me my whole life! Seemingly handwritten liner notes and track listings and pictures of Keith and Mick and the rest of the Rolling Stones. I had found a copy of Exile On Main Street!

The item with my preferred blog heroin.

The item with my preferred blog heroin.

To be exact I had found a record sleeve of sides three and four of the Exile On Main Street double album. The rest of the record must be close by, right?. I mean, who in their right mind would dissect a double album gatefold of such import before they donated it to Value Village?

“Hey, I really like sides 1 & 2 of this record, but sides 2 & 3 are complete crap! I’m going to downsize by donating this crap side to Value Village whilst keeping side 1 & 2 handy!” – Nobody

I stopped, I caught my breath, I plowed on ahead through the remainder of that musty dusty garbage!

It had to be here, didn’t it? I went backwards, I went forwards, I went up, I went down, I looked in the nearby book section, in the nearby picture section, it had to be here somewhere!

When all of the non-stones (see what I did there ;)) were turned I took my jacketless orphan to the Employees Only section. I sheepishly knocked and stuck my head in to the forbidden area… “Do you have any more vinyl records back here?” A nice young lady who was sorting through grandma panties and fondue sets said, “I’m sure there are more on the bottom of this cart”… that was inconveniently stacked 6 feet high with Jackie Collins and Dean Koontz books. “They will be going out sometime within the next day or two”, she said.

Defeated, I took my orphan and left the building, vowing to return to set this injustice right!

Today was the day. I made the trek back out to the Spokane Valley Value Village and I set about thumbing through all the horrible Firestone Christmas records, the Barbra Streisand, and we 101 Strings to find my lost soul mate.

There were a few records from the correct era; at the Box Tops, the Guess Who, The Mamas and the Papas. But no Exile On Main Street side 1 & 2 or album jacket.

Someday, maybe someday I will find a copy of Exile On Main Street. Until then I will be happy with side 3 & 4 album that I managed to own.

September 23

Happy 66th birthday to Mr. Bruce Springsteen, the second most googled Bruce in the world (try yourself and see!).

I hope they don’t come and take away my passport but I have to admit I’m not a Bruce Springsteen fan.

I don’t even remember hearing about Bruce Springsteen before I went into the Air Force. Then, in the dormitories, with people from all corners of the USA, I noticed there was a strong affection for this rock and roller from New Jersey.

Shortly after, the album Born In The USA came out and Bruce Springsteen was everywhere! Then, the horrible 1975 – 1985 five album live monstrosity came out and you couldn’t escape Bruce Springsteen.

My east coast friends had all his records… and they played them all. the. time. My friend from Philadelphia extolled Springsteen’s virtue as a live act… “he would play for 4 hours straight!” My friend would say…

“That just sounds awful to me” I would think to myself.

I don’t know what it was. He writes poetic lyrics that are played by a rock and roll band. It sounds like something that would be right down my alley! Many of his records oscillate between “hell yeah” party rock songs and downright downer songs about some of the hardest parts of life.

It just didn’t connect with me, a middle-class kid from north Idaho.

Then, I bumped into a compilation album called Badlands: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska:


This album had tracks recorded by some of my favorite artists of the time; Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, Los Lobos, Dar Williams and especially Ani DiFranco*.

The themes of this album really connected with me… so, I relented and went out and bought the Nebraska record.

This was not a New Jersey centric record! This was an American anthem! It was a dark and brooding and hopeless… but made you realize that you were NOT alone in this world. That your struggles and their struggles were similar… that YOUR USA and THEIR USA were the same place. It made me think back to the early to middle 1980s and the beginning of my black and white world shifting into the world of grey. It reminded me of the U2: Joshua Tree record.

Listening to it post 9/11, as I was, it seemed to take on even more significance.

This evening I’m listening to all my Bruce Springsteen records, some for only the second or third time. I can’t say my opinion has really changed all that much, his records just don’t speak to me like they do some people.

Maybe it will take others interpretations of the Springsteen songs to bring them into focus for me; Joan Jett doing Light Of Day, Patti Smith doing Because The Night, Manfred Mann doing Blinded By The Light or Ani DiFranco doing Used Cars.

Now that I can get behind!

*Happy birthday to you too, Ani!

September 22

So, here I sit on the eve of my final 100 days of Mark’s 365 Days Of Music.

I hatched this plan on New Year’s Day 2015 with the goal of celebrating  my 50th year on this planet by reconnecting with much of the music that I’ve loved throughout my life on the format that I enjoy the most. I also figured I would explore some new music (new to me anyway) along the way.

The Collection is galvanizing around some of my favorite artists, as I knew it would. But it’s also evolved in some interesting and unexpected ways:

For instance, my assortment of jazz records has grown exponentially. Of all the new music that I’ve been encountering, the classic jazz, Fusion, and smooth jazz records I’ve acquired have been among the most enjoyable records I have listened to.

The other area of collection that has grown exponentially is the easy listening section.  From Herb Alpert to Xavier Cugat and everything in between. Kooky, kitschy and kool, hep cat… kool!

My Willie Nelson collection has grown from three or four records to near 30!

It’s been a little overwhelming. For awhile there I was in a great groove of digging in dusty, musty crates of thrift store records for buried treasure. Don’t get me wrong, I managed to find a few gems! But mostly I just added to the barely playable secondhand records of my youth.

I’ve also I’ve also netted several hundred records from friends and relatives who donated to the cause, and I’ve learned how to sniff out huge lots of records from unexpected locations. Just today I came home with another box of 150 albums for a whopping $5 bill.

I still have a few goals that I’d like to accomplish by the end of the year. A few holes in favored artists discographies for The Collection, a few Holy Grail records that may have to be purchased online, and some other experiences I hope to have revolving around at 33 1/3 RPM.

But mostly I’m satisfied with where this project came from and where it seems to be headed. I’m grateful for my new found friends here on WordPress, and for my friends here in the real world who I have been able to share some of my favorite recordings with.

Thank you all for your wisdom and encouragement. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go spin a record!

September 21

R.I.P. John Francis (Jaco) Pastorius III.

28 years ago today Jaco Pastorius died from a brain hemorrhage he received as a result of a bar brawl near Fort Lauderdale Florida.

I had never heard of  Pastorius as a solo artist, as a member of Weather Report, or as a band leader. I became familiar with his playing through Joni Mitchell. Specifically the albums is Hejira and Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter:

I had become a Joni Mitchell fan through Woodstock and Crosby, Stills and Nash. I backed into this period of her music accidentally.

From the opening lines of Coyote on the Hejira album it was clear that something different was about to happen. Pastorius was not a member of the rhythm section or miming the low end of the beat… he played lead bass!

The best thing about these Joni Mitchell albums with Jaco Pastorius on bass is how out front his playing is. You know when you hear a lead singer, you know when you hear a lead guitar, but lead base was a new experience for me.

I don’t think I have ever heard and electric fretless bass before and found the sound Jaco coaxed from his instrument was fascinating and mesmerizing.

So thank you Jaco. And thank you Joni for the introduction.