September 30

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

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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.

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September 29

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

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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!

Underwhelming

Underwhelming



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:

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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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xuYWMNHCdc **

* 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.