Rage Against the Clock

I’ve all but forgotten about Rage Against the Machine these days, but that certainly wasn’t always the case. Their first two studio albums, 1992’s Rage Against the Machine (this) and 1996’s Evil Empire were on constant (near non-stop) rotation during my searching (high school) years. It’s rather difficult to listen to either album and not think of my 13-year-old self riding bikes and shooting hoops… to a steady stream of damn good music (311, NOFX, Ministry, Operation Ivy, and Faith No More come to mind). I broke out Rage the other day after a decades-long hiatus, and it still sounds just as bit as perfect as it did to my adolescent and foolish ears some 26 years ago. Carry that torch, kids.

Blue-Eyed Soul

Two singles emerged from Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley, together known as The Righteous Brothers, on their 1963 debut, Now!. (My Babe, and the charted Little Latin Lupe Lu.) The group would find the ear, and subsequent success with legendary murderer and occasional record producer Phil Spector in ’65 for Spector’s label, Phillies Records (no known association with the Philly Phanatic is known to exist). The Righteous Brothers would go on to tour with some lesser known bands (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones), until their breakup in 1968. They would reform in 1974, then again in 1981 through to Hatfield’s death in 2003 of an apparent drug overdose. Now that everyone’s in a groovy mood, check out Now!, well, now!

Urban Sound Surgeon

Every once in a while I’ll dig through some of my favorite hip hop tracks and try and source their samples. 4-Ever Fresh released this acappella version of the rare, 1988 track Urban Sound Surgeon that appears in the Handsome Boy Modeling School classic, Holy Calamity (Bear Witness II). In my half-handed search, I discovered a groovy little website called Who Sampled that breaks down samples from various, and namely classic hip hop tracks. Have a look!

Black & White

Light in the Attic released a beautiful remastered double LP of the classic Black Monk Time back in 2009 (original, Germany-only pressing from 1966 fetches a hefty $1500 price tag). Then came a nifty collaboration with Newbury Comics of a limited white vinyl pressing from 2016 limited to only 300 copies. Whichever your color of preference, Black Monk Time is essential spinning material.

Sealed with a Plant

I must have purchased this copy of Robert Plant’s 1985 album, Shaken ‘N’ Stirred quite a few years back, because I just realized this morning that my copy is sealed. Near mint copies go for a whopping $2 online, so we’ll have to open ‘er up and give ‘er a spin sometime soon. Solo Robert Plant from the early 80s is… not great, if my recollection is accurate, but anything he does is still well deserving of a good home.

Survivors

Presented here is a live album featuring three unquestionable legends: Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis. The album, containing 12 songs, was recorded in West Germany back in 1981 when all three artists were on tour. The collaboration was an improvised little piece of country music history as Perkins and Lewis, during their night off, joined Cash on stage for what was originally intended to be a Cash-only performance. The result, is three Sun Record kings performing the songs that made them famous. Thanks again for the folks for this little gem. The Survivors comes highly recommended.

Carryin’ On

If you’re in the mood for a fantastic (country) duet album, (and let’s be honest, who among us isn’t?) look no further than Columbia Records’ 1967 classic, Carryin’ on With Johnny Cash and June Carter. Though the Ray Charles and Bob Dylan tracks are great, it’s Jackson that’ll get everyone’s feet leaving the floor. In my ongoing quest to complete my Johnny Cash discography, this much-needed album was a thoughtful gift from my second-hand-hunting parents. Thanks again, guys!

New Worlds

We lucked out in finding New Worlds (Bill Murray, Jon Vogler and Friends) for about half off the (slightly overpriced) retail sticker of $25.99. This 2018 Record Store Day exclusive release of the 2017 compact disc was sold out at our local brick and mortar back in April, so I was pleased to see the discounted online price for this classic, double LP. Current copies on Discogs go for only $11.99, so order up, kids!

Costa

Back in 1968, record producer and conductor Dominick P. Costa (Don) released a 10-track album of instrumental Simon and Garfunkel songs titled, Don Costa’s Instrumental Versions of Simon and Garfunkel. All the hits are here (Feelin’ Groovy, Mrs. Robinson, I Am A Rock, etc.), and as a whole, Don Costa’s Instrumental Versions of Simon and Garfunkel is a welcoming and approachable take on these unforgettable 1960s classics. Certainly not one for a frequent spin, these 10-tracks come in handy when the subtle weight of S&G have hit their limits.

Business as Usual

Men at Work debuted in 1981 with Business as Usual. With the help of two, knockout singles (Who Can it Be Now? and Down Under), it’s (fairly) easy to see how BaU spent 15 weeks at the No. 1 spot on the US Billboard 200. One of the (if not the) most successful Australian-released pop albums, Business as Usual would serve as the band’s high water mark, and would be one of only three studio albums released (1983’s Cargo, and 1985’s Two Hearts). If in the mood, she still holds up, some 37 years later.

Protector for Life

Good records (and to a certain extent, the bad ones too) need comfortable, protective, and in this case, relatively dapper sleeves. Pfantone, it appears, deals more in the preamp world these days, but back in the day, they were successful manufacturers of long wear, no tear, poly record sleeves. Pimping a lifetime product is always a ballsy move, but Pfantone has certainly, and without question, pulled off this ambitious claim. For quality, and yes, stylish record care, keep Pfantone in mind.

Melting the Ice Queen

I was heavy into Oxford Collapse for a solid, yet brief five-or-so years. This now defunct Brooklyn indie rock trio released only a few handfuls of records during their brief existence, including this, 2004’s Melting the Ice Queen. Presented here is The Workshop Edit of the title track, which is also featured on the band’s debut EP from 2002 (compact disc only), Oxford Collapse, and their first studio effort, 2004’s Some Wilderness. As their debut was the only studio full-length NOT fortunate of a vinyl release, the only way you can get this queen on wax is right here.

Just One Fits

Ministry’s 2001 greatest hits album (appropriately titled Greatest Fits) received its first vinyl release via means of Run Out Groove last month. Double, colored, 180g vinyl, this 13-track monster is considered the only vinyl pressing to include the band’s contribution to Steven Spielberg’s A.I. film, What About Us?. Over the past several months we’ve seen Ministry do a fantastic job of releasing limited, and very often first-time albums on vinyl. Certainly, nobody is complaining here.

The Other Side

The Other Side of Abbey Road is a delightful little interpretation by legendary jazz guitarist George Benson of 1969’s famed Beatles album, Abbey Road. Released via CTI Records just a year after the original, The Other Side of Abbey Road features just five tracks, but takes careful consideration to combine up to three individual Beatles tracks into one Benson montage (take Something / Octopus’s Garden / The End, for example). George Benson’s guitar work is second to maybe Harrison himself, and as a whole The Other Side offers a fresh take on a classic, overheard album. Certainly not one to pass up.