Man, I haven’t heard this Grammy winning “jazz-rock” album in what seems like three lifetimes. Released in December of 1968, the band’s self-titled sophomore effort carried with it three singles with And When I Die, Happy, and Spinning Wheel (which I just heard on AM radio this very morning), and was a commercially successful monster (quadruple platinum… that’s a shit-ton of records). Though the musicianship behind leader Al Kooper is, without question, on point (Kooper, you’ll remember, was part of the Super Sessions record, together with Mike Bloomfield and Steven Stills, released July of the same year) the album as a whole requires a certain mindset that isn’t necessarily anywhere close to default. A fun and insanely well-pieced collection, I’m happy to put BS&T back on the shelf for the foreseeable future.
Oh, the power of Lard. 1997’s Pure Chewing Satisfaction was a burrowing larva harassing my ears on a rather routine basis some 20-odd years ago (picture a screaming Chekhov in Star Trek 2… you remember the scene). I. Simply. Couldn’t. Get. Enough. Sadly, releases by this industrial supergroup can only be counted on one hand (with an angry finger to spare), but Pure will always be the gateway drug to a heavily explorable universe of side projects, one-offs, and wasted anticipation. (Cocks head and wonders to self), maybe I should unearth my old mix tapes. Lard was a frequent flier on my sides (laughs to self), much to the dismay of my less-than-understanding friends.
Presented here is a brief representation of last night’s spins. You can see how the evening progressed into an outright cacophony of carnal violence with the first Revolting Cocks release (1985’s No Devotion, as good of a nightcap as there ever was), but what isn’t instantly apparent is the decision making that tied these releases together. James Booker’s The Lost Paramount Tapes followed by Thee Midniters’ debut self-titled, then finally the grandfathers of Wax Trax! Records, RevCo. I can’t for the life of me remember the motivation, not that it matters, so I guess this telling was little more than a mundane tail of unrelated entertainment, if that is in fact how what we’re calling it.
This album has brought me close to tears, multiple times. Not only is this “New Orleans Jazz” release a perfect standalone, it bridges the geographic gap between my previous chapter in Wisconsin, and my current stint in Los Angeles. James Booker and his iconic Junco Partner happened to be the last melody of any significance I had giddily immersed myself into days leading to my permanent departure from the rural Midwest. What turned out to be rather serendipitous was that The Lost Paramount Tapes was, in fact, the first album of any format (compact disc) I was able to acquired upon my arrival to sunny, congested, southern California (September of 2003 with thanks to Grady’s Record Refuge in Ventura, CA). The first soundtrack to my new life has, today finally joined the fold. Thank you Vinyl Me, Please (a damn good record of the month club that I only recently discontinued) for seeing the unspoken greatness of this absolutely and profoundly perfect record, and for FINALLY providing it a much deserved, and greatly anticipated vinyl release. James Booker was most certainly a character, both sides of the coin, and his efforts on The Lost Paramount Tapes not only resonate on a deeply personal level, they make for one of the best (expletive) albums I’ve ever had the pleasure of spinning. Top 3 records of all time. Hands down.
So admittedly, it’s been a while, but I went to pull out Viva! La Woman, Cibo Matto’s debut album on Warner Bros. Records from 1996, and to my dismay, I noticed that my copy is sealed! All those years listening to Viva! and Stereo Type A must have been digitally, come to think of it now. I have zero recollection of any hint of reasoning why I would have kept this classic record sealed, but here it lives, suffocating in time. Now, the question is, obviously, whether to keep this virgin record cocooned, or to free it for the celebratory maiden voyage… Where’s my knife?
We made tortillas and salsa over the weekend, so it was, of course, fitting to spin some Mariachi El Bronx. Turns out, this copy of their first album, self-titled, fetches a hefty sum online. As of right now, only 390 people on the Discogs community “Have,” while 338 people “Want.” Oh, yeah! The fruit beer! It was a first for me, and was equal parts “interesting” and quite tasty. As an aside, both the tortillas and the salsa turned out near perfectly, so that’s something.
One of my wife’s latest brick & mortar selections, Chuck Mangione’s 1976 album, Main Squeeze. My wife (adorably) confused Mr. Mangione with Herb Alpert, but we’re both more than happy to welcome this modern jazz (well, mid-70’s modern jazz) album to the collection. I’d definitely welcome more spins by Mangione in the near future, and it just hit me that I should probably be listening to a lot more from the A&M Records library. Baja Marimba Band, anyone?
So happy to finally get this stellar Elvis Costello and the Attractions album from ’79 titled, Armed Forces. Presented here is the US variant cover (UK cover showcases elephants, for those with inquisitive minds). Obviously a much-needed classic, this copy was purchased by my nephews at a South Jersey record shop as a holiday gift. Thanks again, buddies!!
I love me some groovy world music, but not until today was I aware that the New Zealand national Film Unit produced a video to accompany this snapshot album. If you find yourself with a free 13+ minutes, head on over to the link for a brief history of the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand, also known as the Māori.
Skyscraper Records released this 5-track EP back in 1992, and I can’t for the life of me remember the circumstances surrounding its acquisition. It’s probably one of the first, say, 100 records I’ve obtained, and aside from maybe a Half Price Books deal, it was probably found on one of my many, many, early hunting days, likely at a Goodwill or a St. Vinnie’s. Come to think of it, I haven’t hunted the thrift stores in close to a lifetime (a few years at least), something certainly worth reconsidering, as is relistening to the transparent blue record found beneath Clown Martin, here.
Full frequency stereophonic sound, like you’ve never heard it reproduced before. Though there’s certainly something nostalgic and simple about the grandfather mono sound, something cleaner, it goes without saying that the technological advances of stereophonic sound changed the audio recording game for the better. Whatever your preference per individually pressed records, we’re all kings and queens of our own destinies, in large part to stereophonic sound.
1977’s Book of Dreams was The Steve Miller Band’s 10th studio album, and arguably their most prolific release. 7 of the tracks would appear on the band’s Greatest Hits 1974 – 1978 album, which appeared just a year after Book hit record store shelves. The classic Jet Airliner is the obvious standout (or Jed & Lina, depending on who you ask), but Book also contains the party-favorite Jungle Love. In all, it’s no question, given the outrageous success, that this album would appear on multiple formats. Presented here is a newly acquired 8-track. Same track order as the vinyl release, save for Swingtown which is broken into two parts. No joke, The Steve Miller band hit it huge with Book of Dreams.