(No) Space

The real estate market within my library is growing increasingly scarce. This unfortunate fact has made me second, third, and fourth guess my vagrant decisions to grant specific records access to this congested population. I mean, would I really keep Ace Cannon’s Memphis Golden Hits if it wasn’t for the gaudy cover? Or how about two copies of Asia’s Alpha, not to mention (by mentioning) 8 copies of Sean Lennon’s debut, Into the Sun… well, that one seems viable, but still! All of these one-offs start to add up, and before anyone is the wiser, space becomes a great concern.

ABC – Paramount Circa: 1958

ABC – Paramount Records released vibrant inserts with their records back in the mid-to-late 1950s. This one in particular is (roughly) from around 1958. What catches the eye is the inclusion for Shock Music in Hi-Fi by The Creed Taylor Orchestra. This would be Creed Taylor’s debut release, almost a full decade before launching CTI Records (Creed Taylor Incorporated), a subsidiary of Herb Alpert’s A&M Records. Long story short, Shock Music in Hi-Fi just jumped to the top of the “must have” list.

Nothing

Last October, Jane’s Addiction’s debut studio album received the Rocktober treatment from Rhino Records. Nothing Shocking is available on 180-gram crystal clear vinyl and is limited to 6,000 copies. With that many pressed, you can still find this essential reissue for a relatively cheap price (I acquired mine for $22). Other releases under the Rocktober umbrella were Loaded by The Velvet Underground, Love it to Death by Alice Cooper, and Electric Warrior by T. Rex. Here is the link if you’re interested.

Blast

Well, the time has come. We finally completing the “Ten Basic Space Age Pop Albums” according to Space Age Pop Music with Ferrante & Teicher’s 1958 offering, Blast Off! If pressed to say, Blast Off!, with its brilliantly campy cover aside, will likely get the least amount of spins when compared to the other classic albums on this custom checklist. I mean, it’s hard to compare Perez Prado’s Havana 3 A.M. or Les Baxter’s Ritual of the Savage with the experimental and ear-piercing Blast Off!, but that being said, the cover alone is worth the price of admission.

Dr. No, You Know?

Though the Ian Fleming novel (Dr. No) dropped in early 1958, the film adaptation starring Sean Connery and Ursula Andress hit the big screens in late 1962. This, the first James Bond film had a modest budget (even for the time) of $1.1 million, and grossed just under $60 million throughout its tenure. The soundtrack, featured here, was composed by Monty Norman and was released in 1963. As far as firsts go, this film (and soundtrack) perfectly set the tone for this decades-long franchise, and should be considered essential listening material for any collector.

Double the Contemporary Fun

2 contemporary classic John Williams film scores on one, RCA Red Seal record (Charles Gerhardt conducting the National Philharmonic Orchestra). Abridged versions of both film scores on a single disc for your convenient listening pleasure. Don’t pay more than $5 for this record… they’re currently going for $2 on Discogs.

(Taboo) (Taboo)

Good things often come in pairs… socks, cocktails, pears, and as far as I’m concerned, exotic bird caws and mysterious xylophone melodies are no different. Presented here are Arthur Lyman’s 1958 smash Taboo, and his 1960 follow up, Taboo Vol. 2. The former had been sitting in the collection for three or so years, but the latter just showed up at our doorstep (he shudders in the attempts to contain his excitement). Now, I’m slowly beginning to realize that drunken bird calls aren’t necessarily for everyone (though I’m not entirely sure why), but both Taboo volumes do a phenomenal job of uplifting the listener to bygone nights of exotic, island bliss (think dirty feet, tiki torches, and a lot of rum). For you newbies, start with Taboo (obviously), and when you’re ready for that perfect paired compliment, hunt down Vol. 2. Like with all other space age pop albums, the exotic sounds of Arthur Lyman come highly recommended.

Listen…

…┬áto these recent RCA Victor releases. This is a command, not a suggestion. Top tier entertainment advertising from 1960, right before your very eyes. Como Swings (LSP-2010, 1959), Chet Atkins’ Teensville (LSP-2161, 1960), and Elvis is Back!, presumably from that hip-swingin’ clam bake (LSP-2231, 1960). These titles and many more are “now available in NEW ORTHOPHONIC and LIVING STEREO versions.” Contact your dealer for more details.

How High?

Back in 1951, the husband and wife combo of Les Paul and Mary Ford released a slew of shellac 78s. Almost exclusively on the Capitol Records label, this 10″ features Les on his custom Gibson and Mary’s angelic melody on vocals. How High the Moon back with Walkin’ and Whistlin’ Blues as catalog no. 1451. The former is from the stage production of Two for the Show, while the latter is a lazy stroll of an instrumental with a country twang and a foot-stomp backbeat. Certainly a fun, yet restricted and short listen.

The Shape Turns 20!

Though not until October, it’s notable to mention that Refused’s undisputed masterpiece, The Shape of Punk to Come, turns 20 this year. Sit on that one for a beat. While you’re at it, check out Decibel’s coverage of the album in their September, 2010 issue (No. 071). If this doesn’t make you feel old, you’re probably already in the ground.

The Passing of the 40’s, Volume IV

The Passing of the 40’s, the event, not the compilation album, must have been a riveting and ambitious affair. Big bands were still the big deal, and the seeds of rock n’ roll had just been planted. With big bands for the quaint, and jazz for the city folk, The Big Band Era Volume IV (The Passing of the 40’s) covered a lot of ground, and offered much to a wide range of listeners. As seen on TV, and neatly organized in the library.

src Fail

For those of you unsavory types who missed out on the ocean blue double vinyl version of the Mondo Jaws soundtrack, you’ve got an overpriced chance to acquire a copy over at srcvinyl. That’s right! For a cool $54.99, you could be the proud owner of the black vinyl version, for roughly a third more than the original retail cost of the ocean blue version. Upon closer examination over at src, it appears this item’s preorder description offers conflicting information… Unless there are varying degrees of darkness (“none more black”), how could a 180 gram black colored vinyl record be described as “Limited double 180gm colored vinyl LP pressing” ??? Somebody better fix that shit!

Great Men of Music: Franz Liszt

This 4x LP box set by Time Life Records circa: 1978 titled, Great Men of Music, showcases 14 of Franz Liszt’s better known arrangements, including the three-part Faust Symphony. Time Life Records released a library of 4x LP box sets under the Great Men of Music umbrella, including collective works by Stravinsky, Schumann, Prokofiev, Bartok, and of course Brahms, at least, these are the ones we own. Obviously there are Beethoven and Mozart box sets to round out the gaggle, and each can be had for about $1 per record, or $4 per set, making these thorough compilations no-brainers for the casual classical consumer.

Gimme Gimme Gimme

The blazing insert to the 2008 comp album, Have Another Ball! (The Unearthed A-Sides Album) released by Bay Area goofballs Me First and the Gimme Gimmes depicts a lovely, mid-century┬áparadisiacal oasis atop a jovial list of jukebox, Top 40 cover songs. A “greatest hits” album all but in name, Have Another Ball! contains pop-punk versions of such memorable tunes by Paul Simon, Daryl Hall, John Denver, Carole King, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, and Elton John. Certainly an album to own for those loopy late nights. “A paradisiacal oasis, right at your fingertips.” Enjoy!

Virgo’s Fool

Originally titled Virgo’s Fool, Van Morrison’s fourth studio offering titled His Band and the Street Choir, brought with it Mr. Morrison’s most successful, solo single. No, it wasn’t Brown Eyed Girl (which is what I’d assumed it to be), but instead, the looming and luxurious Domino. This 12-track album clocks in at just under 42 minutes, and with everything Van the Man released through 1972 (with Saint Dominic’s Preview) is essential, lazy day listening material.

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Unsure how to start the new year, I’ll give a quick shout out to our trusty portable, the Numark PT-01 USB. If ever you’re looking for a rugged portable that plays 33 1/3s, 45s, and 78s, this is your machine. She runs on 6x D batteries, and if you’re serious, I suggest investing in EBL rechargeable batteries and the EBL Universal Charger. Well worth the money, on all accounts.