A much younger version of yours truly stumbled across ZZ Top’s first three albums at a thrift store in Ventura County, California for $0.99 a pop. No need to state the obvious, but I was quick to overlook the rather “experienced” condition of each of these classics (peep bottom left corner). Rio Grande Mud, ZZ Top’s 2nd studio album, was released in April of 1972, and contains only one single, Francine. As far as I’m concerned, Top would strike gold with their follow-up, and 1973’s Tres Hombres, obviously due to the inclusion of the raunchy La Grange, but Mud, in any condition, is certainly deserving of heavy spins (just ask the previous owner, whoever the hell they were).
I grew up on the Andy Griffith Show, so I felt inclined to procure at least one of the man’s albums for the collection, especially when said album was only $1 at a thrift shop. Released via means of Columbia Records back in 1972, Somebody Bigger Than You and I sees Mr. Griffith praising his deity with the twang of folk and country. The 7th studio album from this Hollywood great, Somebody Bigger… would be the first record since 1964’s Andy and Cleopatra on the Capitol label. At a specific time, in a specific place, this album fits the bill.
There are two covers to the Hank Williams (With His Drifting Cowboys) double LP comp, The Great Hits of Hank Williams. One, and presumably the original, was released in 1972 and features a brownish cover with an illustration of an acoustic guitar. Simple, yet directly to the point. This version, also released in 1972 by the same label with the same catalog number, features a hyper-colorful Hank singing into a badass, vintage microphone atop a sea of lookie-loos. To me, presented with the option, the decision is a no-brainer, but to each their own. All things considered, either would certainly suffice for a dirt-cheap double LP of original Williams essentials. It just dawned on me that I’ve already covered this album here, so consider this Chapter Two of the same story. Chapter Three to come in another four years when I’ve forgotten about Chapter Two.
1972’s Country Music Then and Now by Virginia’s own The Statler Brothers features one of the best releases from their acclaimed library. I’m speaking, of course, about The Class of ’57. To say that this sobering tale of aged / aging High School classmates is bittersweet would be an understatement. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the song’s rhythmic tone is a bit somber in and of itself, but stir in the slow-moving harmonics of The Brothers, and you’ve got the makings of a Debbie Downer theme song. All of this, of course, makes The Class of ’57 an essential listen. Please be warned: this one tends to hit fairly close to home.
Still Bill is the second studio album by soul legend William Harrison Withers Jr., and was released in 1972 on Sussex Records. Featuring the classic, Lean on Me, Still Bill is essential Bill Withers material. Also included is the classic Use Me, and Who Is He (And What Is He to You?) which was featured on the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 classic, Jackie Brown. This copy has certainly seen better days, but was a no-brainer for $1 at Goodwill. If you don’t already own this classic album, check it out.
After about 10 minutes of (deep) internet searching, I discovered that my copy of Simon & Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence is a second pressing (of the three initial pressings). My copy is the last to feature the Tiger Beat magazine in Art’s jacket pocket. This would be airbrushed out on the third and subsequent pressings. Mine is also a German release, acquired at a storewide going-out-of-business sale some 15 years ago. Copyright states a release date of 1972, some 7 years after the album’s initial release. This doesn’t mean too much, other than now I want to bury myself in Bookends, my personal favorite.
Ramatam’s 1972 debut album first caught my eye from an early 70’s Atlantic Records insert. The almost modern simplicity of the cover (red, white, and blue text over black background) stood out to me, mainly as I’d never heard of the band, but also because I thought the all-caps boldness of the art demanded some exploring. I filed that image away and went on about my day, which turned into a few months, then finally to little over a year where I (just recently) found a copy for a cool $4.98 at my local b&m (brick and mortar). This, their first album (of two) contained some heavy, early 70’s names (Mitch Mitchell, drums, having spent time with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Mike Pinera, guitar and vocals, from Blues Image). It’s sad that Ramatam’s stint only spanned two albums over two years (1972-1973), but with such a small discography, they’re certainly worth checking out.
In 1972, Fantasy Records released an 8-track comp album of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s most beloved radio classics titled, Creedence Gold. Born on the Bayou, The Midnight Special, Bad Moon Rising, I Heard it Through the Grapevine, Proud Mary, etc. The die-cut cover offers band member profiles in an interesting “gotcha” marketing ploy. It worked on me, and for close to $2, it should work on you as well! Keep an eye out for Gold. It’s out there.
Machine Head, or Caput Machina in Latin, was recorded, wait, let me go get the record… “was written and recorded in Montreux, Switzerland, between 6th and 21st December 1971.” Though Smoke on the Water (side 2, track 1) is ranked 434 of 500 on Rolling Stone magazine’s coveted The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, it would never chart higher than 2 (Canadian RPM Top Singles), and wouldn’t even chart in its native land (UK Singles (Official Charts Company) until 1977 (thank you Smoke on the Water wiki page). It just goes to show you, that charts are shit, and one must only follow one’s instincts.
An acoustic guitar on the solemn steps of some mysterious, ancient archway… nicely done, Mr. Morrison. My knowledge of this 1972 masterpiece, Van Morrison’s Saint Dominic’s Preview, is in desperate need of necessary, sponge-like absorbance. It’s been years since I’ve discovered this collection of hits, but I’m far from “knowing” it. All in due time.
Pitched as the introduction to the great decline, Everybody’s in Show Biz is actually a thoroughly enjoyable album, and as a bonus, and entire live record recording during the Muswell Hillbillies tour only adds to this album’s historical greatness! Face to Face through Muswell Hillbillies era Everybody’s in Show Biz is certainly not, but it’s still damn good Kinky ear candy.
I knew absolutely nothing about this album when I purchased it (for $0.33.3) on Black Friday, but with a promising cover and an illustrious title like, Reminiscing with the Moms and Dads, the unknown was something certainly well deserving of the nominal asking price. Still sealed, this 43-year-old virgin gets her first spin tonight. I’m both apprehensive, and completely terrified of the results…
So, as far as I’m concerned, Amoeba Hollywood, and the collective employees with which they frequent, can kiss my collecting arse! I got burned on a $30 Dark Side… picture disc a few years back, and I got burned today on a Van Morrison 8-track that does exactly one thing correctly… not fucking work. Their overpriced population has taken its toll, and I for one am over their rhetoric.