Lyric Sheet to Heaven

Presented here in photo form (and little else) are the complete lyrics to Led Zeppelin’s (severely overplayed, yet historically significant) Stairway to Heaven, by means of the insert from the band’s untitled, 4th studio album, commonly referred to as Led Zeppelin IV. It’s a quick read, whose melody is, I’m sure, already implanted in your brain. Enjoy.

Fun for the Senses

One Nation, under Groove… Presented here is a rather nifty insert to Nation of Ulysses’ second album, Plays Pretty for Baby. Fancy yourself a pair of Star Trek Vulcan Ears, you’re in luck. Surprise Packages go for a cool $1 (circa: who knows?), and the classics like X-Ray Specs and the party favorite, Vibrating Shocker get equal page time with Trick Black Soap (which makes you look like Hitler, apparently), and a Midget Spy Camera (they maybe should have reconsidered the title of that one). Let’s face it. Who in their right mind could turn down an Electronic Lie & Love Detector? It detects love AND lies. Not me, I’ll tell you what (he says in elderly man voice). Lots to explore here while you spin some fascinating DC hardcore. Fun for the eyes, AND the ears. Enjoy.

Columbia Insert

Haven’t done an insert in a while, so, here’s an insert! Straight from the crooked minds over at Columbia Records, promptly found within our copy of Blood, Sweat & Tears’ self-titled monster. A handful on this list can be found within our collection (Super Session, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, Cheap Thrills, The Graduate), but something I’m now just noticing is that I don’t have any Paul Revere & The Raiders in my collection. Hmm. Something to consider.

Ranwood Records, Inc.

Ranwood, as it turns out, was co-owned by bandleader, and grandparent-favorite, Lawrence Welk starting back in 1968. Together with Dot Records creator Randy Wood, Ranwood (see where the name comes from?) would enjoy moderate success up until, and surpassing the¬†acquisition by Mr. Lawrence Welk, whose bulk library was released on the label. Any way you spin it, this logo is one that can’t be beat!

Frankie Goes to Avalon

My (extremely limited) exposure to Frankie Avalon can be (easily) traced back to a single motion picture… 1987’s Back to the Beach. I know, I know… what a disgrace I must be to my early-60s brethren, and this comes with absolutely zero hint of disrespect, but my 8-year-old-self had all but forgotten about this teen idol of yesteryear. A recent holiday haul has rectified that situation (thanks, folks!), so now we spin, and relearn from this classic tiger beat.

The Powers of Flowers

Another London Records insert today (actually, just the flip side to 11/28 insert to be exact). Featured here are a few early Stones offerings (Aftermath, Out of Our Heads, Flowers, and Got Live if You Want It!), Mr. Cat Stevens, The Moody Blues, and of course, John Mayall. Power Blues looks good, based solely on the cover (never heard of it / them / ‘er), and I’m kind of interested in what Savoy Brown sounds like. Caravan, meh. Anyway, enjoy this colorful snapshot of late 60s psychedelic pop rock, won’t ya?!

Raging Insert (Part 1)

Also eligible for induction into the R&R HOF is Los Angeles’ own Rage Against the Machine (seems like I’ve been touching base with them quite a bit lately). Again, voting ends 12/9, so don’t delay! As an aside, or really, the point of this post, this two-parter, is a politically-charged suggestion by the band, from their Renegades release, about the pros of defacing domestic currency. Presented here is the first side of the Renegades insert. For a brief definition of defacement by means of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, continue reading.
Defacement of Currency
Defacement of currency is a violation of Title 18, Section 333 of the United States Code. Under this provision, currency defacement is generally defined as follows: Whoever mutilates, cuts, disfigures, perforates, unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, Federal Reserve Bank, or Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such item(s) unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

A (Very, Very) Brief History of London Records

London Records, am I right?! Founded in 1947, London Records was an avenue for British Decca records distribution in North America. Decca’s ownership had been split between the UK and the US, and since “Decca” was only exclusive to the original UK market, London Records was born. Ahhhhhhh! Same releases from over the pond (for the most part), but under a different name. Today, Universal Music Group (Boo!) owns British Decca, and subsequently London Records after they purchased Polygram in 1998. Polygram had purchased them in 1979 (RIP Polygram ownership 1979 – 1998), and the rest is money-hungry, hand-changing history. Confused? You won’t be after the next episode of The Prudent Groove.

Boots on Legs

Another thrift store find was this bootleg, colored vinyl pressing of Three Top Guys’ The Third Album from First Record (FL-1192). As Discogs states, “First Record is a label of questionable legality from Taiwan, catering to solders (mostly from the US) stationed there.” Thanks, Discogs! Anyway, there were a handful of these colored vinyl bootlegs at a random Goodwill in Chatsworth (circa: 2006?) and of course, I nabbed each one at the $1 asking price. If pressed (ha! a little vinyl humor…), that handful would be some of the first to go if I had to “make room” in the library. The quality is garbage, and I can’t ever see myself thinking, “Huh… I should spin some Three Top Guys.” The allure of colored vinyl, am I right?!

Mercury Portables

The merriment doesn’t need to stop when that “on the go” bug bites. Just ask (the money hungry profit minions at) Mercury records and their portable, late 60s turntables (featured here). Up first (on the left) is the AG 4100. This beauty plays both mono and stereo records, in addition to all records in varying size and speed. The indoor / outdoor function is a must for bedside rendezvous and park bench mischief, and the sleek AG 4100 is housed in a break resistant shell for those rugged, angry spins. The AG 4100 can be had (well, COULD have been had) for a cool $39.95 ($303.39 adjusted for inflation). But wait… there’s more!

If money is no object, and let’s face it, it most certainly always is, the new GF 340 may be more your speed for a bank-busting $99.95 ($759.03 w/ inflation). The latch-on speakers are a nice touch, but the hefty price tag may be a turnoff for the casual listener.

If portable is your bag, start saving and consider the Mercury Record Corporation. Contact your Mercury dealer for additional info.

Full D

As frame worthy as it is informative, this in-depth breakdown of Full Dimensional Stereo by Capitol Records does a fantastic job, both with pictures and detailed description, to explain, in layman’s terms, answers to “the eight questions most often asked about stereo records.” The who’s and why’s to these questions are the outliers, but their answers are textbook, almost rudimentary cliff notes to this new and burgeoning technology. Pour yourself a cocktail and enjoy the soothing and lifelike sounds of full dimensional stereo.

Credit

It was a sad 10-15 years after the release of R.E.M.’s epic Automatic for the People that I finally realized that Led Zeppelin bassist and multi-instrumentalist John Paul Jones contributed orchestral arrangements on Drive, the award-winning Everybody Hurts, The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight, and Nightswimming… which represent a good 1/4 of the album. If you’ve got it, and haven’t spun it in a while, have another listen and keep an ear out for Jones’ work. There’s a bit more comfort within these arrangements now that the full picture is in view, at least, from the perspective of these ears. Plus, it’s an excuse to relive your 1992 years. You’re welcome.

Todd

Presented here is an original piece by Norwegian designer Bendik Kaltenborn. It appears inside the 2014 disco record, It’s Album Time by Terje Olsen, aka Todd Terje. In addition to the album’s cover, back jacket, and insert, Kaltenborn has produced illustrations for The New Yorker magazine, as well as a slew of other Todd Terje record releases (The Big Cover-Up and the 12″ single Spiral come to mind). Check him out. He’s certainly a name to remember.

A Closer Look at Lookout!

I never really offered the much-needed attention to Lookout! Records that I now wish I had. One of the first, let’s say, 10 labels I’d ever heard of, thanks to Operation Ivy’s 1989 Energy, I reluctantly abandoned all possible rabbit hole hunts with the childish understanding that I’d have plenty of time “tomorrow” to get myself familiar. Well, all the tomorrows are gone following the label’s closure in January of 2012. So, if you’re feeling a bit nostalgic, here is an insert featuring a collection of Lookout! Records’ 7″ releases.

Leer Ricks

Procrastination has always been one of my strong suits. Next week, that will be neither here nor there. Presented here “today” is the handwritten insert, well, the copy of a handwritten insert to Drive Like Jehu’s 1994 math rock monument, Yank Crime. Like with most releases involving Swami John Reis (Rocket from the Crypt, Hot Snakes, Pitchfork, The Night Marchers, etc.), the lyrics to each song are painfully scrolled out in almost picture-perfect illegibility. While this gives a false sense of personal touch, it does weave together the incoherent and brilliant works of the mad genius that is Mr. Reis, and his merry band of mischief-seeking, and equally talented thugs. Yank Crime would be the 2nd of two albums that Jehu would release, and if you don’t already own it, make sure your used copy, if that’s your thing, contains this insert. If not, save the photo and print it out. You’re welcome.

Fatty Music

Fat Wreck Chords’ Fat Music Vol. IV: Life in the Fat Lane was released back in April of 1999 and contains some classic, pop-punk tracks from seminal Fat Wreck mainstays. Lagwagon’s May 16 to start it off, Road Rash by Mad Caddies, and San Dimas High School Football Rules by Indiana’s The Ataris. Presented here is a detailed insert featuring all the information one would need to get to know any and everyone one of the artists on this fun and playful compilation. Sometimes, information just simply laid out in black and white is the most effective and viable option.