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.

Atco Blue

For pop leftovers, and overall items of quality that don’t necessarily fit “the norm,” look no further than Atco Records. Atco, and stop me if you’ve heard this, was used by Atlantic Records to shell out quality cuts by a variety of soul, blues, R&B, and jazz personalities starting as far back as 1955. Bobby Darin, Bent Fabric, John Lee Hooker, Ben E. King, and Betty Carter are just a few greats represented on this insert sleeve. As functional as it is informative, Atco inserts bring a great deal of history to a single printed sheet.

Nelson George on L.L. Cool J

The inner sleeve to L.L. Cool J’s debut album, Radio is a pitch-perfect analysis of this (then) young man’s budding talents. Presented below, in its well-respected hilarity is the entirety of Nelson George’s take on the young L.L. Cool J. Enjoy.
———-
A Minimalist Homeboy Who Knows His Beats
You can call it rap, hip hop or street, but it really is a way of hearing music – and partying hard – that expresses the experiences and attitudes of a great many inner city kids. L.L. Cool J is one of the best young talkologists around, because he speaks directly to and about his generation over large beats that recall Run-D.M.C., Trouble Fun, James Brown, and funky little bits of AC/DC and Yes. Born and raised in Queens, New York and first recorded by Rick Rubin’s and Russel Simmons’ then independent Def Jam label, L.L. Cool J made his name with “I Need A Beat.” The groove is metallic and relentless, L.L’s rhymes literate and tough (“There is no category/for this story/it will rock in any territory”), and his delivery full of youthful excitement.
Those same qualities run throughout L.L. Cool J’s debut album. “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” is a b-boy’s explanation of their love affair with portable cassette players, while “El Shabazz” is an a cappella rap as streetcorner-funny as a Richard Pryor monologue. “Rock the Bells” is a smoking hip hop-go go- rock ‘n’ roll jam, and “You’ll Rock” is almost as hot. But L.L. isn’t just hardrock. His sensitive side comes through on the rap ballads, “I Want You” and “I Can Give You More,” both of which really capture the tug of adolescent love. “I Want You” is particularly poignant as L.L. talks about his crush on an older woman who “used to be my baby sitter.” On the funny side L.L. snaps on a big boaster played all too convincingly by his manager ‘Rush” Simmons during “That’s A Lie.” This teenage music is built around beats, but not just any old beats. It is all about a beat with style, with personality, and L.L. Cool J has plenty of both.
Nelson George
author: “Fresh: Hop Hop Don’t Stop”
(Random House)

 

One from the Songbook

Record inserts are one of my favorite things to explore / discover, especially those from the 50’s and 60’s (check out the Inserts category for more). Presented here is the flip side to a custom insert to Harry Belafonte’s 1962 album, The Midnight Special. Simple. To the point. Effective. Not much else is needed for a record shirt, as far as I’m concerned.

Order Steve Miller Schwag

Oh, Steve Miller. Tucked inside my 1977 copy of Book of Dreams was this pristine insert order form. From posters, to a concert / tour book, to a variety of shirts, and finally to a grab-bag fan club kit, Jokers and Jet Airliners alike could spend their hard-earned, late 70s cash on solid Steve Miller schwag, and for seemingly modest prices. One can never have too much Steve Miller schwag as far as I’m concerned, and the fine people at Capitol Records felt the same way.