Pines

Question: What would a soundtrack to a dramatic thriller composed by master vocal manipulator and genre-bending pioneer sound like? Answer: Well, if you’re talking about the potent Mike Patton, it would sound exactly like The Place Beyond the Pines (Music from the Motion Picture). Ominous, foreboding, dismal, with a hint of underlining grim, this 2013 soundtrack makes it eerily clear that any place beyond the tree line is about as uneasy and unsettling as anything imaginable. Now, I just hope the film holds up to this record.

The Voodoo That You Do

So, Voodoo Suite Plus Six All-Time Greats somehow jumped into my Discogs Wantlist. I don’t remember if it was the cover, another Perez Prado discovery, or if I read somewhere online about the off-shoot Space Age Pop and Exotica records worthy of hunting down, this being one of them. I’m not sure if any, or all of these are true, but it really doesn’t matter. I was willing to shell out $15+ (before shipping) for this gem, but stumbled across it the other day for a cool $1. The Wantlist is shrinking, one cosmic, dollar bin, Space Age Pop find at a time.

(Don’t) Skip Kenton

I should have started with cleaning this very dingy, 60+ year-old 10″ of classic, mid-century Jazz greats featured, and showcased by the late, great Stan Kenton (and His Orchestra). I think track one alone, Art Pepper featuring Art Pepper on alto sax, must have skipped a total of six times. My fault for not following the rules: Step 1) Clean. Step 2) Enjoy. Anyway, simply titled Stan Kenton Presents, this little 10″ is getting a duplicate if I can’t clean the 60 years off ‘er, because this is an essential listen, in unskippable form. Another $1 find, kids!

Sofa King Groovy

Skipping or not, a 10″ Latin jazz EP by Perez Prado and His Orchestra is always worthy of your $1. Titled Mambo By the King, this 1956 release featured a sister, pressed as a 12″ (which also contains four additional tracks). This, slightly shorter version still manages to contain some of Prado’s well-known, and unforgettable classics (Perdido, Cuban Mambo, and Mambo Jambo come to mind). Released the same year as his famed Havana, 3 A.M., By the King was one of the many (extremely cheap, yet skippable) gems I recently found in the bargain bin at my local hut. Let the fun begin.

Exotica at 20%

I can’t tell you how I discovered this, but I recently found out that Modern Harmonic is offering the colored vinyl pressing of Sun Ra’s otherworldly comp, Exotica at a dirt-cheap retail price (20% off now, for some strange reason). I received my copy just yesterday, so ignore the $65+ price tags for used copies on Discogs, and get yours straight from the source!

Auto People

Back when I had only a handful of compact discs (I’m about back down to that number “these days”), I owned both 1991’s Out of Time, and 1992’s Automatic for the People, both, obviously essential R.E.M. albums. The CD case for this release was made from bright, neon yellow plastic, which neatly matched the neon yellow disc inside. Now, keep in mind that this was a time when the plastic case disc holder was a standard charcoal gray, so ANYTHING different demanded our Jr. High attention, at least, so we thought. Anyway, an obvious inclusion to this or any library, I strongly recommend picking up a copy, in the format of your choosing (Compact Disc, LP, Cassette, HDCD, DVD-A, and Minidisc are known to exist).

Ray Price aka Hillbilly Circus

For straight-forward, late 50’s country with all the twangin’, fiddlin’, and general “hurtin'” that invariably comes with it, Ray Price’s Greatest Hits is a deserving catch-all for those able to stomach the early genre (early being the optimal word, here). With 12-tracks, including the #1 Country Hit, Crazy Arms, RP’s GH has both feet firmly planted within this country legend’s early material (the album having been released in 1963), and is a pretty good representation of the time, and the talent.

The Phar Cyde: A Personal Original

I was so excited upon discovering this (cheap-ass) reissue of The Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde, that I didn’t even care it was housed in a generic white, Delicious Vinyl sleeve. Up to this point (sometime in 1998), I’d only had this classic album’s cassette and compact disc releases, and had never even seen a copy of the original on vinyl, then, only six years old. The original is still missing from the collection, but this “personal original” houses a special place within the collection. File this under “one of the first 50 records owned.”

The Make-Believers

Made famous (in part) for their cover of The Kinks’ Stop Your Sobbin’, Pretenders (or The Pretenders, depending on who you ask… no, not the doo-wop crooners from the 1950s), were a London-based edge-band, forming in 1978. Releasing their eponymous debut for Sire Records (United States) in January of 1980, this self-titled masterwork is an effective mix of pop, rock, and punk, featuring the barking vocals of Chrissie Hynde. You should already own this, but if you don’t, add it to your (ever growing) list.

Donny P. and the Bluse Album (An Introduction)

I’m a little reluctant to write about Don Preston and his 1968 debut, Bluse as I feel the story is deserving of more time than I currently have (or am willing) to give to it, save to say, it wasn’t anything that I thought it was, in the best way possible. Purchased as a joke, whose backstory will be saved for another time, I foolishly discovered that Mr. Preston is (still alive) a stellar guitarist, and has played with some of the very best: Rick Nelson, George Harrison, JJ Cale, Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ringo Starr, The Righteous Brothers, and Ritchie Valens, to name a short few. Bluse is classic blues-rock (bluse-rock?), and is as anything spectacular as you would think, having read the list of unquestionable legends above.

Meter Me aka Who dat!?

HYPE STICKERS! Come one, come all, ‘n get ‘yer hype stickers! This one is for the 2015 Rhino Records colored vinyl reissue to Fire on the Bayou, the classic album by New Orleans legends, The Meters. Now, more and more collectors these days may be, in-fact, keeping all their record hype (stickers, fliers, download cards, etc.), but the sentimental part of me wonders what hype stickers to classic albums from the 60s and 70s looked like. Some I’ve seen and we’ve explored, but others, I fear, are lost for good. Anyway, this one is only a few years old, but it hyped me enough to purchase the album!

1984?

1984 was a symbolic and busy year, for events both unpredictable, and all too obvious. ’84 saw Jerry Lee Lewis surrendering to the feds for evading his income taxes, the year where Simple Minds singer Jim Kerr married Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders, the year when Red Hot Chili Peppers released their debut album, and even the year where Michael Jackson’s head engulfed into flames during the filming of a Pepsi commercial. Can anyone say free Pepsi for life?! 1984 (Nineteen Eight-Four) is also the title to George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece (first published in 1949), as well as a feature film starring John Hurt (RIP) released in, you guessed it, 1984. The soundtrack single, showcased here, saw synth-pop masters, Eurythmics performing the track, Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four). Presented here are both the single version, and the near 8-minute extended version, both perfect for remembering a year when Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his father, and Bruce Springsteen would release his infamous, Born in the U.S.A. Lots to do… lots to do…

P for P

Always read the fine print, kids. I got excited for this Porno for Pyros picture disc and was so clouded that I didn’t realize this 12″ was for the Pets single, and in fact NOT the full-length debut album with the same cover. Pets is great and all, and ok, sure, I already own two versions of the full length, but I’m just a little pissed at myself for not digging a little deeper. You live, and with luck, you learn.

Grand Royal Addition

Rare are the days, these days, when I stumble across a Grand Royal Records release for under $2 that I don’t already have in the collection. Such was the case with GR063 and DJ Strictnine and Paranorm’s The Blow Up Factor contribution from 1999 titled, Mic Reaction. Included is the raging title track, its instrumental sibling, in addition to three other off-the-hook hip hop explosions (there were hooks? I didn’t see any hooks…). Anyway, one simply doesn’t pass up a Blow Up Factor release. If you own one, you know exactly what I’m talking about. All that’s left to complete the set is 2000’s Vol. 4 by The Prunes featuring Freestyle, the final of four in the coveted series. The label would be defunct a year later, finally closing its bankrupt doors in 2001.

52

I’m a bit ashamed to admit that it took me until a week ago to acquire this seminal new wave classic, The B-52’s self-titled debut from 1979. For years I thought I’d already owned it, which is why I’d passed it up so many uneducated times, but now, all those misfortunes are a thing of the past, because Rock Lobster (final track on side 1) has finally come home.

Out of Sync

I’m certainly no expert on this subject, only having stumbled across it earlier today, and there have been wiser individuals who have written, at great lengths, about this subject (cited examples: ONE and TWO), and I know it’s rather old news, but were you aware that The Police’s 1983 album Synchronicity (their fifth and final studio output) has 93 different cover variations?! Some sources claim only 36 variants exist, which is still an outstanding number, in my opinion. Sure, The Police were considered the biggest band in the world upon this summer album’s release, but why all the intentional variants? Fun fact: most, if not all US pressings were released as audiophile records, which are actually brown or purple when held up to light, but appear to be standard black vinyl with minimal-to-no inspection. Mine is purple, for the record (see what I did there?). Which color is yours?

Look, But Don’t Bite

Debut albums by glam rock bands often go overlooked when you’re not necessarily a fan of glam rock bands. Not the case with Poison’s 1986 offering, Look What the Cat Dragged In. Housing four singles, and listed at the coveted #2 spot on Rolling Stone’s 50 Greatest Hair Metal Albums of All Time, Look was produced for a total of only $23,000, an insanely low amount, even adjusted for inflation. No, Look doesn’t include Every Rose Has its Thorn, Your Mama Don’t Dance (a Loggins and Messina cover, and a personal, youth-fueled favorite), or even Fallen Angel (all would come with their sophomore offering with 1988’s Open Up and Say… Ahh!), but Look is still a sweaty, slutty, heavy metal classic worth its weight in L.A. Looks mega hold hair gel . Listen with caution, listen with hair.

Zombie Zombie

Mainly just a post for the photo, but I’ll say, without a hint of hesitation, that as long as Newbury Comics keeps pressing exclusive vinyl releases of Odessey & Oracle, I’ll continue buying them. Maybe I’ve made this statement before… come to think of it, sure… I have. The Zombies have been nominated again (their fourth nod) to the rock and roll hall of fame. Fingers, toes, and wires crossed, they make it this year. They’re clearly deserving of the offer.

Soul

2005 saw the 3x LP compilation release (Sold My Soul), a catch-all, smash track, greatest hits, of sorts, by Los Angeles pretty-boy-hoodlums, The Pharcyde, and was released on the extremely short-lived The Funky Chemist Records label (they only produced five records, including this one). Little-to-nothing can be found about this label (from a quick, Google / Discogs / Wiki search), but these 24-tracks are a fantastic place to start for the casual Pharcyde connoisseur. It was also released in compact disc, if that’s more your bag.