Back in 1968, record producer and conductor Dominick P. Costa (Don) released a 10-track album of instrumental Simon and Garfunkel songs titled, Don Costa’s Instrumental Versions of Simon and Garfunkel. All the hits are here (Feelin’ Groovy, Mrs. Robinson, I Am A Rock, etc.), and as a whole, Don Costa’s Instrumental Versions of Simon and Garfunkel is a welcoming and approachable take on these unforgettable 1960s classics. Certainly not one for a frequent spin, these 10-tracks come in handy when the subtle weight of S&G have hit their limits.
Men at Work debuted in 1981 with Business as Usual. With the help of two, knockout singles (Who Can it Be Now? and Down Under), it’s (fairly) easy to see how BaU spent 15 weeks at the No. 1 spot on the US Billboard 200. One of the (if not the) most successful Australian-released pop albums, Business as Usual would serve as the band’s high water mark, and would be one of only three studio albums released (1983’s Cargo, and 1985’s Two Hearts). If in the mood, she still holds up, some 37 years later.
Good records (and to a certain extent, the bad ones too) need comfortable, protective, and in this case, relatively dapper sleeves. Pfantone, it appears, deals more in the preamp world these days, but back in the day, they were successful manufacturers of long wear, no tear, poly record sleeves. Pimping a lifetime product is always a ballsy move, but Pfantone has certainly, and without question, pulled off this ambitious claim. For quality, and yes, stylish record care, keep Pfantone in mind.
I was heavy into Oxford Collapse for a solid, yet brief five-or-so years. This now defunct Brooklyn indie rock trio released only a few handfuls of records during their brief existence, including this, 2004’s Melting the Ice Queen. Presented here is The Workshop Edit of the title track, which is also featured on the band’s debut EP from 2002 (compact disc only), Oxford Collapse, and their first studio effort, 2004’s Some Wilderness. As their debut was the only studio full-length NOT fortunate of a vinyl release, the only way you can get this queen on wax is right here.
Ministry’s 2001 greatest hits album (appropriately titled Greatest Fits) received its first vinyl release via means of Run Out Groove last month. Double, colored, 180g vinyl, this 13-track monster is considered the only vinyl pressing to include the band’s contribution to Steven Spielberg’s A.I. film, What About Us?. Over the past several months we’ve seen Ministry do a fantastic job of releasing limited, and very often first-time albums on vinyl. Certainly, nobody is complaining here.
The Other Side of Abbey Road is a delightful little interpretation by legendary jazz guitarist George Benson of 1969’s famed Beatles album, Abbey Road. Released via CTI Records just a year after the original, The Other Side of Abbey Road features just five tracks, but takes careful consideration to combine up to three individual Beatles tracks into one Benson montage (take Something / Octopus’s Garden / The End, for example). George Benson’s guitar work is second to maybe Harrison himself, and as a whole The Other Side offers a fresh take on a classic, overheard album. Certainly not one to pass up.
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.
The words Christopher Guest are synonymous with hilarity. Don’t believe me? Think Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show were, as the kids say, just a fluke? Well, then you’re in for a fatty treat with 2003’s A Mighty Wind. Presented here is A Mighty Wind The Album, which contains all the classic artists from the film (Mitch & Mickey, The New Main Street Singers, and of course, The Folksmen). Considering that each of these tracks were written specifically for the film, and by-and-large, the actors played their own instruments (including vocals), A Mighty Wind The Album is a perfect addition to the already vibrant voice of Guest and friends. If you can find it, and are a fan of, you know, laughing, you’re certain to enjoy it.
A nifty little find for $2.94 is this Stereo Action record from Marty Gold and His Orchestra titled, It’s Magic. Purchased for the die cut sleeve, as well as being a part of RCA Victor’s Stereo Action series, we took a plunge into the deep end as I’m not familiar with Mr. Gold and his orchestra’s work, but for under $3, why the hell not?!
Man, I need to catch up on my spins. For their 24th studio album, The Kinks released Phobia. A 17-track diddy that would prove to be the band’s last studio effort. For Record Store Day this year, a double LP of Phobia was released on this fancy orange swirl colored wax. What’s better than The Kinks participating in RSD is that Phobia was only previously released on vinyl in Spain upon its original release back in 1993, and with copies going in the $800 range, this beautiful reissue was a no-brainer.
HiFi Records was very proud to display and present their new, stereophonic albums with this vintage, foldout pamphlet. I’ll be honest. I had this whole post written up and (nearly) ready to publish when I received an error message (thanks, WordPress…) going into intricate detail (not really) about The Beatles and what $5.98 in 1960 was worth today, based, you know, on inflation. And now… I’m just going to be sick… and phone in this great opportunity for a classic post. SAVE YOUR SHIT, KIDS! Oh, and for those few wondering, a stereophonic record from HiFi Records in 1960 went for $5.98. That’s $50.59 today… Let that one sink in.
(Sigh) Yes, another Arthur Lyman album post. Don’t call it an obsession… call it a fixation of grand proportions. Bahia was one of Lyman’s six (yes, six!) releases from 1959. (Have a look at his discography at Discogs for the details.) Though “more of the same” could be argued, early Lyman records saw more of an adventurous approach from this esteemed island God. Honestly, and this is what I did, if you dig this type of Pacific Space Age Pop, you could nab up the bulk of Lyman’s studio releases for dirt-damn cheap. I’m talking like, $4 a pop if you’re looking in the proper corners. This fixation, I’m sure, will reach its pinnacle, but until then, it’s nothing but exotic bird calls and vibraphone grooves for this coconut-cocktail-sipper.
Woah, Nellie! This never before released 6-track EP from 1965 is a much needed breath of fresh air among the cloudy boulevards of smog city. Not since 1981’s Unforgiven (an uncompleted album) have we heard anything new from legendary songwriter Tim Hardin. Forget all the bells and whistles about the 45rpm, limited numbered edition, 180 gram vinyl, blah blah blah… THESE ARE NEVER BEFORE RELEASED SONGS BY TIM (MF) HARDIN! Obtain immediately, and at any price.
Harry Nilsson’s 1974 collaboration with John Lennon falls a bit short from misguided expectations, but is still a necessary inclusion to any collection focusing on pop music history. Pussy Cats was hyped as having been recorded during Lennon’s 18-month “Lost Weekend,” a period he’d spend in the early 70’s apart from Yoko. Nilsson’s broken voice and (obviously) medicinally-influenced demeanor are something to note in this gluttonous series of 10 tracks. Buy it not expecting much, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. This 2018 RSD release on hardwood vinyl is limited to 1500 copies. Enjoy.
I was a bit hesitant about this post as my overwhelming shame for not having owned Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space would be exposed. This kitchy novelty album from 1967 sits next in our office rotation, and is sure to please, if the cover is any indication. Tracks like A Visit to A Sad Planet, Beyond Antares, and of course Music to Watch Space Girls By should make for a rather interesting “easy listening” spin. My shame is now a distant shadow in a vibrant nebula of time and space.
Finally… the much anticipated Moosebumps has arrived. Limited to 1000 copies on clear w/ blood splatter colored vinyl, this Dr. Octagon website exclusive comes with a unique cover in addition to the exclusive vinyl color. Moosebumps is the first time that DJ Qbert, Dan the Automator, and Kool Keith would collaborate as the mighty Dr. Octagon since 1996 with their debut, Dr. Octagonecologyst. An instant classic, this sci-fi hip hop trio does not disappoint, given the 22 year gap, and Moosebumps is a necessary addition to any collection with room for the extreme. There’s also a hemoglobin red exclusive still available out of Newbury Comics, for those interested.
- Dr. Octagon – Moosebumpectomy: An Excision of Modern Day Instrumentalization
- Tim Hardin – Lost in L.A.
- The Kinks – Phobia
- Van Morrison – The Alternative Moondance
- Harry Nilsson – Pussy Cats
- Arthur Lyman – Bahia
- Leonard Nimoy – Mr. Spock’s Music from Out Space