Your Eyes Deceive You, Don’t Trust Them

AglioDo you own Aglio E Olio (pronounced ahl-yo ay ohl-yo) by the Beastie Boys on wax? If you don’t, discontinue reading and go here. If you do, have you ever noticed the subtle misconception with the record? It’s not a wrong impression so much as a blatant deception. Allow me to briefly explain.

EHere is the record, right? Nothing out of the ordinary, at least at first glance. It plays, doesn’t skip, everyone is happy. With me? Ok, good. So, for years I thought this was an ordinary record. I’d purchased it new, kept good care of it, saw that it wasn’t colored, only the basic black, would play it from time to time, and that was it. It wasn’t until about 10 or so years later that I discovered (thanks to Beastiemania.com) that the record wasn’t black, but instead an excellently executed bit of trickery by the band.

Olio 2If you hold the “black” record up to the light, you’ll discover that it’s actually very dark translucent brown, made to look black. Needless to say, this blew my feeble mind upon immediate discovery.

I’m 99.9% sure every Aglio E Olio record is translucent brown, so if you own this album, and you haven’t heard of this before, check it out. While you’re at it, Check Your Head.

Another Brick in The Groove

Black and WhitePink Floyd’s bevy of psychedelic, mind-expanding rock n’ roll continues to spark a wide and varied spectrum of individual, and self-important interpretation with seemingly every unique spin. From their plastic, cookie-cutter-outlook-crushing, interstellar Syd Barrett days, up to, and including, the never-too-overstated masterwork from the prestigious Roger Waters, 1979’s The Wall. Their work can be dissected and analyzed both as individual pieces, bricks if you will, or we can evaluate and examine their musical foundation as a whole.

This post, not unlike your standard, sluggish, overly simplified cluster of molded cement, by itself, offers no protection, provides no structure, and requires minimal user involvement. But… stack these posts, and the foundation to a lifetime of investigating, examining, rummaging, inquiring, and collecting begins to take form.

This isn’t a post about Pink Floyd, but rather a commentary on the perspective in which we choose to approach any given subject. For me, that subject is record collecting, and with each new addition, there is attached to it a story; a vivid memory, not unlike a time capsule of both the recorded material, AND the personal fable that surrounds its threshold-breaking inauguration into “The Collection.”

As a whole, the infrastructure of my music library expands infinitely in every conceivable direction within the X, Y, and Z-axes, and each record, each thin-layered medium to share and transfer waves of sound, represents a single, plotted point throughout this never-ending, collector’s journey. All in all, each new circular disc is just another brick in The Groove.

Chem Bros – It Began in Afrika

AfrikaIt may have began in Afrika for the rest of the civilized world (as well as the uncivilized… I’m looking at you, Oxnard, CA), but for Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, the foundations of Big-Beat-Funk were forged in the furious fires that first began in Manchester, England.

It Began in Afrika was the first single off 2002’s Come With Us, and peaked at number 8 in the UK. An exclusive, DJ only version of the track was released as Electronic Battle Weapon 5 (part of the 2nd disc offered in 2008’s compilation, Brotherhood) in June of 2001, before it was reworked for a wider audience on this official release with the more identifiable title change.

StickerA sticker on the front sleeve lists the b-side, Hot Acid Rhythm 1, as a track to be offered from their forthcoming album, out in 2002. Hot Acid Rhythm 1 does not, however, show up on Come With Us, and as far as I can tell, only exists on this single.

It’s nearly impossible to wrap my head around how profound the “throw away” tracks are in the vast, blood-boiling, beat banging, Chem Bros catalog. Literally EVERYTHING they release is top shelf ear stimulants, and as always, comes housed in digable and displayable cover art.Label

Ma, What Are They Givin’ Me?

Ma10 inches of Hip-Hop infused, fits of 1994 aggression! That’s what they’re givin’ you, kid! So sip your juice, spin your licorice disc, and leave your poor mother alone! Also, if you ever decide to grow a mullet, you will be disowned!

Any album containing the rapid fire fury of Mullet Head is worth owning, and this UK 10″ is no different.

(Untitled)

WallIt was 34 years ago today, Mom and Dad taught The Groove to play.

If you do anything today, listen to a record… with whisky, preferably. It can be any record… since I won’t be there with you, I really won’t care. It’s YOUR choice, really. Are you big into The Baja Marimba Band? Good for you. So am I. Give them a spin. Are you stuck in a saucy Taco mood, and all you want to hear is Puttin’ on the Ritz? Let that Taco shaped freak flag fly! I won’t judge (publicly).

Do me a solid and drop the needle today. It would really make me happy.

The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society – An Album Review

Remembering WalterTHIS IS NOT AN ALBUM REVIEW

Please be advised that this is not an album review of The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. Being, arguably, my favorite album of all time (an argument I have, with myself, almost every other day), any review by me, or The Groove, would require something more than a 15-minute effort. (This is not to say this post only took me 15 minutes… I’ve been struggling lately.)

Gawl Darn It, Isn't It A Pretty SceneTHIS IS NOT AN ALBUM REVIEW

Mainly, I just wanted to show off this beautiful reissue from 2011. If you have ears, and they work, do them, and yourself, a favor and get The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. Like Jack Black’s character from High Fidelity prominently states, “It’s gonna’ be okay.”

Aerobics Country Style, Y’all

ACSLadies and Gentlemen, dust off your boots, your cowboy hat, and your (red) neck bandana, because we all g’wan get fit up ‘round here!

This “basic program of Aerobic Dance and Exercise” is brought to you by Looking Good records, and is performed by J.D. Feelgood himself! This body-toning analog disc offers a Southern-fried, full-bodied, well-rounded and complete workout routine including Warm-Ups, a gradual Intensity section, and the ever so popular, Cool Down tracks.

Have you ever wondered how the cocktail waitresses at the hoedown always looked so fit? It’s because each of them subscribed to J.D. Feelgood and the Nashville All Stars and their good ‘ol Aerobics Country Style Aerobic Dance and Exercise record.

Don’t let the butter and biscuits get the better of you. Groove your way slim with Aerobics Country Style. Your Square Dance partner will thank you.

Belligerent Solidarity

242-frontI’m a sucker for minimalist propaganda cover art. It doesn’t hurt when the music is dismal, dark, and rhythmically unrelenting.

The sample of, “al-Gadaffi” from a proud-sounding public speaker starts off Funkahdafi, and continues to appear (mimicking the technique of a sample scratch from a DJ) throughout the funk-infused, foot-tapping, synth-happy, unforgettable example of ear-joy that mark Front 242 as the undisputed staple of EBM (Electric Body Music). It is my humble opinion that they have yet to, and never will, become eclipsed from atop their genre-defining throne.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Front 242 lately, if you haven’t noticed.

242-backThe highlight to this EP is an ambiguous remix to Commando, ambiguous because the sleeve doesn’t indicate who remixed it and is simply titled, Commando (Remix), or Kommando (Remix) on the back sleeve. This 9+ minute track rides a hard, minimalist groove under waves of distant, and distorted fits of vocal aggression: a perfect combination of belligerent solidarity.

Although 1985’s Politics of Pressure by Front 242 is only three tracks, it comes highly recommended, as does EVERYTHING from Belgium’s finest, the illustrious Front 242.

Live in Toronto (Recorded in England)

Recorded in EnglandJohn Lennon is known for many things, and cloning himself and inhabiting two geographical locations at the same time is certainly one of them. Take for example the 1969 release by The Plastic Ono Band, Live Peace in Toronto 1969. Apart from being the first live album recorded by any member of the Beatles, solo or together, Live Peace in Toronto 1969 brought together the monumental talents of John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Eric Clapton (Eric Clapton performs by courtesy of Atlantic Records).

Ok, all that is well and good… but what about this cloning nonsense you speak of? Take a look at the label. It’s an album of material that was recorded live in Toronto, Ontario, BUT, it was, apparently, also an album that was recorded in England.

Think about that for a moment. Performed in Canada… recorded in England.

Why didn’t they just record it in Canada? A fair and reasonable question. I’ll tell you why. It’s because John Lennon cloned himself and was performing live with Yoko and Mr. Slowhand while simultaneously sitting behind the boards at Apple Corps Ltd back in London. Quite an astounding feat, even for John Lennon, but anything is possible if you Imagine. See what I did there?

Post #150

One hundred and fifty days ago I started The Prudent Groove. She’s been a prissy, demanding little bitch (what, with all her “It’s time to get up and write, right now!” brand of creative BS), but overall she’s afforded me the opportunity to interact with some great people from all over this music-loving world. Approaching my music library with an analytical and sagacious mind has been exciting, refreshing, and I’ll admit, from time to time a little confusing. Two hundred and sixteen days to go, and I’ll finally be able to sleep in. Thanks for reading, and someone PLEASE send Greenland a link!

Visitor map as of June 22, 2013.

Visitor map as of June 22, 2013.

Special Offer!

Special OfferDescriptive words… in print… next to full-color album cover pictures… sent directly to the address of my choosing… for only 25¢? Sign me the hell up! This is the ecstatic line of thinking RCA Records had in mind when they advertised their loose leaf booklet on special insert sleeves of their record albums. The Record Album?

Titled “Music America Loves Best” this alphabetical catalog can be shipped directly to your doorstep (or conversion van’s side-door) for only one, easy payment of just 25¢. Upon receiving this staple of profound literature, you’d be awarded the opportunity to peruse a catalog “with alphabetical listing by artist, of all record albums by RCA Records.” No indication of ordering any of these records is provided by this special offer.

RCA Records (aka Radio Corporation of America Records) existed back before the Cubs won their last World Series, and for a measly 25¢, you could own a little piece of recording history… or at least the “complete contents of” the undisputed masterwork that is The Best of Eddy Arnold.

Country Moog Music

Nashville Gold CoverQuestion: What do you get when you maliciously combine Country Music with the Moog synthesizer? Answer: An 8-bit Nintendo sounding, country groovefest titled, Nashville Gold.

“The combination of country music and the Moog brings it all together with a “Now” sound that will hold up for a long time to come.” Betsy Rothner knew this, and now, so do you. Gil Trythall, the brilliant mastermind behind this gap-filling, genre-breaking, crossover album “was born in Tennessee and still lives there with his Moog and some other people.” I hope Mr. Trythall’s Moog is paying its fair share of the bills or those “other people” might start to get uppity and turn Tennessee into a flour spilling, brick breaking riot fest (reference to the album cover).

Nashville Gold Back“Mister, I says, this here’s a cotton-pickin’, finger-lickin’, barbecued, 110 volt, Nashville Moog.” – Gil Trythall on Nashville Moog.

I have no Earthly idea where I got this album, or why it exists to begin with, but somebody, somewhere in time thought they’d jump on the Walter/Wendy Carlos inspired Switched On bandwagon and capitalize on the 15 minute frenzy. This is NOT an album you’d simply throw on in the background at your next, vegetarian dinner party. This is niche music with a demographic consisting only of Gil Trythall’s roommates… the illusive “other people.”

Let’s Turn This Thing Electric

Chem Bros InsertThe Chemical Brothers are known the world over for their elaborate, Big Beat landscapes. This isn’t news. Something a little less talked about however, but just as obvious and synonymous with their crunchy, heart-stopping grooves, is their visual persona. I’m not talking about their mind-melting stage shows. Instead, I’m talking about their nostalgically futuristic cover art and album design.

Presented here is not even the tip of the iceberg. The Chem Bros have been penetrating ear holes for over 20 years, and have released seven proper albums, one soundtrack, six EPs, five comp albums, one live album, 15 promo singles and 26 singles… with an eye catching design, layout and scheme unique to each release. This amazing print was offered as an insert in their 2008 double LP comp album, Brotherhood.

I’ve got a bunch of Chem Bros releases, so keep your eyes peeled, and your ears lubed because the Groove is about to go Big Beat berserk.

Become a Columbia/Epic A&R Advisor for Only $3.00

A&R Advisor AdvertIf you get a few moments, read this inventive mail-order program aimed at late 60s music connoisseurs (I’m assuming it’s from the late 60s as it was found in an album from 1968).

Basically, you’d send Columbia Records $3 ($19.53 by today’s inflation-soaked, nightmare-inducing terms) and over the course of one year, you’d receive 10 special, “7-inch or 33 1/3 sampler records containing unreleased or just-released songs by new people and groups.” After receiving these records, it was your duty as an A&R Advisor to inform Columbia Records which songs tickled your fancy, and which were better suited for the vinyl graveyard, also known as St. Vincent De Paul.

A fairly elaborate concept to comprehend today, given that the same back and forth info-swap between record labels and faithful listeners is now done via the cloud and email, this little piece of music history shows that just because it’s pressed doesn’t mean it’s good, and that just because it’s backed by a label, doesn’t mean they know what the hell they’re doing.

There’s hope for us yet.

Monday, Monday

MM Outer(Raises coffee mug) Here’s hoping your Monday troll-lol-rolls by smoothly, and calmly, with a little hint of unexpected joy thrown in there for good measure. Enjoy your workweek.

MM Inner(Raises coffee mug… again) Oh, I almost forgot, Herb Alpert and his Tijuana Brass wanted me to inform you that their album, The Beat of the Brass is good mood music for unwinding after a hectic day. So, keep that in mind if today turns into one of those, “what the hell do you mean, it’s only Monday?!” kind of days.

(Raises coffee mug… yet again, somewhat awkward and embarrassed) My bad, one more thing… here is a random picture of Herb Alpert playing sweet mood music to a giraffe. Happy Monday!Herb

The Natural Way to Celebrate Father’s Day

Natural 2Randy Newman is something of an inspirational prodigy whose talents know no emotional, as well as Earthly bounds, and whose overwhelming underrated persona almost gives him more credence, considering his flawless ability to churn out amazing piece after jaw-dropping amazing piece of wonderful, heartfelt music. The Natural is no exception and shamefully, I must admit that I didn’t realize he did the score to this perfect film until just now.

My Dad taught me how to throw a baseball. He taught me how to throw a bounce-pass, shoot a free throw and countless other life-learning essentials, but since baseball is largely regarded as a father/son, father/daughter activity, touching upon baseball’s importance to me, and the man who introduced me to it, seemed fitting on this third Sunday of June.

Arguably the best baseball movie ever released, The Natural, and the masterful music that majestically supports this film, make for perfect background music to this sunny Sunday as we pay tribute and homage to fathers all over the world. If you haven’t already, offer your thanks to your father in your own special way. To all the fathers out there reading this, enjoy your day and thanks for all your hard work!

The Wurst of P.D.Q. Bach

P.D.Q. Bach CoverThere are days when I hate The Groove. This time sucking, sleep-depriving exercise that began, mainly to explore my record collection (and the limits of my patience), loves to sneak up on me. Just when I think I’ll have a quick post, and then merrily continue on with my day, something interesting pops up and I’m forced to explore it, or live out the rest of my days regretting the time I DIDN’T spend on something worthy of, well, my time. I blame this guilty conscience, and P.D.Q. Bach.

I was going to introduce a “new category” today. I was going to call it Cover Focus, where the subject of the post would, well, focus on an album’s cover (I could have managed another, more creative title, but it was 6:04 in the morning, so, lay off!). I had the cover to The Wurst of P.D.Q. Bach in mind when I imagined the lucrative future of Cover Focus (seeing it on billboards and on the sides of buses rolling from town to Groove happy town). Instead, my curiosity took hold and I began to research Professor Peter Schickele and the composer, P.D.Q. Bach.

Wurst BackWhat I found out was absolutely hilarious, and borderlines on genius. Peter Schickele (a graduate from Juilliard and former classmate of Philip Glass… a Glassmate if you will), creates an artificial, and comical, world within the often-humorless Classical Music genre. In this world, the Professor (of the fictitious University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople) “unearths” discarded, and often terrible, works by P.D.Q. Bach (the counterfeit child of Johann Sebastian Bach). On this album, a best of P.D.Q. Bach, or Wurst of, if you will (or if you won’t… the album is pressed… it’s done), is performed by the Professor and his magnificent Chamber Orchestra in front of a sizable audience that isn’t afraid to show their appreciation with bursts of laughter and arousing applause (man, do I LOVE the run on sentence).

I imagine it is exceptionally difficult to create good music, and I bet it’s exponentially difficult to create really good “bad” music. For that, and the several, and also genuine, laugh-out-louds I expressed from listening to this album, I humbly, and with a pinch of new-found admiration, thank Professor Peter Schickele for his duty in preserving the great many works of P.D.Q. Bach.

A New World of Sound… On Decca

Decca Family TreeDecca Records spans an almost spectrum-like array of eclectic ear candy. Ranging from Children’s music (Winnie the Pooh), to Hawaiian music (Alfred Apaka), to Classical (Vivaldi), and last but certainly not least, to William Shatner (in whose 1968 album, The Transformed Man, I excavated this colorful insert).

It’s always interesting to see how creative these self-promoting record label inserts get in attempting to showcase their less-than-chart-topping-hit-records. I particularly dig this insert’s layout and how a simple arrow (repeated, obviously) can direct the eye to what the designer wants to showcase, and the order in which they want it presented. It’s almost a roadmap that effectively leads to the consumer’s ultimate destination… A New World of Sound… On Decca.

Golden Throat(s)

Golden ThroatsSo much can be said about this celebrity-singing-covers compilation. Essays that inspire men towards intergalactic travel, lifesaving breakthroughs in medicine, and profound human rights activism have been written, studied, and taught from this album (no evidence of this exists). Yes, many words have been spoken, but none pertaining to this album approach the colossal distinction of nobility, decorum, and heartfelt enthusiasm as the following two, majestic words: William Shatner.

William Shatner. The name alone is powerful enough to move mountains, but the man himself…  you see, is no mere “man” at all. Not in the common use of the word, anyway. He’s somewhat of a Superlative-man (please picture a striking red “S” on the broad chest of this transcendent man). He’s someone who can create galaxies with his thoughts, rectify world peace simply by offering a slight smirk, and, as evident from this album, is able to sends both The Beatles and Bob Dylan to shame-town by outperforming their classic hits, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and the timeless, Mr. Tambourine Man.

Aside from the obvious highlights already mentioned, this GOLDEN album features Leonard Nimoy singing a Creedence Clearwater Revival track, Mae West performing Twist and Shout, and Andy Griffith tackling House of the Rising Sun. The term eclectic was reinvented when this album was released.

William Shatner is a man transformed; a star that may die, but whose light will burn on for lifetimes to come. Golden Throats, although it only contains two of his brilliant works, is a beaming example of this. There may be 14 “songs” on this album, but for me, it’s a single with 12 bonus tracks. Golden Throats comes HIGHLY recommended.

Value is an Ambiguous Term

I didn't know what to take a picture of, so here is a row of records.

I didn’t know what photo to include, so here is a random row of records.

I don’t often do this. In fact, I’ve only done it once… right now.

A friend (I use this term loosely… truthfully, he’s one of my favorites… man, I hope he’s not reading) hipped me to a great article on the frightening parallels of collecting vinyl discs to packs of sports cards. With a childhood packed (no pun intended) with countless sports-card-treasure-hunting-excavations (mainly $0.50 packs of 1990 Score baseball, in search of the coveted Bo Jackson football/baseball card), I immediately drew a stark conclusion to the article without even reading it. I did, however, eventually read the article, and I strongly, and with esteemed fervor, suggest you do the same.

I’m going to get preachy for a minute, which is usually reserved for those rare times when I’ve had a few too many single-malts and some random, nonsensical point unfolds from my feeble brain that I desperately yearn for people to listen to, instead of merely hear. Reservations are society’s great vocal silencers:

LISTEN TO YOUR RECORDS! If you collect comic books, READ YOUR COMIC BOOKS! If action figures are your bag, REMOVE THE TOYS FROM THEIR WORTHLESS PACKAGING AND PLAY WITH THEM! The notion of purchasing some inanimate object, with which to do nothing but hope it’ll yield you an early retirement is, quite honestly, asinine! It took me a lot longer than I’m willing to admit to come to this conclusion and let me tell you, actually listening to my records, AKA using a consumable item for its intended purpose, not to mention absorbing the joyous memories found in doing so, IS THE POINT! Life is entirely too short not to enjoy, or at least attempt to enjoy, each and every moment. That first pressing of Tool’s Ænima is not going to put your kid through college. Listen to it, and in doing so, remember that the purpose of the record isn’t to gaze greedily upon its rarity, but instead to enjoy the wealthy contents found within the grooves. Seems prudent enough, no?