1969’s best selling album (in the US), was also the second studio effort by San Diego psychedelic rock Gods, Iron Butterfly. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, the song, occupies the entire second side of the record, and clocks in at a whopping 17:05. Atlantic Records wouldn’t see a more successful album until the release of Led Zeppelin’s IV in 1971. Which begs the question, why has it taken me so long to obtain this piece of modern rock history?!
Ramatam’s 1972 debut album first caught my eye from an early 70’s Atlantic Records insert. The almost modern simplicity of the cover (red, white, and blue text over black background) stood out to me, mainly as I’d never heard of the band, but also because I thought the all-caps boldness of the art demanded some exploring. I filed that image away and went on about my day, which turned into a few months, then finally to little over a year where I (just recently) found a copy for a cool $4.98 at my local b&m (brick and mortar). This, their first album (of two) contained some heavy, early 70’s names (Mitch Mitchell, drums, having spent time with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Mike Pinera, guitar and vocals, from Blues Image). It’s sad that Ramatam’s stint only spanned two albums over two years (1972-1973), but with such a small discography, they’re certainly worth checking out.
Not only is Atco an unincorporated gaggle of pleasant homesteaders in Camden County, New Jersey, it’s also a record label and subsidiary of Atlantic Records Corporation (ATlantic COrporation… see what they did there?). Founded in 1955, ATCO served as an outlet for acts that, for one reason or another, didn’t fit the Atlantic Records format (Atlantic Records needs to lighten up if you ask me).
One of ATCO’s early releases is the 1964 compilation titled, Ain’t She Sweet. I don’t own this record… but I wish I did. It features The Beatles (with Tony Sheridan, recorded in 1961), and fetches a hefty $600 on Discogs. Keep an eye out for this one in the $1 bins.
What I dig most about these old inserts, apart from the frequent reminder of how to care for my records, is the variety of new bands I otherwise wouldn’t have heard of. Now, I’ve heard of Bent Fabric (Bent Fabricius-Bjerre), but I didn’t realize that most of his covers featured animals. My favorite from this insert is undoubtedly, The Drunken Penguin. That, coupled with Alley Cat, The Happy Puppy, and Never Tease Tigers just became the top four records in my want list.
Thanks to the nice people of Atco, and ATCO for the groovy suggestions.