A Rainbow of Fidelity

Nothing says, “hey, check out our rainbow of color” quite like fine, black and white type. ABC-Paramount’s Full Color Fidelity doesn’t mess around with “sound for sound’s sake,” so don’t even bother with them. Their no-nonsense approach to hi-fidelity is stamped on the backs of their coveted releases (this one from Candido in ’57), so have a quick read at the photo to the left and, oh, hey! Produced by Creed Taylor. Listen with confidence, kids.

(Insert Joke Here)

1987 called… they want their insert back. So, I haven’t spun a record in like, four days, and for some reason, out jumps Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven on Earth. Baby, I was afraid before, but I’m not afraid anymore… This was the best I could do to erase the awful Bagel Bites jingle out from beneath my skull… like Belinda Carlisle, something I’d not heard in several years.

Rather

Previously only released on compact disc in Sweden (back in 1996), Refused’s Rather Be Dead E.P. received its first US release via Epitaph Records on nifty crystal clear vinyl (photo featured here… obviously). As a companion to the band’s sophomore offering, Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent, this E.P. (or is it EP?) offers a wider range of hardcore not featured on the studio LP (save for the title track), and is a must for any Refused junkie (like myself).

7 Years in the Taking

It’s a bit terrifying to comprehend that the Beastie Boys album Hot Sauce Committee Part Two dropped 7 years ago. It would prove to be their last, as little over a year later, founding member Adam Yauch would be dead from cancer. This ghostly drawing of Mr. Yauch would be one of the last fans would see (top row, third from the left). This insert is from record one of HSCP2. RIP MCA.

Emitex 101

From what I could (quickly) gather, Emitex was a British-based cleaning material used by Parlophone in the 60’s, then by EMI Records throughout the 70’s. It was also a prominent badge on all British-released Beatles albums, such as this reissue of PMC 1202, Please Please Me. Several variations of this classic stamp are found around the web, but little has been preserved about the Emitex material itself. With more time, I’ll dig a bit deeper.

McCartney

Much has been written about Paul McCartney’s debut solo album, 1970’s McCartney. Most notably, Paul’s refusal to delay the Apple Records release in order to follow previously planned titles… like The Beatles’ Let it Be. I’ve given this record two spins from two different turntables within the last 12 hours, and though I’ll admit my experience with solo Beatles projects are gravely “less than,” I quite enjoy the playful, often unfinished rawness of McCartney. Certainly not an album that will receive heavy spinning, but a fun journey, if even for its historical significance.

Inflammable Material

Happy to finally welcome into the fold this amazing and essential punk album, Inflammable Material from Ireland’s Stiff Little Fingers. Originally released in 1979, this 1980 US pressing was offered by Rough Trade Inc., 1412 Grant Ave., San Francisco, CA 94133… for those wondering. I’d been on the hunt for this album since my Milwaukee days back in the early 2000’s, and only just found out that the opening track, Suspect Device (which is arguably among the top three on the album) is a slightly different recording from the bootleg CD version I’ve known and have grown to love in the 18-some-odd years since I knew of this album’s existence… so that’s bitter sweet. Anyway, if you’re into seminal punk from across the pond with a timestamp of nearly 40 years, get into Inflammable Material. Simply put, it’s one of the best albums I’ve ever heard.

Discs-O-Plenty

From Lure of Tahiti by Terorotua and His Tahitians, to Drinking Songs Sung Under the Table by The Blazers, ABC-Paramount has, at your disposal, a very wide range of monophonic and stereophonic records to choose from. Whether you’re in the mood for Latin Fire (Candido), or maybe a little Polka-Go-Round (Lou Prohut and his Polka-Go-Rounders), it’s all here, in brilliant printed color, courtesy of ABC-Paramount Records.

That’s Pretty Potent, Pal

Another percussion piece to ponder… Don Catelli and the All Stars’ sophomore effort, Potent Percussion received the same dynamic stereo treatment as Monday’s Passionate Percussion, complete with badass minimalist cover art. You should check on this Directional Sound series, but don’t take my word for it. Have a brief read from the inner gatefold. Circa: 1961-ish.

The strikingly colored program of durable standards has been inventively arranged to provide new perspectives on these songs with particularly brisk and yet supple use of the full resources of a modern percussion section. As in all of DIRECTIONAL SOUND’s full-ranged high fidelity series, all the intersecting lines and cross-rhythms are recorded to perfect balance with thrilling clarity and depth.

Passionate Percussion

Passionate Percussion was Directional Sound’s answer to the largely popular Command Records series Persuasive Percussion and Provocative Percussion. Don Catelli and the All Stars belt out easy listening Bossanova-style jazz with a Latin twist and a bombastic, almost passionate backing percussion. The covers from Directional Sound rival those from Command Records and feature minimalist, mid-century designs on high quality gatefold sleeves. There appears to only be 22 released from Directional Sound between 1960 – 1963, so start your checklist today with Passionate Percussion. You won’t be disappointed.

The Singles Collection

The 2012 7″ compilation box set, Bizarre Ride II: The Pharcyde (The Singles Collection) is convenient way to quickly obtain (nearly) all of the singles, and their subsequent remixes, from the monumental debut album, Bizarre Ride II: The Pharcyde by, well, The Pharcyde. This box set features the album version, acappella and instrumental versions, and various remixes for (nearly) every single from the album (save for Otha Fish and 4 Better or 4 Worse where only the album and acapella versions are present). There is another, busier box set of this 7″ collection that contains CDs, a poster, and a 120-piece jigsaw puzzle. This version however, does not.