In 1984, Rhino Records, with exclusive license from Sun International Corporation, released this beautiful Greatest Hits album as a radiant picture disc. Long gone were the rights to Elvis, but each of the other legendary Sun Records icons are present. Roy Orbison doing Ooby Dooby, Carl Perkins doing Honey Don’t and Blue Suede Shoes, Billy Lee Riley doing Red Hot, Junior Parker with Feelin’ Good and Mystery Train, Jerry Lee Lewis with Great Balls of Fire and Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, and of course, Johnny Cash with Folsom Prison Blues. It’s worth owning even if picture discs are prone to skip (and they are).
As an avid follower of all things Mike Patton, I’ll confess that it’s taken a bit of research and development to man the interweaving road of his illustrious and diverse career. Irony is a Dead Scene (The Dillinger Escape Plan with Mike Patton) skipped past my radar upon its first release, but I was happy to find my way with the 2010 reissue. Now with social media playing a fundamental roll with any discernible artist with a “like,” information for upcoming releases don’t require as much legwork.
Peeping Tom here, was an unplanned discovery during a time that (more or less) predated the uncomfortable knowledge of every artists’ every move. Gravy for us collectors, a bit awkward for the talent. Anyway, if you ever wanted to hear a wacked-out collaboration between Mike Patton, Dan the Automator and Norah Jones, Peeping Tom is your guy.
My history with the famed prodigy of sensual sleaze is both long and enduring. Having accidentally stumbled across his sexual shtick back in 2000 at a sold out Alkaline Trio / Hot Water Music show at a now unknown Chicago club, my 21-year-old self couldn’t quite comprehend exactly what the hell this beefy, golden-voiced Midwesterner was doing up on stage between sets. His passion and talent eclipsed the belly laughs and sneers from the late winter crowd, and I was instantly struck with a rush of awe and morbid curiosity. I believe he played two songs that night, one of them being an early favorite (thanks to this “show”) Baby Do You Like My Clothes?
This album, Har Mar Superstar’s first, features the two bonus tracks, Wet Lovin’ and Sexual Contractor, and was acquired at the now defunct Atomic Records in Milwaukee. I distinctly remember a brief conversation with the store clerk and his overt disdain for my purchase. To each their own.
Underneath the wet and slippery layer of erotic bravado is an imaginative and intelligent songwriter with a beautiful voice, and the zeal of a thousand burning suns. Go in for the laugh, come out with overwhelming appreciation.
Stickers promoting albums that showcase no signifying identification on their covers intrigue me a bit. I’m not entirely sure why, but it may have something to do with the idea that these stickers are meant to be discarded along with the plastic factory seal on which they live. With that humble thought in mind, stickers like this, found on Tool’s 2005 vinyl release of the 2001 album, Lateralus, would, by 2015, be all but extinct from the social conscious. It’s stupid, I know, but I treat these little additives as bonus time capsules that need preserving with the same amount of care as the records themselves. Just another thing to keep, save, hoard, and appreciate, I suppose.
The Story of Star Wars is one that is told by children of all ages. It’s an epic tale, full of grandeur and swash buckling angry men. It’s older than I am and can be heard from the mouths of babes echoing throughout every galaxy known to man. This 1977 picture disc featuring the Dark Lord of the Sith is a hurried version of that award winning tale. It is narrated by the late Roscoe Lee Browne, who you may recognize from Alfred Hitchcock’s Topaz, Logan’s Run and his role as Saunders, the Tates’ butler from Soap after Benson left to star in his own sitcom.
The Story of Star Wars had been previously released in non-picture disc form and features the modeling of two classic droids, one Astromech and one Protocol (I don’t need to take a picture, you’ve seen it).
Produced by George Lucas (no surprise there), this version comes with a small warning on the back sleeve which states: NOTICE: If played excessively the sound quality of this limited edition collectors’ item may not equal the original album previously released in a jacket bearing different artwork.
Basically, it’s a pretty picture record that skips a lot.