A Ménage à trois of Stereo Sound

Motorola 3 FrontThis 10” demo record sleeve was tucked inside a random Goodwill find, and from 1959, advertises a new, three amp phonograph from Motorola… yes, THAT Motorola.

My best guess is that this record was either offered to phonograph dealers when these new, Motorola 3 Amplifier Stereophonic High Fidelity phonographs were released, or it accompanied the unit upon its purchase. Either way, this was a 10-track compilation record containing handpicked material that best showcased these 3 amplifier units.

Motorola 3 BackA quick Google search reveals a vintage advert from 1960, featuring two of these (extremely expensive) 3 amp units. The SK28 model goes for a whopping $329.95 ($2522.93 adjusted for inflation) where as the smaller model retailed for $299.95 ($2293.54 adjusted for inflation). Lucky for the folks of the late 50s, early 60s, this particular advert offers a payment plan, starting with $10 down ($76.46 adjusted for inflation). Something seems WAY out of whack here, but I don’t have time to give it any more thought.

I never owned the record that this sleeve swore to protect, but it’s nice to see Motorola’s logo hasn’t changed in the past 54 years.

Get Rhythm

Get RhythmWhen times are tough and you’d rather stand in the darkness and shout for hours at the starless sky, Get Rhythm.

When your boss’ ego takes priority over what’s best for everyone involved, Get Rhythm.

When you find that honesty takes backseat to the convenience of fearful confrontation, Get Rhythm.

When the squirrels have finally found an effective way to raid the bird feeder, and it’s time to say goodbye to the birds, Get Rhythm.

When social decencies are ignored for selfish, single-minded objectives, Get Rhythm.

When popularity eclipses the right thing to do, Get Rhythm.

When you get the blues, Get Rhythm.

It only costs a dime, just a nickel a shoe

Does a million dollars worth of good for you

– J. R. Cash

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

(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.”

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.

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?

If I Had No Loot

No Loot Cover1993 was an interesting year. I was 14, and back then, New Jack Swing was alive and violently flowing from the radio waves like a raging river of hip hop and dance-pop fusion, but you know, with tight-rolled Z Cavaricci’s and LA Gear footwear.

Shifting away from spoon-fed radio, for me, was a slow burn.  We only had two radio stations that played anything other than Western or Country, and the closest record store was something like 40 miles away. A bit too far for me and my trusty BMX, as it turned out.

No Loot BackIf I Had No Loot was a recent purchase, a $1 thrift store find actually, and serves as one of those “throwback” records that I’ll frequent when the thoughts of my younger years slowly begin to seep through the thin layer of 2013 reality. Other bands that fit this category include Animotion, Tone-Lōc, Paula Abdul, R.E.M., Prince, Jane’s Addiction, Faith No More and Pet Shop Boys (I was a confused kid).

For all its amazing shortcomings, If I Had No Loot still manages to stand its ground, and is as catchy and enjoyable as when I heard it for the first time screaming from Z-104 (104 FM) out of Madison, WI. People say music is timeless. I say, music is a time casket, emerging from yesteryear like a Pepe jean, Hypercolor shirt wearing zombie.

This Protective Envelope

Capitol Protective EnvelopeThis protective envelope is a hoss! ­With its abrasion fighting, scratch deterrent capabilities, this protective envelope guards your record’s grooves like a well trained, and slightly hungry, Navy SEAL.

Dust, frosting, coffee, weapons of mass destruction… you name it, this protective envelope will not only terminate any potential harm set to attack your cherished records, it will publicly humiliate the enemy with a shaming and mocking tone.

This protective envelope doesn’t offer these prestigious promises for free. Prepare to treat this protective envelope as if it painfully, yet lovingly, emerged from your womb. Give this protective envelope the proper love, sympathy and attention it requires. Because, let’s face it… can we really put a price on our records’ safety and well-being? No. The answer is no, we cannot.

This protective envelope thanks you for your time and asks that you please wash your damn hands before thinking of laying a finger on your precious records.

Slim’s Got His Eye On You

The Wandering EyeIt isn’t the warm, southern drawl of ‘Slim’ Boyd as he tackles 10 of Hank Williams’ finest that demands immediate and time-sucking attention. Slim’s 25mph approach on this tribute album doesn’t wander into any slippery or explosive territory, but the album cover certainly suggests otherwise.

Possessing no shame, remorse, or any qualities that make an upstart gentleman, ‘Slim” Boyd goes for broke… if only in his mind. You’re going to need to, um, read between the “lines” here. Take a look at the cover again. What EXACTLY is hound dog Slim looking at? Slim at His Finest

SmirkIf you’re on the fence, or think my observations are overreaching, I humbly suggest you take a stroll over to the smirk on good ol’ Slim’s face.

Hank Williams is dead. Yes, but his music will forever live on through the wandering, able-minded, and easily distracted ‘Slim’ Boyd.

Game: What’s the Difference?

When I was a youngster, I absolutely loved those “can you spot the difference?” games in the back of magazines that presented two, almost identical pictures side by side, where in which the object was to find the subtle differences between the two pictures. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered, almost by accident, that several of the doubles in my collection were different issues, and therefore had very subtle differences. I thought to myself, hmm, why not create a “can you spot the difference?’ game for the readers of The Prudent Groove?

Presented below are five pictures, each picture containing two albums. Can you spot the difference between them? Answers to each are located in the comments… DON’T CHEAT!Alpert

Galactic Funk

Ill

Cypress Hill

CCR

SLIMNASTICS

SlimSummer is swiftly approaching, and you know what that means. It’s time to abandon that pint of Chunky Monkey and drop those lingering “depression pounds” so you can become the best, superficial, objectified, shallow beach snob in all of Los Angeles County!

You’re probably asking yourself, “But how will I lose this row of bicycle tires in time to accept my crown as Big Kahuna of Venice Beach?” SLIMNASTICS is how. SLIMNASTICS is an ancient exercise technique of foolish looking, and ineffective body positions that you can struggle to achieve in the comfort of your own living room (with the lights off and all the shades drawn).

ManSLIMASTICS is designed by Dr. Charles A. Bucher, a guy famous for doing stuff (his resume is on the back sleeve in case you question his academic prodigiousness). With one side of the record devoted for men, and the other for women, Dr. Bucher engulfs your home stereo system and coaches you, step-by-step, on how to touch your toes and lift your arms. He’s offered a series of Picturegrams (I’m pretty sure ol’ Charlie made this word up) that oversimplify the insanely complex technique known as the push-up (among others).

WomanDig through your box of “To Goodwill” clothes and adorn those embarrassingly tight running shorts because Dr. Charles A. Bucher and his award-winning exercise program, SLIMNASTICS, are going to fool you into believing you can achieve social acceptance with a slim, new, beach-friendly body.

(The Prudent Groove is not responsible if you do not achieve social acceptance with your slim, new, beach-friendly body.)

Train Your Bird to Talk

Bird CoverAre you a lonely bird owner who, until now, hasn’t realized your life lacks that proper amount of relaxing, mundane conversation with your trapped, feathered friend? Well, didn’t you come to the right place, you crazy little bird owner, you? Yesterday I unearthed this remarkable album at Goodwill, and with a morbid curiosity the size of say, a Lincoln Town Car, I rushed home to discover what a record specifically designed to train a bird to mimic say, a monologue written by Aaron Sorkin, would actually sound like.

After a brief and surprisingly soothing acoustic soiree, a calming female voice emits from the left, then the right channel repeating, “Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello…” As I sat and listened to this woman repeat this two-syllable word from opposite ends of the room, I began to count. The Prudent Groove is very happy to report that track one from Train Your Bird to Talk consists of a woman saying, “hello” 122 times. I’d love to see what the budget for this record was as I’m almost 122% certain that this “voice actor” said “hello” exactly one time, then it was looped for an excruciating 87 minutes (it may have been just over three minutes, but it felt like a hellish torture chamber of lies, burnt toast, wet socks and whatever else gets under my skin that I can’t conjure up at the moment).

Bird BackIf there was an award for the most useless, ridiculous, unnecessary, wholeheartedly avoidable record ever pressed, Train Your Bird to Talk would win it hands down. That being stated, I don’t reconsider my purchase for a moment. After all, you never know when 3 ½ minutes of a woman saying, “hello pretty bird” might come in handy.

Much Love, Dick ‘73

Clark CoverI shudder to think what unspeakable things happened to the previous owner of this album, Jeanette Cannon, and why her coveted, signed copy of Dick Clark’s 20 Years of Rock N’ Roll was simply lumped in with a string of unlistenable drivel on the bookshelf at my corner thrift store.

I hope Jeanette Cannon had an enthusiastic experience upon meeting Mr. Clark and that every time she played this double LP, she’d look upon Dick’s inscription and, like the timely music found within, would find herself carried off into a warm, blissful memory.

Jeanette CannonI had these thoughts, until my investigatory mind began to churn. You see, back in the day, owners of albums used to bring specific selections of their personal music library to social gatherings and what not, and because they’d all want to make sure they left with the music they’d brought, these planners-ahead would all write their names on the albums, as to squash any confusion upon closing time. Makes sense, right? As you can see, this copy of Dick Clark’s 20 Years of Rock N’ Roll is no different. So, Jeanette Cannon wrote her name on a sticker on the bottom right corner of the cover: Clue #1.

Clark SignedOn the back, next to a dashing picture of Dick Clark holding this very album, which is a nice, Inception-like touch, Mr. Clark writes,

To Jeanette & Freddie

Two good friends

Much Love

Dick ‘73

Jeanette & Freddie… hmm: Clue #2. So I do some quick Google search for Jeanette Cannon in Los Angeles and not much comes up. I paid it no mind, put the record in the “to listen to” pile (a rather large pile, by the way), and didn’t think about it again until this morning when scouring the collection for something to write about. This time, however, I Googled Freddie Cannon, and what I found was something of a pleasant surprise.

According to www.freddycannon.com, the man was quiet famous in the music world of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, and went by a name you may have heard of, Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon. This site also confirms that Freddy’s wife’s name is… you guessed it, Jeanette Cannon. What threw me off was the variation in the spelling of Freddy, as Freddie by Mr. Clark, but a few minutes Googling reveals this to be a common alias for Mr. Boom Boom.

So, this double LP was personally presented, by Dick Clark, to Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon, and his wife Jeanette sometime in 1973. It was loved, cherished, toted around to casual dinner parties, and played with an illuminating fondness for the past… that was until about a month ago when I discovered it at a thrift shop and purchased it for $4: Mystery solved.

It’s not often I find signed Dick Clark records at my local thrift stores, but when I do, it’s comforting to know it was a personal gift to Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon and his lovely wife, Jeanette.