It’s nice to see that in some corners of the world (the frozen Midwest), factory sealed full length LPs such as this Buddy Holly compilation, Buddy, can be had for a cheap $12. That’s a brand new record, with 23 tracks, for $12. Buddy, at 180 grams, takes full advantage of the 12″ format by combining Mr. Holly’s first two albums into one LP (1958’s Buddy Holly and That’ll Be the Day). Pressed and released in the UK, I strongly suggest finding a Buddy near you.
They wouldn’t be revered if they weren’t delicious. In the most simplistic of terms, Crass were holders of mirrors, reflecting the filth and smut of humanity. Blaming the frame which holds the mirror is much more popular than facing the impure and whorish tendencies we all inhabit as we stand and reflect. We hope to see something fixed, something humane, but reflection cannot, and does not lie.
I passed on the opportunity to snatch the 2013 Record Store Day reissue of the US version of The Zombies’ debut album (titled The Zombies in the states, Begin Here in the UK). I didn’t think much for the bastardized cover, and although the album is obviously essential listening material, I opted to hold out for the original UK art. At my local hit-or-miss brick-and-mortar the other day I found this amazing gem, a UK import of the 2014 limited edition reissue. If Heinz ketchup has taught me anything, it’s that good things come to those who wait, so I feel I made the educated decision. Plus, this copy sounds flippin’ amazing! Side A is unstoppable, and it’s sad to fathom that this amazing band only lasted for two albums. Next on the “need” list, their 2nd, and last album, 1968’s Odessey and Oracle.
Because the only way to stop a Tim Hardin train from derailing is a head-on collision with a low-hanging bridge of fate (and that can mean whatever the hell you want it to mean). My latest obsession is now in its third phase of its (six-part) metamorphosis, the phase I call, “The Later Works of Tim that Didn’t Sell Very Well, and That are Generally Difficult to Find.”
The next phase, phase four, is “Formal Completion of Tim’s Studio Albums,” which will kick into gear as soon as my 1970 copy of Suite for Susan Moore and Damion arrives at my doorstep (likely within seven days). The later albums, I’ve come to find, offer much more sentimentality than Tim’s earlier efforts, but still maintain that biting cleverness and songwriting craftsmanship that demand constant and continuous play.
I’m in a Tim Hardin-sized coma, and I hope I never open my eyes again.
A hearty thanks to JWick1 for this amazing double LP (proper post forthcoming). Arthur (or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) is a personal fav, and this graduated version is, simply put, the bee’s knees. A collector and avid Kinks fan cannot go wrong with both mono and stereo versions of this outstanding album. Thanks again, senior choch!
Squeeze’s first album is a fantastic, British firework of pop explosion. Here, it’s presented in fire-red vinyl, with the sticker promoting the classic, Take Me, I’m Yours. I can offer nothing more than this printed, advertisement, and an early morning photo of said fire-red record. If you don’t know Squeeze, you don’t know.
I’m infrequently one to pimp, verbatim, the concise and thought-out, profit-based, self-reflecting statements from record labels that tickle my fancy. With two parts respect, and three parts laziness, I present the NovaMute creed, in its entirety, without any half-assed PG interruption (found scrolled within the insert to the double LP, NovaMute Kompilation):
Rewind 1993, birthdate Novamute, Mute’s original dysfunctional sibling. A label torn kicking and screaming from the belly of Mute records, a label to satisfy the parent company’s love of the electronic pulse, a label to take things further into the dark heart of the sampler and synth. Fond of laughing in the face of expectations, NovaMute has never been an easy child. Always preferring the unexpected, the label has set a standard documenting the often highly idiosyncratic output of many of Europe’s finest electronic renegades. Never one to tame the extremes of their roster, their artists have benefited from the open-mindedness of the label’s philosophy. The result ? A salvo of critically loved and sometimes blindly misunderstood records that have often shaken electronic music’s foundations. Five years is a long time in music, but one thing has remained constant, NovaMute’s ability to keep on pushing the envelope and redefine the way we look at dance music in the 1990’s. The strongest evidence? Their roster includes Speedy J, Luke Slater, Plastikman, Joey Baltram and Darren Price. Let the music speak for itself. Case closed.
I’d seen etched records before… in a collection curated by a friend during my early days as an optimistic and fragile young collector. It blew my mind at the time (a lot did at 19), but other than a displayable novelty, I really didn’t see much of the point. That was until I stumbled across this etched Pass the Mic by the Beastie Boys.
I’ve been a Beasties fan since discovering a beat-up compact disc of Paul’s Boutique in the Junior High Tech Ed. wing at my local middle school. It was scratched to all hell, but for reasons that still keep me up at night, that damn disc played like a champ… fate, or high-end electronics of the compact disc playing nature in early 1992 deserves a lifetime of thanks.
Anywho, this is a single sided, etched UK 12” EP of general limited edition tendencies, and I’ll be damned if I know what the hell to do with it. I can’t for the life of me imagine any sort of framed display that would give this monster its deserving, mic passin’ respect… so, sandwiched between the Jimmy James and Gratitude singles it sits… longing for a better, more appreciated purpose.
I have very little time this morning (which unsurprisingly turned into late evening), so I’m going to get right to the point. Crass. That’s my point. To sum up something as historically imperative as Crass would be beyond devastating… so here goes: Dangerously accurate art punk done right.
Because I know the majority of you don’t care for in-your-face social snarls, here is a less than typical Crass song called, Walls (Fun in the Oven). No jabs at the Queen, declarations of a corrupt system, or stiff middle fingers saluting traditional moral values (there may be a hint of that). Roughly, Walls is a thick, spoon-fed helping of the conformist “rule” that husband + wife + baby = happiness. Enjoy!
Why the UK and the US didn’t get along is something I’ve never been able to comprehend. Oh sure, things may be all fine and good now (for now…), but back in the day (and before my time), it seems that ego took precedent over creative output. Case in point, this Reprise Records insert from (roughly) 1965.
Featured on this beautiful little rock artifact (rock-ifact?), are two albums, or rather fabrications released by The Kinks. First (left side near the bottom) is the US version of their 1964 debut called simply, The Kinks. The original track lineup, cover art and title have been ignored for the supposed candy-grabbing, fat-bellied, narrow-minded delights of US audiences. Here it is titled You Really Got Me. There, it’s appropriately titled The Kinks. Why the change? Yet another age-old question whose real answer has been mummified and lives buried within the damp and dusty crypt of music’s blotchy past. (Wikipedia offers their decent explanation of this butchering practice that can found here.)
Second, and along the same lines is 1965’s Kinks-Size (middle). Here, US meatheads grabbed material from the EP Kinksize Session, leftover tracks from their debut, and both sides to two of their singles, Tired of Waiting for You and All Day and All of the Night. This Frankenstein makes for a decent listen, because let’s be honest, there really isn’t a bad Kinks song (before 1973), but it’s disjointing and certainly NOT what the band had intended. Wankers, the lot of them!
So, what’s the point? I dunno. Why couldn’t we all just get along? That, or I just really dig old inserts. Carry on.
Is that a Ronald Reagan look-alike grabbing his nether regions in apocalyptic agony? Why, yes, it is. Following the international success of their first single, Relax, Frankie Goes to Hollywood released the anti-war, half tongue-in-cheek, half a bit-too-close-to-home, funk-friendly dance anthem, Two Tribes.
Accompanied by an outrageous video, Two Tribes broke a whole bunch of UK chart records that, at the time, I was completely oblivious to. To be fair, in 1984 my daily routine consisted of dropping my Bespin Han Solo action figure from a covered bridge in a suicidal leap just in time for my electric train to speed by and run him over. Han survived, and was able to go on fighting the good fight (that was, until Joe & Cobra infiltrated my childhood just a few short years later).
Focusing on the hyper-exaggerated (he said jokingly) possibility of global nuclear war, Frankie & crew regurgitated a positive product from an extremely negative scenario. If you ask me, and you didn’t, Two Tribes withstood the test of time, and should serve as a welcome accompaniment to any record collection, regardless of which side of the fence your political beliefs may fall.
Yesterday was a good day in terms of record pecking. I was able to find the following four albums (two firsts and two comps) for relatively cheap (it’s not only about the find… it’s also about the deal, as you all well know).
First up is The Rolling Stones’ self-titled debut, The Rolling Stones. Now, there were two copies of this album over at Record Surplus, and both sleeves were in pretty good shape. The copy I left behind was priced at $35, but the version I brought home was only $5. Record Surplus is thoughtful enough to provide listening stations (available, albeit restrictive, in five minute intervals). The record looked a bit choppy, but after a test spin, it proved to be only visually perverted. Score one for The Groove!
Second is Tim Hardin’s first album, Tim Hardin 1. I’m absolutely loony over Tim Hardin’s brand of white boy blues (after discovering his 1967 released, 1963-1964 recorded album, This is Tim Hardin). If you don’t know Tim Hardin, you don’t know anguish. It’s as simple as that.
Third and fourth are two of the three part series of early 80s UK punk comps titled, Punk and Disorderly. I’d first heard of these comps via NOFX lyrics in the song, Punk Guy that go “He should’ve been on the cover of Punk and Disorderly.” With 16 tracks apiece, I eagerly look forward to angry meditations in UK punk.
So, there you have it. British Invasion, White Boy Blues, and early UK Punk. Not bad for a stroll down to the corner shop.
On a recent excursion to the corner thrift shops, I was able to unearth a few awkward gems. Let me back-up a bit and say, wholeheartedly, that inflation is a bastard. I’m going to sound very old, very quickly here, so please bear with me. I can remember strolling into any random thrift shop and paying nothing over $0.99 for a used record. Today, tainted by the thick, grubby hands of the monetary virus known as inflation, these thrift shops, that receive all of these records for free, mind you, are selling records for $3 a pop! Granted, yes, $3 for a record is still a monumental steal, but I clearly would have picked up at least two, possibly three more albums had the price been “what it used to be.”
I believe it was George Costanza who said, “I pay what I want.” I’m strongly considering adopting that principle. It blows my feeble mind to think who would ever pay $3 for a scratched-to-hell Lawrence Welk album with a ripped cover. Ok, my teeny-tiny rant over with, I wanted to present the three, newest additions to my collection. First up is the 1975 Win, Lose or Draw by the Allman Brothers Band. My catalog of Allman Brothers music is small, so this will help the cause.
Second is a 1962 UK release of Mrs. Mills’ Mrs. Mills Plays the Roaring Twenties. In almost pristine shape, Mrs. Mills Plays the Roaring Twenties is a nostalgic (for someone, I suppose) keepsake for the burlesque-inspired and boa flinging dance parlors of a decade nearly a century old. Not to mention, the cover is priceless (even though it was had for three times the price I would have like to have paid).
Last, but certainly not least, is a magnificent 1975 album from an artist I’d never heard of, Martin Crosbie (with Thelma). Yesterday When I Was Young, released on the Irish Olympic Records label, showcases a stern, and slightly annoyed Martin Crosbie standing atop a few dry rocks directly in front of a roaring river. I can’t wait to listen to this album.
In short, inflation is an inevitable priss, and $3 for an album is still not bad (screams to himself), especially considering the unknown gem that potentially waits in the dimly lit, and dust-filled shelves of your local thrift store.
Arguably the best 30 track compilation featuring the monstrously influential British Invasion ever to be pressed to wax, this 1981 collaboration between Warner Special Products and Lake Shore Music marries the pinnacle of head-spinning talent that the Queen of England’s own had to offer… up to and including the 1961 single, My Bonnie, featuring Tony Sheridan and The Beat Brothers. The Beat Brothers, as you know, would eventually change their name to The Beatles… the band name this track is credited to on this compilation.
I’m not going to bore you with the A-1 list of exceptional talent highlighted here (The Hollies, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Unit 4+2, Donovan, Manfred Mann, The Zombies, Them, Chad & Jeremy, The Beatles, The Spencer Davis Group…), but I will (briefly) mention that someone off Discogs offered to buy my copy of British Sterling, which I appropriately, and respectfully declined. One of these days I’m going to gather enough motivation to digitize this double LP, but until that (dreadfully long and labor intensive) day, two flips for 30 tracks suits me just fine.
Although I don’t consider A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum a pivotal part of the British Invasion, there is something striking about the 1-2 punch of Procol’s Shade followed by Tell Her No by The Zombies. Somebody knew what the hell he or she was doing when they made this compilation. To whomever that is… (raises Sun Records coffee mug) I salute you!
Would you buy this album for $1.84 + CA state tax? Look at it! It’s got mold or something all over the sleeve. The hell?! On one hand, The Kinks Greatest Hits! is a bit of a farce to begin with, what with it not containing ANYTHING from The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire, Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One OR Muswell Hillbillies, but it does possess a b side that rivals any five track early Kinks comp I’ve ever heard… but it’s moldy, or whatever… but it’s The Kinks!… but look at it!… its got A Well Respected Man on it, and it’s only $1.84…
Would you buy this album for $1.84 + CA State tax? Well, you can’t. I already did.
10 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.