The Streets

We’re takin’ it to the streets today with The Doobies and their 1976 album, Takin’ It to the Streets. This was the first Doobies album to feature prominent singer / songwriter Michael McDonald, and would mark a subtle turning point in the direction of the band’s new sound. Mr. McD would continue performing with the band, penning some of their most critically successful tracks, until their initial breakup in 1982. Several “reunions” have come to light over the 30+ plus years since “The Doobie Brothers broke up” but it’s always good to start at the beginning, such as this album. I’m an advocate for absorbing a band’s full musical spectrum, and encourage both wave 1 Doobies, and this wave 2.

Summer Vacation

Ironically, it was after How I Spent My Summer Vacation that I actually took a vacation from these New Jersey mooches. Looking back, I think it was my palette that shifted and not the band’s, because when I spin HISMSV now, it really doesn’t anger me that much. It’s certainly not as good as Maniacal Laughter or their self titled album, but now that I’m older, and presumably wiser, I’m happy it is a part of my collection.

White Russian

The soundtrack to Jeffrey Lebowski’s one hour and 57 minute life (aka the 1998 Coen Brothers’ film, The Big Lebowski) received a few color variants when it was finally release on vinyl back in 2014. There’s the “red bowling ball finish” the “gold translucent and black split” (presumably to match the tone of the cover art), and this, the “White Russian” version. Whatever your flavor, this soundtrack is an absolute must, as is the movie. If you haven’t already, check it out.

Happy Head, Shoddy Memory

Another one of those records filed so deeply away into collection that I didn’t know I owned. There are more records in this category than I’m willing to admit. The Mighty Lemon Drops and their 1986 debut, Happy Head, must have been an early (verrrrrry early) thrift store find… that or from the $1 bin at Amoeba… before their prices skyrocket. Anyway, Happy Head is very 1986 indie-rock. It’s melodic, structurally sound, and certainly worthy of a spin… I just need to remember I own it.

The Hike

Unfortunately, these are the only two Nilsson records in the collection. Something happened over the last few years, or appears to have happened anyway, which resulted in Nilsson album prices skyrocketing. I remember seeing casual albums for $8 – $10, where now they fetch upwards to $25-$30. And I’m generally only noticing this hike with Nilsson records specifically. I don’t know… something sure the hell is going on.

Mo Monks

Third Man Records released a 5-track EP earlier this year of previously unreleased material from 1967 by The Monks. This copy, though reasonably priced at $10.99, was in fact NOT the hand numbered white vinyl version limited to 300 copies. All good, however, as the music within captures this obscure band during their (presumably) last recording session prior to their inevitable breakup. All-in-all, a necessary acquisition, if only for the sake of modern music history.

Boots & Legs

One of these is a bootleg. Can you tell which one? Ok, the one on the right is clearly not an original release, but it was pressed on double orange vinyl… though it skips like a rock. Anyway, the bootleg (the one on the right, remember) was acquired first at a thrift store in the San Fernando Valley some years back, and the left was recently purchased from the $1 bin at the shop down the street. Bootlegs certainly have their time and place, but now that I own the original, I’m not sure I’d buy this one again given the opportunity.

Sphinctour

It’s been raining Ministry here lately. First was Animositisomina (originally released on compact disc in ’03), followed by this, 2002’s Sphinctour (getting the first-ever vinyl treatment earlier this year… like three weeks ago…), and finally, another first-ever-on-vinyl-blah-blah, 2004’s Houses of the Molé. All three were necessary acquisitions, and I’m now in possession of every studio Ministry album from 1983’s With Sympathy to 2006’s Rio Grande Blood (12 albums in total). Its the simple things, really.

Blues & Brass

After the success of The Man with the Golden Arm (Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score), Mr. Bernstein ventured away from the silver screen and into the modest world of long play analog media storage. His first album is this 1956 release on Decca, Blues & Brass, which captures what the back sleeve describes as “city blues” throughout 12 dramatic and late-night-comforting tracks. If Mr. Bernstein’s film scoring career wasn’t as hugely successful as it was (he scored The Ten Commandments the same year as this album’s release, mind you), he could have easily notched out a Space Age Pop, lounge-infused, groove-based career as a successful studio musician. Find this album. You’ll thank me later.

Bongos / Flues / Guitars

The title is all you need to know about Enoch Light’s 1960 insta-classic, Bongos / Flues / Guitars. Command Records, and Mr. Light specifically, cranked out a substantial number of quality LPs in the late 1950s – early 1960s. Though officially credited to Los Admiradores, Mr. Light acted as Director and Producer, not to mention he released the album on his Command label. Buy it for the mid-century cover, keep it for the floral, Latin jazz.

 

Animositisomina

Ministry’s 2003 studio album, Animositisomina FINALLY gets a vinyl release courtesy of UK’s Let Them Eat Vinyl. This 14-year-old album would be the last collaboration between industrial icons Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker, also known as Hypo Luxa and Hermes Pan. This was my go-to album whilst delivering pizza to the west side of Madison, WI before I moved back to California, and I am, without a doubt, ecstatic about its first-ever vinyl release.

Get Used… and Like it!

From what I can ascertain, Cheap Thrills is a functioning brick and mortar record shop in San Luis Obispo, CA. The internet tells me that it opened its doors back in 1971, and this protective record sleeve tells me that they deal / dealt in compact discs, tapes, video games, and LPs, all of the used variety. With a tagline like “get used… and like it!” it’s no wonder Cheap Thrills is still in business after 46 years.

Last from Camp X-Ray?

Yet another fantastic Live From Camp X-Ray reissue from Vagrant Records. What was once the last word from the world’s best live band, is now a casual weekend listen. The band recently posted Instagram photos of the team back in the studio, so HOPEFULLY, Camp won’t be the last after all. Fingers, toes, laces, and everything else is crossed.

The Best of Jim Reeves

1964 and RCA Victor proudly present, The Best of Jim Reeves. LSP-2890 for you catalog nuts out there, this country music classic from the country music legend, Mr. Jim Reeves, features a stellar 12-track lineup. Adios Amigo, Anna Marie, Four Walls, He’ll Have to Go, Danny Boy, and, what Best of ANYTHING would be complete without Billy Bayou. Though Mr. Reeves met his demise in a fatal plane crash the same year, his legend knows no limits. RIP Mr. Reeves.

Time? Astonishing!

Kool Keith side projects are hit or miss (Nogatco Rd., Black Elvis, Tashan Dorrsett). But one thing is certain with each and every one of them, they’re all adventurous bursts of psychotic observations over (often) cool, baby-makin’ beats. Time? Astonishing! isn’t Dr. Octagonecolgyst (Dr. Octagon), First Come, First Served (Dr. Dooom), or even Project Polaroid, but it’s (very) laid back, classic Kool Keith, and worthy of a spin and a purchase. Keeping up with all of Mr. Keith’s aliases is exhausting, something I’m sure this legendary MC gets a maniacal chuckle over.