Friday, February 20, 2009

Recent Acquisitions (2-20-09)

Visit to the Newark Record Swap yielded these goodies:

Michael Henderson, In the Night-Time (Buddah, $2.50). Is the cover a late addition to the Crimes of Fashion gallery? Hell, no! If I had an album of smooth 70s soul and had his chest, I'd dress exactly the same as Michael Henderson. 

Barry White, Stone Gon' (20th Century, $2.50). Barry White's baritone is the vocal equivalent of an open shirt. Lucky for him, because he would look ridiculous with his shirt opened to the waist. 

Al Green, Explores Your Mind (Hi Records, $2.50). The record still has the shrink wrap and a price tag from the Record Factory. It cost $4.98 back when it came out in 1974. Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI Inflation Calculator, that's equivalent to $21.33 today. Money aside, this album is about as close to a religious experience as this secular soul has had.

Bill Withers, Just As I Am (Sussex original pressing, $4). This is Withers' debut record, which was released when he was 33 years old. He had worked in factories most of his early adult life. He's holding a lunch bucket on the album cover. I wonder if he had to bring his own lunch to the recording sessions. He sounds kind of pissed on this album. I would be pissed too if I had to bring my own lunch to the recording sessions. After the success of this album and his next one, which contains "Lean on Me", he sounded less pissed and his albums got less interesting. 

Bill Withers, Just As I Am (Sussex/A&M German pressing, $2.50). I love this album so much I have to have two copies. Curious what the Germans did to this fine-sounding LP.

The Motown Story: The First Twenty-Five Years (Motown 5-LP compilation, $2.50). Motown used to manufacture hits. Now I hear the hits are manufactured by 12-year old children in sweat shops in Sri Lanka. That would explain the Jonas Brothers and Milly Cyrus.

David Bowie, The Man Who Sold the World (RCA, orange label reissue on dynaflex vinyl, $2.50). The original LP was released on Mercury Records and featured a different cover. If the album is any good, I'll look for the original.

Neil Young, On the Beach (Reprise, $5). The 2nd of Young's Doom Trilogy and one of his scarcer albums. This one is stone mint.

Gabor Szabo, Wind Sky and Diamond (Impulse! red and black 2nd pressing, $2.50).  The cover gives this credit: "With the California Dreamers". In other words, I'm bracing myself for disappointment. That's why I didn't spring for the $15 original pressing at the record swap.

Charles Mingus, Mingus at Monterey (Mingus JWS-1/2, double LP, black label, distributed by Fantasy, $8). There is no other jazz artist who so effortlessly bridged the traditional and the modern strains of jazz. This is the first album Mingus released on his own label. It was originally available only by mail order. Those albums command big bucks now. Two years after its initial release, Fantasy distributed the album to a wider audience. I almost bought a Fantasy copy for $30 at Amoeba. Glad I waited. Patience is crucial in buying records. Conversely, when you come across a rare record, you need to be decisive enough to snap it up while elbowing others away.

John Coltrane, A Love Supreme (Impulse! red and black label 2nd pressing, Van Gelder in the dead wax, $15).  I'd be really happy if not for the quarter-inch scratch on side 2. This is the best sounding version of the album I've heard. Copies mastered by Van Gelder are hard to find.

From the dollar bins. I rationalize buying dollar records by equating their cost to a candy bar, One good song on an album lasts longer a candy bar. And you can't ever eat that candy bar again.

Mike Oldfield, Tubular Bells (Virgin Records). I can't believe this guy can wank for 50 minutes straight. I couldn't get past the first 10 minutes of his musical masturbation. To think some people like this. I guess there are folks who like to watch others jerk off. (File under: Onanism)

The Police, Outlandos d'Amour (A&M, no bar code). The Police actually have held up really well. I like them now more than ever before.

ELO, El Dorado (UA sunrise label). I can't say the same for ELO, but it's good for times when you feel like listening to the Beatles without actually wanting to hear the Beatles.

Joni Mitchell, Mingus (Asylum). I'm not a huge Joni fan, but I love Mingus. I wonder who wins in this incongruous pairing. I bet Joni walks all over Mingus.

Simon and Garfunkel, Wednesday Morning 3 A.M. (CBS stereo 2-eye). Contains the original version of "Sound of Silence", not the hit version featured in The Graduate.

Cat Stevens, Mona Bone Jakon (A&M tan label). What the hell does the title mean? It sounds lewd.

Go-Go's, Beauty and the Beat (IRS, Sterling in dead wax). No, Rocky is not gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Album Cover Gallery: Crimes of Fashion

"Put on your finest threads, Buckaroos, we're playing Carnegie Hall!"

Modern lover of bad pirate costumes. 

Art may have recorded this album after having served 15 years in San Quentin, but wearing that shirt on an album cover should get him a life sentence in the fashion penitentiary, living legend or not

I don't know why the Cat Woman hairstyle never caught on, especially when you could get such smart matching accessories

This one hits a little too close to home

Monday, February 2, 2009

This Week's Acquisitions (2-2-09)

Dropped off about 40 unwanted LPs at Goodwill. 
New additions to the collection from the previous 2 weeks:

Rivers Cuomo, Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo (Geffen, new for $11). Damn you, Terri Gross, for making me buy another album! (File under: Phi Beta Kappa Rock Stars)

Linton Kwesi Johnson, Bass Culture (Mango, original pressing for $8). Kind of like beat poetry read to jazz music, except it's a reggae band and LKJ instead of Kerouac ranting about the Man. (File under: Reggae, slightly pretentious)

Miles Davis, Someday My Prince Will Come (Columbia mono two-eye, 2nd pressing, $10). I already have an original pressing in stereo, but the mono pressings of that era often sound better than the stereo version, as most recording engineers hadn't quite figured out how to record in stereo. (File under: Jazz, almost classic)

Ravi Shankar, 3 Ragas (World Pacific, original pressing, $5). The other day I was thinking I don't listen to enough sitar music and I need to do something about it. Really. (File under: Sitar Music Played by Real Indians)

Neil Young, Rust Never Sleeps (Reprise, $2). An empty feeling overwhelmed me when looking through my Neil Young collection I realized this album was missing. Problem solved. (File under: Albums that belong in every rock collection)

Bob Dylan, Self Portrait (Columbia, $4). This used to be considered Dylan's worst album, until the Grateful Dead dragged him to a new low. (File under: Meh Dylan)

Alice Cooper, Greatest Hits (WB palm tree label, $2). I'm not sure what it means, but I've got an urge to play "I'm Eighteen" repeatedly. (File under: Musical and Personal Regressions)

Cheap Trick, In Color (Epic reissue, $2). What the hell, you're picking up an Alice Cooper album, might as well get this, too, you loser. (File under: Music Snob Repellant) 

Henry Mancini, The Big Latin Band of Henry Mancini (RCA black label with white dog, stereo original pressing, $2). Hmmm, the "Mission Impossible Theme" played by a big latin band.... I'd say that's a solid 10 out of 10 on the Irresistibility Scale. Your mission, Jim, is to cha cha cha! (File under: Ironic or Not?)

Debussy, Images/Prelude to the Afternoon of the Faun, Michael Tilson-Thomas, Boston SO (Deutsche Grammaphon, $0.50). Another thing I haven't been able to resist lately are cheap Debussy records. (File under: Music for daydreaming about living peacefully in a forest with no worries of bear attacks)

Art Pepper, Art Pepper+11 (Analogue Productions, 45 rpm pressing on 2 LPs, new for $50). #969 of 1,000 limited edition copies. Yeah, I already have this album, but this is supposed to be the best-sounding version ever. (File under: rocky's favorite music)

Mahler, Symphony No. 2, George Solti, London SO (Speakers Corner, 2-LP reissue, new for $54). I can't believe how much better this German pressing sounds compared to my early English pressing of this fine album. Expensive and totally worth it. (File under: rocky's favorite music)