Sunday, January 30, 2011

Recent Acquisitions: Smiley Smiles

It wasn't conscious, but you can spell the most recent batch of records f-u-n.

The Beach Boys, Wild Honey (Capitol, original stereo pressing, $9). This album and Smiley Smile are the last two Beach Boys albums I wanted. For some reason, they've been elusive until now.

The Beach Boys, Smiley Smile (Brother Records, original stereo pressing, $9). The sound is pretty bad. I think it's because the stereo effect is fake, what they call reprocessed stereo. The only way to find out for sure is to compare it to a mono pressing. It never ends.

Ramones, Ramones (Sire, original pressing, $9). Gabba gabba score! This fills a big void in my punk library.

Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Blank Generation (Sire, original pressing, $9). See above.

Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington, Ella & Duke at The Cote D'Azur (Verve, original stereo pressing, 2 LPs, $9). This wasn't even on my radar until I read about a recent Mosaic Records 3-LP box set that includes this album and Ellington's Soul Call with no extras. Mosaic puts out interesting jazz compilations, but the Ella-Duke set costs $100. I'd rather pony up a tenner for a clean original. I've never heard Ella so exuberant than on this record, although her voice isn't in top shape. Ellington's band swings as usual, although there aren't any special moments like Paul Gonsalves's miraculous solo on the Newport record. Overall, it's just a fun listen.

Gabor Szabo, The Sorcerer (Impulse!, black-and-orange label original stereo pressing, $7). Tell me: How could I pass up this minty original pressing for the price even though I have a perfectly fine second pressing? You just don't understand.

Love, Forever Changes (Elektra, gold label original stereo pressing, $5). You are right, I shouldn't have bought this copy when I have a perfectly fine second pressing of the album. You're right only because this copy looks like it got into a fight with a feral cat and sounds all wounded and shit.

From the dollar bins:

Stanley Turrentine, Sugar (CTI, original pressing). I think this record got abused by the same feral cat, but for some reason, it still sounds good. You just never know.

Modern Jazz Quartet, Concorde (Prestige, yellow label, original pressing). These old 50s jazz pressings on heavy vinyl can look thrashed, but with a good cleaning on the ol' vacuum record cleaning machine, they can sound pretty swell.

Johnny Griffin, Grab This! (Fontana/Riverside, Dutch pressing). A new Johnny Griffin album for my collection and a new catchphrase for rocky to confuse the folks at work. On second thought, it could lead to trouble with HR.

Pat Metheny, Rejoicing (ECM, original pressing). I'm not really into Pat Metheny, but he's backed by Ornette Coleman's rhythm section and plays tunes by Coleman and Haden. It could be interesting.

Casino Royale soundtrack (Colgems, original stereo pressing). Believe it or not, this is the most valuable record of the lot. Or it used to be. It was on The Absolute Sound's list of the best audiophile records. A few years ago, insane audiophiles were paying upwards of $200 for a mint copy of this relatively rare record. The price has come down dramatically though. Do you really want to listen to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass in high fidelity? Yes!

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