Thursday, January 12, 2012

Recent Acquisitions: New Records for the New Year 2012

I accidentally came across a new source of vinyl in a neighboring city while making a trip to the crafts store. It's a Half Priced Book Store, where I found the following:

Patsy Cline, Showcase (Decca, original stereo pressing, $4). I figured it was an original pressing by the label, black with silver letters. At the start of the 60s, Decca changed its label design to a black one with a multi-colored striped down the center. The label also showed a lot of spindle marks, which is usually a sign of a lot of play and careless handling by the owner. The culprit also wrote his/her name "Mills" on the cover (twice!) Against tendency I bought it anyway. It plays fine with a little bit of surface noise. The sound quality is very good, with Patsy Cline practically jumping out of the speakers,. It's a wonderful record.

The Hank Williams Story (MGM, 4-lp box set, $9). This is a compilation that was released in the mid-60s. I realized before I bought this set that I didn't own any Hank Williams album. I think I'm set now.

Crosby, Stills & Nash, Crosby, Stills & Nash (Atlantic, $4). This is another George Piros-mastered album pressed at Monarch Records (see Led Zeppelin I post below). It's also the best version of this album I've heard.

Soft Cell, "Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go" (Sire, 12-inch single, $4). I didn't realize that "Tainted Love" is also a cover, of a Gloria Jones single from 1964. Soft Cell basically slowed down the pace and added a few electronic "bing-bings". But, man, are those "bing-bings" catchy. I recently heard a version of this medley on the radio in which the brilliant transition from "Tainted Love" and "Where Did Our Love Go" was edited out. I've got to have the full 8 minutes of the 12-inch single.

Cannonball Adderley Quintet In Chicago (Mercury, original stereo pressing, $8). This album features the Miles Davis Sextet at the time (1959), without Miles. I wasn't aware that it was originally released under Adderley's name on Mercury. It was reissued in the mid-60s as Cannonball and Coltrane on, I believe, the Limelight label, with which I was familiar. The cover of this copy looks practically brand new and the vinyl is in excellent shape. Sold!

Jimmy Smith, Rocking the Boat (Blue Note, New York address label, $5). The fact that this Blue Note original pressing in excellent condition was priced less than a beat-up copy of a Foghat album made me think of a slogan for the store: "Half Priced Books, Half Assed Prices". In a book on Blue Note album covers I've been reading, Reid Miles, the graphic designer, states with a little bit of mischief that Francis Wolff, the photographer, would get apoplectic whenever Reid cropped the artist's head on the album cover.

In addition, my visit to the Amoeba/Rasputin block yielded the following:

Enrico Rava, The Pilgrim and the Stars (ECM, $8). Rava is a jazz trumpeter from Italy. He's got a really unusual style where he plays in a soft, mellow tone (suitable to the ECM sound), but the notes he plays can be crazy free. I would've never heard of him if it weren't for my local jazz radio station.

Bobby Hutcherson, Now (Blue Note, Division of Liberty Records label, $20). This is another unusual jazz album. It features vocals on all the songs in addition to Hutcherson's quintet at the time. Using the aforementioned Blue Note book as a reference, this is, I believe, the 147th Blue Note album added to my record collection (only counting vinyl of course).

Red Garland, All Morning Long (Status, 60s pressing, $10). This album is notable for the sidemen: Coltrane, Donald Byrd, and Art Taylor. It's basically three long jam sessions. The album was originally released on the Prestige label in the late 50s. Status reissued it in the mid-60s with a different cover. A quick check of the dead wax info revealed that Status used the same stampers as the original Prestige release.

John Lennon, Imagine (Apple, original UK pressing, $4). The original UK pressing of this album is supposed to be the best sounding. The matrix numbers in the dead wax had -1U suffixes on both sides, which means it was one of the earliest pressed. I think this copy was priced cheaply because it looked like the previous owner spilled coffee on the vinyl, or at least I hope it was coffee, nothing that my record cleaning machine couldn't fix.

Erich Leinsdorf, L.A. Philharmonic, Wagner: Die Walkure, et al. (Sheffield Lab, direct to disk pressing, $8). Last year one of my musical adventures was to listen and watch the entire Ring cycle. It was an arduous experience at times, despite many brilliant passages. Here's an album that collects some of the orchestral highlights. I guess this album never ends, because the fat lady doesn't sing on it.

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