Sunday, December 29, 2013

Post-Christmatic Stress Disorder

I suppose I should say something about the holidays, or maybe post some holiday songs. Truth is, a) most of the Christmas stuff I have is either available to buy somewhere or already shared on some other site like this one; and b) holidays suck. Especially if you're as single as I am and work requires you to spend holidays with it on certain years. Normally I'll burn a few Christmas albums to CD and wrap my apartment door up in nice shiny paper. This year, neither nor. It even took effort to listen to the CDs I've already burned. I don't know why it hit so hard this year, but wow, did it hit me. Christmas, like youth, is wasted on the young.

There is a little more of that series I promised you (I'm sorry, "promised?") earlier about all that '80s rock I found. At the risk of overpromising even more and underdelivering even less, I won't talk too much about what else is in the future. Maybe I should resolve to be a little more involved with this blog, hmm?

Thanks for hangin' in if you're still there.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What A Tangled Web We Weave...

Not often do I find the entire discography of a band without even trying. Apparently I did just that yesterday with these finds:

Spider has an interesting history. Lead singer Amanda Blue, drummer Anton Fig, and guitarist Keith Lentin started out in South Africa as a band called HAMMAK in the early '70s. After a few years of playing the Cape Town scene, forces (like college) convened to split the band up for a few years, but they reunited in New York and added bassist Jimmy Lowell and keyboardist Holly Knight to become Spider. As Spider, the band recorded two albums - these two - for Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman's Dreamland label.

Chinn and Chapman, as producers, gave the UK lots of hits, but here in America, are best known just for Sweet's "Little Willie" and Exile's 1977 country crossover "Kiss You All Over."

Dreamland Records didn't last long. In fact, monster label discography site Both Sides Now lists just seven albums ever released on Dreamland - and these Spider albums were the first and last, in 1980 and 1981.

After Dreamland, Spider found new life in 1982 - as well as a new name: Shanghai. Along with the new name came new keyboardist Beau Hill, and new record label Chrysalis. At the time, Chrysalis was riding high with hits by artists like Pat Benetar and The Pretenders. Unfortunately, Shanghai didn't ride the wave of success that its labelmates did, and the band ceased to exist by any name after just this album.

But fortunately, most of Shanghai are active to this day. Amanda Blue is not just involved in music..she's also a photographer and writer as well as a Core Healer with her own practice. Anton Fig, of course, has been busy most nights with a little project called The Late Show With David Letterman. Beau Hill and Keith Lentin have been busy as producers. Holly Knight's been busy writing for music TV and movies. Jimmy Lowell was last heard in a Canadian group called Fast Forward, which, like Shanghai before it, lasted just long enough for one album.


Meet The Press Releases

Two thrift stores, numerous finds - and many, many dollars saved at one of them.

I hadn't planned on going to the first thrift store, but what the hell - it was right there and I was too late to get to the 75% off sale at the other store in town. But what do you know - there was a 75% off sale at this one for items with white price tags. Just by luck, all the best vinyl had those white price tags. $60 worth of early-'80s rock I'd never heard of wound up costing $15.

But this was not just any early-'80s rock I'd never heard of (lay off, I was like 5 when most of it came out). Most of it was early-'80s PROMOTIONAL albums with press kits! It's almost like they expected some vinyl blogger to buy it and write about it like he knew what he was talking about. Some of these albums desreve their own posts, so check back every few days as I post them. Let's get right to the first:

Blowing in from New York City is a Hurricane Jones album from late 1981. This "hot new senation" (typo theirs) comprised Hurricane (real first name Melinda) and a few studio musicians from the legendary Sigma Sound in Philadelphia. TJ Tindall from Philadelphia International Records got them together. Noted engineer Eddie Ciletti gave them their sound. A Schenectady (NY) Gazette review in the press kit notes, "Hurricane Jones, the singer, has a flexible voice, a sure way with a yip and the ability to break a phrase, a la Janis Joplin."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Got Plans Next Weekend?

You do now, espcially if you live in or near Manhattan.

'Case you missed the last post about it, the WFMU Record Fair is back with a vengeance this year. And it's next weekend! That's right, on Fri 11/22, Sat 11/23 and Sun 11/24, not only will you be in the presence of hundreds of thousands
(if not millions) of records to buy, you'll also hear live DJs. You can groove to flexi-discs like you used to get in cereal boxes! You'll thrill to lectures about things like fake Beatles records! You'll marvel at the genius of Telstar producer Joe Meek! And you'll stand (sit?) in peril as filmmakers ponder what would happen if media consolidation went too far.

And I hope you'll at least have some pizza and a Chelada for me since I still can't be there.


Metropolitan Pavilion
125 W 18th St/6th-7th Ave
New York NY

7-10 PM Fri 11/23, 10-7 Sat 11/24 and Sun 11/25
$7/day; $25 all 3 days with early 4-7PM admission on Friday and unlimited readmission all 3 days

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I had the serendipity of coming across a new thrift store upon a visit to an old one. I'd heard the rumblings from a cashier of someone who'd defected to the new store: "She likes Savers." Interesting: there are only two Savers stores around here, and they're not exactly close to this Salvation Army. Sure enough, on the way to another thrift I'd intended to go to, there was the sign: a new third Savers had opened up down the road. I had to investigate.

This store's been open for about a month, so if there were any special events or celebrity appearances, I missed them. Not to say that there weren't any celebrities around:

Yo kids, let's work out.
Yep, Rocky was there. But apparently the photo shoot for the cover is as close as Sly ever got to this album...per Kid Stuff Records tradition. The real star of the album is "Rocky's Friend Ed," who as far as I know, was never in any of the Rocky movies. So Rocky and Ed must not've been very close.

The truth seems to be that this "Ed" character actually goes by the name of John Braden. John is the writer, producer, and most likely also the voice talent on this album that's connected to Rocky by only the thinnest of threads.

I don't know about fun, but there's definitely fitness involved here. Oh, and a poster, just in case you need visuals to follow along with. Rocky's not even on the poster.

I wonder how many parents "exercised" the refund policy on this record.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Hits Keep On Comin'...And Now, So Do The Tweets

Not long ago, the blog recorded its 1000th visit. A small milestone, to be sure, but just significant enough for me to think that there are people actually stopping by to read this blog. And maybe even coming back. If one of them is you, thank you. I've rewarded you with more to read: a Twitter page.

I've done Twitter for a few years now, in a scattered, unfocused way. Since apparently you can't delete all your tweets at once and start over from scratch without doing a total delete of your account, I've given my existing account a major overhaul - screen name, username, avatar, and especially content. It's all about vinyl now. So once you're done here, head over to Twitter and follow @33Revelations. It's kind of the 7" EP version of this blog. It's not just teases of fresh's little bite-size pieces of information you won't find here: historical nuggets, stuff about newer music...what I just found and what I'm listening to right now. You can have one without the other, but wouldn't you want the whole package?

Go get it:

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Coming Up: The WFMU Record Fair

We're a month away from one of the best record events I know of: the WFMU Record Fair.

Some background for the unfamiliar: WFMU was formerly a college radio station. The college, Upsala College of East Orange, NJ, went bankrupt in the mid '90s. Through the fervent support of its freeform-loving listeners, WFMU survived apart from the college as a non-profit entity and thrives as one to this day.

WFMU has a lot of things going on - a blog, Twitter, Facebook, a free music archive, an app, and a live stream you can access in about 136 ways, to name a few. They're also getting a 100-seat radio theater in shape, so the Record Fair has a little more of a mission this year.

The Record Fair (capitalized for reverence) is back after a year's absence, and as always it's an orgy of sounds, sights and special events. Actual records for sale number in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. WFMU even sells albums people have donated for $1 each to raise funds for the station.

But it's not just a record fair. Oh no, far from it. There are special events all weekend. Lala Brooks from the Crystals showed up one year; the Trashmen got back together to play Surfin' Bird again...and where else can you get a musical haircut? A guy with electric scissors and amplified clippers gives you a trim like you've never heard before. There are even screenings of music movies. A few years ago, I got to see End Of The Century: The Story Of The Ramones, with a Q&A after.

The dates are Friday 11/22 to Sunday 11/24, and the location is the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. Any day now, special event info should pop up at the WFMU's website,

I'd hope to see you there, but I can't make it that weekend. So if you can, do...and let me know how you liked it.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sound On Film: The (Abridged) Story of 35mm Albums

I didn't quite get to AES in time to get to the story of the Peggy Lee album, but I did get to the story of 35mm film recording. And I learned a lot. For example:
- Classical music can be good. I liked an excerpt of a Mahler piece (Symphony No. 9 in D Minor) I heard during the demonstration.

- Queens may not be the cultural center of the world, but there was some fine music recorded there.

- I have to be more careful with what records I get rid of. One of the albums in the presentation was one I used to have.

The presentation was given by Tom Fine, whose parents both played significant roles in the history of 35mm recording: father Robert was an engineer who bought Everest's studio after Everest disbanded; mother Wilma worked for Mercury Records and oversaw its Living Presence series of classical albums from conception to its digital remastering in the '90s.

Cliffs Notes on 35mm sound: it started in the late '50s at Everest Records, a small label in Bayside, Queens. Its founders believed 35mm film was better because it was wider and thicker than standard audio tape of the day, and it ran faster (faster speeds = higher quality). It was also less prone to noise, like tape hiss.

Unfortunately, film was ridicuoulsly expensive, so Everest, which specialized in classical recordings, went under after only a few years. But bigger, better-resourced Mercury carried the torch for a few more years...and it blazed pretty brightly. Mercury's Living Presence albums were a marvel not only technically, but artistically.

On the heels of Mercury's success came 35mm albums from labels like Command, from the always-technically-forward Enoch Light, and Philadelphia-based Cameo/Parkway. Towards the end of the '60s, a turbulent time in general, things changed for 35mm..not the least of which was public taste. And the change in taste actually helped hammer the coffin shut for 35mm. The classical recordings typically done on 35mm, with their 3 microphones (or sometimes just one) over the orchestra, didn't need the editing, overdubbing or special tricks rock music did. Plus, improved tape formulations and the advent of technology like Dolby noise reduction rendered the advantages of 35mm moot.

But 35mm still lives on - barely. Time has not been kind to the reels of film recorded by Everest, Mercury, Command and Cameo-Parkway. Indeed, some have been lost forever, mainly due to improper storage conditions. There has been success in restoring Mercury's 35mm recordings. There are two sets of them now available on CD. The first might be out of print - it's now hideously expensive, but there's a second one available for a decent price, considering it contains about 50 CDs. But if you want it, you'd better act on it before the price goes up like it did with the first one. A few of the Living Presence albums have also been reissued on vinyl as well.

The story of Everest Records and Fine Recording Studios
Wilma Cozart Fine and Her Role in Mercury Living Presence
Mercury Living Presence box set at Amazon

Friday, October 18, 2013

Educational Field Trip to NYC

For once, I'll be on a trip where records aren't being purchased, but strictly learned about. I got late notice that the AES Convention is happening in New York this weekend (and of course, your notice is probably even shorter - sorry 'bout that).

If pro audio is a circle you travel in, AES needs no introduction. For the rest of you, AES is the Audio Engineering Society, an international organization of professionals dedicated to learning, teaching and innovating in all fields of recorded audio. They hold conventions twice a year, and they're massive - like an auto show for your ears. In fact, this AES is being held at a place where there's an auto show every year - the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. Mnaufacturers will show their latest microphones, recording consoles, effects, and software. Some will even be hosting seminars. There are producers, engineers, and lots of big names in audio. One speaker manufacturer is even recruiting for jobs!

So what does this all have to do with vinyl?

Two things.

One is a presentation on an early stereo album. Peggy Lee's Jump For Joy was one of Capitol Records' first albums to be released in stereo. But it didn't originally get reissued to CD that way. Tomorrow, the mystery is revealed about how the proper stereo version of this album finally made its way to CD from the original tapes.

The other vinyl-centric feature deals with film. Yes, film. There was a time just after stereo was introduced when some engineers felt tape just wasn't up to the job of capturing evey detail of the dynamic performances they were recording. A small studio believed that 35mm film - the same type used for movies - could also be used to record music. The idea held promise...but tape made quick strides in quality during the '60s that left film behind. The rise and fall of 35mm film recording will be chronicled tomorrow.

AES runs through Sunday, October 21 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. You can learn all about it at

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Contents May Vary From Illustration

One thing you learn as a record collector who buys (or finds for free) in places other than record stores is to always  - and I mean ALWAYS - check the record inside the cover. As in, take it out of the jacket and sleeve. It sounds first-grade, but some new folks to vinyl might assume that the record they're about to buy is a) automatically in put-it-on-the-platter-and-spin-it condition, and b) absolutely the one that's supposed to be in there.

But you know what happens when you assume...

One recent thrift trip, while not a complete disappointment, would have taught a lesser collector a lesson. Several rare-looking albums had masking tape with worn-out writing on them. It took a couple albums to discover that some skizzix (sorry, I don't know where that came from) swapped covers years ago, and none of the albums with this masking tape had the right record in it. Even the TWO copies of Manila Thriller's album.

Another trip yielded exactly ONE album I'd buy...but couldn't. It was the right record, but it was in the wrong condition. Sure, it'd probably play, but it'd sound like total crap because of all the wear. I might have bought it in a pinch, but I can afford to wait for a better copy. And with my luck lately, I'll probably find one soon. (If you're curious, the album was Dick Hyman's Age Of Electronicus, a 1969 Moog masterpiece from one of the most versatile and prolific keyboardists known to man.)

So there's your lesson, kids: look before you leap into that next score.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Where Attrition Is Tradition

See this?
This is a pile of records that's about on its way out of here. It's the third one this size I've assembeld this year, and it's in no small thanks in part to the huge amount of records I've found over the past couple of weeks. After this goes I think I'm just about even.

So what exactly is in here?

Not much of a lot of real dollar-and-cent value. I guess the most would be all the Melanie and Rod McKuen albums. Most of those are the original albums I started my modern collection with almost 20 years ago. Most of them are gone now and I forget more of them than I remember. That in itself tells you how much excess there's been. Some things I'm just not into, others I'd like to keep but their condition doesn't allow it. Quality over quantity.

Just like in the workplace, attrition is a necessary evil. Good people are let go, their positions aren't filled and life goes on for everyone else. Many large collections need to be filtered like this once in a while to keep things fresh and high-quality...and to keep a home from being overrun like this one.

Please, Lord, let me never love music that much.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Just in case I didn't warn you...

Some of the posts may change over time. I just edited one because I found out someone else blogged about the same album I did, but his has a different cover from mine. I linked to that post so you can compare them.

I might also replace pictures I feel I can take better. Sure, the ones you see serve their purpose, but some don't capture the albums in all their colorful glory.

And I'm still deciding about the right way to do sound. Some blogs have it, some don't. I'd like for this one to. There's a very fine line between presenting for demonstrative purposes and outright piracy, and it's easy to mistake one for the other - especially if you're someone like the RIAA. Suffice it to say, if it's out there and available to buy somewhere, I'll link to it. If not, I'll put it up on my own. This stuff deserves to be heard. If the record companies who released it don't remember it, who will?

So check back soon...not just for new musical finds and surprises, but new additions to old posts. We can both be surprised at what we learn.

We Did It Our W-Eh

Here's one I bet Ripplin over at Another Crazy Vinyl Blog will appreciate seeing- if he doesn't already have it in his collection. Given where it comes from, odds are he does. What this is is a Canadian group called The Town Pumpers. The town in question is none other than Vancouver, BC, and the Town Pump in question seems to equate to something like a CBGB - the late '80s and early '90s seemed to be its time, from what teh Googlez shows me.

This album is from 1971 and spotlights the talents of Irish "ex-gold miner" Marty Gillan and then-drummer's wife and mother-of-five Karen O'Bray. They do a typical melange of what the liners describe as "comfortable 'now' sounds" that "hang out and come together." And it sure's brought some unusual songs together to hang out: only on albums like these can you hear Neil Diamond and Frank Sinatra songs together with originals.

The Salvation Army Grand Finale

The two or three human regulars among you know that it's been quite an exciting couple weeks of finds at my Salvation Army. But as all good things do, this stretch has seemingly come to an end. But it's going out on a sweet note.

I don't need to say too much about this, do I? Ron Howard, George Lucas, Val Kilmer. There y'go. Oh, and this copy has the booklet!

Ah, Fievel Mousekewitz. Little immigrant rodent with big dreams. Lots of people remember that Linda Ronstadt/James Ingram song Somewhere Out There...well, next night you're out for bar trivia (oh hey, that's tonight!), remember that this is the movie it came from.

I must not get out much. I had no idea there was ever a Raggedy Ann & Andy movie in 1977. Even after looking at the cover I still didn't know much about it...besides Joe Raposo, that symphonist of Sesame Street, being the mind behind the music. That makes this a great find right there. A quick look at IMDB reveals that while there weren't the biggest of stars on this movie's roster, they were still good solid names: Mason Adams, Arnold Stang, and game show favorites Alan Sues and Charie Brill. One of my personal game show favorites, Didi Conn, was Raggedy Ann. Andy was played by Mark Baker (not to be confused with Mark Linn-Baker of Perfect Strangers, but easily confusable nonetheless - he's #9 with that name on IMDB).

Friday, August 16, 2013

1 7/8 Revelations Per Second

This may look like a record blog, but occasionally it turns into other things. I warned you that it would do that in the first post. Right now, this is a record blog about cassettes. Maybe you still have some. I know I do. I'm on some of them. For some wacky reason I saved some of the tapes I made back in my radio days. And for some other reason I now have my choice of three players to play them on.

This is the newest: it's an Akai GXC-570D II. Like most Akai units of the '70s, this one's got quite a reputation for quality. It also has quite the list of features. I'll translate its virtues to English as I go.

3 GX heads: one head to record, one to play, and one to erase. "GX" means the heads are covered in glass to make them virtually impervious to wear. Akai is the only company I know that did this.

Motorized door: this one's kinda simple. See all those controls on top? There's a door that covers them and opens when you push a button. There's a pitch control to adjust speed, recording bias adjustments to tailor EQ to the type of tape, a test tone, and controls for Dolby and tape type.

Sensi-Touch Controls: those buttons don't work like regular buttons. No clunking, no pressing. Just a quick, light tap and the tape does what you want it to.

Direct Drive: no belts to stretch (like on my Pioneer), no idler tires to go brittle (like my Nakamichi). The ultimate in low maintenance.

A flea market find from the weekend, sold to me by a music lover who was stationed in Sicily back in the day. Like most servicemen, he stocked up on gear like this. There's an issue or two, but with a little exercise and TLC this should shape up to be a fine deck.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sunday Pt. 2: Hustle And Whoa

Lately, anytime I have to spend $1 on a record I have to think about it. But not too hard. This is one of the albums I got for $1:

I bet you never knew that Valerie Harper had at least one thing in common with Garfireld.
Take a second to think back:

Got it? Need a hint? Rhoda.

OK, how about now?

The answer: Lorenzo Music. To Valerie Harper, he was the voice of Carlton The Doorman on Rhoda. And he was the voice of Garfield himself on the cartoon special CBS aired in the '80s. You'll hear a little bit of Lorenzo/Carlton/Garfield between the musical tracks, but the spotlight here soul legend Lou Rawls and debuting artist Desiree Goyette, who's now a religious singer/songwriter.

Deep in a shadowy world, there are strange parallels to the lives we lead. In our world, Ray Charles was the blind genius who brought us hits like Hit The Road Jack, You Don't Know Me and Georgia On My Mind. But there was another Ray Charles - a white one - who'd make a business of covering songs by the likes of the "real" Ray Charles with a chorus and strings. Cheesy listening by the Ray Charles Singers. He'd actually gone so far as to call himself "The 'other' Ray Charles" on some albums.

Also in our world, Betty White is a 91-year-old TV star who's gotten around more in the past 5 years than Sue Ann Nivens ever did. But deep in the shadows lurks another, less famous Betty White:

And this one's a hustler. Yes, this Betty White, not only eclipsed by her TV namesake, but also by more famous dance instructors like Arthur Murray and Fred Astaire, became a hustler later in her life to make ends meet. She hustled - and waltzed, cha-cha'd and shucked and jived her way into the lives of the unsuspecting who'd apparently mistaken her for the "real" Betty White. Maybe that's a reason why I bought this album still sealed. And the reason so few people own albums by "the other Ray Charles."

I can't imagine how many people own this album:

But I guess it can't be very many. I think that phallic-looking thermometer and his offspring scared off more than a few. But I wasn't scared. I was more intrigued. This is a European album (you can tell by the thermomter marked in Celcius) of disco instrumentals. We have TWO versions of El Bimbo (which was a big hit in 1975) and a song called Diabolic Man. Turns out I already have a couple of the songs on this album on 45s I got in a multipart, monster thrift haul I need to tell you about one day...but this album is still worth having for the cover.

EDIT: I know one other person who owns this album...but I like my cover better.

Sunday: When It's All Over

I'm as passionate about flea markets as I am about the music I find there. Both go way back with me - I think I was 5 the first time I went to a flea market - or more correctly, a farmer's market, which has meat and produce in addition to the aisles of vendors. The rule to live by in either case: come early for the parking, stay late for the deals. If you stay late enough, you may end up getting things free! Just don't go too far overboard.

A vendor left all this - just about half his space - because he didn't feel like hauling any of this back home. But who could blame him? Those 78s get HEAVY! And there were plenty of 'em, now free for the picking along with a whole lot of LPs. I didn't go for much:

Who can resist these two? Not the rarest, and not really the most playable, but it'll do - for someone. I don't think this one's gonna stay here long.

Nobody's gonna be twistin' the night away to this album. Instead, Sam Cooke sings the virtues of Mona Lisa, The Great Pretender and Venus. Produced by the prolific Hugo & Luigi In RCA Living Stereo.

Then, off to the garbage pile. Yes, even in this day and age, people throw out perectly good, playable records...just like these:

A friend of mine was shocked when I showed her this one. She remembers it pretty fondly. Google, on the other hand, barely even mentions it. Facts:

Album released in 1985
Lead singer is Ran Ballard
Face In The Mirror is the hit form this EP.

I have a thing for educational albums like this one. Ever since I found a few incredible ones from the '70s by Hy Glaser, I've been paying more attention to albums like these. This one deserves some attention: each of the tracks on here is based on a TV theme or commercial, with the lyrics rewritten for use with Lummi Sticks. You can sing and tap along! And you can still get this album direct from Kimbo Educational.

Sometimes it's no mystery why an album's been tossed. The cover says it all about this one. More specifically: Care Bears Break Dance Rap.

I'm proud of this little cover collage. I literally picked these records out of the garbage. OK, maybe one of them should've stayed in there. But that's the price of "shoot first, ask questions later." I didn't realize until I got home that I grabbed a handul of 46 late '80s/early '90s hits. Most of them are in their original covers. In addition to these, there's Guns 'N' Roses, Whitesnake, Foreigner, Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Mellencamp, Cyndi Lauper...mostly real good stuff to make up for the Milli Vanill.

And just so you think I'm not a total cheapskate...I did buy some things. I'll show you some of those next.

Saturday: Things I Bought, Things I Got

There's a difference. Although if I didn't tell you the difference album by album, you'd never know. And for what little I paid, I can hardly tell myself. These are all from the pile I took a picture of the last post.

Here's one of those compilations of songs designed to "sound like" the originals. Truth is, they rarely did. The music itself may have been similar, but the singer usually wasn't, and even some of the lyrics were changed. Pickwick was one of the prime perpetrators of these musical crimes. Its "Million Or More" series followed up "Hot Hits," where a band called Kings Road actually did a better job than some at doing cheap covers of the day's most popular songs. I specialize in this badness, so expect a feature on albums like this.

Not much bad you can say about this guy. Tony Mottola was one of the world's greatest guitar players - and not just in skill. This is one of dozens of albums he did for Enoch Light's Command and Project 3 labels.

Ferlin Husky...THIS is what country is, folks. I'm not a country guy but I couldn't let this one get past.

Kip's first live album, circa 1981. Yeah, things are a little different now, but Kip's still at it - and this album is still available (albeit with a different cover) at his website,

This is quite the compilation here. To save you from clicking the picture, I'll tell you we've got some John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Jerry Butler...and even an Eddie Harris track.

The grand finale, next post.

Monday, August 12, 2013

If you ever go to a flea market later in the day and see a pile of records like this at an otherwise empty table:

You'd do well to check it out. This stash netted me about a dozen fine new listening choices. A couple are so new they're still sealed. The good camera is charging as I type this, so stay tuned for individual pictures and descriptions.

In the meantime, I mentioned I'd get into talking about equipment once in a while. Not 10 minutes into this foray, I spotted a pair of headphones. Despite being almost 40 years old, they still seem to hold their own. In fact, for about $100, you can still get a new pair. They're Koss Pro-4AAs. Mine were supposed to cost $5, but I got them from an interesting character who gave them to me for $3 because I don't live in Pennsylvania. I also got an extension cable because I "don't beat the children." The nice thing about a headphone as popular as these is that Koss still sells earpads for them. This pair will get some once I'm sure they're up to the job.

If you'll excuse me, I have a LOT of listening to do. And plenty of sunburn to recover from.

The Hits Just Keep On Comin'

What an absolutely incredible weekend. Let me rephrase that: what a spectacular, star-studded, surprising, victorious, exhausting, satifying, rewarding, grueling weekend. I think I'll split this into sections so you can digest it better. Trust me, there's a lot to talk about.  Here's Friday. Not even off the Island yet and I'm scoring. And not feeling bad at all about missing the legendary NY Public Library Record Sale.

Just when I thought it was all over on Tuesday at the Salvation Army, I made more discoveries. Apparently there was more where the first pile of magic came from because there was a whole new world of greatness to dig through. More CBS Sound Library, more CBS EZ-Cue production music...and more soundtracks. I'm still not sure what the source of it was, but what a rich source indeed. I wish I could find out.

Sam & Dave had the original hit with it, but Saturday Night Live's John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd took Soul Man to a whole other level when they turned into Jake & Ellwood Blues. This peachy copy only cost a quarter. I'm sure it'd cost a lot more if I got it anywhere else.

What kid didn't love growing up on Saturday mornings learning their ABCs from ABC? Interestingly, Schoolhouse Rock really owed more to jazz than to rock. Pianist Bob Dorough and trumpter Jack Sheldon were accomplished jazz musicians, but they parlayed their skills into rockin' numbers (see what I did there?) about every school subject there was.

I had the lunchbox for this in 4th grade. I had no idea that a) it was a movie; and b) that this character's name actually was American Rabbit. I still don't know a lot about it. But I know that this should be a cool soundtrack. It's on Rhino Records, and the music was done by two gents named Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman...aka Flo And Eddie...otherwise known as The Turtles.

A couple friends of mine were surprised that this movie had a soundtrack. They were even more surprised that it consists of music and not robot noises. I don't remember liking this movie much when I saw it. Maybe I should see it again.

Hall & Oates' breakthrough album was 1973's Abandoned Luncheonette. But here's their first album from the year before. That contatiner of oats signifies what they wanted to call themselves: Daryl's last name was Hohl, so changing it to Hall seemed like a natural thing to do. The rest is history.

Some albums I buy just because they look interesting. I like surprises when it comes to recrod hunting. And this is sure to be one: my research tells me it's French heavy metal from the '70s. I should file this next to the Italian prog-rock I found on Tuesday.

Certain areas of the country have legendary kids' TV shows. Philadelphia had Pixanne. Boston had Jabberwocky. New York had Wonderama. And for years, Wonderama had Sonny Fox as its host. When he left, Bob McAllister took over. I don't remember much about Wonderama, but I do remember Bob McAllister. So this album will jog my memory.

Next up: The Saturday Flea

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Today's Top 5

Right with it tonight, aren't we? Well, since I've just taken the pictures, I might as well share 5 of the best finds of the day...even if they aren't exactly in order and the pictures suck. New, properly-taken ones to come.

5. Ricky Skaggs: Music Of America

Back in the day, radio stations used to get shows on what were called "transcription discs." They were bigger than albums, but they worked the same way. As times changed, eventually radio stations did get regular-size records like these. Although by the time this series was produced, times were changing again and shows like this were also being fed by satellite to better-equipped stations.

According to the letter enclosed with the records (notice I'm not calling this an album), this was the first of six nationally-syndicated country music concerts scheduled for air during the summer of 1987. Bluegreass great Ricky Skaggs started things off. George Jones and Janie Frickie shared the bill for the next one, then Dwight Yoakam and Exile, Conway Twitty and Earl Thomas Conley, The Gatlin Brothers and guest stars, and Ronnie Milsap to round things out.

This is the entire program, commercials and all, on 3 LPs. This is the only one of the series that was there, and there were two copies. Even to someone like me who's been in radio, it's a little jarring to be listening to an album and then be interrupted by a commercial while a record is playing. But I have to admit it's fun.

4. Do You Know Me? American Express commercials

You couldn't go too far in the '70s and '80s without seeing someone flash their American Express card and asking, "Do you know me?" Just about everyone did it, it seemed. The first? Norman Fell, aka Mr. Roper from Three's Company. (He didn't even ask the question; that started later.) The last, 10 years later, was horrormeister Stephen King. And that was just their TV ads. This single-sided disc with the title glued onto the cover has 60-second spots in the form of guessing games. Could you identify Gladys Knight, Manhattan Transfer's Janis Siegel, Rex Smith, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Bill Withers and Peter Allen? I was 3 for 6.

3. Dr Pepper: The Most Original Soft Drink Ever

I almost missed this one. It sure looks like a Broadway show album, right? it turns out, this is a showcase for a new-for-1974 Dr Pepper ad campaign, hence the title. The main theme was written by someone you may have heard of: Randy Newman. Two of the contributors, you may not have heard of (but you have definitely heard): Jake Holmes, of the US Army's "Be All That You Can Be" fame; and Dick Behrke, otherwise known as King Richard. Some remember him from the Bobby Darin Show; more don't remember him as the leader of the Fluegel Knights...a group I happen to cherish.

This record (again, not an album, per se) takes listeners through the history of Dr Pepper, from its humble beginnings in Waco, Texas to 1974. And it looks like some trip: Muddy Waters, Anita O'Day, Eubie Blake and Doc Watson are all along for the ride.

2. The Chicago Bears Shufflin' Crew 

Any time you mix athletes and music, you're sure to have an interesting album. The 1969 New York Mets, The World Wrestling Federation (back when they could legally call it that), and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are just a few examples of what could happen. And with a roster that includes Walter Payton, Willie Gault, Mike Singletary and William Pre-"Refrigerator" Perry, anything probably does happen. You probably would feel a little guilty buying this album strictly for its novelty. So to soften the blow, Da Bears donated "a substantial portion of the proceeds" to charity.

1. Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock

Yup, that last one's a Doozer. I always thought of the Fraggles as kind of a subsidiary of the Muppets. Definitely recognizable as Henson creations, but somehow in a different league. A kid I used to know had HBO and was really into the Fraggles. Me, not so much. (I didn't have HBO like he did, so I suppose that didn't help much.) Apparently this is a 1987 re-release of the original 1984 album with one song missing. I may have the original, too.

Now that I have these and filed the appropriate report here...I guess I should get to listening to some of it, hmm?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I saw the sign...

And somehow I knew it actually read "danger." But I went ahead anyway. The actual wording of the sign was, "All Records 4 for $1.00 ($0.25 each)." At a thrift store, that usually means someone lef them with about nine crapfuls of garbage that just HAS to go: Mantovani, Mathis, Firestone Christmas. Well, there sure were a lot of records, some in places they usually aren't seen in in that store.

But if they only knew what they had...maybe they'd charge more and not worry about all that space. I bet they could get away with it.

And if only I could learn the story of how it all happened.

Not 30 seconds into digging through the oddly-placed cabinet by the register did I realize that someone dropped off a stash with a great history. Broadway soundtracks were vaguely interesting...but look at all these Spanish albums. A Muppet Show soundtrack with a cover in Spanish. Movie soundtracks...Bernard Herrmann, Maurice Jarre, Ennio Morricone.

Loads of sound effects albums. Someone seemed to want to make movies as much as he enjoyed the soundtracks.

Woah...production music! THAT'S what I'm here for! That someone must have been in radio at one time.

Yep. Not only production music, but actual radio shows. And commercials!

Nope, definitely not expecting any of that. Yep, definitely a good idea to stop in. By the time I did my diggin', I ended up with over 30 records...and a Gloria Estefan LaserDisc. Total cost: about $8. And to think, that would've only bought me one album at the other thrift I hit today. Sorry, Frank, I don't need to hear your version of Bad Bad Leroy Brown that badly. And sorry, Linda Evans, but that sealed copy of your Crystal Light Body Workout is gonna have to wait. Daddy found a goldmine today...and he's gonna have pictures to show you. Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Get Him To The Greek

I might as well have called this blog 33 1/3 Revelations Per Year with the pace I update the thing. What takes so long?

Well, for one thing, there's new stuff coming in all the time. I'm just back from a trip I'll tell you about in a couple of months, maybe...and I happened to think that maybe I'd better post about my last major expedition while I'm thinking about it (again). So here it is.

They've always said New York is a melting pot: the entire world makes its home here. And there's great proof of that in the thrift stores. One in particular had just received a bunch of Greek albums. And in a moment of weakness, I grabbed a few. What would possess me to do such a crazy thing? A) they were 10 cents each, and B) I wanted to see just how many ways there were to spell the word "bouzouki." Apparently there are a lot. Oh, and C) some of the songs have titles that make them just BEG to be heard - even if you don't speak the language. Wouldn't you buy an album just for a song called "I'm Going To Smash Everything?"

These Greek albums are full of intrigue. Here's a 1974 album from...Roberto Delgado? Wow, um, OK:

I feel cheated by this one. It's 1974, disco was about to be the next big thing, and here's a song called Get Up And Do It. Did our "Greek" friend Roberto get all down and funk-ay with that bouzouki? No. It sounds almost like a belly dance. And as far as I know, belly dances aren't even Greek. Then again, neither is the name Roberto Delgado.

Duos and trios were popular:

Nothing memorable about the Trio Bel Canto. Duo Star, though, delights with cha-chas, fox trots, and even a couple of twists. One day I might get around to uploading a sample or two so you can hear them. But if not, please: no nasty comments telling me you're going to smash everything.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Polka Audio

I have a shocking confession: I was listening to polka while I was writing last night's post. You probably inferred from reading that that I'm not much into polka. So why was I listening?

Well, a couple of particular albums struck me. One not so much for its music as much as its color:

Yellow vinyl, yellow vinyl, is in my mind, and on my record player

A polka album on yellow vinyl. Who'd ever believe...? Although if I showed you the cover, maybe you could piece things together:

Maybe the Steve Meisner Band didn't just think they had a gold record, they actually made one. The way I piece it together, the color of the vinyl matches the color of the beer they were drinking. But Miller Lite? Seriously? C'mon, guys. You play POLKA. Miller Lite is not for POLKA. Neuweiler, or Schlitz, or Pabst Blue THAT's for POLKA. (The caption is for you to come up with.)

Oh, did someone say Pabst?

Some record collectors unabashedly buy records just for their covers. And that's exactly how I ended up with this one. I don't even think I've listened to it. Sometimes you can tell what's coming from miles away.

Other times it's not so easy:

'Sup, polka dog?

Polka bands, ever trying to expand their audience, will sometimes go to some pretty crazy measures to do it. The first track on this one actually has RAP on it, yo! I'll have to burn it for you, so expect a return trip for this album to this blog.

Speaking of burning...

(I'll knack the fine points of lighting a shot eventually.) Just TRY to forget I showed you this. This creature will come to haunt you in your dreams. So will that typo about "Waltzs." And I don't know about you, but when I think of "A Good American Dance Band," I'm thinking more along the lines of KC & The Sunshine Band than Moostash Joe here. Must be a generational thing. I don't even think there is such a thing as a dance band anymore. It's all about DJs like David Guetta now. Even Moostash Joe himself has moved on - literally: he's doing bus tours now. Although he still sells a polka CD on his site as a reminder of the good ol' days.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Ins And Outs Of Record Collecting

This blog comes at a strange time...I'm talking about vinyl collecting as I prune my own collection. Sometimes things get a little out of control, and this is one of those times.

It's not an easy time. There are a lot of good albums I can listen to, a few bad ones...and some that are just plain ugly. To listen to as much as to see. Over the past few years, I've been finding better and better albums, and the ones that are not as better have regrettably gone by the wayside. Or to the thrift store.

Let me be honest: there's no market for what I feed the thrift stores. Do you know anyone who actively seeks out Ray Conniff, Ferrante & Teicher (on UA), Percy Faith, or god forbid, Lawrence Welk? That's most of what I donated in January. Yep...guilty. So if you hear about thrift stores having nothing but crappy records, you can thank me for that. I'm the reason they're there. And often, I'm the reason most of the good records you saw last time are gone. (In fairness, I'll say I've bought my share of crap, too. Sometimes, intentionally.)

So why is that, O Keeper Of Records?

I'm avoiding a comparison here. So suffice it to say there's a binge/purge cycle that involves more binging than purging. We go out and buy great new records to add to our collections, reach critical mass and realize we have to make room for the new stuff by parting with the old, maybe not-so-great stuff. Or maybe the just-as-great stuff we forgot about. The not-so-great stuff is easy. No value, no problem. But when you get the the stuff of value - the original versions of the songs Conniff covered - where do you draw the line? How much of your "all killer, no filler" collection really IS killer? Would life be any different without The Stranger* or that barely listenable copy of Some Girls you're only holding on to for the cover? And just how DO you get rid of those records that might actually be worth a dollar or two?

Know the limits, draw the lines. If you cut a little too deep, you'll heal. And to you aspiring collectors, let this be a cautionary tale about too much of a good thing.

* Anthony's Song (Movin' Out) is the first track on the Billy Joel album The Stranger. We used that album to learn the art of cuing turntables in college. I might talk about those days eventually. Good times.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Greetings! Do you love records? I mean really, truly, with all your heart and soul LOVE vinyl? The good, bad, and the ugly? And all of those equally?

Or maybe you're new to vinyl, and curious about what makes it so special and why records have been making a comeback for so many years. I know I'm curious about the comeback - as far as I'm concerned, vinyl has never left! And it sure ain't going anywhere.

There are a lot of ways to do a record blog: sharity of out-of-print things that even the record companies forgot about (until someone posted an MP3 of it), professorial discourses on certain types of music, or perhaps advice for the "vi-curious" on how to get a collection going and listen to it properly. 

Sharity is risky. I've heard about that big upload site bloggers used to like until they took down everything they ever uploaded. So much as I'd love to share, I fear having to keep the really good stuff to a minimum - but I'm open to legal suggestions, so if you have any, chime in. I'm considering DivShare because I see it on so many other blogs. So it must be good somehow.

Discourses can get boring real quick. I imagine being locked in a room with some Charles Emerson Winchester type lecturing to me about Charles Mingus vs. Gerry Mulligan. Actually, that crosses the line from boring to frightening. And I don't want to frighten anyone.

You'll get a blend of things here: a track or two to listen to in one post, new things I've found in another, advice on equipment somewhere else...and maybe some other stuff I haven't thought of yet. Hell, possibly even things YOU suggest. It's a different, more wide-open thing than you're used to, so buckle in and hang on as you experience 33 1/3 Revelations Per Minute.