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 Ribbon...now 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.