I have been reading a few blogs about the adventures of record bin diving and just finished a blog of my own about a Kijiji box of musical memories. Today, December 1, 2020, I stopped in a local thrift store and flipped through the record bins with a few little gems as my listening reward.
First up was “The Rascals Greatest Hits“, I admit that I was never their biggest fan, but I will give credit where credit is due, after all, they have enough traction to put out a greatest hits album, and I haven’t even recorded my first 45 rpm. This album has a few pop numbers that I could tap my foot along with, not a goto album but a pleasant listen just the same.
My second find was a Various Artists release called 24 Original Happening Hits By Original Artists. This record has way too many great songs to list item by item.
“In The Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett and “Light My Fire” by The Doors, this was a bit of a left-field selection. One does not see The Doors on these budget labels very often. By the way, this is on the Syndicate Product label which eventually became K-Tel.
The third album is a fascinating find. It is an LP by a fellow named Chan Romero.
Chan Romero etched his name forever in the history of music for his recording of the well know hit, “Hippy Hippy Shake“. That was in July of 1959 and the song snowballed and gained some attention that included The Beatles amongst its admirers. Over the years the song has been re-recorded by numerous artists and has been showcased in movies. Chan Romero then stepped out of the limelight of Rock and Roll music and settled with his wife LaVerne Romero. They presently live in Cathedral City, California and are the proud parents of 11 children and 30 grandchildren.
Someplace along Chan Romero’s life journey, he became a Christian, and this album is a gospel recording. I could find no information on the internet of things about the recording, so I assume it was a low budget production that did not get released commercially. I entered the Discogs listing for this album which is an indication of how little it has circulated. The music and singing are quite good, and I enjoyed listening to it.
The other thing that made this record so interesting is the cover. It has an 8X10 glossy that can be removed and framed, I have had thousands upon thousands of records pass through my hands over the years, but I have never seen a frame-able glossy on the front cover. Fortunately, no one tried to remove this one and other than a few nicks and minor tears it is by and large intact. Chan Romero has been inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
As a footnote at the bottom of this blog, I also bought a CD from the same thrift store. My Head Is An Animal by Of Monsters and Men. I already had a copy of this on CD, but this one has an alternate cover, so I shilled out two bucks for it, it is an enjoyable listen as well, so I count it money well spent.
Some of my favourite listens have been records that I have harvested from thrift stores as well as tons of good CD’s. Vinyl is tricky due to the nature of the beast, it is easily damaged, plus the fact that if it is in a thrift store it may not have been taken care of very well. Nevertheless, I have had some good finds, and I would like to share some of those gems with you along with some witty banter about the singers and the songs.
First up we have The Jim Reeves Collection, on Tee Vee Records. A double album best of that came out in 1974, ten years after his death. His music has some good staying power. While not technically a thrift store find, I found this on Kijiji. I purchased four boxes of about 200 records from a seller on Kijiji. The original 200 albums were culled down to about 75 LP’s and 35 or so 45’s. I will note a few from this collection first, as it is still fresh on my mind.
There are twenty-four tracks of memories on these slabs of vinyl, such as “He’ll Have To Go“, a staple of classic country music and kind of a creepy song. Like, who tells a woman to “pretend that we’re together, all alone”? And this question: “Should I hang up, or will you tell him he’ll have to go?” What happens if I don’t tell him? Never mind, I enjoyed the song.
“Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?“, this is one of the best love songs of all time. Written by Scotty Wiseman for the 1944 musical film, Sing, Neighbor, Sing and performed by Lulu Belle and Scott and recorded by a who’s who list of recording artists ranging from Gene Autry in 1945 to Ringo Starr in 1970. This song charted seven times from 1946 for Red Foley to 1968 for Red Foley again, this time with Kitty Wells. That is an incredible streak for Mr Foley, charting twice with the same song 42 years apart. Jim Reeves does a credible version of the song.
At his last recording session, in July of 1964, Jim Reeves recorded a version of a song called “Make The World Go Away“, which became the opening track to his 1965 album The Jim Reeves Way. He passed away on July 31, 1964, at the relatively young age of 40.
A song should be charting in 2020 is, “Make The World Go Away“, it would be a good theme song for a year that had Donald J. Trump telling everyone that the Covid-19 pandemic would go away. Then there was the reality television of the election in the USA. There were fires burning out of control all over the world. We had too many hurricanes to name them all, and the list goes on and on. Please, “Make The World Go Away“.
Next, we have a pair of gems, informally know as the Beatles Red and Blue albums, formally know as The Beatles – 1962-1966 & The Beatles – The Beatles / 1967-1970. I don’t buy music as a retirement hedge fund. The market is too volatile, and I don’t have deep enough pockets, however, if I did this would have been a good investment. These two go for about $25 each, so they take a fifty dollar bite out of the original investment of two hundred and fifty bucks, one-fifth of it. They were a good listening experience, as well. I still enjoy listening to the Beatles, even 50 years after I started listening to them. My first purchase of The Beatles was the White Album, on cassette, alas, I no longer have that purchase, but I do have these two nice finds.
Best Album From This collection: Holst, Sir Adrian Boult · New Philharmonia Orchestra, Ambrosian Singers – The Planets. We have six versions of “The Planets”, but this one riveted me to the chair while I immersed myself in the music. I don’t know what made this one so much better than any of the others? I don’t know. Three of these are even versions of the same recording, but this one set itself high above the others. It might have been the time of day. It could have been a better pressing. I don’t know why it sounded better, but it sure did.
The most painful listen from this batch was The Carpenters – The Singles 1974-1978. I started listening to this, but I had to lift the needle on the second song from this album, Jambalaya (On The Bayou).
What made it so unlistenable for me? Well, I think it is a low quality pressing for starters, and then there is the fact that I don’t appreciate the Carpenters music regardless of which album was playing. It could also be that I know the Hank Williams version by heart and have been listening to it since I was a baby listening to my Dad sing it. There is an emotional connection to the music, and The Carpenters fell short on this one.
To quote another great song “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way”? No, he didn’t do it like The Carpenters, he did it this way:
Best Surprise from the Kijiji box? Various – The Monster Hits Collection. This was a nice clean copy of a record that gave me a nice trip down memory lane. It also had the best cover art of the bunch.
Fun on forty-fives:
Dwight* & Buck* – Streets Of Bakersfield, this is a toe-tapping tune with Dwight paying homage to his mentor, Buck and the two of them come together on a contemporary country song that keeps a finger on the pulse of its heritage.
1969 I bought my first LP, Best of Bee Gees, easily identified by its bright yellow cover. I have to resist the urge to write it as Best of the Bee Gees; there is no ‘the’ in there. I played that album over, and over, and over. I knew every word to every song. I can clearly remember laying on the floor with my head in the middle of the two speakers on my parent’s record player. I don’t recall them ever complaining about listening to it so often, mind you Dad was away from home most of the time, Mom kept herself busy, and I didn’t turn the volume up to 11.
That was the only album that I bought that year, but I did purchase other albums from 1969 later on. Some of those albums that are still on my turntable include The Guess Who with Wheatfield Soul. Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline and Crosby, Stills and Nash, the story of that is below. The Rolling Stones compilation Through The Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2), Isaac Hayes phenomenal album Hot Buttered Soul, Abbey Road from the Beatles, and closing it with some more Guess Who, the crop is Canned Wheat this time. Some call 1969 the penultimate year of rock and roll. It closed the door on the 1960s with the Beatles dissolving as a band, the hippy era drawing to a shadow of its former self ( it never really went away), and rock and roll reinventing itself going into the 1970s. I may have only purchased one LP that year, but it was still an excellent year.
In 1970 I was travelling more, bin flipping in more record stores and with a bit more coin I was able to take home more music. I also was good at sticky finger shopping. A memorable addition to my music library from that year was a copy of Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. I was introduced to this band by the clerk in a record store in Montreal. During layovers between flights, I would take a taxi to a nearby shopping mall that had a nice little record store, and the guy always had something good on the turntable that I would invariably take home. In 1969 he had Crosby, Stills & Nash on the turntable but I was short on cash so I just filed that away and in 1970 he had Déjà Vu up and playing, so that came home with me, Stills, Nash & Young would arrive later. Another special purchase that year was In the Court of the Crimson King by none other than King Crimson, although I heard it first in that same record store in 1969, like CSY, I had to wait a year to bring it home.
The list of albums released in 1970 is long, the list that I bought in 1970 is short, the two albums already mentioned and Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More. I have a confession; I agreed to trade Woodstock to my friend Greg in exchange for the purple nazi helmet he had. I got the helmet, but he never got the album, and I have not seen him since then to make it right. If you ever read this, Greg, contact me, and I will ship the album to you. I do not have the helmet or the album as I write this. I also stole Suitable for Framing by Three Dog Night from the youth centre in Churchill Falls, Labrador. I don’t know who owned it, which makes restitution difficult. Some noteworthy albums from 1970 that I didn’t swipe and I am still spinning include Moondance by Van Morrison and The WhoLive at Leeds. Atom Heart Mother by Pink Floyd is notable for its excellent cover art and a long-standing relationship between The Pink Floyd and me.
1971, a new year and some new music, I was back in Alberta and access to new music was a bit difficult living in the little town of Czar. I managed to snag Aqualung by Jethro Tull, which triggered an interesting event. My Mom, who was super religious and my Dad, who was super narrow-minded about music, challenged me about Aqualung, so the three of us listened to it and talked about the lyrics. I don’t know why they did that. It was a weird experience. Another memorable piece of music that I acquired in 1971 was Imagineby John Lennon. It was my birthday present from Mom, she didn’t like this one either, but we didn’t sit and listen to it together. After Aqualung they let me put the stereo in my bedroom, so they didn’t have to hear it. 1971 makes for a long list of releases that I still listen to, including 4 Way Street by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, an album that I consider one of the best live recordings of all time. Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones, another example of great cover art with its iconic zipper. It Ain’t Easy by Long John Baldry, and I brag that I managed to see him live at a show in a bar in Red Deer. I had a signed copy of the album cover from that show but lost it along life’s highway. A few other albums worth mentioning are A Space in Time by Ten Years After which I loved to listen to on the quadraphonic sound system that I briefly owned. The music surrounded my head and was very trippy, nod, nod, wink, wink. Who’s Next and Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy a pair of albums that year by The Who. Meddle by Pink Floyd and Pawn Hearts by Van der Graaf Generator kept my psychedelic groove going. Van der Graff Generator is an often overlooked band that I got into early in the 1970s and still enjoy listening to, especially the Pawn Hearts album.
I’ll close this brief disclosure on what I listened to as a young man. As a young boy, I heard my Dad play mostly Hank Williams, and we had a handful of country and western records that seldom got played. It was when I hit about 15 years old, 1969, that I got into serious listening. I’ll close out this era at 1973, the year that I graduated and transitioned from a schoolboy buying records with money from allowance and part-time jobs to a working man with a steady income. That steady income meant buying more records to play on the stereo that I bought so Mom and Dad could have theirs back. They had given it to me as a bribe to keep me in school till I graduated. It was a good investment. The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, I’ll let Wikipedia explain it.
“The Dark Side of the Moon is among the most critically acclaimed records in history, often featuring on professional listings of the greatest albums. The record helped to propel Pink Floyd to international fame, bringing wealth and recognition to all four of its members. It has been certified 14× platinum in the United Kingdom and topped the US Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart, where it has charted for 950 weeks in total. With estimated sales of over 45 million copies, it is Pink Floyd’s most commercially successful album and one of the best-selling albums worldwide. In 2013, it was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.”
I bought this as an LP in 1973. I added an 8 track copy and a cassette later that year. As of today, October 12, 2020, there are ten copies of it in our music library in all of those formats. I can remember driving around town with the windows down and the volume up listening to DSotM over and over. Little has changed. I am a bit chubbier and have fewer hair follicles, and what hair I do have it is a lot shorter. Other than that, I still enjoy hearing this album, and I occasionally can yet be seen driving with the windows down and the volume up on DSotM.
There is one other album that defined 1973 for me, that album is Bachman–Turner Overdrive. It doesn’t grace the turntable as often as some of the other era albums, but it still brings a smile to my face and good memories.
That closes out this definitive time of transition in my life. I travelled extensively, gathered plenty of good experiences and listened to a lot of good music. Many, many good albums didn’t make it to this blog. I didn’t want this to be a long and tedious list; it is a snapshot of me. Me from 1969 to 1973. Happy listening and play safe.
Four out of three music bloggers agree that you can’t go wrong listening to Daryl Hall, Peter Gabriel, Robert Fripp or David Bowie. I agree that all three four of these artists are worth some time on the turntable, and that is what I did today. I started with a purchase of Sacred Songs by Daryl Hall; I didn’t have it in the library. I spent the next 47 minutes getting acquainted with this album. Next up were Peter Gabriel and 42 minutes of reacquainting myself with an album that was in the library and had seen more than a few spins around the spindle. I had listened to Exposure by Fripp recently, so I passed it over and jumped to Heroes by Bowie, which did not materialize from the library, so I had to stream it. A stop in Record Collectors Paradise will hopefully remedy this situation.
See the thread running through all four of these albums? Yes, you are correct, they were all recorded in 1977. The release dates are scattered a bit more, and I will address that as we go along. Originally, Fripp envisioned a simultaneous trilogy of albums comprising Daryl Hall‘s Sacred Songs, Fripp’s solo album Exposure and Peter Gabriel’s second album aka Scratch, both of which Fripp contributed to and produced. I am adding a fourth album that I think deserves to be a part of this trilogy, David Bowie’s album Heroes recorded July–August 1977 and released on 14 October in 1977.
Let’s flesh this out then, shall we? We can start with Daryl Hall and his first solo album Sacred Songs. Hall and Fripp had dissolved their previous musical ventures, Hall & Oates and King Crimson, respectively. While he was writing songs for the album Hall recruited Fripp who was also working on a solo album. Fripp ended up producing Halls album as well as doing guitar work on it. Hall wrote all the songs on Sacred Songs except Urban Landscape. Urban Landscape was a solo written and performed by Fripp featuring a ‘Frippertronics‘ solo), and “NYCNY” for which Fripp wrote the music and Hall the lyrics. “NYNCY” also appeared on Fripp’s album Exposure as “I May Not Have Had Enough of Me, but I’ve Had Enough of You” albeit with different lyrics.
There are a few other names that we should remember, Tony Levin playing bass on “You Burn Me Up I’m a Cigarette”, Jerry Marotta handled the drums on “You Burn Me Up I’m a Cigarette.”and Brian Eno playing synthesizer on “North Star.”
Despite being recorded in August of 1977, the album was not released until March of 1980. The recording company that Daryl Hall worked with was RCA, and they didn’t think Sacred Songs was commercial enough and might turn off the fan base that he had developed through Hall & Oats, so they shelved it. Pissed off at RCA Hall and Fripp gave away tapes of the album to music journalists and disc jockeys who gave it some air time which spurred his fans to start a letter-writing blitz directed at RCA. The album was eventually released in 1980 and went to #58 on the Billboard Pop charts without a hit single.
Meanwhile, Fripp was working on Exposure, his debut solo album, which was recorded in June of 1977 and released in June of 1979. Once again, we see a gap between the recording date and the release date, and once again it was Halls record label that held it up. They wanted him to have equal credit as Fripp due to Hall doing almost all of the vocals and once again RCA feared it would damage his commercial appeal. In the end, Fripp reworked the album and only used Halls vocals on two tracks and used Peter Hammill and Terre Roche for vocals on the remainder of the tracks.
Fripp’s original vision of a trilogy did not work out as intended although all the albums were eventually released. From Exposure the track “Urban Landscape” also appears on the Hall album Sacred Songs, as does “NYCNY”, on Exposure as “I May Not Have Had Enough of Me But I’ve Had Enough of You”, with different lyrics written by Hall. The Gabriel record also features a version of “Exposure”. “Here Comes the Flood” had previously appeared with a prog-rock arrangement on Gabriel’s first album, but Gabriel disliked the production, and created a simpler rendition of the song for Exposure.
Remember those names I told you to take note of, Tony Levin and Brian Eno. Well, they are on Exposure at well, Levin is the master of the bass guitar and Eno contributed synthesizer on several of the tracks. Jerry Marotta does drums on a couple of tracks, and Phil Collins from the band Genesis plays the drums on two tracks. Peter Gabriel who left Genesis in August 1975 to pursue a solo career did vocals and piano on “Here Comes the Flood” as well as voice on “Preface.”
Speaking of Peter Gabriel, the third album in this list is Peter Gabriel’s second album, Scratch, produced by no other than Robert Fripp. Most online music outlets refer to the album as Peter Gabriel 2: Scratch. The name Scratch is a reference to the front album cover designed by Hipgnosis that appears to show Peter Gabriel making scratch marks. Other musicians that contributed to this album are Tony Levin on bass and Jerry Marotta on drums. Fripp played guitar and ‘Frippertronics‘ on the track “Exposure” which is co-written by Peter Gabriel and Fripp and appears on both the Exposure and Scratch albums.
I would venture to add a fourth album to the trilogy, an album that is, in fact, a part of another trilogy. “Heroes” is the 12th studio album by English singer-songwriter David Bowie, released on 14 October 1977 by RCA Records. It was the second instalment of his “Berlin Trilogy” recorded with collaborator Brian Eno and producer Tony Visconti, following Low (released earlier that year) and preceding Lodger (1979). Of the three albums, it was the only one wholly recorded in Berlin. “Heroes” continued the ambient experiments of its predecessor, albeit with more pop elements and passionate performances, and featured contributions from King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp. Brian Eno contributed synthesisers, keyboards, guitar treatments. Tony Visconti was on percussion, backing vocals, and was the producer.
So, in conclusion, Robert Fripp started with a grand vision of a trilogy of albums. That never really worked out, although we did get three good albums out of the deal. I added a fourth. What comes after a trilogy? Usually a disappointment, there are plenty of good trilogies, but very, very few good fourth parts… 😉
I stole that last sentence from Quora. I hope you enjoyed this musical exploration as much as I did. I listened to a lot of really good music, not just the four primary cuts but the rabbit trails such as the music of the Roche sisters. Take the time to explore and enjoy the music along the way. Happy listening and play safe.
While hiding from the extreme cold we have been experiencing, down to -38c, I locked down and listened to some tunes, first up on the turntable was North Country Funk by Joey Gregorash, I bought this record without hearing a single note from it on the advice of my friend Bruce from Record Collectors Paradise and I have no regrets. I have returned to this album for repeated listens and the one song that stands out for both Bruce and me, is Down By The River, which I think is equal to, if not better than Neil Young’s version. Either way, this is still a good winter album, the cover photo says it all.
Next up were Explosions In The Sky who told me with their album that, The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place. To step outside at -33C makes the earth feel like a cold dead place, however, we Edmontonians are a hearty lot and life goes on, a bit slower perhaps for those of us with arthritis, but it does go on.
Another song by Explosions In The Sky, Snow And Lights, from their album How Strange, Innocense. This is a favourite band of ours, Joel and I, so I didn’t mind queuing up another listen by them.
A blast from the past came next, The Mamas & The Papas are California Dreamin’ on such a winters day. I am personally Jamaica dreamin’ on such a cold and snowy winters day.
A little levity came next with Frank Zappa, Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow, a 45 this time so it was a short cold shot.
A Hazy Shade of Winter by Simon & Garfunkel, another blast from the past that gives us another shade of winter in case we ever tire of the frozen white one we are stuck in.
Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, this is from the album No More Shall We Pass, which I think is a masterpiece of music. This line is particularly apt for our recent weather:
“I’m beginning to freeze
I’ve got icicles hanging from my knees”
Listen to the entire album if you have a chance, this warrants a comfortable spot on the recliner and listening on the big speakers.
White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes from their self titled album
Snow Blind by Black Sabbath from Vol4
I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm by Billie Holiday from Holiday Blues
Snowblind from Drowning With Land In Sight by The 77s
Snowblind Friend by Steppenwolf from Sixteen Great Performances
Snowin’ In Brooklyn by Ferron from Shadows On A Dime
I think the remainder of these songs speak for themselves, except for the last one, by Ferron, it’s actually snowin’ in Edmonton, but I’ll give her credit all the same because it probably is snowin’ in Brooklyn as well. I saw Ferron live at the Edmonton Folk Fest and fell in love with her music and the Shadows On A Dime album, which I go back to every now and then, just because it feels so good to reminisce about that performance. It may be cold outside but the turntable is still spinning and up next is Hot Buttered Soul by the great Isaac Hayes, it gets the blood flowing and the feet moving, good stuff.
I hope you manage to stay warm and listen to some good music, it warms the soul.