Archive for the 'In The Bins' Category

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B-Sides in the Bins #53 – Rubber Soul Restoration

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Over Christmas I took on a project– the restoration of a Mono Beatles Rubber Soul.

A couple of years ago, my sister-in-law Sarah gave me a stack of LP’s that she picked up at a thrift store in the Twin Cities. The stack was a colorful collection of 60’s, 70’s and 80’s pop, tropicalia, hair metal and Phil Collins. I pulled out the records that I thought I’d want to keep and got ready to carry the lot of discards to Half-Price Books. Thankfully, I looked closer at the Firefall sleeve in the pile as it had The Beatles Rubber Soul on rainbow Capitol label in it! As happy as I was to find this treasure, I was saddened that it was missing its jacket. I found a paper sleeve and put it in a crate with other records that I don’t store with my main collection.

In December I was doing some work in the room where we have our furnace and storage and happened to notice the record. I picked it up and looked closer at it and realized that it was not just a 60’s Capitol Beatles release, but it was also a MONO!

The reason why the monaural release is desirable, is that it is generally accepted in the collector’s circles that the Capitol monaural versions of the Beatles catalog are superior to the stereo releases. To explain why, there is some history to cover.

The Beatles had kind of a shaky start in the US as far as record labels were concerned. They were signed to EMI/Parlophone in the UK and when EMI’s US counterpart Capitol was initially approached to release the Beatles albums, they declined– thinking that the US teenagers were more interested in the clean-cut portrait of The Beach Boys (on Capitol) than they would be with the shaggy snapshot of the Beatles. The center of the mess was a man named Dave Dexter, Jr. who is quite possibly the most controversial person in the history of the Beatles recorded output. Dexter’s job was managing EMI’s releases in the US for Capitol and was  the guy who was in charge of screening the releases, and ultimately made decisions about everything from cover art, to production and mastering to what tracks were included on a given release.

Incidently, Dexter was also the guy who made the decision that initially squashed releasing the Beatles on Capitol. This is why the first Beatles album released in the US was handled by a typically R&B label out of Chicago called Vee-Jay (which is a whole other story). Eventually, Capitol couldn’t ignore the force of the Beatles and signed them in November, 1963.

Capitol and Dexter felt that the way EMI was releasing the albums in the UK was not what their customers wanted and changed almost every packaging of Beatles material up until Sgt. Pepper’s when the Beatles renewed their contract and blocked this practice. Capitol changed track lists, generated new “greatest hits” collections and the most egregious aspect of all was the remixing of the music that George Martin and his engineers so masterfully recorded at Abbey Road. EMI/Parlophone would release singles and LP’s in the UK and then tapes would be shipped to the US for packaging and release by Capitol.

When the Beatles would finally make it to compact disc in 1987, it established that the standard for their catalog would be the UK EMI/Parlophone/Apple versions. Well, and stereo for those releases that were in stereo.

Rubber Soul ends up being the poster child for Capitol’s changes to the Beatles releases with a dramatically different track listing than the UK version in sequence and in content!

The “proper” UK version of Rubber Soul tracklisting (from Wikipedia):

No. Title Length
1. Drive My Car 2:25
2. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) 2:01
3. You Won’t See Me 3:18
4. Nowhere Man 2:40
5. Think for Yourself(George Harrison) 2:16
6. The Word 2:41
7. Michelle 2:40
Side two
No. Title Length
1. What Goes On(Lennon/McCartney/Starkey) 2:47
2. Girl 2:30
3. I’m Looking Through You 2:23
4. In My Life 2:24
5. Wait 2:12
6. If I Needed Someone(George Harrison) 2:20
7. Run for Your Life 2:18

So, this brings us to my copy of Rubber Soul, which as I stated, is a Capitol mono original pressing from 1965 (Catalog number T-2442).

Side one
No. Title Length
1. I’ve Just Seen a Face 2:07
2. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) 2:05
3. You Won’t See Me 3:22
4. Think for Yourself(George Harrison) 2:19
5. The Word 2:43
6. Michelle 2:42
Side two
No. Title Length
1. It’s Only Love 1:55
2. Girl 2:33
3. I’m Looking Through You 2:31
4. In My Life 2:27
5. Wait 2:16
6. Run for Your Life 2:18

You can see from these two track listings that the UK and US releases are substantially different! According to sources, the US release was deliberately resequenced to make Rubber Soul more of a “folk rock” album in hopes of cashing in on the emerging genre which included popular releases from bands like the Byrds and Dylan which were both having an effect on the Beatles new– and I think– more mature writing style. As a result, the more upbeat, and likely representative of the “Rubber Soul” moniker– songs were removed from the track listing and would be released on the following US-only compilation Yesterday… and Today. These songs “Drive My Car” and “Nowhere Man” which are considered notable songs in the Beatles canon, as well as “What Goes On” and “If I Needed Someone.” These songs were replaced with two songs removed from the UK version of Help! (the US version of Help! was also different in the US where it served more as a soundtrack to the movie and included score music)– “I’ve Just Seen a Face” and “It’s Only Love.” The result drops the album to just under 30 minutes in total.

There is a debate that continues over whether the Capitol changes actually improve the album. One side of the argument is that it does. The replacement of the pumping piano kickoff of “Drive My Car” on the UK version with the acoustic guitar-driven immediacy of “I’ve Just Seen a Face” is a vote for a more balanced release. The counter-argument is that it varies too much from the UK release in favor of an album that seems to clumsily try to pander to the US market. For me, the differences are more of an interesting curiosity. My first exposure to Rubber Soul was with the 1987 CD releases, so my experience is a stereo UK version for all intents and purposes.
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After I stumbled across the lone sleeveless copy of Rubber Soul in my basement and realized what it was, I thought that it would be nice to find a cover for it. It was a gift, and it was in pretty good shape for a 44-year old record– some slight scuffing, but otherwise the vinyl had a really nice black luster to it. On play, it has some slight crackle, but the recording itself is loud enough to hide it.

It was as if the universe wanted this record to have a new jacket. The first search I made for a Capitol Rubber Soul jacket turned up ONE eBay auction from a seller in Arizona whose ID was “scampy”– it was for a mono, too! It was a Buy-it-Now for $39.95 plus $4 shipping. It was kind of expensive, but if the condition was good, then it would be worth it because the record plus the jacket would have a greater value than either alone. The seller and I exchanged a couple of messages and he pointed out that mono sleeves were rare and that this sleeve was in very good shape. I was sold, but I also wanted a period-correct inner paper sleeve.  On a whim, I asked him if he had a correct inner sleeve. He responded that he thought he did. He quickly responded that he had one!

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I found the correct one, it lists albums up through the #2355. It is in real nice shape except a small split at the bottom that is hardly noticeable, it also has the pitch to upgrade your old albums to the new stereo discs that was only put on the mono ones. I will include it at no charge.”

Wow! That was a lucky coincidence! He quickly shipped the package to me and I had it in my hands within the week– it was in amazing shape with very little ringwear. I was able to assemble the record, sleeve and jacket to a set that I was very happy with!
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It is noted in the Wiki article on Rubber Soul, that the sleeve colors in the US were a variation on the UK sleeves due to some color saturation differences, resulting in the title logo being more of a brown or gold than the UK orange logo. I like the color of the sleeve I got a lot– maybe more than an orange one.

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According to the Spitzer book on the Beatles on Capitol, the “5” in the lower right indicates that the record sleeve was printed by Modern Album in Terre Haute, IN.

Overall, this was a very satisfying project for me. Maybe the word “restoration” overstates the effort, but that is what is really is, I think. I have a small vinyl Beatles collection that was started for me by my aunts back in the early 80’s– on purple Capitol label but didn’t include Rubber Soul, so this sits proudly next to those releases, but a mono Yesterday… and Today I picked up on Black Friday last year.

B-Sides in the Bins #52 – Half-Price Books Cedar Rapids 1/22/11

I was out running a bunch of errands today and ended up at Half-Price Books. When I arrived I didn’t find anything in the used vinyl bins that I absolutely needed– they had a couple of new Donna’s LP’s which was interesting, but I’m not familiar with their music enough for me to jump in. I was just about out the door when Claire– the girl who is the most knowledgeable about the vinyl– happened to be bringing a pile of newly-priced records to the bins to put away. Thankfully I stayed! I found the King Crimson LP from the pile she brought over and the Queen LP– she brought some other interesting pieces, but most of them were in pretty ratty condition– the first Doors record (stereo), a 13, The Who’s Tommy on Decca, Katy Lied by Steely Dan. She said that she had a Dark Side of the Moon behind the counter she was going to put out and asked if I wanted to see it. I don’t really need another Dark Side, but I know enough people who need one that I always look.

I didn’t end up picking up the Dark Side of the Moon, but I ended up picking up some other really great pieces!

Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother (LP, Harvest/Capitol SKAO 382, 1970) ($7.00) According to the matrix information this is a second issue done in Jacksonville, IL. The vinyl is in really great shape, but the cover got wet– hence the cheaper price. This is an album that I’ve never listened to– I tend to favor Wish You Were Here, Animals and Dark Side of the Moon. The “Atom Heart Mother” Suite which takes up side one is listenable, but still emblematic of the psych snobbery that I was glad they moved away from. I really like side 2 though. “Fat Old Sun” is a great song. I may keep an eye out for a new cover for this one since the vinyl is so clean.

New York Dolls (LP, Mercury SRM.1.675, 1973)($10.00) The landmark first album from New York Dolls– produced by then-guitarist for The Nazz Todd Rundgren! After watching the documentary about the reunion of the New York Dolls in 2006 called New York Doll, I had a new interest in this seminal proto-punk/glam band. The vinyl is in really great shape although it has a slight warp. The cover is clean, but has a spit at the bottom. The inner sleeve is intact and features a pencil sketch of a girl bent at the waist in a skirt with her behind pointing at the viewer. The album is great! I’m really happy to have this in my collection. A note: Ryan Adams quotes the opening of “Looking For A Kiss” on “Beautiful Sorta”: “When I say L-U-V, you best believe me L-U-V.” Apparently the New York Dolls are quoting The Shangri-La’s, but I’m sure Adams is quoting the Dolls.

King Crimson – Red (LP, Atlantic SD 18110, 1974)($2.98) This is my absolutely favorite King Crimson album. My foray into King Crimson started with the 1980’s releases Beat, Three of a Perfect Pair and Discipline that featured Adrian Belew on guitars and vocals based on a co-worker’s advice. I started digging into the catalog of King Crimson, and the next albums would be Lark’s Tongues in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black, and Red. Red is the final release from the King Crimson lineup that would include Bill Bruford (from Yes) and John Wetton (from Asia). According to the Wiki article on the album, Red was released after the band was disbanded by leader Robert Fripp. The album ends up being a compilation of the band’s studio work as well as their live improvisational abilities. The title track and “One More Red Nightmare” are both really heavy tracks especially for 1973-1974 and are cited as influential by many musicians (surprisingly including Kurt Cobain). The track “Providence” is an edit of an extended live improvisation. The copy at HPB had a water-damaged cover that was separating, but the vinyl was in really good condition, so I picked it up. I think it sounds very good.

Queen – A Night At The Opera (LP, Elektra 7E-1053, 1975)($5.00) When the HPB lady put this out, I knew I had to buy this as it is an album that is very influential in my wife Sherry’s life. Rock music was not allowed at her strict Baptist household, so she would get her dose of Rock music from her best friend when she visited. Queen was the first rock music she was exposed to and continues to be a favorite of hers to this day. I was familiar with a few of the songs on Opera, but had never listened to the whole thing before. It’s a classic for good reason– a really balanced album with writing done by the whole band. My second vinyl LP from Queen and a good start to a collection.

Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow (LP, RCA AYL1-3738, 1967)($5.00) This is a “Best Buy Series” budget release of the album done sometime in the early 1980’s. The Best Buy Series are generally derided by most collectors and in almost every case RCA chose to make dramatic changes to the packaging and in some cases the track listings to achieve this budget line. In the case of this particular release, there is an ugly “Best Buy Series” logo on the cover art, but it is the normal track listing. Surrealistic Pillow was the Airplane’s second album, but their best known as it has three of their biggest hits on it: “Somebody To Love,” “White Rabbit,” and “Today.” Growing up, we had a cassette of The Worst of Jefferson Airplane the 1971 compilation that had four tracks from Surrealistic Pillow, so I was very familiar with this album as I listened to that a lot. Dave Donovan, who taught Spanish at my high school let me borrow his LP of Surrealistic Pillow as well as his copy of The Beatles White Album, which I thought was pretty cool at the time. There is a lot of debate about the various pressings of Surrealistic Pillow online, but from what I can tell almost every stereo pressing is considered to be thin-sounding, and I would judge this particular pressing the same. Interestingly, the matrix information on my pressing has “AYL1 3738 A 29” stamped on side A, and “AFL1 -3766B-2” scratched out and “AYL1 3738B” hand written on side 2. AFL1 3766 is the late 70’s (maybe 1978?) reissue catalog number. This correction on side 2 would indicate that the plates for this pressing were probably cut from the master tapes used for the late 70’s pressing. It doesn’t make it particularly notable, but provides an interesting view into how labels deal with cutting plates.

All-in-all a really good trip to Half Price Books! Since I spent over $25, they gave me an HPB calendar with the 5% coupons, and they used the first coupon on this order so I actually paid less than the prices listed above. On my way home I called my friend Andrew and told him about the Dark Side of the Moon I saw. He called and had them hold it– it was $7!

B-Sides in the Bins #51 – Chicago 11/19 & 20, 2010

I was in Chicago the weekend of 11/19 to see DJ Shadow with Pigeon John at Park West. My friend Erik came along. Before the show we hit Laurie’s Planet of Sound. We both walked out with some good finds. Here are mine:

The Moody Blues – Caught Live + 5 (2 LP, London Records, 2 PS 690/1, 1977)($2.99) Kind of a controversial album in the Moodies catalog in that it was released without the band’s permission. The “Live” part was a concert recorded in December, 1969 at The Royal Albert Hall during the To Our Childrens Childrens Children tour. The band felt that it wasn’t a good performance. In fact, the album wasn’t available on CD for a very long time (it finally came out officially on CD in 1997) and I had paid to have a CD made from a cassette in the early days before commonly-owned burners! The article on Wikipedia expresses the opinion that London/Decca released this as a way to drive interest in the band’s 1978 album Octave which marked the swansong for the the classic second lineup of Hayward, Lodge, Pinder, Thomas, & Edge. The “+5” part was five unreleased studio tracks. The five tracks were actually recorded in 1967 and 1968. The two tracks from 1967 were actually recorded before Days of Future Past. The deluxe release of Days includes all five of these tracks in addition to some demos. These five tracks were also included on the 1987 CD Prelude along with some other b-sides. I had been watching for a clean copy of this album for a while. Clean vinyl and a good cover although notched. The cover art was designed by infamous graphic arts house Hipgnosis, whose work with Pink Floyd you might be familiar.

Buffalo Springfield – Last Time Around (LP, Atco Records SD33-256, 1968)($7.99) Aside from some spine wear on the “unipak” sleeve, this record is in really great shape. The “unipak” sleeve is an interesting variation on the gatefold– the sleeve opens book-style like a gatefold, but the record pocket opens at the spine on the inside! Makes for a slightly difficult time re-sleeving the record, but interesting nonetheless. Last Time Around was the third and final release from Buffalo Springfield and was recorded after the band had effectively split up as a contract fulfillment. None of the tracks were recorded with the whole band present. All of that said, the album is still very good– not the consistent album that the 1966 self-titled release was, but still important if only for the Neil Young tracks, in my opinion. “I Am A Child” is still a great Young song.

New Order – Low-Life (LP, London/Factory R1 25289, 1985, 2009)($15.99) Still sealed in the used bin! This is the Rhino Records 180g reissue from 2009 of the classic third New Order album. Mastered by RTI. This is the first album from New Order I own on vinyl. I have a few 12″es, but never bought any full albums until this weekend. “The Perfect Kiss,” “Love Vigilantes,” and “Subculture” were the bigger songs from this release.

Dreams So Real – Rough Night in Jericho (LP, Arista Records AL-8555, 1988)($3.99) a radio station promo, apparently, based on the huge decal on the cover that has all of the press information. I bought this on CD when it came out based on the strength of the first single “Rough Night in Jericho” and the song they contributed to “Athens, GA Inside\Out” documentary, “Golden.” The album doesn’t sound like their Peter Buck-produced debut album or the song from the film– which had them sounding like a cross between R.E.M. and Echo and the Bunnymen. The producer of the album was bragging on the PR sticker that his goal was to have the album sound less like the regional sound of Athens, GA and more power pop. In fact, I think the album sounds a lot like The Outfield. The band had one more release on Arista before they were dropped from the label.

The Doors – 13 (LP, Elektra Records, EKS-74079, 1970)($5.99) In some respects this February 1970 compilation of The Doors has been on the back of my mind for a long time as one I wanted. This is the first Doors LP in my collection. 13 is the first of many compilations that would be released over the years by Electra of The Doors– arguably the cash cow of that catalog. It is an odd one in that it really isn’t much of a “Greatest Hits” for the band. It does include some of the bigger hit singles of the Doors– “Light My Fire,” “People Are Strange,” “Touch Me,” “Hello, I Love You,” “Love Me Two Times,” “Roadhouse Blues”, but also includes some other album tracks that the casual listener might not be familiar with. My dad borrowed this album from my mom’s sisters and taped it to reel-to-reel and played it a lot when I was growing up. The result of the familiarity with this compilation is that I had always been disappointed that tracks like “Wild Child,” “Land Ho,” and “You’re Lost Little Girl” were never included in the subsequent “Greatest Hits” compilations, including the first real Greatest Hits in 1980 that everyone seemed to own. The other interesting detail about this album is that it was released  before the band’s last album, so it is incomplete from a hits perspective since it is missing “L.A. Woman,” “Love Her Madly,” and “Riders on the Storm.” Throwing this on the turntable will be a time warp for me.

The Call – Let the Day Begin (LP, MCA Records MCA-6303, 1989)($2.99) I picked this up for Sherry who is kind of a fan of The Call. She saw The Call in concert in the Twin Cities some time in the 80’s.  When I find any Call in my digging, I try to pick them up. Prior to meeting Sherry, my only real exposure to The Call was through it’s singles and one cassette I picked up a long time ago, Into the Woods from 1987. Sadly, the Call’s catalog has been very neglected from a reissue standpoint and pretty much the entire catalog is out-of-print at this point. This album has the big single “Let the Day Begin” (“Here’s to the babies in the brand new world, heres to the beauty of the stars…”). It will be interesting to hear the rest of the record. Sadly, lead singer Michael Been passed away in August this year while on tour with his son and his band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Don Dixon – Romeo at Julliard (LP, Enigma Records ST-73243-1, 1987)($0.99) This was really a pretty big find at a super deal at $0.99! Truth be told, this is likely the same copy that was in the bins back when I visited in March and they reduced the price since then. It’s been on my Amazon wish list on CD for a very long time, actually. I’m a fan of Dixon’s work whether it is as producer (R.E.M.‘s early albums, Game Theory, Let’s Active) or as musician and songwriter (“Praying Mantis the notable “big hit.”). I had been meaning to pick this up since 1989 or so, believe it or not. I bought the live CD Chi-Town Budget Show, which was a live show that WXRT put on that had his wife– a notable musician in her own right– Marti Jones on it. The live show included some songs from this album, the fantastic “Heart in a Box,” “Your Sister Told Me,” “February Inginue,” “Cat Out of the Bag,” “Borrowed Time.” It’s time to get re-acquainted to Don’s back catalog. He returned to recording in 2006 with The Entire Combustible World in One Small Room to critical praise. Don Dixon Fun Fact: Dixon wrote and performed (with Marti Jones and members of Let’s Active) the song “Teenage Suicide (Don’t Do It)” for the movie “Heathers.”

10,000 Maniacs – In My Tribe (LP, Elektra E1-60738, 1987)(FREE) I got this from my friend Erik who had three copies of this. While I’ve owned 10,000 Maniacs on CD, I’ve never had any on LP. While In My Tribe is not the major label debut of 10,000 Maniacs, it is the album that first gained them national exposure and has the first big singles for the band– “Like the Weather” and “What’s The Matter Here.” It also has “Peace Train” which was also a single for the band, but Natalie Merchant had the song removed from subsequent CD releases after Cat Stevens  aka Yusuf Islam famously was interpreted to advocate the execution of Salmon Rushdie. This record also has Michael Stipe from R.E.M. on “A Campfire Song.”

I also picked up two of the DJ Shadow Handmade vinyl releases at the show that I’ll cover at a later time.

Ryan Adams News: Pax Am Records Site Update, Cardinals III/IV Details

This week the Ryan Adams fans of the world got some news that has been anticipated since the release of Orion earlier this year. The storefront for Ryan’s vanity record label PaxAm got a serious makeover in the form of some great vintage video arcade-themed navigation as well as a bunch of new places to keep track of the world of Ryan– a video page, a page for mp3 downloads— the first things up are some jams from the beginning of the Easy Tiger sessions, future spot for tour dates, a discography, and News. It’s cool and in the spirit of Ryan’s love of vintage arcade games.

The revamped store was kicked off with some leftover tour merchandise from the Cold Roses, Jacksonville City Nights and 29 era. Mostly teeshirts, but there was a neon rose watch available, too! There was a limited number of the “Oblivion” pink 7″es available as well. Currently on the site is the promised re-press of Orion that is not in the first pressing chrome gatefold sleeve and is probably not clear vinyl. They are promising some new merchandise to come as well!

The other big news is the next release from the archives– a 2 LP release of Ryan Adams and the Cardinals III/IV.  The sessions for Easy Tiger in 2007 produced something in the order of 60 tracks recorded over a marathon six months at the infamous Electric Lady Studios in New York City. Easy Tiger was the release that followed the 2005 trifecta of Cold Roses, Jacksonville City Nights and 29.

The reason this release is called III/IV is because it chronologically follows Cold Roses which can be considered I/II. On a Facebook post from 7/15, Ryan said,

“It’s a double and was originally going to be III as in the Cardinals third album. Then we made IV and then lots of things happened and Easy Tiger came out so it got shelved. In the spirit of honoring these albums as they were intended- when looking back on the sessions it was decided in the last few days of them by the band that we were going to release it as a double record. I believe the thinking was ( by the powers that be and by our friends ) that it was too early for another double LP after Cold Roses so we took two songs off of it and put it away for a future day.”

III/IV comes in a number of formats– CD, download and vinyl. You can see what should be the first pressing vinyl and if it is what Ryan initially said about the vinyl those are 180g red and blue transparent LP’s.  On a post to the Ryan Adams Archive boards on 6/12 Ryan said that he worked with Andy West on the art. Andy did the Cold Roses artwork. You can see a download card next to the big III/IV poster. Ryan said in the same post that there would be some extras with the “expanded version” and that they might be available with the download card.

Per the Pax Am site, the pre-order information will be coming soon. I’ll update this article as I get more information. Visit the Pax Am Records site and sign up with your e-mail address to be kept up to date, and they are conveniently providing an RSS feed, too!

Here is the tracklist for III/IV with links to content online where it exists.

Side A

Breakdown Into The Resolve (7/22/06 YouTube video of 7/22 Performance)
Dear Candy
Wasteland
Ultraviolet Light (originally part of the “Warren Peace” ryanadams.com songs.
Stop Playing With My Heart

Side B

Lovely And Blue (was up on ryanadams.com as “France” YouTube video)
Happy Birthday (demo version on YouTube)
Kisses Start Wars
The Crystal Skull
Users

Side C

No
Numbers
Gracie (demo was up on ryanadams.com as “Hello Gracie’)
Icebreaker
Sewers at the Bottom of the Wishing Well (up on ryanadams.com as part of Sad Dracula’s Fasterpiece album)

Side D

Typecast (10/15/06)
Star Wars
My Favorite Song
P.S.
Death And Rats
Kill The Lights

CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER THE VINYL VERSION OF III/IV. It will ship on 12/14.

UPDATE: Amazon already has the III/IV 2 CD set on their site and it lists the release date as December 14th and lists the label as TVT/The Orchard. Ryan had mentioned that he was working on a distribution deal for this and other releases. Click on the first Amazon link below to listen to :30 second samples of the tracks. The second link is for the vinyl edition!

Click Here to visit the PaxAm Records website.

Click Here for the Ryan Adams Facebook page.

Death Ships – Maybe Arkansas EP Released – Upcoming Show at The Mill 9/17

Dan Maloney of Death Ships

Last February I reported about former Iowa City band Death Ships– a show at the Mill and a new EP that he was going to release on iTunes. Titled Maybe Arkansas, it was a 4-track EP of some really great guitar rock. I said that it was, “a flat-out charmer– hook-filled and standing out in my mind as a testament to the great music that comes from the Midwest. These guitar pop songs draw easy and complimentary comparisons to other Midwest greats like The Jayhawks, The Honeydogs and, yes, Wilco. Each of these songs stick in my head with earworm intensity.”

Over half-year later, I still feel this same way about the EP. Since Dan sent me the songs in order for me to review it, I was one of the fortunate few to get to hear it. Well, except for some tracks he gave to some blogs to post and all of the people to which I excitedly played it.

Last week the EP made it to iTunes and you can download it for $3.96 or Amazon for $3.56.  On a post frontman Dan Maloney made to his MySpace page, he announced the EP going to iTunes and also said that there will be a limited CD run of the EP. He also announced that they were going to start recording a new album next month.

Dan is bringing his Death Ships back to the Mill on Friday, September 17th opening for Ha Ha Tonka. In an e-mail to me this week, Dan said that they had a bunch of new jams he was excited to try out at this show.

I saw Ha Ha Tonka back in September of 2008 opening for Backyard Tire Fire and the then-Picador in Iowa City. They put on a really great show. You can see the pictures here. Since I saw Ha Ha Tonka, they have been signed to Bloodshot Records and released a new album in 2009 called Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South.

Also opening is Iowa City musician Brian Johannesen who performs as Grand Tetons.

Maybe Click to buy Maybe Arkansas by Death Ships on iTunes

Click Here to download “I Like It A Lot” from Maybe Arkansas.

Click Here for the Death Ships MySpace Page which has some of the tracks from Maybe Arkansas streaming.

Click Here for the Death Ships Daytrotter Session

Click Here for the Jay Bennett Daytrotter Session with Death Ships as his band

Click Here for the Splice interview with Dan Maloney from 2009 that has some unreleased tracks and a couple from the upcoming EP

New Diplomats of Solid Sound Album What Goes Around Comes Around on 10/11

I’m really happy about the number of great new releases coming out this fall! One release that I’ve been waiting on for I think two years, is the new album from Iowa City’s own Diplomats of Solid Sound! I first heard songs that would make up What Goes Around Comes Around (Record Kicks, October 28) back in August 2008 when they performed at KCCK’s Jazz Under the Stars. In fact, I’m pretty sure I remember the title song from that show. In the shows I’ve seen since then, I’ve heard most of these songs so I feel like I’m already familiar with the album!

The line up for The Diplomats has changed since their 2008 release The Diplomats of Solid Sound Featuring The Diplomettes which was released on Italian Boogaloo-loving label Record Kicks and domestically on Pravda. The Diplomettes was a trio before Abbie Sawyer moved to New Zealand for a year leaving Sarah Cram and Kathy Ruestow to handle the vocal duties as a duo. Original drummer Jim Viner departed at the end of 2008 and is these days behind the skins for Brother Trucker. Viner was replaced by Paul Kresowik.

Like their 2008 release, What Goes Around Comes Around was mixed and edited by Adam Gibbons aka Lack of Afro. Just listening to the track “Give Me One More Chance” which you can hear below on their Soundcloud link (below) I can hear an evolution in their sound. While still firmly planted in classic Ameican soul and R&B– it seems a little more evolved to me. The strings on this track are a fantastic flourish to the song. On the song “What Goes Around Comes Around”  they have developed a hot buttered jazz funk that I’d like to hear more of.

What Goes Around Comes Around is due to release on October 11th and will be available from the band, on Amazon and other places like Dusty Groove (likely) in LP and CD and digital download. Prior to the release of the album there will be a 7″ of “Back Off” and “B-O-O-G-A-L-O-O” the center label will look like this:

Record Kicks has made this single available before its release date of 9/27 as a digital download from their site. You can get both sides of the single in 320Kbps mp3’s for £ 0.79 apiece. After PayPal fees and currency conversion, I got both tracks for $2.77 US.

Click Here to visit the Record Kicks page for the “Back Off” b/w “B-O-O-G-A-L-O-O” single to order your mp3’s or to purchase the 7″ single. You can listen to the tracks here, too.

Tracklisting for What Goes Around Comes Around:
1. B-O-O-G-A-L-O-O
2. Back Off
3. Promise Of A Brand New Day
4. Gimme One More Chance
5. No Man
6. Fascination
7. Bailout!
8. Jealous
9. What Goes Around Comes Around
10. I Can’t Wait For Your Love (Pistol Allen)
11. Get Out Of The Way (So I Can Get Back To My Life)

THE DIPLOMATS OF SOLID SOUND – Give Me One More Chance by Record Kicks

Gayngs Fall Tour Dates

In early April, Sherry and I were in the Twin Cities visiting relatives and I managed to get a trip to the Mecca of Records known as the Electric Fetus. While I was flipping through their used vinyl and discount bins an unfamiliar soundtrack was playing overhead. Sherry asked me what it was, and I wasn’t sure but I was as enthralled as she was with the very mellow and groovy music. At one point I found myself singing along with one of the tracks, “You don’t know how to ease my pain, you don’t know…” I asked the guy behind the counter, “Is this a cover of Godley & Creme’s ‘Cry’?” He replied that the thought it was and said, “we’ve been playing this all day and I never noticed that!” He went on to tell me that it was a kind of “Minneapolis Supergroup” called Gayngs (I had to look at the “upcoming releases” board to see how it was spelled). Well, I promptly scoured the file sharing repositories for a leak of Gayngs album titled Relayted and found one. The album quickly entered my regular rotation until it’s release date on May 11th when I  purchased the gorgeous 2 LP vinyl in a white gatefold sleeve.

Gayngs is a 23-member (or should I say “participant?”) band/project assembled by Ryan Olson who had an epiphany of sorts waking up one morning to the strains of 10CC’s softrock mega hit “I’m Not In Love.” It was then and there that he decided he wanted to record an album of a similarly-inspired sound. One that would allow them to use all of those cheesy synth patches any self-respecting musician should stay away from. The beginnings of the album started with Ryan and Solid Gold members Adam Hurlburt and Zach Coulter. Over time Ryan added other members to the band drawing from friends and girlfriends until the assembled cast grew to 23. All 23 members don’t play together on any one song on the album. Other notable groups who donated members include Bon Iver (Justin Vernon, Mike Noyce), Megafaun (Brad Cook, Phil Cook, Joe Westerlund), P.O.S., Leisure Birds (Jake Luck, Nick Ryan) and Roma di Luna(Channy Moon Casselle). The album delivered by this large union of musicians is surprisingly singular in vision given all of the participants– which can only be a testament to how Olson managed the proceedings.

A couple of weeks ago we had a family get-together and my relatives from Eau Claire, WI showed up with a present for me– a copy of Relayted on CD and a copy of the May Vita.mn magazine with an article on Gayngs with a focus on the band leader/arranger Ryan Olson. Apparently my aunt is good friends with Ryan’s mom! It turns out that my aunt and uncle went to The Last Prom on Earth show at First Avenue in May and had a great time! Of course, this was a show that Sherry and I had debated on going to, but couldn’t make it and had been kicking ourselves about. Well, thankfully the band will be bringing their 69-beats-per-minute antics to a quick run of dates at the end of September and beginning of October cumulating in a visit to the Austin City Limits Festival on 10/10. While the Last Prom on Earth shows had all of the members of Gayngs, the touring version will only have 10 members— notably without the women but showcasing new arrangements and new material!

TOUR DATES
09/29/10 Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall
09/30/10 Chicago, IL – Metro
10/01/10 Toronto, ONT – Phoenix Theatre
10/02/10 Boston, MA – Paradise
10/03/10 New York, NY – Webster Hall
10/04/10 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
10/05/10 Washington, DC – Black Cat
10/07/10 Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge
10/10/10 Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Festival

Click Here for Gayngs website

Click Here for Gayngs MySpace

Click Here for Gayngs Facebook Fanpage

Click Here for Gayngs Vimeo Videos (a must-see, frankly)

Click Here to download “The Gaudy Side of Town” (an edit) from Relayted

Click Here to download “Faded High” from Relayted


Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street Reissue Variations

Looking through the Sunday fliers in the paper this morning I noticed that Target is going to have an exclusive CD available on Tuesday May 18th in conjunction with the widely-anticipated reissue of the Rolling Stones landmark 1972 album Exile on Main Street. In true fan-exploitative fashion there will be many versions of this release to choose from. Since I was looking into this, I thought I’d help break this down for the casual shopper.

Exile on Main Street in the new century is largely regarded as  influential in popular music as Sgt. Pepper’s or Pet Sounds. I think that the Rock/Country/Soul/Blues fusion on Exile singlehandedly created what would be known as “Americana” or “Alt.Country. According to Wikipedia, Exile quickly hit #1 on the UK Top 50 and the US Billboard charts, and charted into the Top 10 in the Hot 100 with “Tumbling Dice” and tracks like “Happy” and “Loving Cup” are regarded as standards.

I picked up a used copy of Exile on CD used many years ago. The version I have is the CBS CD pressing from the 80’s (CGK 40489) which proudly announces “2 RECORD SET ON 1 COMPACT DISC.” When the Rolling Stones Records catalog went to Virgin Records they did a remaster of Exile along with the rest of the catalog which was released in July 1994 based on Amazon’s information and came in packaging that looked like the original LP. When I heard that a reissue and remaster was forthcoming, I was interested in replacing my CBS copy. The sheer number of options is surprising, but likely caters to anyone’s needs.

Exile on Main Street (1 CD “Original Recording Remastered”) This is the one that should tide over most Rolling Stones fans. This is the original 18-track album remastered and– according to Amazon.com– is in a special jewel case which will allow it to fit in the “Remasters Box” which was missing Exile. Should be $9.99 this week.

Exile on Main Street Deluxe Edition (2 CD “Deluxe Edition, Extra Tracks, Original Recording Remastered”) This release expands the 1 CD version to include a second 10-track CD of previously-unreleased tracks that were recorded around the same time as the music on Exile. Should be $19.99 this week. Note: If you buy the Deluxe Edition from Best Buy you will get a bonus interview CD.

Exile on Main Street Super Deluxe Edition (2 CD, 1 DVD, 2LP, Hard Cover Book, Original Recording Remastered) This release expands the 2 CD Deluxe Edition to include two LP’s and a 30-minute DVD which has a documentary on Exile which includes footage from “lost” documentary Cocksucker Blues and Ladies and Gentlemen… The Rolling Stones and Stones in Exile. The Ladies and Gentlemen film was a film which “toured” movie theaters in 1974. The film was based on the Exile tour. Also included is a 50-page hardcover book. A really nice package for certain. Should be around $179.98 list price, with Amazon listing it at $139.

Exile on Main Street 2 LP (2 LP, Original Recording Remastered) This is the 2 180g vinyl LP edition of Exile on Main Street in a double-gatefold sleeve. These are the same LP’s included in the Super Deluxe Edition. Should be $34.99 or less.

Exile on Main Street Rarities Edition (1 CD Target and iTunes Exclusive) This is a Target and iTunes exclusive release. This is effectively the second CD in the Deluxe and Super Deluxe editions. Ten tracks recorded during the same time as the Exile on Main Street songs. These songs have been produced and mixed by The Glimmer Twins and Don Was especially for the Exile reissues. The Sunday Target flier says that the Rarities Edition will be available for $9.99. Target also is offering a “Limited Edition Exile on Main Street Rarities Fan Pack” which bundles the Rarities Edition with a cool teeshirt and guitar pick– all for $19.99.

The cool thing about the Target Rarities Edition is that I can pick this single disc up and buy the LP edition and I get a kind of blend of the Deluxe and Super Deluxe editions. I get the main album on LP’s and the bonus tracks on a CD.

Whichever version of Exile on Main Street you choose, it is an essential album for anyone’s collection.

B-Sides in the Bins #50 – Weekend in Chicago 3/27 – 3/29

Last weekend Sherry attended America’s Beauty Show for the third year running and I got the opportunity to have some quality time with Chicago’s record stores. Friday night we went down to a bar called This Must Be The Place in Lemont, IL to see Chicago R&B phenom The Right Now. We got into town late, so we needed to scoot to try and get there in time to get something to eat. Thankfully the folks there were very accommodating and the food was excellent!

The Right Now Live at This Must Be The Place

The show was a lot of fun– it was the first time I’d seen the band since they played Mahoney’s in Cedar Rapids in 2008 as Eli Jones. The band has come a long way in their stage show. Now the guys in the band all wear matching suits and Steph looked great in a sequined dress and heels. This was the first time the band had played This Must Be The Place and there was a pretty low turnout. Some of the dinner crowd stuck around through the first set but by the second set the audience was made up of Sherry and I and the employees of the bar. The band followed a setlist for the first set, but after the break they decided to loosen up a bit and played some older songs like “Candlelight and Satin Sheets” and “Disco Smooth” and a couple of newly-written songs.

I talked to the soundguy at the break a bit, and he said that the owner of the bar is trying to establish This Must Be The Place as a place for musicians to meet– sort of like The Green Mill or the Empty Bottle downtown. It is a lofty goal for sure as Lemont is about 45 minutes south of the Loop on I-55, and I think that getting the bands to come out of the Loop is a tough proposition. That said, the Metra runs down there so it isn’t an impossibility. It is a really nice venue with a great soundsystem and stage and the food and drinks are good. I’d come back if there was a good band there.

We got to hang out and talk to the band after the show– I was happy that Sherry got to meet them, and we talked a bit about the upcoming Iowa shows the weekend of 4/16 (Iowa City, Davenport and Cedar Rapids).

On Saturday, Sherry attended the first day of the conference at McCormick which started around Noon and I parked in the first floor lobby and worked on blog stuff. On Sunday she went to the second day of the conference and I decided I wanted to hit a Half-Price Books as I had the 50% Off One Item coupon. There are a few Half-Price Books in the Chicagoland area, but all of them are way out in the burbs. The closest one to McCormick Place was down in Countryside, IL off I-55 (pretty close to Lemont, really). So, I dropped Sherry off and hit I-55– it’s exit is right near McCormick Place.

The Countryside HPB has a pretty substantial collection of vinyl as it turns out– and a decent selection of obscure and Chicago-local bands. Unfortunately, I didn’t find a lot of stuff I was looking for. They had a Japanese pressing of the Blind Faithalbum for $30 that I was really interested in. It had the alternate cover featuring the band instead of the topless underaged-girl photo. It had a pretty deep scratch on it otherwise I would have bought it with my 50% coupon. They had two copies of Dave Brubeck’s Time Out— both appeared to be original pressings and one of them was a very worn Mono. I almost bought the Mono, but the wear and the seam-split cover had me passing on it. Plus, I have a very mint Stereo Columbia 6-eye I cherish, so I don’t need another copy, really. They also had Marti Jones’s second album Match Game on LP. Match Game was produced by Marti’s husband Don “Praying Mantis” Dixon. I have this on cassette, and would have liked to have this on vinyl, but it was missing an inner sleeve and was pretty worn. Here’s what I picked up:

Men At Work – Business As Usual (LP, CBS Records, FC 37978, 1982)($0.50) This was clearance-priced, and has a VG cover and vinyl. Fairly quiet on the turntable after I cleaned it. I listened to this and Cargoa lot in junior high school. Three pretty big singles in “Who Can It Be Now?”, “Down Under,” and “Be Good Johnny.” It was their appearance at the US Festival on “New Wave Day” that really helped establish the band and make them the MTV darlings. This album is strong all the way through– the singles are scattered throughout the record and serve as familiar landmarks through the rest of the songs. Men at Work were often considered a band that copied The Police– and quite a bit of this album with it’s bouncy ska rhythms and jazz influences certainly supports that idea. One of my favorite non-single tracks is “Helpless Automation” which recalls a new-wavy Devo. I included this song in a mixtape that I played all the time in High School. I need to get Cargo, next.

The Time – Ice Cream Castles (LP, Warner Bros. Records, 25109-1, 1984)($2.98) This is a title I don’t see very often (though, coincidentally would see again on Monday…). The story goes that Prince was trying to transition from the pop-funk sound that he established leading up to Controversyand apparently had a lot of music he still wanted to release in that vein. He puts his childhood friend Morris Day in front of a Minneapolis funk band called Flyte Time and creates The Time– on record, at least was mostly Prince and Day. By the time Ice Cream Castles is released in 1984, Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam had been fired by Prince for missing a show and Morris Day quit to pursue an acting career propelled by his appearance in Purple Rain. Although the album cover shows the post-Lewis and Jam version of the band– which has a shockingly-young St. Paul Peterson on the cover. If his birthdate in October of 1964 is correct, St. Paul was 18 when he played in the Time. He wasn’t on the album, however and only apparently played two live gigs in the Twin Cities and he appears in the movie Purple Rain. After Morris Day leaves The Time, Prince gathers the remaining members and his then-girlfriend Susannah Melvoin and creates The Family. The Family are re-united as F Deluxe (Prince denies them the use of the name The Family– apparently still bitter about St. Paul leaving the group). Ice Cream Castles has what amounts to the biggest songs from The Time– “The Bird” and “Jungleland” which are both featured prominently in the Purple Rain movie. The production is credited to “The Starr Company” which is effectively Prince, who sometimes used the alias “Jamie Starr.” The original album inner sleeve is black plastic, interestingly.

Record Dugout, Chicago IL

My plan was to hit another Half Price Books and spend my 50% coupon, but the next closest one was another 35 miles away. I did a quick Google Maps search for nearby record stores and found one called The Record Dugout(6055 West 63rd Street, Chicago, IL 60638-4317). The Record Dugout is technically in Chicago– although really far south in Chicago. It’s a moderately-sized store that specializes in vinyl LP’s dating up to the 80’s, comic books and sports cards. The day I was there, the guy who handles the vinyl part of the store was working. His name is Bob Miner and he hosts an acapella radio show on The University of Chicago radio station WHPK which airs on Sunday evenings and is called “From the Subway to the Streetcorner.” The store was literally packed with vinyl. There was one row of sorted Rock in record bins, another shorter row for Jazz and folk/country, another “discount bin” with $1-$2 records, and a meticulously-organized bin with 7″ records– the majority of which was R&B from the 50’s/60’s/70’s. Other areas included a “Wall of Shame” as Bob called it, which showcased the more expensive records– rare 7″es with sleeves, etc., a table which had unsorted piles of cheap records in varying degrees of shape– most of which had damaged sleeves, but had serviceable records in them, and two areas on the floor which had $1 and $2 records piled up.

I found most of the haul below in the sorted bins, but the ones for $1 and $2 I found by digging. Bob buys whole collections of records from people looking to get rid of them, so if he hasn’t gotten through them, the good stuff might not be in the bins. Everything seemed to have prices, however. It’s important to note that The Record Dugout only takes cash and the nearest ATMs charge fees, so bring cash. Also, if you buy a lot of stuff, Bob will work with you on price. I spent about three hours here, and probably could have spent more time. I’ll certainly come back!

R.E.M. – Lifes Rich Pageant(LP, IRS Records, IRS-5783, 1986) ($4.00) I might have paid a bit too much for this one. The sleeve was not split, but kind of rough on the corners and the paper sleeve was replaced with another sleeve. The record is pretty clean, and after I gave it a thorough wipe with 91% Isopropyl Alcohol to get it cleaned, it sounds really good– the surface is a bit hazy, however. R.E.M. is tough to find in the bins, so I’ll pick these up when I find them. Lifes Rich Pageant was the follow-up to Fables of the Reconstruction, which was the album that pretty much changed my music listening. R.E.M. called this their “John Cougar Mellencamp album” because it was produced by Don Gehman at Mellencamp’s studio in Indiana. Classic R.E.M. sound on this one– “Begin the Begin,” “Hyena,” “Fall on Me,” “Superman,” “I Believe” are all strong tracks in the R.E.M. canon. The song “Just a Touch” was a song resurrected from the early days of the band and a number of bootleg recordings from the early 80’s have this song.

Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – Nine Tonight(2 LP, Capitol Records, STBK-12182, 1981)($2.00) I found this one in one of the piles on the floor– hence its $2 price. Fabulously clean cover and LP’s! My dad bought this cassette when it was new and we used to listen to this a lot riding around in the car. A live album comprised of songs recorded in Detroit and Boston in 1980. All of his classic tracks are here– “Hollywood Nights,” “Tryin’ to Live My Life Without You,” “Night Moves,” “You’ll Accomp’ny Me,” “Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Mainstreet,” “Fire Lake,” “Fire Down Below.” Probably the only album of Bob’s I would care to own, although I’d need Live Bullet to get “Turn the Page.”

Various – The Breakfast Club – The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack(LP, A&M Records, SP 5045, 1985)($2.00) Another one from the floor. Cover is in good condition and the record looks decent, but there seems to be a lot of groove wear on this one– particularly on “(Don’t You) Forget About Me” by Simple Minds. This was a soundtrack that my brother Steve and I listened to a lot– in fact, I think the cassette was actually his. My band in high school with Steve used to cover “(Don’t You) Forget About Me.” Fantastic drum beat in that song, which is why it is so timeless. It’s a kind of well-known story that Simple Minds didn’t write the song– it was penned by Keith Forsey who also wrote “Flashdance… What a Feeling” for Irene Kara. After being turned down by Billy Idol, Bryan Ferry and Simple Minds– it was encouraged by A&M that Simple Minds record the song. It becomes their biggest hit which help propel their career for a couple of albums. This soundtrack always struck me in how different it was to other John Hughes soundtracks in that while it had a huge single in “(Don’t You) Forget About Me,” it was really lacking in every other respect. I became familiar with the other songs by Wang Chung, E.G. Daily, Jesse Johnson, and Karla DeVito but aside from “Fire in the Twilight” from Wang Chung, which frankly sounds like an outtake from Points on the Curve, everything else seems like bargain-basement licensing– particularly if you compare it to the powerhouse soundtrack to Pretty in Pink, for example. The instrumentals by Forsey, while largely forgettable, work really well in the context of the movie.

In the 80’s it really seemed like you couldn’t have a soundtrack to a teen movie that didn’t include songs by E.G. Daily. She contributed her unique vocals to movies like Better off Dead — where she performs her two songs in the movie, Summer School, Thief of Hearts as well as The Breakfast Club. She’s a pretty talented lady, and is a regular for voiceovers. It is she who voices Tommy Pickles in Rugrats, for example.

Talking Heads – Speaking In Tongues (LP, Sire Records, 23883-1, 1983) ($2.00) Another one from the floor piles. The cover and inner sleeve are in tact, if a bit beat up. I have no Talking Heads on vinyl– well except for a bootleg called humorously enough Gimme Heads which has some studio outtakes and live tracks on it and a 12″ to “Blind.” After cleaning this one up, it plays pretty well, but I’ll be on the lookout for better copies. Last year’s Record Store Day had a Rhino reissue for 77— so I was hoping for some other reissues on vinyl. The Dugout also had True Stories on vinyl, but it was in pretty rough shape so I passed on it. Speaking In Tongues is pretty much the Talking Heads pinnacle release with the massive “Burning Down The House” single as well as secondary hits of “Girlfriend is Better,” and “Naive Melody.” Of course, these songs would show up in a bunch of movie soundtracks. I remember “Naive Melody” standing out in the soundtrack to Wall Street, and “Swamp” shows up in Risky Business. These tracks are featured prominently in the Talking Heads concert movie Stop Making Sensewhich was directed by Jonathan Demme.

Fleetwood Mac – Mirage (LP, Warner Bros. Records, W1 23607, 1982)($3.00) Very clean vinyl– cover has a suspicious wear spot, like someone used water to take adhesive off the cover. Also a Columbia House pressing. Clearly I didn’t look very closely at this one. I don’t like to take Columbia House pressings normally due to the uncertain nature of what they used for masters. That said, it is very clean and plays well, and is one of the better copies of Mirage I’ve seen, even with those flaws. The Mac tries to come back from the Titanic expensive failure that was Tusk (still my favorite, however). I really like Mirage— the band comes back to the style and sound of Rumours. The album had six singles released worldwide, but the biggest singles were “Hold Me” and “Gypsy.” The album makes it to #1 on the US charts, so it is clear that their audience wanted another album, but in the canon of Fleetwood Mac, Mirage is not one that people remember.

My first Fleetwood Mac concert was for the Miragetour in 1982. My family saw them in Cedar Falls with Glenn Frey of the Eagles opening on his first solo tour. I’ve seen Fleetwood Mac three more times since then– once during the very sad Time tour with Dave Mason and Bekka Bramlett on guitars and vocals in Dubuque, once for The Dance tour and once for the Say You Will Tour.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – Live/1975-85(5 LP, Columbia Records 40558 LP, 1986)($15.00) This one was a cool find. I bought this new on cassette back in 1986– and still have it. I’ve seen it on CD over the years used, but never on LP. A great collection of Bruce live goodness from what most people would consider the high-point of his career. I think that they should do an official release of the legendary Winterland 1978 show. The version of “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” heard at Christmas time is from that show. This box set does, however, include the version of “Fire” from that show. The Winterland 1978 show had been bootlegged many times over the years– since it was aired live on the radio, lots of folks taped it. Wolfgang’s Vault helpfully has the show in their archives, but it is not one that is purchasable. Listen here.

The vinyl on this box is pretty much pristine, even if the box itself isn’t. One I’ll want to kick back and listen to with a glass of wine some night.

Booker T. & The MG’s – “Hip Hug-Her” b/w “Summertime”(7″ Stax 45-211, 1965)($4.00) I hadn’t really planned to pick up any 45’s, but they had a dedicated section just for Stax! So, I flipped through it and they had a few Booker T. & The MG’s singles. I picked this one because it was on the massively cool light blue Stax label. The record is in great shape for being 45 years old!

Wilson Pickett – “Funky  Broadway” b/w “I’m Sorry About That” (7″, Atlantic Records, 45-2430, 1967)($3.00) This one is one of the singles I really dig from Wilson Pickett– on the red Atlantic label. Super-clean and in an Atlantic paper sleeve.

The Dangtrippers – “The Masquerade” b/w “Lover’s Again”(7″, Dog Gone Records, DOG 0005-7″, 1989)($3.50) Why is it that if I want to find rare Iowa bands in the bins I need to leave Iowa? The Dangtrippers were Doug Roberson of The Diplomats of Solid Sound’s 90’s band. I still remember seeing The Dangtrippers playing the Loras College gym when I went to school there. The band got signed to Dog Gone records which was the record label started by Jefferson Holt who was the manager for R.E.M. This is the single to the only album released for The Dangtrippers on Dog Gone before it went under (see below). “Lover’s Again” is a non-album b-side!

Prince and the Revolution – Around the World in a Day(LP, Paisley Park W1-25286, 1985)($3.00) A Columbia House pressing, but in superb shape! I’ve never seen this on LP before! I have this in this crazy longbox trifold CD I picked up at a Discount Records in the early 90’s in Chicago. The LP cover is sort of a trifold with a short flap that folds over. The cover art is a painted scene which has in it representations of each of the songs– a tambourine, a ladder, an American flag, a raspberry beret– the ones I found anyway… A pretty progressive album– lots of psychedelica and strangeness– Prince at his most experimental. “Pop Life” and “Raspberry Beret” were the big singles off this album, but I think that most people ignore this album. I liked it back when it came out, but admittedly haven’t listened to it much since the 80’s. Giving it a spin the other night, I’m struck by some of the songs. In fact, I like all of the album other than the track “Temptation.”

The next day I dropped Sherry off at the conference again and I headed up to Lincoln Square to hit Laurie’s Planet of Sound, which I had hit back in October of 2007. The store was pretty quiet when I got there. They changed the parking meters to be able to take credit cards, which is convenient, but still really expensive. I blew $3 to get a couple of hours of parking. Laurie’s has a new arrivals section for their CD’s and LP’s and has a section dedicated to new vinyl as well. Their vinyl prices are higher than places like the dugout, but comparable to places like HPB which is attempting to charge market prices for some.

Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals – Burn to Shine(2 LP, Virgin Records America, 7243 8 48151 1 0, 1999)($9.99) This was in the new arrivals section and appears to be a cutout of sorts as the barcode is crossed out. Probably a promo or a giveaway, but is in great shape. I hadn’t really paid much attention to Ben Harper until I saw him as part of that 3D concert movie “Larger Than Life” back in December. I was impressed enough to pick up Harper’s new record White Lies for Dark Times on vinyl. Burn to Shine is considered to be one of his good releases so I thought it might be a good gamble. I gave it a spin when I got home, and it’s a good one for the collection.

Bumps (2 LP, Stones Throw Records, STH2157, 2007)($12.99) This was a new purchase. Bumps is the side project of the Tortoise rhythm section of Bitney, McEntire & Herndon. This is a record of beats, essentially. This is a really cool 2 LP version that was price cut from $15.99 to $12.99. This is mostly as a completion for my Tortoise vinyl collection, I don’t see myself playing this often.

Cougar – Law (LP, Layered Music/Play It Again Sam, LR013, 2007/2008)($4.99) Although it isn’t really listed anywhere on the artwork and the LP itself only lists 4 tracks, this appears to be the full Lawalbum that was released in 2007 in the UK by Layered Music. Madison, WI band Cougar is classified as “emergency” music although I think they fit under the “post rock” area. Having your debut album mixed by John McEntire of Tortoise doesn’t hurt this classification either.

The Dangtrippers – Days Between Stations (LP, Dog Gone, DOG 0005, 1989)($2.99) Wow! Another Dangtrippers find? The cover is a bit trashed on this one, but I didn’t know that this was even available on LP! I see on eBay there are a couple of LPs– one for $14.99 and one for $19.99, so $2.99 is a good deal. The vinyl is very clean. As I stated above, The Dangtrippers were a band from Iowa City from the 80’s and early 90’s that got signed to Dog Gone Records. They had this album out on Dog Gone before the label went under. Their second album Transparent Blue Illusionwhich came out in 1991 was only available on the Australian label Zero Hour. The Dangtrippers had a 60’s jangly rock sound that owed a lot to bands like The dB’s. In fact, the song “Talk About Love” on Days Between Stations sounds a lot like The dB’s and it’s pretty much my favorite track on the album.

That song reminds me of a very bad trip to Florida in the early 90’s with my then-girlfriend to visit some friends of hers. The trip started out okay– it was Florida in late December and her friends had a gorgeous house with a pool and a Porsche 928 that was ours for the borrowing. We visited a mall that had a discount book store or something and I found Days Between Stations on CD there in the bins!

The trip took a turn for the worst as she started giving me the silent treatment and wouldn’t talk about why she was upset. So, I was stuck in Florida with someone who clearly didn’t want to be there with me. We had a painful trip to Disney World followed by a really uncomfortable New Year’s Eve get together. By the time we flew back to Chicago to drive back to Dubuque I had enough of this ridiculous situation where she wasn’t talking to me about why she was upset. So, she was rewarded with four hours of “Talk About Love” on repeat in full volume. The relationship didn’t last much longer– she didn’t like not being the center of attention with her friends and I apparently drew some attention from her. I still dig the frustrated energy of that song.

Click Here to hear “Talk About Love” from Days Between Stationsby The Dangtrippers.

Love Tractor – Around the Bend (LP, DB Recs, DB67, 1983)($4.99) This was another very cool find! Of course, this is where I’ll alienate some of the readers. I found out about Love Tractor due to the documentary Athens, GA Inside/Out about the music scene in Athens leading up to 1987– R.E.M. is just getting to be a big deal in college rock– it was released before Document with “The One I Love” on it– so the movie happens at an opportune time. Included in the movie is Love Tractor who perform a live version of “Pretty” from Around the Bend. The album is largely instrumental with some sparse vocals. I had Around the Bend on a double-cassette which included their debut self-titled album and the follow-up Until the Cows Come Home. I find their unique style to be pretty similar to Athens contemporaries Pylon.

I actually owned the soundtrack for Athens, GA Inside/Outfor a long time before I ever saw the movie. The soundtrack included two acoustic tracks from R.E.M. “Swan Swan H” and a cover of the Everly Brothers song “All I Have To Do is Dream” so I had to get it. By the time the movie came out on VHS, I was very familiar with a lot of the songs in it, including “Pretty.”

Click Here to listen to “Pretty” from Around the Bend by Love Tractor.

I also bought a bag of 100 mylar LP bags for $20. I never seem to have enough of those. I could get these cheaper online from Bags Unlimited, but since I was thinking of it, I thought I’d buy them.

As I was walking back to my car I happened to catch someone out of the corner of my eye– it was Chris Corsale from The Right Now sitting in a window of a sandwich shop playing acoustic guitar and singing! He was suprised to see me as well! So, I moved my car to a side street– which is free and doesn’t require a permit after 11AM. Then I came back to the restaurant and ate lunch hanging out with him in between sets. It was pretty cool– Chris has a pretty wide selection of covers he does and made for good lunchtime entertainment. A great coincidence that sort of made for a good wrap-up of the weekend.

After lunch I made my way back to McCormick Place to pick Sherry up and head home.

Neil Young 180g Vinyl “Official Release Series” Box of First Four Albums; Speculation On The Next Box

With the eventual release of the Neil Young Archives Volume One  this year which spanned the years 1963 to 1972, that meant that it was time for Warner’s to work on the remasters of Neil’s releases on vinyl. Most of his popular (sold lots of) back catalog and all of his recent releases have been in print in vinyl for a number of years, but with the work done to release the Archives releases it was time to revisit the vinyl.

On December 1st, a limited edition (3000 worldwide) box set of 180g LP’s entitled Neil Young Official Release Series Discs 1-4 will be released and is a remastering of the first four solo Neil Young albums: Neil Young from January 1969, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere from May 1969, After the Gold Rush from August 1970, and Harvest from February 1972. These four albums are from the same period of time represented by the Archives Volume One.

The records were mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering (source) and pressed by Furnace MFG by their German partner Pallas Group (source) on 180g vinyl. Furnace MFG handled the packaging of the LPs and the box, lovingly recreating the cover art and gold-foil-stamping the serial number on each. In the case of the Harvest LP, they located the last manufacturer in the US that can still make hand-glued gatefold covers to carefully reproduce the original cover. According to the press release, “once the box sets are gone, this limited edition configuration will no longer be available,” which I would take to mean that there will be individual 180g pressings of these releases available. Confusingly, a couple of online retailers seem to be touting that they have the individual 180g LP’s for sale, but I’m also seeing a “standard” vinyl release, which seems to be a 140g pressing, which is confirmed by the Musicangle.com article referenced above.

In keeping with the  perpetual delay of the original Archives series, we’ve already experienced one delay with the vinyl box– the original release was going to be 11/24, however there was an e-mail sent out by Warner Brothers late last week that said the new ship/release would be 12/1. Not a big deal, but with all of the press given to the delays surrounding the Archives, this announcement seems ominous– hopefully for no reason.

In any event, this is a respectible effort on the part of Warner/Reprise and really appealing to vinyl collectors. Clearly, Neil Young’s catalog is an important one, and these four albums are landmark releases for him establishing him as one of the great songwriters of our time. At $149.98 plus shipping it is a significant investment. If you break down the 180g individual releases– all of the records are around $22 except for Harvest, which is $34– the box set adds a $50 premium on top.

The Archives Volume 2 is reputed to be released in 2010 and should represent the second decade (1973-1982) if they stay with the established pattern. Interestingly, this would mean that the subsequent box would be a real lunker at ten LPs if he chooses to keep Time Fades Away unreleased. I would suspect that he will leave it unreleased based on the first Archives. There was a soundtrack associated with the 1972 film Journey Through The Past which he opted not to reissue, which isn’t a huge loss. The film exists as a disc in the Archives, however. This is further substantiated by the fact that Time Fades Away was remastered with HDCD in 1995 according to the Wikipedia article, and was subsequently shelved.

The recorded output represented by Archives Volume 2, then would be On the Beach (1974), Tonight’s The Night (1975), Zuma (1975), American Stars n Bars (1977), Comes A Time (1978), Rust Never Sleeps (1979), Live Rust (1979), Hawks & Doves (1980), Reactor (1981), and finally Trans (1982). Trans will be the first appearance of Neil’s controversial Geffen years. I’m not sure if any of these releases were gatefold, so I’d estimate this box to cost over $220. Live Rust was two LP’s so it will likely cost more than the other releases.

Likely, though, the sheer weight of a 10-180g-LP box would prevent one monolithic box and will probably come out as two 5-LP boxes. This is possible since the contents of the current box is designated simply by “Discs 1-4,” so there could be an Official Release Series Discs 5-9 and Official Release Series Discs 10-14.

Click Here to order the Neil Young Official Release Series Discs 1-4 from BecauseSoundMatters.com

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