On the Road – Pt. 5

9-27-12          On the Road – Pt. 5

Jazz pianist Bud Powell born 1924, Robbie Shakespeare born 1953   ; 9-27-80 Simple Minds “Empires and Dance” (Arista issue) LP charts at No. 41 in England; 9-27-80 David Bowie “Scary Monsters and Super Creeps” LP was No. 1 in England.

Once my brother got out of the US Air Force, at least I had someone to talk to about rock music.  It was still kind of awkward for me to try to talk to guys in record stores.

As Junior High School turned into High School, I somehow found out about the Capitol Records parking lot swap meet, in Hollywood.  It used to start at 6:00am on Sunday morning, guys out in the parking lot with flashlights, looking through cardboard boxes of records on the ground; some people set up tables, so you didn’t have to squat to look at records.  My brother used to take me there.

After a few short years of this activity, we somehow discovered that the swap meet was starting much earlier than 6:00am!  People were coming out the evening before!  (Probably, we were on our way home from a concert, we drove past Capitol on our way to the freeway, and saw the people) – Eventually the swap meet moved across the street from Capitol Records…then across town…then I found other swap meets…

It’s difficult to remember how I got around, if my dad or brother didn’t take me places, before I got my first car and learned how to drive.  I did have a few friends who already had their licenses, who were game.  Most certainly, I had ‘facilitators’, to my ‘cause’ – a cousin, a friend from school, a neighbor…

I did learn how to drive to Hollywood before I learned to drive!  It’s roughly 30 miles from my home, and the freeways weren’t all that complicated.  And you got off on Hollywood Blvd., or Sunset Blvd.!  I knew the way!  And I did learn to ask guys in record stores where there were other record stores.

I did start by listening to the AM radio on a little transistor radio, making the transition to bedroom / headphones by the early 70’s / end of the 60’s.  I eventually landed on KPFK-FM 90.7, the “Pacifica” station in Los Angeles.  After midnight, it went “free form” – and I got to hear an absolute ton of interesting new music!  There were a wide variety of DJ’s that I listened to, some of whom I used to call on the phone!  “What are you playing now?”  “Where’d you get it?”  Yep, my “scope” was widening!

Before you have your first job (when you are in school), you don’t have a lot of money.  You can get more records if you can find them for sale inexpensively.  I have a theory about double / triple albums: Fewer people buy them when new, so fewer double / triple albums make it to the after-market easily.  I remember when $3.00 was too high of a price to pay for a used LP.  A new album only cost $2.98 (in a discount store).

When LP’s only listed for $4.98 / $5.98, it was possible to find almost anything for 99 cents or less.  If you looked at enough places.

On the Road – Pt. 4

9-26-12          On The Road Pt. 4

Bryan Ferry born 1945

When did I “discover” used record stores?  I can’t remember exactly, unfortunately.  But I probably first saw them in the late 60’s or early 70’s; stores actually selling promotional records (i.e. records not intended to be sold, “promos”).  But super low cost really opens the door up to a lot more recorded musical experimentation.  Records for 25 cents, instead of $2.98!  “Cut Outs” in drug stores for $0.87, $1.98 or _____ !  And, yes, some of my permanent ‘adult’ record collection did come from ‘drug stores’ like Thrifty Drug, Rexall etc.  (That’s where I first found John Cage’s “Indeterminacy”!).

My brother told me about record stores in Hollywood, CA.  I think that’s where he found his British records.  At the end of the 60’s, Hollywood Blvd. was “past it’s prime”, but there were still probably 10 records stores, all within a few blocks of each other.  Vogue Records, Phil Harris Record Shop, Lewin’s Record Paradise, “Pacific Discount” and several more, the names now lost to the mists of time.  Yes, my dad took me there.

I’d already seen Tower Records in San Francisco (2525 Jones St.), but I was really excited to discover that they had opened a store on the Sunset Strip!  Finally!  A big “chain store” that seemed to specialize in “rock music”.  And they had “imported” records, too!

The Phone Book Years:  With each new phone book that came out, I could find out about newly opened record stores!  “Phonograph Records – Wholesale and Retail”, I believe the yellow pages section was called.  I knew that any city had to have record stores – thus began the “Rip ‘em out of the phone book” phase of my record collecting eternal search.  I could go to “new cities” and find record stores in this manner!  But… how to go to new cities?  I wouldn’t drive for a few more years!

Licorice Pizza now had competition:  Out of the ashes of “American Records”, the Wherehouse chain was born.  For a while, it seemed like there were Wherehouse stores everywhere (in 2012, I believe there’s just one remaining Wherehouse; Licorice Pizza is long gone, from 31 stores down to zero).

My first cassette “deck” (after having had only a small hand-held cassette player / recorder), reel-to-reel deck #2 (stereo this time!), my own first turntable (a Garrard?)…

I wish I could remember the exact sequence of all of my sound equipment!  I know my first ‘real’ speakers didn’t come until about 1975 or so!  My parents had cars that had 8-track tape players in ‘em.  One more format, throw it on the pile!  In 1972/3/4, my dad bought a Panasonic “Quad” system, 4 speakers, a quad 8-track player etc.  I do remember playing with it, but I don’t think we had very many “hip” tapes; the music I wanted to hear was European.  Dad’s squaresville Quad 8-tracks didn’t really count.

On The Road – Pt. 3

9-25-12          On The Road Pt. 3

Steve Severin (Siouxsie & The Banshees) born 1955; on 9-25-71 Deep Purple “Fireball” LP was No. 1 in England; 9-25-82 Simple Minds “New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)” LP charts at No. 3 in England.

I will never forget my introduction to records imported into the United States:  My brother brought home a British LP for The Beatles “Sgt. Peppers”; glossy cover, it seemed flimsy, compared to the way US LP’s were constructed.  “Are your hands clean?”, he said.  I duly washed my hands, and he allowed me to handle his expensive prize ($5.75, I believe it had cost, in 1967 money).

I was given a typewriter and I made Rolodex index cards for my nascent “record collection”, pretty much patterned upon index cards I had seen in the public library’s card catalogue.  If I can find an example of my ‘early catalog card’, I will post it.  Because typing was intensive work, I learned to write everything down on a yellow legal pad, before typing commenced.  This would greatly aid my skills, shortly.

Likely it was my brother who told me about the Schwann Record Catalogue, easily obtainable at Wallach’s Music City.  At that time, in the late 60’s, they issued two different catalogues, a monthly catalog, and a “Supplementary” catalogue, which was meant to contain any release more than two years old – I think it was printed twice a year.  What do you do with these catalogs?  Ah, you look up all of your own records in them!

It somehow occurred to me that there were probably other records I might enjoy, if I could find in the Schwann catalog records with the same label and serial number sequence, but near the title I liked:  The Doors debut album is Elektra EKS-74007, and “Cosmic Sounds of The Zodiac” is Elektra EKS 74009; therefore, I must like whatever is Elektra EKS-74008, whatever it is!

So, you scour the Schwann catalogs, in search of EKS-74008.  No, Elektra wasn’t like Atco Records – they didn’t put photos of their other releases on the inner sleeves.  So, while I’m looking for EKS-74008, I began a list of all of the Atco Records LP’s I could find!  Their inner sleeves had photos of their other releases!  So, I wrote up yellow legal pads of all potential numbering sequences for Atco’s 33-XXX series, and “filled in the blanks”!  The inner sleeve answered many questions, but the Schwann catalog answered many more questions!  So, that’s what you do with this book!

EKS-74008 is The Dusk Till Dawn Orchestra “Sea Drift”; it’s written / orchestrated by Mort Garson, the same guy that did the music on “Cosmic Sounds of the Zodiac”!  It took me a couple of years to find a copy (in the “King Carol” mail-order catalog).

The Bee Gees and Cream were on Atco, therefore anything / everything on Atco must have some intrinsic value?  “Chickenman”!  Tom Sankey!

On The Road – Pt. 2

9-24-12          On The Road Pt. 2

Jazzer Herb Jeffries born 1911, Film maker Pedro Almodovar born 1949; on 9-22-73 The Rolling Stones “Goat’s Head Soup” LP was No. 1 in England; on 9-22-79 Gary Numan “The Pleasure Principal” LP was No. 1 in England; 9-22-79 XTC “Making Plans For Nigel” 45 charts at No. 17 in England.

Blank tape was less expensive than vinyl LP’s, for the most part. I started making tapes of phonograph records.  My dad must’ve seen me fumbling with a microphone, so he showed me how to connect the tape deck to the amplifier with wires.  I knew where my brother’s records were: I started making tapes of my new favorite stuff from them.

I could go in the closet in the den, pull back the woolen blanket and access his ‘forbidden’ collection!  7 ½ or 3 ¾ i.p.s.!  My brother had “rock music” – Bob Dylan “Highway 61 Revisited”, for example.

When my 2 older sisters used to ‘babysit’ me, it was one of their ideas to play me “Freak Out” by Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention; “Wowie Zowie”!  But when my oldest sister got married and moved out, I lost access to her Frank Zappa LP’s.  But – she did continue to encourage me, by giving me Frank Zappa LP’s for my birthday!  My late sister who was closer to my age had a boyfriend who had a LOT of records.

Record collecting overtook pets, postage stamp collecting, coin collecting, comic book collecting…you could get a goldenrod-color 8 ½” x 14” sheet from Wallach’s Music City that had the LP chart on one side, and the 45 chart on the other side, probably published every week (or every other week).  You could also pick up a small booklet on the counter of the record store (or record department) with an abbreviated chart, as generated by any number of radio stations.

I could try talking to other kids at school or other friends my age, neighbors…but I needed to talk to ‘adults’ who took music / record collecting seriously; people who thought it was important.

By about age 10 (roughly 1968 or so), I looked in the phone book, the yellow pages, to be exact:  “Phonograph Records – Wholesale and Retail”:  “Dad, can we go to 131 W. 5th St. in downtown Long Beach?” – Licorice Pizza, my first “hippie record store”!  There were nice “hippies” that worked there – and they gave you free licorice, from a large box of it on the counter (which was decorated for The Rolling Stones “Flowers” album).

There were so many records in there that I knew absolutely nothing about!  Frank Zappa LP’s that I didn’t know existed!  Everybody loved The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, didn’t they?  Even then, I could imagine how amazing it would be to work in a record store; to be able to hear as much music as you wanted, and to stuff yourself on free licorice.

On The Road – Pt. 1

9-20-12          On The Road Pt. 1

Jelly Roll Morton born 1885, guitarist Eric Gale born 1938; 9-20-80 XTC “Black Sea” LP charts at No. 16 in England; 9-20-80 Kate Bush “Never For Ever” LP was No. 1 in England.

When I was about 5 years old, my parents introduced me to recorded music / sound.  My father had a reel-to-reel tape recorder, my mother had many vinyl LP’s.  The 2 earliest LP’s I can remember are Harry Belafonte “Calypso” and Spike Jones “Dinner Music For Those Who Aren’t Very Hungry”.  The 45’s in my home were usually owned by one of my siblings, stuff like Sheb Wooley “Purple People Eater”.  Of course, there were records in the home obviously intended for children: “Jack in the Beanstalk” etc.

My older sister had Allan Sherman LP’s; I remember listening to those during the summer, when we didn’t go to school.  My late older brother had LP’s by Bill Cosby – so I got to hear those ‘stores’ along with whatever I heard at school, or from my parents.  At some point, I was given a box of 45’s to play with – I am not sure who owned them before me, but it was stuff like Sue Thompson “Norman”, The Coasters “Little Egypt” etc.  Who’s were they?  Probably my sisters!

I must’ve really pestered my parents, because they bought me several LP’s by Harry Belafonte, even double albums!  I also asked for (and received) a 45 of The Tornados “Telstar” – I’d heard it on the AM radio!

45’s were least expensive (and consequently within my grasp) at the Singer Sewing Machine Store – 59 cents…until I discovered the box of 10 cent 45’s at Dooley’s Hardware, in North Long Beach.  The Coasters “Run Red Run”!  I could look at LP’s at The Cal Store, White Front, Zody’s, Akron…wherever my mom took me.  The bigger stores had a problem with 45’s: Usually, they were in a wooden bin, with a steel rod pushed through the center (thus obliterating any picture sleeve; the system worked well for 45’s without picture sleeves, however).

I knew I didn’t own my brother or sisters’ records, and I developed the idea of “my records” at some point, somewhat obviously.  I cannot remember when I moved the LP’s from the “family room” (the den) to my bedroom or exactly how many there were – it can’t have been all that many!  And I think I motivated the purchase of The Beatles “Something New”, from a grocery store – a nice mono Capitol Records album.

My brother signed up for the US Air Force; it was either that – or get drafted, which I don’t think he was interested in.  I watched as he carefully wrapped up his wooden crates of LP’s and stored them in the closet in the den with a woolen blanket.  He wanted to make sure his LP’s were “secure” before he left on his US Air Force adventure.

I asked for a Sony reel-to-reel tape deck, and got one.  My dad had an old amplifier, a heavyweight turntable and a pair of beat-up looking headphones that seemed to work.

The Rush To Expensive Product

9-19-12          The Rush to Expensive Product

Producer Daniel Lanois born 1951, producer Nile Rodgers born 1952; on 9-19-70 The Rolling Stones “Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out” Live LP was the No. 1 LP in England.

When I got my first SA-CD player a couple of years back, I still didn’t have a 5.1 set-up in my home.  I would put the 5.1 discs in, and have to select “stereo output” before playing them.  Presuming that the SA-CD circuitry was working properly, I did hear “advanced resolution” on my SA-CD’s.

Less than 2 years ago, I stumbled across a low-cost Sony 5.1 set-up, and installed it in my living room.  The 5.1 discs just exploded!  Wow!  How many of these sound this way?  Amazing!

But when it was time to ‘show off’ my 5.1 system (or SA-CD’s), invariably, I would march friends into the bedroom – to hear “Pinball Wizard” by The Who in stereo, from an SA-CD – “on the big stereo”.  Yes, my 5.1 system is not ‘mighty’ as my bedroom stereo is.

I continued to try and buy as much SA-CD product as I could lay my hands on, whether 5.1 or stereo.  I’ve mail-ordered somewhat expensive non-hybrid SA-CD’s from Japan, some with spectacular results.

But one only has to be disappointed a few times (certainly at those prices!) to really consider – at long last – which titles to buy.  For instance, the SA-CD of “Pretenders II” by Mobile Fidelity is ‘stereo only’, and I did find a ‘used’ copy (a ‘barcode scratched out’ promo).  MFSL guarantees DSD mastering, so I know I’m going to hear “everything” on this album.  Maybe it’s a ‘poor master’ to begin with?  Maybe MFSL was given a DAT from the Warner vault and told “This is what we have on this”?

And then I notice a disturbing trend:  nearly everything on Mobile Fidelity is ‘stereo only’.  So you only get as good as is on the master tape of whatever they release.  To their credit, they extend SA-CD’s presence by picking albums that previously hadn’t been released as SA-CD’s – such as The Band “Music from Big Pink”.  The catch:  $29.99 a throw!  And usually, it’s not easy to find MFSL ‘barcode scratched out’ promos for less than $29.99.

I am really less interested in DVD Audio; I dislike having to negotiate a visual menu to get to the music!  I like the sound of DVD-A just fine, though.  Many of the new boxed sets and deluxe editions have DVD-A’s included, these days.  I really wish SA-CD hadn’t failed so badly in the US.

At least I haven’t fallen for the newest Japanese trick:  SHM-CD’s.  I, for one, can’t hear any difference between an SHM-CD and a properly mastered normal CD.  For your info, SHM = Super High Materials.  That’s right.  My CD’s will now last for 75 years, rather than 20 years, if I carefully re-buy everything…one more time!

The Who – “Who’s Next”

9-18-12          The Who – “Who’s Next”

Annette Funicello co-star Frankie Avalon born 1940; on 9-18-71 The Who “Who’s Next” LP was No. 1 in England.  On 9-16-72 Rod Stewart “Never A Dull Moment” LP was No. 1 in England.  On 9-14-74 Mike Oldfield “Hergest Ridge” LP (his 2nd solo album) was No. 1 in England.

This is another album that I have quite a few variants of.  Best sounding is still the UK Track Record LP.  I can’t explain it, it just sounds better, clearer – with more ‘punch’ than even the SHM-SA-CD version.

DVD             WHO’S NEXT (“Classic Albums”)     IMAGE                              ID9075ERDVD

1999 61 min documentary

CDx2           WHO’S NEXT (Deluxe edition)           MCA US                           113 056.2

1971 29 TRKS (’03 issue)(20 x bonus tracks)

SA                WHO’S NEXT (SHM-SA-CD Kami)    UNIVERSAL JPN           UIGY-9022

1971 9 TRKS non-hybrid SA-CD (’10 issue) kami sleeve

LP                WHO’S NEXT (UK)                               TRACK RECORD UK   2408 102

1971 9 TRKS U.K. original pressing

LP                WHO’S NEXT (US)                               DECCA US                     DL 79182

1971 9 TRKS U.S. original pressing

CD                WHO’S NEXT re-mastered                 MCA US                           MCAD 11269

1971 16 TRKS (7 x bonus tracks) ’95 issue

Why did I keep the 1995 re-mastered CD when the Deluxe 2CD edition got released?  Different bonus tracks, matey!

The documentary DVD is pretty good, too.  It was part of the “Classic Albums” TV series in England, and they pretty much got to everybody involved (that was still living in 1999).

What would they have to do to get me to buy this title again?  Well, someone, somewhere (in summertime) could assemble and issue a proper “Lifehouse” CD + DVD + (whatever) boxed set.  I do somehow get the feeling that they’re (Townshend & Co.) are not “finished” with the post-Tommy / pre-Quadrophenia material from The Who.

And what of the material?  This is the album by The Who that has been flogged to death, mostly by FM radio.  In fact, it’s much more difficult to hear the short 45 version of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” than it is to hear the 9 minute LP version.  It is the first album by The Who that is recorded really well, too.  I was really disappointed by the Japanese SA-CD of it; I thought it should’ve sounded at least as good as the original Track Record LP!  (It’s all in the mastering, folks!).

Time Machine 1972

9-17-12                     Time Machine 1972

Phonolog Reports – New Releases

Week of September 18, 1972

Caught my eye:

ED SANDERS – Beer Cans On The Moon (Reprise 2105) (LP/CD)

FIFTH DIMENSION – Greatest Hits On Earth (Bell 1106) (LP)

FLOYD CRAMER – Class of ’72 (RCA LSP-4773) (LP)

PATRICK SKY – Songs That Made America Famous (Adelphi 1400) (LP)

PENTANGLE – Solomon’s Seal (Reprise 2100)

2nd Reprise solo album from the main man of The Fugs.  Seemed about time for a Fifth Dimension “Best of” collection.  This is the 8th Floyd Cramer “Class of” set.  I heard the Patrick Sky LP on the radio, somewhat unbelievably. I had really liked Pentangle’s “Sweet Child” album, a few years back – turned on to them by a Warner / Reprise sampler LP set.

Also of interest:

CACTUS – ‘Ot & Sweaty (Atco SD 7011)

QUIVER – Gone In The Morning (Warners 2630)

THE KINKS – Everybody’s In Showbiz (RCA VPS-6065) (double LP)

MICKEY HART – Rolling Thunder (Warners 2635) (CD)

WOLFMAN JACK (Wooden Nickel 1009)

I heard the Mickey Hart on the FM radio – I mis-identified it as Roger Daltrey for years.  2nd Quiver album.  The rest I haven’t heard!  Wolfman Jack = Jack West, genius radio announcer talent who also worked with Y.M.O. – much later on in 1979/80.

Notable singles:

HARRY NILSSON – Spaceman b/w Turn On Your Radio (RCA B74-078)

THE DOORS – The Mosquito b/w It Slipped My Mind (Elektra EK-45807)

Good 45 for Mr. Nilsson.  Jim-less Doors 45 – their final Elektra 45?

DJ Set from Last Weekend

9-13-12          DJ Set From Last Weekend

Crooner Mel Torme born 1925’ 9-13-80 Gary Numan “Telekon” LP was No. 1 in England.

Cuculapraline 60’s Night

Saturday 9-8-12  6:00pm – 9:00pm

Cuculapraline, 4704 Eagle Rock Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90041

Allen, Davie / The Arrows – Blues Theme

American Breed – Bend Me, Shape Me

Association – Along Comes Mary

Barry, Len – 1, 2, 3

Beatles – It’s Only A Northern Song

Big Brother & The Holding Co. – Bye Bye Baby

Booker T. & The M.G.’s – Groovin’

Buffalo Springfield – On The Way Home

Chambers Brothers – Time Has Come Today

Conley, Arthur – Funky Street

Count Five – Psychotic Reaction

Country Joe & The Fish – Masked Marauder

Cream – Swlabr

Cyrkle – Red Rubber Ball

Dee, Dave / Dozy Beaky Mick Tich – I’m On The Up

Dino, Desi & Billy – I’m A Fool

Donovan – Sunshine Superman

Doors – Take It As It Comes

Dylan, Bob – Positively 4th Street

Easybeats – Friday On My Mind

Electric Prunes – I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night

Esquires – Get On Up

Five Americans – Western Union

Fred, John / Playboy Band – Judy In Disguise

Harper’s Bizarre – Feelin’ Groovy

Hendrix Experience, Jimi – Stars That Play With Laughing Sam’s Dice

Hutton, Danny – Roses & Rainbows

Iron Butterfly – Termination

Jackson, J.J. – But It’s Alright

July – Jolly Mary

Kinks – Mr. Pleasant

Knickerbockers – Lies

Kuban, Bob – The Cheater

Lothar & The Hand People – Machines

Love – My Little Red Book

Lovin’ Spoonful – Summer In The City

Mann, Manfred – Mighty Quinn

Marmalade – Ob La Di Ob La Da

Mojo Men – Sit Down, I Think I Love You

Music Explosion – Little Bit Of Soul

Music Machine – Talk Talk

Newbeats – Run Baby Run

Nicholls, Billy – Daytime Girl

Nirvana (UK) – Rainbow Chaser

Peter, Paul & Mary – Too Much Of Nothing

Pink Floyd – Lucifer Sam

Premiers – Farmer John

Rainy Daze – That Acapulco Gold

Ray, Riccardo – Nitty Gritty

Revere, Paul / The Raiders – Kicks

Rhinocerous – Apricot Brandy

Rogers, Kenny / First Edition – Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In

Rolling Stones – Who’s Driving Your Plane?

Seeds – Pushin’ Too Hard

Simon & Garfunkel – A Simple Desultory Philippic

Simon & Garfunkel – I Am A Rock

Sir Douglas Quintet – She’s About A Mover

Sly & The Family Stone – Dance To The Music

Soul Survivors – Expressway To Your Heart

Spirit – Mechanical World

Spooky Tooth – Sunshine Help Me

Strawberry Alarm Clock – Incense & Peppermints

Syndicate of Sound – Hey Little Girl

Tomorrow – Strawberry Fields Forever

Traffic – Paper Sun

Turtles – You Showed Me

Two Of Clubs – Walk Tall

Unifics – Which One Should I Choose

Who, The – In The City

Wood, Brenton – Gimme Little Sign

Yellow Balloon – Yellow Balloon

What? No Jefferson Airplane?

–          Ron