Monday, November 20, 2006

New records in the collection

Early Nov, eBay:

Soul/funk lot.  We’ve been feeling a little deficient around the Bradshaw house in the area of soul/funk/R&B.  I pulled this lot off from eBay, actually in trying to save on shipping or another auction I ended up losing (Tiger Trap, self-titled LP).  A decent lot for a total of ten bucks. 

Platters, Encore of Golden Hits. Overproduced 50-60’s pop/soul. Innessential.

Earth, Wind and Fire, Greatest Hits, Volume 1. Far exceeds expectations, great sound, solid funk/soul in a good way, great songwriting.

Pointer Sisters, Having a Party. Solid set of adequate party funk which thankfully stays away from disco.

Ohio Players, Gold. ‘Rollercoaster of Love.’ Just the ticket.

Love Unlimited Orchestra feat. Barry White, Rhapsody in White. Likely to be overproduced crap, in no hurry to listen to this one.

Staple Singers, City in the Sky. Haven’t listened yet, but has good funk potential.

Mid- October, Exile on Main Street, Barre VT

Exile is a record shop I started going to in pre-junior high when their building also housed Comics Outpost.  It’s a decent shop with a lot of LP’s, probably too many being from the 70’s and 80’s.  Nonetheless there’s still good stuff to be found. I forget what brought me in here this day, but I left with two records:

REM, Murmur.  It’s not a bad thing to have a good supply of early REM on hand.

Los Lobos, And a Time to Dance. Their first proper release, this predates their blossoming into one of the greatest bands in the world.  That said, it’s a very solid slab of Mexamerican boogey music, and is no black mark in a record collection.

Halloween 2006, Exile on Main Street, Barre VT

Went back here because of something I saw on a previous scouting mission.

Kinks, Kinks Kronikles.

Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians, Globe of Frogs. Pretty good slab of psych-pop weirdness with an accent on the pop, mid-80’s college style.  Decent, but not on par with Element of Light of Fegmania!.

Willie Nelson, Stardust. Great collection of Willie’s take on classic pop tunes from yesteryear.  $1, only needed a good cleaning.

Patti Smith, Dream of Life. Another one-bucker.  Nothing really special, like a lot of records great artists released in the mid-eighties.

Cheap Trick, S/T. Killer debut from these pop greats.  This has been a gaping hole in the collection for some time.  Incidentally they also had an LP copy of CT’s pretty good 2003 record Special One, but I have it on cd and it’s not essential enough to archive on vinyl.

Pretenders, II.  Must have if only for “Talk of the Town”.  Sonically not great, and this track is the last one on side 1 where tracking distortion is greatest, so probably not the best buy.  But then again, it is their best song.

Vulgar Boatmen, You and Your Sister. Indie folk-rock from late ‘80’s. Only soun it once so far, and need to digest it again sometime.  Of course the Chris Bell allusion in the title might have suggested  I pick it up, but I also remember reading something about them in the Trouser Press Record Guide.

Rank & File, S/T and Long Gone Dead. First two from country/roots-punks led by the brothers Kinman.  First record has Alejandro Escovedo.  Pretty good but I think my collection is maxing out on this vein (Green on Red, Gear Daddies, Beat Farmers, Guadalcanal Diary, etc.)  By the way, their third record sucks.

Sir Douglas Quintet, Border Wave.  New wave meets Texas stoner-swing-pop in the hands of the late great Doug Sahm and company.  Very solid set on the Takoma label.

November 14, Raleigh, NC.

In town for a work meeting, I flew in too early the day before and had some time to kill.  No rental car so I was on foot and explored the NC State University area and found two good records shops.

First was Schoolfish records, a typical indie shop in a college town with a nice selection of new vinyl at new vinyl prices.  After much browsing picked up:

Elliot Smith, S/T and Either/or.  Solid sets of downcast Nick Drake-style acoustipop for the sad and lonely.

Minus 5, Down with Wilco.  Passed this one up at Pure Pop in Burlington once.  Have a burned cd copy which kicks ass, so this is worth archiving on LP.  Amazing mix of modern Beatles/3rd-era Big Star influenced indie pop.

Next stop was a used bookstore up the street with a huge stash of LP’s, most all used and a few good new ones.  Must have spent almost two hours browsing the stacks, but you have to do that when you have one burning on your wishlist that’s near impossible to find.  Left with a few:


Richard and Linda Thompson, Shoot out the Lights. Their masterpiece written during the total collapse of their marriage and partnership.  I was familiar with a lot of the songs from the tribute cd Beat the Retreat but this package blows it all away.  Incredible sonics to start, with amazing  songwriting and guitar work.  This piece damn near pulls you into the room with these two as their breaking apart.  Powerful shit.

Dave Alvin, Romeo’s Escape. Bought this one mainly for the version of “4th of July”.  It’s not as pretty harmony-wise as the X version, but this tale of desperation almost sounds better in the solo croaky voice of a lonely man.  Rest of the album is decent roots music.

Neville Brothers, Treacherous. In keeping with my desire for some good soul/funk/R&B I couldn’t pass this one up.  A great two-disc collection from Rhino.

Thin White Rope, Moonhead. About the only release I’m lacking from this underlooked but incredible desert-freak guitar band from the mid-late 80’s.



Sunday, November 05, 2006

Kink Kronikles

I did some record shopping the other day at Exile on Main Street. A
couple of weeks back I spied a vinyl copy of the Kinks Kronikles,
their best-of and odds-and sods from their golden era in the late
sixties and early seventies. Now I have a ceedee copy of this that I
traded with my old college pal Sam Pfeiffle, I think for a Brand New
Heavies disc. Well Sam, I'll say that I won out, since I'm sure that
BNH disc is collecting dust now. Anyway, this collection contains some
of their best gems, but also has pretty bad sound quality, being from
the early days of cd mastering and considering that the original
recordings were destined for vinyl and maybe done a little on the
cheap. This period also corresponds wit Ray Davie's initial forays as a
producer. To add to this my disc is pretty heavily scratched and skips
on some key parts.
So I get the vinyl home, give it a quick clean, and spin it up. Now
I'll admit that I was likely a bit biased, but the whole piece sounded
much more alive. Songs I had mentally skipped over on the cd stood out
and grabbed me. Suddenly "Berkeley Mews" has become a shimmering pop
tune, "Willesden Green" swings in its boozy little way, and "Autumn
Almanac" has becomes an irresistible singalong. Better yet, the killer
tracks stand out even better than before. I've always wanted good,
vinyl copies of "Days", "Susannah's Still Alive", and especially
"Mindless Child of Motherhood", to name a few of the semi-unreleased
tracks on the collection. And without the annoying skip/breakdown on
the cd I now have learned that the garagey Merseybeat of "She's Got
Everything" has a wicked little breakdown at the end. Chalk one up for
the big black wax today...