Friday, April 29, 2011
I'm in a Zappa state of mind today. What do I have of him on vinyl? What did I have? Why did I leave "Over- Nite Sensation" in a New York hotel? What mutha stole my "Zoot Allures" but left its pretty package to trick me, to spite me, to make me think, for the past ten years, that "Zoot" was tucked nicely in its warm blanket. It was waiting for me to get my turntable groove on, to release the beast in all of its glory. I'm saddened that I cannot spin "Wind Up Workin' In A Gas Station," but happy to see that another classical greatness is awake and ready to roll.
"Apostrophe(')." The first record my husband and I bought together. There is only one Zappa and we unconditionally agree to love him. Ok- there were two -if you count our late and great "Zappa" dog. "Apostrophe(')" is one of the few records we can play without a slew of fightin' words being tossed around like a GTO rag doll. The only record that does not cause me to nag about his music. I will never forget listening to this on vinyl for the first time. It was probably in 1994. We were living in Chicago, on the corner of Roosevelt and Austin, aka, the "four corners." Something like that. Oak Park, Cicero, Berwyn and Chicago, were the areas that protected our building. You could walk across the street and be in Cicero, or you could go west, across Austin Boulevard, and be in Oak Park. You could look to the sky and be in Chicago and then there was Berwyn. A tight group of "colorful" lived in the building. I won't mention names, bless their hearts, but to get a real feel for where we lived would only make for a more exciting post.
The apartment, a flop house. It could have been a good thing. Rent was cheap, bugs were cheaper. Across from us- the "pot dealers." I was a bit apprehensive, knocking on their door for a cup of sugar, and being welcomed with open arms into their living room. Massive piles of sticky, stinky, clumps laid down like a Thanksgiving dinner. Upstairs, the "musicians." Down the hall, the owners and their cracked out "kids." We were one big happy family. Not much in common but Frank and a good meal.
And so, I became privy to this Zappa cosmic ideology and learned how to jive on his "Cosmik Debris." It is this album cover that will soon be framed and hammered into my wall. "Who is that guy, framed and hammered into your wall?" "That's uncle Zappa."
Monday, April 25, 2011
They say you can tell the size of a man's (insert word) by the size of his turntable. They might have said that at one point, back in the early 1900's, when the Victor Victrola adorned living rooms and provided families with endless entertainment. Not only is the player big, but his needle compares nicely to that of a nail and his sound- well- that would be comparable to the cries of a whale. Muffled turns to nostalgic. Nostalgic turns to home. Home turns to serenity. I'm feelin' ya Victor.
I had the pleasure of being able to go to the making of the "Made In Aurora" album seminar, at Backthird Audio, in down town Aurora. It was a nice turnout, with guests from the music industry and art scene, who were interested in the "behind the scenes" look at how a record moves towards completion. Why was I there? First of all, I cannot strum a chord to save Arlo Guthrie's life. I love music, and I especially love the fact that I was able, for once in my life, to get into a studio and see all of the bells and whistles that contribute to product. I was especially drawn to the studio's record player. I have no clue what components it had for playing or what it could do for my Lulu album but I know for a fact it could drive a truck. It was pretty and it was lit up like a UFO and it was not cheap. It's what I expected to be in this beautiful space.
If local musicians are interested in recording, being part of a music guild, songwriting conferences and events- Backthird Audio is a fantastic space. Very warm and cozy. If one is particularly interested in arm wrestling, contact Victor.
Note: Two photos of two turntables to turn to. One is the Victor Victrola. Photo taken at my aunt and uncle's house. Not sure of model or make and the other, a Stanton digital, STR8-156. Photo taken at Backthird Audio.
Posted by Amy at 12:20 PM
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Twenty years ago today, we lost Steve Marriott. I am sorry I did not get a chance to witness his amazing presence. I am keeping my eyes open for "Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake." If anyone sees this on vinyl somewhere-please let me know!
Note: This excerpt was an advertisement, marketing idea/parody- taken from "The Lord's Prayer" -during the release of the album. 1968.
Which were in the studios
Hallowed by thy name
Thy music come
Thy songs be sung
On this album as they came from your heads
We give you this day our daily bread
Give us thy album in a round cover as we give thee 37/9d.,
Lead us into the record stores.
And deliver us Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake
For nice is the music
The sleeve and the story
For ever and ever, Immediate
Posted by Amy at 9:18 AM
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Twelve angry women. That's what I got on vinyl for ya. Let's not underestimate the power of an emotional, musical breakdown in estrogen form or the sweet soulful grace of the dimuntively challenged. Their voices, huge, full of pain and happiness. Full of charismatic, sexual energy that could sweep Elvis into the corner. The kind of energy our mothers told us to suppress with lock and key. It is within these divas we find our "Cheap Thrills" and are often the records I put on when needing a vicarious fix. Some, I am listening to for the first time. I mention one album from each lady, but I do have multiple releases from a few. There are many gals who I listen to on tape or CD. Since this is all vinyl, I will cover only those. Check please.
1. "Chapter Two"- Roberta Flack- I can put this record on over and over and over and as I write this, I have. "Reverend Lee." Ah- who in their right mind would demand "Reverend Lee - do it to me." Precious. I am in love with the whole album. My favorite-"Gone Away," written by Donny Hathaway, Curtis Mayfield and Leroy Hutson. Climactic.
2. "Horses"- Patti Smith- I think I need to post a separate entry for Smith. I put this on for the first time in a long time and danced with Indigo to "Gloria" and then weeped at "Birdland." Only Jesus could die for "some body's sins" but Patti Smith's.
3."Cheap Thrills"-Janis Joplin- What can I say about this album cover that hasn't already been said. If it was approved by the Hell's Angels then its good enough for me. Little girl in a power voice.
4. "Tapestry"- Carol King- "Natural Women, "I Feel The Earth Move," - the barefoot lyricist.
5. "Rickie Lee Jones"- RLJ- I need to re-visit this album. There was a time I thought it cool to smoke brown cigarettes.
6."Olivia- Totally Hot"- Olivia Newton John- I was in love with her from the time I was five. I did have Grease and Xanadu on record but they were trampled on by crisp white roller skates, leg warmers and ribbon barrettes. This cover will flip flop one's sexual preference. Confusion.
7. "The Magnificent Miriam Makeba"- Miriam Makeba- Never listened to it. Need to.
8. "Joni Mitchell"- JM- Another colorful album cover and another prolific writer. The back boasts a nice fish eye view of Mitchell dressed in red, next to a red van walking the streets of, I don't know, the south side of Chicago? I need to listen to this too. Produced by David Crosby.
9. "Surrealistic Pillow"- Jefferson Airplane- Pink and surreal. "Somebody To Love" and "White Rabbit." The beautiful Grace Slick. Reading the back of this record, I see that Jerry Garcia was the musical and spiritual advisor.
10. "Love Child"- Dianna Ross and The Supremes- 1968- Mowtown Records. I do not think I ever listened to this either but I am right now. Love these women.
11. "Martha and The Vandellas Greatest Hits"- Martha and The Vandellas-Another one I must listen too.
12.- Aretha's Greatest Hits"- Aretha Franklin- I just got this album, as I mentioned before, and it is absolutely the greatest! Every song is good. "Respect;" "Spanish Harlem;" "Do Right Women- Do Right Man;"- they're all in there.
Posted by Amy at 1:12 PM
Monday, April 18, 2011
Robert Goulet. I don't have any but someday I might. I just need to go back to the Thrift And Dollar-Paula Dean, Paula Dean and excavate the many Goulets, buried in the leaves of martini days gone past and polyester smells.
Saturday was Record Store Day and I decided to take my daughter to Kiss The Sky so that she may witness the revival but she hung on to me like a kindergartner full of hesitation and uncertainty. I was not sure why the apprehension. Once she spotted familiarity in the form of Beatles and saw the hanging ACDC earrings, she came around.
Kiss the Sky had a dollar bin and I scored a couple of beauties- Humble Pie's "Smokin'" and "Aretha's Greatest Hits." Saturday was also the release of "Made In Aurora" and I must say how much I love this record! Local musicians on vinyl in the year 2011 equals pure authenticity. It could have been recorded in 1973, that's how good needle sounds on new.
Back to thrift store finds. For a pricey 99 cents- Streisand and Kristofferson's "A Star Is Born," "The Piano Music Of Chopin," and "Valley Of The Dolls Soundtrack." I think I scored.
Posted by Amy at 1:25 PM
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
April 16 is Record Store Day. In my mission statement, I said I was going to talk about what's new in vinyl. This includes Foo Fighters, White Stripes, and a few local musicians. I cannot even promise that a review will go up since it takes me a few years (understatement) to purchase a new release. I think Fighters and Stripes are worth a future mention.
If your searching for the Holy Grail, read editor/writer Andre Salles' blog, Tuesday Morning 3 a.m., at www.tm3am.blogspot.com. I'm pretty sure Salles was a surgeon in his past life, gaining knowledge for this new life, as a dissector of all things music. Reporter Eric Schelkopf also has an extensive blog called The Total Scene at www.thetotalscene.blogspot.com. There, he interviews musicians visiting the local Chicago and suburb areas. Both writers are very affluent when it comes to the latest and greatest. My blog pales in comparison. I am the janitor. No, I am the broom that the janitor throws in the closet. Go to them for wisdom. Come to me when you want to discuss covers, shiny things and the material on Carole King's "Tapestry." Literally.
What do I know? I do know that the new release of an album called "Made In Aurora," will hit record store, Kiss the Sky, on Record Store Day. The recording consists of local musicians in jam session and continues with a remake of Gram Parsons' "In My Hour Of Darkness," from the album "Grievous Angel."
Ah. Everybody has a story. When I look at my records, I remember the meaning behind my choice. It's not like a profound event, just a time and place of pure inspiration. Usually it's a recommendation and sometimes the album art is pretty. In this case, it's a Black Crowes concert. New York. 1996. Conglomeration of Crowe heads. A comradery of sorts, echoing sentiments of Cash. Cash? Johnny Cash? I didn't know what the fuss was about. I realized, upon seeing the Crowe's performance, I met my new boyfriend- my new song. "Cash On The Barrelhead." Their melodic cover took me by the hand and lead me to them dirty ass bins. I found my angel.
I can always spot this record from my stash. Bright baby blue. Parsons' face floating, smirking, and hypothetically saying, "I'm going to give you an offer you can't refuse." A "$1000 Wedding."
I am so looking forward to hearing "Made In Aurora's" rendition of "In My Hour Of Darkness." Raw. If possible, go to your local record store Saturday and dig, dig, dig. Kiss the Sky is located at 301 W. State St., Geneva IL. Say hello to Steve Warrenfeltz and pick up a copy of "Made In Aurora." You can also get more information about the musicians and participants at www.backthird.com/madeinaurora/.
Posted by Amy at 10:44 AM
and brought up about twenty more albums. Some almost crumbling to dust and some, protected in plastic. Safe. Warm. A few, free from disease. A few more, infected by the hands of my child. Scratched and skipping right at the peak of perfection. I threw on a couple here and there and with wandering eyes and a little bit of ADD, I made my way to Humble Pie's "Eat It."
Note: ADD- Attention Deficit Discography- it pulls the thought process into many directions filling your head with a merry band of Cybils. Too much music thrown in at once. A bunch of sprawled out albums is like picking out tile, leaving you vulnerable. End of note.
Today "Eat It" conquers and a quick "be careful with that needle, Amy" voice helps me to compose myself, put it on dainty, and listen. Here comes the boogie. Oh it comes alright. When slipping Humble Pie on, one does not listen. One transcends to a time and place one probably has never been.
What do I remember about this album? Besides three slices of heaven and one slice of live, it makes me think of my broken, inexcusable, record player. (Here comes the scratched record sound and a pause.) What? I just ruined a moment with negativity. I will say it again. I had a lousy ass record player which somehow managed to bleed my soul dry but that 5 dollar thrift store hunk of junk managed to keep Steve Marriott alive. Nothing could dim the light of Marriott. That man could make Fisher Price tolerable and so I spun. I spun until it hurt. The sounds of "Drugstore Cowboy," "Black Coffee," "Up Our Sleeve," and the hauntingly beautiful "Oh Bella (All That Her's)" raised my subconscious, broke the barrier, and I awoke.
Sometimes goodies are left behind in an album sleeve. A cool poster still in tact, notes, money perhaps, even food. In this case, three pieces of hot pink paper with scribbles in black ink and a drawing of what appears to be the start of a snowman with a detailed top hat. The word "City Slicker" is written near the snowman and "Jelly, Jelly, Jelly." These are probably just random thoughts from the previous owner who possibly felt inspired to doodle at the moment of musical climax. What's even more precious are the names in various graffitied positions left for me to take notice. Oh if records could talk. This post is for you, Kip and Sue.
Monday, April 11, 2011
I've been thinking a lot lately about some of the rarities in my collection, if I even have any, and what gems I am hoping to add to what's questionable.
Patto. Say it with me, Patto. Why on mother's earth had I not come across this amazing band. I will tell you why in a nutshell. I am not a music aficionado. Will not pretend to be, hence my "learn as I go" disclaimer. One of the records I am looking for is Patto's self titled album. I've got to give credit to my brother for introducing me to this band. I am not sure what type of music one would classify them as. "Wikipedia" classifies them as "progressive Jazz-rock," which consisted of Mike Patto on vocals; Ollie Halsall on guitar; Clive Griffiths on bass; and John Halsey, drums. The year- 1970, England.
I did ask Old School Records, located in Forest Park, if they've ever come across their self titled release. They haven't seen it but have had "Monkey's Bum," "Hold Your Fire," and "Ducks In Flight."
Now, when the heck do I have time to go digging for dinosaur bones? I don't right now, I will this summer. It has been a while since I've gone album picking. I am wondering if the $1.99 bins are still available and if Patto will hear me coming through the door. Lift your record spirit up from the lost and show yourself.
Old School Records is located at 7446 W. Madison St., Forest Park, IL.
Posted by Amy at 9:04 AM
Sunday, April 10, 2011
I don't think I clarified on what I hope to accomplish with this blog. I just rambled on. Here's a list: attempt to review some of the records that I love/and or hate; attempt to review my life as it fit into said records; compile a list of online vinyl sources and stores in my area or other points of interest; talk about bands who are releasing new vinyl; compile video "vinyl screen time," films that have vinyl scenes; and any other random thought as it pertains to the topic.
Posted by Amy at 6:40 AM
Saturday, April 9, 2011
I wanted to clarify a few things about my intentions with this blog. This may help with organization and guide me through this arduous process I am about to attempt. I know there are plenty of vinyl and music blogs out there. I have a few Face Book friends who do have music blogs. At a later date, I hope for permission to add their links to a future post. These are pretty extensive blogs. I admit, I've been out of the music loop. I cannot tell you who half of the listed bands are. I did ask one of the writers, "How do you find all of this music?", to which he replied, "Lots of research!" I will be doing research as I go, collecting more records, and possibly setting something up with a few enthusiasts for a "record trading day." I will get more into that later.
How did I get the blog's name? I was reading the newest issue of Rolling Stone Magazine and came across a photograph of musician Jack White playing guitar in front of what appeared to be a yellow bus. The bus happened to be his travelling record store called "Third Man Rolling Record Store." In it was gold. Hot truck, melting vinyl, screaming kids and eyes cream.
Now, why on earth does a thirty- something year old stay at home mom, think she can wing a record blog? I don't know if I can, but I will try. It's what I am passionate about. It's in my memory. There's a rebirth of the record, of the album. Music on vinyl. The once upon a time thrill of having a few bucks in my pocket, age 19, shuffling sticky fingers through old dirty bins filled with strange faces and strange places. The color in the cover of Zappa's "Hot Rats" and the ever sophisticated head shot of Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain." The feeling of striking it rich with a rarity and holding it up like a new baby all the while saying "It's mine, it's mine!" Those are my memories.
For more infomation on Jack White's record store, visit www.thirdmanrecords.com
Posted by Amy at 10:26 AM
Friday, April 8, 2011
Apparently there is a band from Italy named "Eyes Cream" and they do have a couple of vinyl records out so I am thinking of changing this blog name. Who names their band "Eyes Cream?" I'm a bit sad because the name is growing on me like Alan Freed's bank account. Should I change it just in case "Eyes Cream" hunts me down and takes me to court in Italy? I could use a vaycay.
Posted by Amy at 10:04 PM