Thanks to some wireless speakers we found for $12 at a church rummage sale, I’ve been listening to some more vinyl even as we spend time outdoors. I’m not sure what the range is on them, but I haven’t found a spot yet on our property that I don’t get a strong signal. Is the sound as good as my primary system? Uh, no, not even close. But it’s still good enough to make me stop what I’m doing and just listen every once in a while, and if I’m really intrigued I’ll play it again in the evening when I can just sit and enjoy the music.
So here’s this weeks voyage through the vinyl collection, which now stands at 974 titles with some recent additions, and another 60 or so my sister found at an auction for $3 waiting for me to pick up and catalogue. That was $3 for ALL OF THEM, and includes some early Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, and Elvis, among others. Silly how cheap some of these are, which is why I’ve bought so much I guess. 🙂
This double album contained virtually no songs I was familiar with aside from Rock and Roll All Nite. If this was my first exposure to Kiss, I wouldn’t be anxiously waiting for the next release. Of course I’ve never been a big Kiss fan anyways.
Peter, Paul, and Mary: Album 1700
Maybe I’m just getting older, but I really enjoyed this album. Leaving on a Jet Plane is still a great song, but the first 3 tracks of side 2 were what made me sit down and just listen. I Dig Rock and Roll Music is just pure late 60’s to me; like it could be in any movie that is set in the late 60’s. If I had Wings was also a nice song, then it’s followed by I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog, which is hilarious while seemingly taking a stab at some of the racial tension of the era. The more I listen to this trio, the more I appreciate their contribution to folk music.
Kiss: Alive II
This album seemed livelier, and even the stage explosions sounded better than the first Alive. The songs were a little more familiar, and I overall enjoyed the album more than the first one. I still get the feeling it was more about the theatrics and the performance art than the music though…..
I had been putting off listening to some of the Double Albums for a while, so I covered 6 this week (two were badly warped…Sweeney Todd and TV Classics II). I’ve seen the movie Grease a few times, and this album was very good. I started to realize just how much music is int he movie, because I almost watched the movie mentally as I listened to the album. A couple songs I didn’t recall – like It’s Raining on Prom Night, but overall it’s a pretty solid album. Yeah – I just wrote that…
The Ritchie Family: African Queens
This is what I’m enjoying most about the foray into playing vinyl – previously unknown-to-me groups and albums. Here’s a classic example. After a quick check, this group was assembled by the creator of The Village People, which probably explains why I found this relatively unsuccessful album in a lot with Macho Man. It’s essentially disco meets African tribal music, and I think if it was re-released in the late 80’s in might have done better. It has some pretty good dance beats, and one great long medley, but I couldn’t name any of the songs.
Kansas: Point of Know Return
I really like some of the creativity in their titles; this one is right up there with “Leftoverture”. I think this is 4 consecutive albums from 1977. But this one is basically like new. Exceptionally clean amazing sound. Maybe not their best album, but this is a very good listen.
The Who: Tommy
Some people love this album, including people I know. One guy listed it in his top 10 ever, so I was pretty curious to finally give this a listen. It was OK – and I probably understood the lyrics of Pinball Wizard better than ever before (maybe because I was actively listening) , but I just wasn’t that impressed by this album. And I know there’s at least one more copy in the collection which will eventually work it’s way onto the turntable. This is the London/Decca release, so not sure if it’s original, but I’d guess it’s also from the mid-70’s since it’s part of the same collection as the previous albums.
Hooked on Classics II
OK, I almost couldn’t make it through this one. To me it was sub-par recordings of great classical pieces paired with an annoying drumbeat that didn’t seem properly mixed into the levels. I’m not going to say much more; I just didn’t get it. Next!
The Village People: Macho Man
Ok, this is really more EP and LP for me. 5 songs, about 25 minutes of music instead of the normal 40 minutes or so. I think I’ve listened to 12″ singles that are longer than this! I guess Macho Man was their first hit, so maybe releasing this light album and the single was the right thing. Not that I’m a huge fan anyway. Key West was an OK song too, and I guess overall there’s a sort of Gay Pride theme to the entire album, or at least you could see it that way. I don’t think this will make it back into the rotation any time soon.
Richard Pryor: Who Me? I’m Not Him
Somewhat what I expected, and thankfully not as raw as I feared it might be. Still not a family-friendly album, and not the type of stuff I listen to routinely, but there’s still some funny stuff on here. His perspective on curfew as a child reminded me of my childhood, as we also had a curfew in our town, and the cops would stop you if you were out after hours. Of course the album plays the race card often, but much of the humor applies to people of all backgrounds. But it’s just too much negativity and profanity for me. So adios, you’re definitely not him (for me). It’s also on the Laff label, which was new to me.
Peter Frampton: I’m In You
When I first heard Frampton Comes Alive, I was blown away. It is still one of my favorites, and I have at least 4 copies, so it will be one of the most frequent albums as I work through the collection. I’ve even played it a few extra times, and it’s probably right behind Hendrix’s Are You Experienced for the number of times it’s been on the turntable. This album,however, was exactly what I expected when I thought of Peter Frampton. It’s just soft and uninspiring. FWIW – also from 1977.
America: A Horse with No Name
As an initial album, this was a pretty awesome start. It’s amazing to see how young these guys were writing this music. They look even young than the 20-22 years old they were! Side one is hard to beat if you like acoustic guitar. Sandman has always been a favorite, and Three Roses is incredible and new to me. Somehow it didn’t make the America Compilation CD’s I have. I’ve listened to this side of the album three times this week. Truly an awesome musical experience to just chill out to with a glass or two of wine.
Little River Band: Greatest Hits
This was my mother’s favorite album when i was a kid. I still know probably all the songs. I have it on CD too. I was thrilled to find this in my new acquisitions this week, along with America and J. Geils – so I pulled them to the top of the rotation. It’s a Long Way There, Reminiscing, Down on the Border, Happy Anniversary, Cool Change; this is probably the anthem of my childhood from age 10-15. I still think it’s great music, and it sounds better than ever.
The J. Geils Band: Freeze Frame
I never owned a copy of this album/cd/cassette, but always loved the song Centerfold. So I was thrilled to find this LP. Freeze Frame is also a hit from my youth, and Rage in the Cage was a pretty awesomely odd song. I liked this album so much I started looking into what else they recorded. This was their 12th album! I have yet to find another, but I’ll be looking.
The Beatles: Sgt. Peppers
I have almost everything fro the Fab Four on CD, but apart from hearing them played at one of my parent’s friend’s house and a few 45’s, this is my first Beatles album on Vinyl! It’s a little beat, so there’s some static throughout, but for less than $1 I’ll take it. 🙂 Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Fixing a Hole, and Lovely Rita all sounded better than ever. Not much else I can say. I mean it’s the Beatles, it’s one of their best albums. One day I’ll get a better copy, but it’s a start.
The Peanut Butter Conspiracy: The Great Conspiracy
How is it the Monkees got a TV show and The PBC didn’t? I mean come on, how great of name is this? I guess this group was around for about 4 years in the late 60’s. I mentioned it to my Mom expecting her to wax fondly about her memories of this group, and she was clueless. I mean, she knows the New Riders of the Purple Sage, but doesn’t know a group called The Peanut Butter Conspiracy? This was actually an earlier acquisition that just kept getting stuff put in front of it as I got it cleaned – same for The Beatles, unfortunately.
The music is sort of Mamas and the Papas meets The Byrds, but a little more psychedelic. I guess both had an influence, judging by the essay on the back of the album. It includes songs such as Captain Sandwich, Pleasure, Ecstacy, and Invasion of the Poppy People, and I think it’s a great artifact from the late 60’s. I’m very happy to have this and their first album in the collection. Even better – they were free, as part of 5 boxes of vinyl a lady just wanted to get rid of; in fact she said she should pay me for taking them! I’ll wait to uncover the other album, but I’m looking forward to hearing The Peanut Butter Conspiracy is Spreading….
Thanks for reading. I’ll work on getting through some more classic vinyl in the coming weeks.