Aorta and Argent

For years I feel like I didn’t expand my musical tastes much other than a bit of Contemporary Christian Worship music.  I’m just shocked at how many great artists I’ve found that I like since listening to vinyl, or how many unique records I’ve come across.  Aorta is the latter, and the Argent album In Deep is in the former category.

Aorta album cover

As soon as I picked up this album to clean, it struck me as a likely psychedelic album I’d never seen or heard of before.  The album starts off with a beating heart sound, singing about your “Main Vein”, then goes into “Heart Attack”.  Overall, I wasn’t too impressed with the earlier tracks.

I really enjoy some music that’s classified as Psychedelic, but some of the other groups I don’t care for.  I guess it was such a short lived genre in it’s peak and it attracted a lot of varied groups, so there’s not a really focused sound; it was a style of music that encouraged experimentation, and eventually led to both the progressive and hard rock genres.  Sometimes I feel like if a band sings about using drugs they get thrown in the Psych group by some sources, regardless of musical style.  But it’s always cool to find a new album and group.

As the album continued on, I started to like the later tracks on Side 1.  Then on Side 2, things really started getting better.  By track 3, Ode to Missy Mxyzosptlk, A little more fuzz was on the guitar, the beat was more driving, and it really became more of a true rock album.  Maybe not one of my all-time favorites, but I plan on holding onto it for a while.

Argent In Deep with one of those vintage sleeves

Then there’s the Argent album In Deep, which was in the first collection I purchased in November.  From the very first song, I was hooked. “God gave Rock and Roll to you….”  It was just an amazing sound.  To my ears, their sound is so ahead of their time – even their album artwork looks more like 1990’s than 1970’s.  I had to verify when this album was released, and was shocked to discover it was almost as old as I am, being released in 1973.

The next songs are It’s Only Money Part 1 and It’s Only Money Part 2.  Part 1 has a driving beat which just rhythmically keeps says “It’s money, It’s money, It’s money” in my head.  The combination of  the guitar, drums, bass and amazing keyboards just makes me feel like it’s recreating the stress of most jobs, with the limited singing being the weekends in our lives.  Part 2 sings “It’s only money, ain’t it funny when you want it you ain’t got it.”  It carries an entirely different rhythm, but keeps the driving weekday, lighter weekend interlude feel.   There’s even a nod to the Beatles “Money” at the start of the Bridge.

Side 2 starts of with “Be Glad”, which goes a few different directions.  At times you wonder if it’s the same song as it morphs from one groove to the next, but it works very well as just a cool 8-minute jam that seems to explore various keyboard sounds, and starts hinting at Christmas-like melodies at times, including a brief run of chimes, that sort of sets the stage for the second song: Christmas for the Free.

This is the day of Jesus; This is the day of Peace.

Joy to the World at Christmas; Jesus this is Christmas for the Free

Blunt is the pain of Hunger; cold is the wind of Grief

Motherless child has a hard time; Jesus this is Christmas for the Free

It’s a strong song, having great guitar and keyboards as well as great vocals.  To me the song is a conviction of the commercialism of Christmas – from 1972.  My summary is this: Why are people fighting when this is the day of Peace?  They have everything they need, and others have nothing.  Why don’t we give more and help others?

The next track is Candles on the River which is about overpopulation according to the jacket.  I’m not sure I really understand all the words, let alone get that it’s about too many people in the world.  It is a dark sounding song, but I just think it’s awesome.  Maybe it’s the guitars and drums and an amazing organ solo that distract me.  It could just as easily be about too many people trying to tell me what to do with my life.

The final song is Rosie.  It’s a good song, but it was when i first heard it that I decided I had to figure out who was in this band, because it sounds a little like Rod Stewart.  I think it’s the weakest song on the album, but it’s still good, with decent guitar and a nice upbeat tempo.

I actually found a copy in my listening backlog as well, so now I have a copy at the office and a copy at home. I’ve listened to the album several times in a few weeks; it just really suits my music tastes.  Then I found a copy of a later album, Circus, also in my backlog since who-knows-when.  I don’t recall getting it, so I’m guessing it was the summer of 2015 when i was buying way too many albums and didn’t have a good system for quickly processing them.

Argent Circus album cover

The Circus album has mostly circus-themed songs, but it’s more synth-driven than guitar focused.  It’s more Billy Joel and space-synth stuff than Traffic or Soup like the In Deep album.  It still has a similar feel, and if I listen to both of them for a while, I think there’s enough to say “that sounds like Argent…” on this album – especially the second track on Side 2 – Shine on Sunshine.  It does have some cool artwork on the inner sleeve too.

Circus inner sleeve


It’s probably telling that the Argent Greatest Hits album has no tracks from Circus.  I didn’t love it instantly like I did the first one, but I’ll work on seeking out some of the other Argent albums for the collection, because In Deep keeps getting regular spins on the turntables both at home and office.




November Vinyl

After a bit of a lull in buying for a couple months, this month I purchased about 640 albums.  Six Hundred forty albums!  I started the month buying about 100 albums from a dealer to flip, with about 10 being albums I wanted to listen to and 4 or 5 likely to stay in my collection.  I bought them purely to add to my offerings for the December and January buying months.


Then I bought private collections on two successive weeks, each containing about 270 albums.  One was billed at 350 albums, the other at 200, so i paid a little more per album than I thought I was for the first, and did a little better on the other.  Both contained music primarily within the rock and blues area that I like, but had many artists I wasn’t familiar with or that I simply believe will sell.

Collection #2 from November

Part of what I enjoy about collecting vinyl is the discovery process.  It is primarily why I like to buy entire collections.  From that first collection I bought in November, one of the “discoveries” for me was this Roy Buchanan Album.

Roy Buchanan – Live Stock

Roy Buchanan sounds like a cross between Bryan Setzer and Eric Clapton.  The track Roy’s Bluz on side 1 is incredible.   I had never heard of this artist, so I looked him up.  Basically, he’s considered one of the best guitarists EVER, but he never had much publicity.  At one point he even stopped playing professionally and went to become a hairdresser until a PBS documentary brought him renewed attention and a new record deal.

The first track on side 2 is Can I Change My Mind, and it is also incredible, but also has a rhythm that reminds me of another song – much newer.  I’m thinking Roy Buchanan probably influenced a lot of people.  And an interesting note for guitarists – his tone was all guitar and amp – no effects pedals until late in his career.  He used the volume and tone knob on his Tele to control changes in tone.   Truly a great find, in my opinion, and one I would not have found looking through a record store.

Between the two collections, there were about 110 albums I wanted to listen to (on top of the other 300 or so waiting in queue).  Since i spent $650 on the two collections, that’s a little under $6.50 per album, which really isn’t too bad considering some of the stuff in that  grouping sells for more than I would pay at this time (or maybe ever).  There were about 60 not worth trying to sell, either due to condition or just lack of popularity.  So there’s about 470 I intend to sell out of the 640.

About 500 albums waiting to be cleaned.

If I do the math solely on the others that I plan to sell, subtracting the ones I want to listen to and the non-valuable albums, that’s 370 albums for $650.  That works out to about $1.75 each.  I need to sell about 20% of them to make my money back, then the rest are profit, or fuel for other purchases.  Plus I essentially then added the 110 albums to my collection for free.  And realistically, I’ll sell a large portion of the 110 I wanted to listen to once I play them – often upwards of 90% of the albums I listen to I end up selling.   The $650 came from sales of other albums, so basically all my vinyl hobby costs me is some time – and space in the Man Cave.

I can’t see myself spending $20+ on a single record, but many people do.   Which just boggles my mind.  While I may not quickly amass a collection of all my favorites, I am building a nice collection and finding new music at the same time.  I currently have about 250-300 in my “semi-permanent” collection between home and the office.  I’ also apparently offering a small supply of vintage vinyl that is sometimes hard to find.  Many expensive hobbies don’t need to be expensive, if you’re just creative.

Over $3,000 worth of vinyl for $475

An incredible Saturday 180 gram Vinyl Score!

Ever since I was a kid I would go to garage sales and flea markets with my Nana.  It was always exciting to find something that was an incredible deal, or just something cool for a price that is well below what I’d be willing to pay for it.  It didn’t happen every trip, but the sort of euphoria that I felt when I made a score continues to drive me even today to keep hitting estate sales and flea markets on a regular basis.

Then there’s Craigslist, which is sort of a virtual flea market.  Several times per week I do a quick search for my favorite things:  Film, Cameras, Wine (I haven’t found anything yet, but some day it will pay off), and vinyl records.   The middle of this week, I found a post for vinyl records that seemed like a good deal, even if it was more than I normally pay. It was for 95 albums, including a few box sets.  Some of the albums I was sure were 180g albums, and the listing said they were the original owners of all of the albums.  So I sent an email asking how many were 180 gram pressings.

The reply:  All but a couple, one of which was a 200 gram pressing.  So 95 titles, mostly 180g, some limited release, some box sets.  The asking price of $475 was fair, but I like to feel like I’m getting a deal, so I offered $450.  Now that’s still a lot of cash to drop on records at one time, and some of you might be thinking what my wife said:  “WHAT!?!?  Holy Cow!  That’s a lot of money for records.”  I agree.  But basically I took my money from selling fifteen or so cameras this month and bought albums with the intent of keeping some and selling the rest after I listened to them.

However, my plan fell apart when i went to go pick up the albums.  The seller had neglected to mention one key point:  virtually all the albums are brand new!  Unopened, still in the shrink wrap, never listened to 180 gram vinyl!  For $4.75 an album!  Now I was the one thinking “Holy crap!  What a score!”

The guy was so nice, he threw in the rack they were in, a Blu-ray of the Beatles 1, and a framed original Mott the Hoople album because I offered to come to his house and load them so he wouldn’t have to transport them.   Realizing the incredible deal I was getting, I told the guy i was going to give him his asking price of $475, and he refused a little, but accepted the extra 425.  So i handed over the money and loaded the car.  I immediately called my wife, and she said “maybe you should have paid him more.”

They’re worth more, but I paid they guy what he was asking.  He bought them thinking he’d enjoy collecting vinyl again, and most of them came with a digital download.  He didn’t want to bother with selling them individually.  So he figured this price got rid of the vinyl and he still came out ahead vs buying just the digital.  But I can’t see how that math works, and here’s why: After I pull out the ones I’m thinking of keeping, which is 40 of the 95 albums, I think I’ll still triple my money when i sell the other 55 albums, even after paying selling fees wherever I sell them.  I’ll certainly recoup the $475 rather quickly.  If I find any of these are not sealed, I’ll throw them into my listening queue.

Then i considered how much it would cost me to buy the 40 albums I’m considering keeping:  $1067 from Amazon. More from Music Direct if they’re available; the Cream box set is $200 on it’s own.   Some of these were $50 and $75 albums I drooled over from Music Direct, but couldn’t bring myself to spend the money for one album. One of them i almost bought at B&N last week:  Mumford & Sons Sigh No More.  I’m listening to it as I type this, and I’ll essentially be getting it for free if you ignore the opportunity cost of not selling it.

I’m not going to list every album that was in the lot, but here’s what I decided to pull to contemplate if I want to keep it or at least listen to it before selling it.

  • Mumford & Sons Sigh No More
  • Cream 1966-1972, which is a box set of  all 6 Cream albums
  • Black Sabbath Paranoid
  • Black Sabbath
  • Black Sabbath Master of Reality
  • Black Sabbath Bloody Sabbath on Red Vinyl
  • Black Sabbath Vol. 4 on orange Vinyl
  • T. Rex Electric Warrior
  • Frank Zappa apostrophe (*)
  • Neil Young Harvest
  • Jefferson Airplane Volunteers
  • Them Crooked Vultures (just opened and now playing as I write – It’s a double album!)
  • ZZ Top Tres Hombres
  • Neil Young After the Gold Rush
  • Van Halen
  • Neil Young Crazy Horse at the Fillmore 1970
  • Hozier
  • Clutch Psychic Warfare
  • The Beatles Help!
  • The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • The Beatles “White Album”
  • The Beatles Abbey Road
  • The Beatles Revolver
  • Deep Purple Machine Head
  • Grand Funk Closer to Home
  • Grand Funk We’re an American Band
  • Free Fire and Water
  • The Rolling Stones Hot Rocks 1964-1971
  • Paul McCartney and Wings Band on the Run
  • Jethro Tull Thick as a Brick
  • Jethro Tull Aqualung
  • Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland
  • Derek and the Dominoes Layla
  • The Doors Strange Days
  • The Doors Morrison Hotel
  • The Doors LA Woman
  • The Doors Waiting for the Sun
  • The Doors
  • Eric Clapton Slow Hand 35th Anniversary edition
  • Eric Clapton 461 Ocean Boulevard Limited edition
  • Jimi Hendrix Are You Experienced
  • The Best of Procol Harum

All but the last four I think are 180 gram pressings.  The last two are definitely not, and only the Procol Harum and Grand Funk’s American Band album are open as far as i can tell, because in addition to being new, they’re also in protective sleeves!  Some are special editions, like LA Woman and Band on the Run each being 2 LP offerings when the originals were only one album.

Oh, wow!  I just took We’re an American Band out of the sleeve:  It’s 180 gram gold translucent vinyl!  I’m loving listening to it as well – never heard the entire album before.  Creepin is an awesome song.


When I add it all up, this was over $3,000 worth of vinyl.  It also adds up to me keeping over $1,000 worth of vinyl for free.  I just can’t figure out why nobody else was on this posting.  One guy apparently offered the seller $100, and another guy wanted them shipped to San Francisco.   I just feel fortunate to have been in the right frame of mind to look at the post, and admittedly I was shocked they were mostly unopened when i arrived to pick them up, but this was still a great deal.  This may be the score of the year for me, and definitely my best lot since I picked up 150 or so vintage albums last June, of which i still have about 30 to listen to!

If I keep all 40 of the albums I’ve pulled from this score, my personal collection is at around 175 albums counting those that are at the office.   Considering at least 3,000 have passed through my basement since I started last spring, that’s not a high percentage of keepers.  I also didn’t listen to all of them, but I’m probably close to 1,000 that I have listened too, simply because I sold a lot of 1200 and a lot of about 700 that hadn’t been listened to simply to make space.  Also – about 10% of my collection are Beatles albums, and it gets more skewed if we count solo albums from the Beatles.


Every so often, somebody will tell me I’m lucky.  Lucky to find the cameras if find, or the albums, or the whatever it is I bring home.  While there was definitely a component of luck involved, most days that I’m searching for deals I find nothing.  There are weekends of hitting estate sales where we come home with nothing.  Sometimes I can hit a dozen garage sales and find a few books in total.  We spent nearly a year looking for the right buffet for the dining room.  It reminds me of the old quote “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”   So while I don’t ever expect to replicate my finds like the Hasselblad in June or this latest vinyl score, I’ll keep working hard at uncovering the next great deal.

Others tell me I’m lucky to have had the career and the experiences I’ve had.  I firmly believe my diligence and persistence creates most of my luck.  Consider this vinyl score:  it has been 16 months in the making, developing the awareness and knowledge of what these titles were and what they were worth when nobody else on Craigslist seemed to see it, as well as routinely checking Craigslist for postings.

Good luck to you in uncovering a great score of your own.  Start working now, and start improving your luck.



The Big Picture

I’ve been a little cranky today.  Summer’s winding down, my wife heads back to work this coming week, and it has been rainy and humid for several weeks.  One of my newest and most beloved cameras is apparently all but dead.  I had limited vacation time due to changing jobs last year.  Most of my church interactions this week were talking about religious politics.  All that has lead me to a point where I haven’t been in my best mood today.

The last week was a very busy week.  Mostly due to work-related things, but busy nonetheless.  On the vinyl front, after very few albums that skipped in the previous several months, I’ve had three this week. Two Eagles albums, and one of the Jackson 5 albums.  A bit of a disappointment.

On a positive note, I shot and developed a roll of film through the 700si.  It was a bit of a flat day light-wise, so nothing too interesting.  But the camera works great and I’m working on finding a new owner.

I also rescued a Polaroid SX-70 Alpha 1 from a warehouse.  After a quick clean and a pack of Impossible Project SX-70 film, it fired right up.  I’m not a Polaroid fan, so it’s on it’s way to a new home, complete with an original accessory kit.

I’m about caught up on my C-41 and black & white developing.   In fact, the three C-41 rolls I have to develop were all shot this weekend.  Unfortunately, roll #3 started a frustrating Sunday afternoon.  Once I loaded the roll of expired Kodak Max 400, I all of a sudden started having error messages on one of my Maxxum 7’s.   It is a known issue with the model, so maybe my affair with Maxxum 7 #2 will be short lived.  The search begins for a new #2, and I’m curious how the roll of film turned out, mostly because I have no idea how it was stored all these years.


I also developed a roll of Tri-X 400 that I shot with the Canon FTb QL that I remember thinking “why am I shooting a sunrise with black and white film?”  Well, I’m glad I did, because the results were very nice over the course of a couple days.

Even on a bad day, when i think about the big picture, I’m still having fun.  I feel like I’m getting close to making Portra 400 my go-to film for most occasions because I’ve been shooting enough to really figure out what I like.  I’ll still have plenty of Velvia 50, but I just love the results I get from Portra 400.

Speaking of “the big picture”: In the end, no matter what happens, it’s just stuff.  The cameras, the photos, the film; whether they work out as planned or fail it’s nothing that really matters.  More importantly, it’s old stuff, which is exactly why I have more than one of my favorite cameras.  If this Maxxum 7  hadn’t died, I wouldn’t have a great excuse to keep buying them occasionally.  Plus, it’s the one that was basically free after buying the other lenses, flash, and bag.

The bottom line is we’re here to glorify God.  Bad summer weather and an electronic gadget that malfunctions are not worth the worry.   I’ll keep shooting and praise God good or bad.  I’ve had a lot of great shots this summer, and I probably need to focus on getting a few of them printed to enjoy them more.  A new camera will show up when the time is right.  Until then I’ll keep shooting with my other Maxxum 7 and maybe the Maxxum 5’s that haven’t found new homes.

To wrap up, here’s some miscellaneous photos from a few rolls of film and a few different cameras this summer- a little dog heavy, but they’re my best models when testing things out!






Today’s Vinyl – 8.15.15

Four Albums today.

The Jackson 5 – ABC

Overall, a decent album with a couple of pretty big hits.  I think I liked “I’ll bet You” on Side 2 the best.


Styx-  The Grand Illusion

Maybe my favorite Styx Album.  probably listened to different copies at least 20 times since I got back into vinyl.


Led Zeppelin IV – ZoSo

The most famous Zeppelin album?  This is a later copy.


Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy

Man, I forgot how awesome this album is.  Every song is amazing.  “Where’s that confounded bridge?”


New vinyl acquisitions

My wife and I went out to estate sales this morning as we often do on Saturday mornings.  After buying some books, a tripod for six dollars to act as a temporary replacement for one I just broke, and an expired  4-pack of Kodak Max 400 film for a dollar at the first sale, we headed to the second sale.  In a corner of the garage was a bin with record albums.  On top were things like “Songs of Christmas”, The Captain and Tennille, and Sonny & Cher.  Another boring 70’s lot of records.

Being the optimist that I am, I decided to dig a little anyway.  Not far down was a group of Billy Joel.  Then I found a few titles from The Who.  Then some Frampton.  Then led Zeppelin.  Then Paul McCartney.  Then the Beatles.  Nobody seemed to be interested or noticing the albums.  They also weren’t priced, and I don’t recall them being listed in the ad for the sale. In fact, the main reason we came to the sale was to check out a player piano, and also because once one musical or art/photography item is listed, I often find other music or photography related items are included.  They just can’t list everything.

These albums were in amazing condition to be found in a bin in the garage and treated as an afterthought.  Many covers were almost new, and the few I looked at looked pretty much unplayed.   So before drawing much attention to them by dragging them out to really get a good look at them, i decided to try to buy the entire lot for one low price.  I estimated there were 80 albums, so I found the guy that was running the sale.  “How much for all the vinyl albums?”  “What vinyl albums?  You’ll have to show them to me.”   He glances at them, and says they normally charge $2 each.  I ask again for the buy it all price, and he asks how many.  I said about 80 – and he said he needed to make a call.

I looked through the rest of the sale, and showed one of the workers how to operate the player piano.  It was a cool Wurlitzer, but we really don’t need one, and definitely don’t need one at $500.  I get back down to the garage where the check-out is, and he tells me there’s actually only 74, which at $2 each would be $148, and he could do $115 for all; otherwise $2 each.

Now I felt that some of the titles were definitely worth $2, even if I was going to flip them because they were duplicates.  I’m getting a little backed up on vinyl listening, so i decided to see if I could find 25.  After my first pass, I had 27, so i picked two – Billy Joel The Stranger and Steve Miller Fly Like an Eagle to put back in the bin.  Then i carried the 25 out of the corner and into the light to check them out, and a few guys took notice.

About a third of the way through my stack, one guy comes over and asks if there was anything good in there.  I replied “I think they’re all good, which is why I’m checking them before i buy them.”  I was nice, but he was clearly getting ready to start going through the ones I had just inspected.  He replied “Oh, you’re planning on buying all of them?” and stood and watched for a few more seconds before shuffling away.  This guy was obviously interested in records, but couldn’t be bothered to really look for the other 50 albums over in the corner, in a bin.  Which still had another 20 or so really good titles in it.

About 75% of the way through the stack, a real treasure emerged:  The Beatles, 1967-1970.  Purists might be saying “That’s not even a real Beatles Album” or “So what?  It’s a greatest hits album.  Big deal!”   And I have a great copy, and might even have another still in the ‘to be listened to’ stack.  I think i have a copy at the office too.  But at $2, i could flip it to buy other vinyl or photography items, so it was in my stack.

As soon as I slid the first album out of the sleeve, my wife gets all excited and starts excitedly whispering   “Put it back!  Put it back!  Hurry up and put it away!”  Even she knows something sort of special when she sees it these days.   What in the world would get her so wound up?  It’s the kind of find that keeps us going to sales.  Here’s what we found:

Beatles Blue Album – on Blue Vinyl

It’s the UK release of the Blue Album on Blue Vinyl.  I was aware it supposedly existed, but hadn’t searched it out, and certainly had never seen it. The bright, translucent blue almost glowed even in the subdued light of the garage.  It’s actually playing as I write this, and it sounds incredible.  When Revolution started at the end of Side 2 the guitars were piercing and gritty!  It felt like I was playing my Casino in the room, except I can’t play that well!  When I cleaned it before sitting down to write, my wife realized it was actually two albums – both blue.  Ironically, the next album in the lot was the Red Album, 1962-1966.  For a moment, I thought “Maybe this is on red vinyl!”  No such luck.  Just a regular album.

A couple of albums later was a copy of Styx’s Paradise Theater with the hologram on side 2.  I had sold a copy a year or so ago, and sort of wish i had it back.  This copy is a little nicer than the one I had, and I had actually looked at it before starting the pricing discussion, so i knew which version it was already.  I didn’t bother to inspect it again.

After buying those 25, we headed to a third sale, by the same estate sale company.  I found two Jackson 5 albums there.  Not in the same condition, but worth a shot at $2 a piece.  They might have a little noise, but I don’t expect and big skips or pops.   So, I picked up 27 albums today.  Here’s the list:

  • Beatles / 1967-1970
  • Beatles / 1962-1966
  • Styx Paradise Theater
  • Paul McCartney Pipes of Peace
  • Wings London Town
  • Cyndi Lauper She’s So Unusual
  • Culture Club Colour by Numbers
  • Jackson 5 ABC
  • Jackson 5 Lookin through the Windows
  • Michael Jackson Off the Wall
  • Michael Jackson Thriller
  • The Who The Kids are Alright
  • The Who Face Dances
  • The Who Secret Policeman’s Ball
  • Steeley Dan Aja
  • Peter Frampton Frampton Comes Alive
  • Styx The Grand Illusion
  • Eagles Greatest Hits 1971-1975
  • ELO Out of the Blue
  • Eagles The Long Run
  • Billy Joel Turnstiles
  • CSNY Deja Vu
  • Boston
  • Foreigner Double Vision
  • Led Zeppelin IV
  • Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy
  • Led Zeppelin In Through the Out Door

Some of these, like the Jackson 5, Cyndi Lauper, and Houses of the Holy, I’ve never seen on vinyl – again – I buy my vinyl second hand, and rarely at stores, and definitely not at retail, so I’m not saying they’re rare, just that i was excited to find them.  Others, like Frampton Comes Alive and The Grand Illusion, I’ve probably had well over 10 copies already in less than 18 months.  But I really like the albums, and if I find one in good condition at a cheap price, I buy it because at the very least I can make a few bucks off of them after I clean and listen to them.  And occasionally I find a better copy for my personal collection.

It was a great way to start the weekend.



Heavy, man….

Every once in a while, an album just catches me off guard.  The sound that comes out of the speakers just doesn’t align with my expectations.  Since I am familiar with Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vita, I thought I knew what was coming from their album “Heavy”.  I was very wrong.


Instead of something that sounded like the forerunner of hard rock, I was surprised to hear what I have come to consider a West Coast psychedelic sound.  I would have never associated myself with psychedelic rock, but albums from artists like Hendrix, The Litter, the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, and The Peanut Butter Conspiracy  have opened my ears to a great sound.

As it turns out, Iron Butterfly was formed in San Diego.  This album was recorded in 1967.  Once again it is the magic combo of California and 1967, which seem to be the sweet spot of Psych music in my opinion.  This entire album has that classic 1967 sound, with the exception of the last track which foreshadows some of their heavier tendencies that would come.  Titled Iron Butterfly Theme,  I can see why Iron Butterfly was an inspiration for Jimmy Paige and originally toured with Zeppelin.

Tracks like Get out of my life, woman, You can’t win, and Stamped Ideas are awesome. Listening at 6 am, I can’t turn it up as loud as I’d like, but that might be the order of the day for evening.  In fact, maybe I’ll throw together a series of psychedelic albums and develop some film one night this week!

One other note:  I upgraded my turntable during the winter to a Denon DP-300F, and the speakers to JBL SVA1600’s.  They sound incredible at reference levels together, but I feel like the Dual 506 presented high detail better with smaller speakers at lower volume, so sometimes there was an extra “sparkle” to the sound with that turntable.    So sometimes at lower volumes, things sound good, but not great.


Follow up:  Tonight I listened to The Album Soup, Procol Harum’s Broken Barricades, and Savoy Brown’s Looking In.   Not really a night of psychedelic rock, but just awesome guitar blues rock.