Tag Archives: vinyl

Your Questionable Questions Answered

As someone with an interest in a wide variety of musical forms, I am often asked questions about all types of musical trivia. The WfS mailbox has been overflowing with questions lately and I will attempt to address some of the queries now. Sorry if I do not get around to your question this time around.

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To George S. –

What you have discovered in your brother’s collection is an example of a mercifully short-lived genre of music called Strap – an abbreviation for Stuttering Rap. In the early days of rap, many folks tried to create a unique form of the genre. In this case, the concept may have been a bit too off-the-mark. With Strap, the stuttering and stammering of the vocalist over a steady percussion track created a beat that was not so much “break” as “broken”. The artists did not suffer any sort of speach impediment in real life. It was simply an affectation for their creative endevours. Luckily, the whole thing seemed to blow over rather quickly.

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To John C. –

What you have stumbled upon is the puzzling third album by the band. After two relatively successful releases, this drastic change in artistic direction had both fans and non-fans scratching their heads. After two LPs of relatively straight-forward rock, the release of an album of 1940s standards played on kazoo and Jew’s harp came as a bit of a shock. The press had a field day and their fans ran away in droves. The record company was not very happy, either. They pressed a huge number of copies in anticipation of a real big break-through in the market. The few copies that sold quickly made their way onto the shelves of charity shops while the rest hit the dollar bins. Even today, you can still find abandoned copies littering the bins.

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To Fenton Q. –

What you have is a unique album which was recorded when the band were utterly obsessed with President Richard Nixon’s Watergate tapes scandal. It was certainly a questionable decision to record an entire LP’s worth of material using hidden microphones hidden in an office utilized as a make-shift studio. To call the results Lo-Fi is a bit of an understatement. Another nod to the Watergate tapes was the erasure of 18 minutes of the recordings. This lead to the entire second side of the LP being blank. Oddly enough, this album has gained quite a cult reputation in the ensuing years. DJs have been known to pay top dollar for a copy in order to incorporate the surface noise from the blank side into their dance club sets.

 

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To Peter S. –

What you have is a prime example of things going wrong. After three modestly successful releases, the band’s record company managed to convince them that it was time to refine their sound in an effort to break into a much larger market. So, they changed from a hybrid of metal and power pop to acoustic balladry focusing on sea shanties with a specific bent towards whaling songs. The band actually seemed fairly pleased during the recording process but, in the end they were not so thrilled. If fact, they had the mastering engineer etch their feelings into the text of the LP run-out grooves. The first side bore the inscription “Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz” and the second side said “Wake up, you bastards”.

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To Sheila T. –

What you have there is the first single that the band released on their own label before signing to the majors. It was recorded when they were still a three-piece as their second guitarist would not join until six months down the road. The original single was pressed in a very limited run of 99 copies and the band assembled the picture sleeve cover themselves in the kitchen of the bass player’s mother. For an original copy, you could name your own price. However, the coloured vinyl edition that you have is one of the many illicit pirate editions. This is particularly evident from the words “fake piece of shyte” inscribed in the deadwax. People have been known to pay fans to take copies off their hands.

 

Please note: Any resemblance to truly factual events is purely coincidental. Or is it? 

The Mysterious Mystery of… Lois

Lois-SatinDoll-back-cover

There was a time when you could find some interesting records at the thrift shop for a buck. The negligible investment made it possible to take a chance on things that just looked a bit odd or interesting. That is how I discovered a record that still remains a mystery to me.

Lois – Satin Doll showed up during one of my scavenges at a local thrift shop. It looked interesting enough to risk a dollar. So, I grabbed it.

Lois was apparently a regular fixture playing lounge style organ at a restaurant called The Charlesgate Restaurant in Williamsville, New York. This LP was recorded live there. It contains a mix of old chestnuts like the title track, Misty, Call Me etc… It also contains Herbie Hancock’s Watermelon Man. The tunes are well played and her voice is very good on the numbers that she sings.

So, of course, I should be able to track down something about her on the interwebs. Right? Well… no.

The record is a private pressing manufactured by a company called Mark Custom Records in 1977. I have been able to find out that these folks are still around doing custom runs of CDs for people today. That’s where the trail runs cold.

Countless searches only turn up the odd listing on eBay which simply quote from the liner notes of the LP. So far, I have been unable to find out any information about the mysterious Lois herself.

If you have any information, I’d love to hear from you. Until then, Lois remains a mystery.

Lois - Satin Doll

 

Record Store Day 2015

Record Store Day started back in 2007 as a special day to promote music and independent record shops. It was originally a single even held in April but, it’s continued popularity spurred a second day coinciding with Black Friday (October) in the USA.

For RSD, many record labels issue special releases in limited quantities. The list of releases is usually quite staggering in length. However, your excitement level will likely be tempered somewhat if you don’t see anything that suits your particular tastes.

This year, I didn’t think that the list had a lot of interest for me. I did see a few things that piqued my interest and, as usual, headed down to my local vinyl enabler, Grooves.

As usual, when I arrived the line-up to check out ran completely around the store. I scanned the racks and wall displays not really knowing what I might find. It’s quite common for many stores to not receive all of the items which they have ordered.

Luckily, I found four of the items which were highest on my list. Tomorrow, Rainbow Ffolly, Jethro Tull and The Stooges. I also returned a couple of days later to still find copies of the first Hawkwind LP and Deep Purple’s The Book of Taliesyn re-issues.

Not a bad haul at all.

Tomorrow-Tomorrow-Parlophone-EU-mono-angle

RainbowFfolly-SalliesForth-Parlophone-EU-mono-angle

Stooges-HaveSomeFunatUngano's-ElektraRhino-US-angle

 

Grooves Records (London, Ontario)