Celebrating my Birthday as Only an Insane Fanatic Can

Today I celebrate my fast-approaching birthday with the album which, as a teen, revealed to me that a world existed outside of top 40 radio pop, and whose album art directly inspired my pursuit of a design degree.

Shamelessly celebrating as only a design fanatic can… with a shrine of custom-printed tees, buttons, concert memorabilia, the original UK LP, the 20th Anniversary deluxe edition, the WaxTrax US compact disc, and the custom album art skin for my new Chromebook which arrived today.

Thank you, Underworld for sticking with me for 20 beautiful years.

 

Dubnobass Chromebook FrontDubnobass Chromebook Back

Tune in with me this evening – I’m spinning the Super Deluxe 20th Anniversary Edition.  Cheers!

A Tour of the Listening Room!

My birthday is fast-approaching, and as you would suspect, I am impossible to shop for.  Despite this challenge, my fiance has successfully surprised and delighted me with her creative gifts more and more with each passing year.

This year I had more than once wondered aloud how much I would love a 2-row record bin to flip through my collection record store style.  But, as other household expenses have always taken precedence, I’d never gone ahead and ordered one.

But yesterday, my fiance with her thrifty eagle eye spotted a wood-framed beer cooler roadside with a large rectangular aluminum-lined cavity that, as luck would have it, measures precisely wide enough for two deep rows of polybagged LPs!  It even has an additional shelf underneath for oversize box sets!

It’s been so long since I’ve done a video, and this new acquisition seemed the perfect opportunity for an updated tour of my listening room.

Note: I neglected to mention in the video – Underworld’s quintessential album, Dubnobasswithmyheadman is not missing from the collection I present – it is framed on the wall opposite the Eno • Hyde Someday World art print!

A few of the unmentioned items featured include:

Atop the Bookshelf:
William Basinski – The Disintegration Loops Box Set
Cyril Ritchard Reads Alice in Wonderland + Facsimile Clothbound HC of the first edition
Tangerine Dream – In the Beginning…
Tom Waits – Orphans
Underworld – Dubnobasswithmyheadman Super Deluxe Anniversary Ed.
Underworld – Barking Super Deluxe Ed.
20 Years of Jethro Tull: The Definitive Collection
The Motown Story: The First Decade
Miles Davis at the Fillmore Box Set
Harmonia – Complete Works

Atop the Jazz/20th Century Avant-Garde/Funk & Soul/Blues/ and Proto Electronic Shelf:
Klaus Schulze + Pete Namlook – The Dark Side of the Moog Vol I-IV
Music From Some Guys in Space (Fan-Made Box Set)
FAX +49-69/45046 / Carpe Sonum – Die Welt Ist Klang: A Tribute to Pete Namlook
Lemon Jelly – lemonjelly.ky
Lemon Jelly – Lost Horizons
Lemon Jelly – ’64-’95 DVD box
The KLF Recovered & Remastered Collection (with new titles I’ll be featuring soon!)
and the Buckner & Garcia – “Pac-Man Fever” square pic disc

As for the contents of the record bin; I think I covered each of these in the vid… but let me know if you’re wondering about any titles in particular!

Thanks so much for watching and extra-special thanks to my dear fiance for doing the impossible year after year!

 

Published in: on June 4, 2016 at 11:31 am  Comments (1)  
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A Birthday Like No Other!

I’ve been saving up for this mega-post of audiophilic treasures.  I’m back from a week’s vacation to my old home town where I spent my birthday visiting friends, family and my life-long favorite record shop.

Entering the shop I walked past a NM Beatles butcher cover, straight to the back where 3,000 LPs had just been traded in. Tom, the owner told me it was the best collection he’d ever seen (other than his own.)

All of the discs were alphabetical by artist, and all dead mint. Tom said, “I could easily shrink wrap the whole lot and sell ’em in Japan if I wanted to. The owner played these discs once to rip them and then filed them away.”

I passed up 20 mint Miles Davis LPs knowing I couldn’t afford to bring them all home, but my eyes went wide when I reached the Tom Waits collection. I pulled every disc I didn’t already own and walked up to the counter.

I said to Tom, “hold these – I’m going to pace around for 3 minutes… and then I’m going to come back and buy them.”

I had already ordered two other Waits’ LPs for my birthday – Bone Machine and Bad As Me.  They’re in the mail now.

But getting so many Waits LPs all at once in unplayed condition and not spending a cent on shipping… totally made my birthday!


Next during a routine visit to my local antique mall I found a copy of the Rutles’ self-titled 12″ promo on yellow vinyl with the hilarious banana label from 1978.


(To anyone who isn’t familiar with the Beatles parody band – please go to Youtube and watch their uproariously funny mockumentary, All You Need Is Cash.  It stars Eric Idle, George Harrison Mick Jagger, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and many others!)

Hold My Hand

Let’s Be Natural

Another birthday order arrived by mail this week – the limited edition Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots pressed on red vinyl.  This is a perfect compliment to my other limited edition Lips’ disc – their award winning masterpiece, The Soft Bulletin + bonus CD.


On the grounds outside the antique mall I found three more Sesame Street records which I didn’t already have in my collection, along with four Muppet and four Sesame Pez dispensers.


The vendor also had the 1984 Sesame Street Fisher Price playhouse (without the figures) and a rare 1978 9-disc box set titled “My First Sesame Street Record Collection,” the later of which I could not pass up taking home.

The set is complete with original box, printed bag, nine 45 RPM singles and their respective colorful cardboard sleeves.  Little is known about these sets and various versions were sold in the late 70s.  Only two photos are posted in the Muppet Wiki and my copy is far more complete than those pictured!

That weekend I went garage saling and found two more Jim Henson treasures – a Red Fraggle plush at the Super Flea and a 1986 30th Birthday poster of the Muppets and Henson, himself!  The poster turned up at a garage sale for $1.  Not bad.

Two more Parliament Funkadelic LPs also came by mail.  Unfortunately the “original pressing” Maggot Brain I ordered turned out to be a cheap repress from the 90s so I sold it and cut my losses.  The other disc was good – a sealed original copy of Funkadelic’s debut self-titled LP.  (It’s breaking my heart trying to decide whether or not to open it!)

I came real close to ordering the new limited edition green vinyl re-release of White Zombie’s Astro-Creep 2000, but after contacting the label I learned that the glorious lyric art that came with the CD is not included with the vinyl, so I passed.

…which brings me to what was going to be my most celebrated find of the year.

I thought myself incredibly fortunate to finally have my dream turntable AND a new pre-amp to drastically upgrade my set up.

I was using a linear direct drive Optimus LAB-2250 turntable, a $20 economy phono stage and NAD L40 integrated amp.  Sure, the NAD is nothing to turn your nose up at, but the table and cheap phono stage crippled what little quality I had.

Close friends may recall that I had a gorgeous vintage 70s McIntosh receiver, but that it had intermittent crackling which the folks at MAC headquarters could not eliminate after 2 years of servicing the unit.

Well the replacement is in transit now, but the same sadly cannot be said about the turntable.

This is the Denon DP-60L.  It is what many call the finest machine ever manufactured by Denon.  It has a no-contact end sensor auto-lift mechanism, back-lit controls and a rosewood plinth.   As an added bonus, this specific table was fitted with a Signet cartridge which you often see paired with turntables double the value of the 60L.  I thought I had finally found my dream table – until it arrived at my doorstep… broken and non-functional.  It was apparently destroyed in the mail, but despite my paying for insurance on the $600 purchase, the post office chose not to accept responsibility and denied my claim.  I turned to Paypal hoping they would protect my funds, but the terms of my purchase fell though a fine-print loophole and the funds were denied.

Two months later, I am appealing the USPS’s denial.  WISH ME ALL THE LUCK IN THE WORLD.  This was the biggest equipment purchase of my life.

On the positive side there is still the McIntosh amp waiting for me, thanks to the immeasurable generosity of a dear friend.

The new MAC eliminates the problem of the cheap phono stage.  This beast (with a shipping weight of 69 pounds!) was manufactured in the early 90s.  It’s the McIntosh C39 pre-amplifier.  I’m working on picking up a power amp to pair it with.

The heartbreaking thing about the Denon is that I had a conversation with Tom (the record store owner mentioned at the beginning of this post) and it turns out that he’s using the exact same model at home!

This is a man with 30,000 LPs in his personal collection.  If it’s good enough for him, then it’s most certainly good enough for me!  One day, it will be mine.

Wish me luck with the claim.  Still, it was one hell of a birthday.

I just met George Clinton

Last night my girlfriend and I saw George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic live in Buffalo.  I brought along the rare limited edition Osmium 180g picture disc which I posted to this blog on June 28th.  You can re-visit the post for details here.

To sum it up, it’s a re-issue of Parliament’s first record, 750 copies were produced in Argentina in 2003, and all quickly disappeared.  The copy I found was in Thessaloniki, Greece and in mint unplayed condition.

Osmium Pic Disc

There were several setbacks looming over us during my mission to get the album signed by the captain of the Mothership.  The weather man had predicted thunderstorms just as George was set to take the stage, potentially raining out the show.  Also, being new to the area, we got lost on our way to the concert.  Good fortune was with me because I jumped out of the car and stopped the only person I could find on the street… who then generously led us right to the show!

The rain never came, and the set was incredible.  During the concert I found three other audience members with albums to get signed.  We teamed up and talked to security, agreeing to meet beside the tour bus after the performance.  It paid off.  After the park quieted down and everyone left, Joe “Foley” McCreary stepped out of the bus and signed my disc.  (He played bass with Miles Davis all through the late 80s and now plays drums for George.)

Joe Foley McCreary Jr autograph
Next out of the bus was Carlos McMurray who gave an amazing performance as Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk.  He signed the disc with a smile.

Carlos Sir Nose McMurray autograph
And just before George hopped into his van he approached me, took the album in his hands, removed his sunglasses to check out what I’d given him, and happily added his autograph.

George Clinton autograph
The challenges of the night weren’t over just yet – the concert was over by 9:30 we wandered aimlessly until 11pm unable to find our car.  We were still disoriented from the confusing journey into the show.  Thankfully, friends came to our rescue and we stopped into a local bar only to find that luck was with us again – the woman who gave us our parking pass was sitting at the bar.  She remembered us and told us right where we parked!  (Honestly, what are the odds of that?!)

It was a fitting end to an exciting night.  Huge thanks to Nacy for the record, which is now my favorite disc for the love and memories attached.




The Gift of Funk

I’m back from my 30th birthday vacation, and it will most certainly be remembered.   I took home a number of LPs, so watch this blog for several posts in the coming week(s).

Osmium, Parliament’s first full length album, was originally released on Invictus Records in 1970.  A mint copy will set you back one or two hundred dollars on eBay.

Parliament - Osmium (front)

Parliament - Osmium (Back)

All reissues have the artist name re-set horizontally instead of vertically.

The original album is highly collectible.  According to popsike.com, 11 copies in varying condition have auctioned this year.

This version, produced by Earmark/Sanctuary & Get Back Records in 2003 is a limited edition 180g picture disc released in Argentina in 2003.  Only 750 copies were pressed, and in the last four years I’ve found one copy for sale.  So when this one surfaced in Thessaloniki, Greece I put it at the top of my birthday wish list.  Thanks to a kind and loving mother in law it’s the latest addition to my PFunk family collection.

Parliament - Osmium (Picture Disc)
Here’s a taste of the soulful funk on this LP.

The next PFunk related disc I’m after is the “I Wanna Testify” RV207 7 inch single that George Clinton released with his doo-wop group, The Parliaments in 1967 (before Osmium was recorded.)

Stay tuned for more later this week!

Race For the Prize

Just as a reminder to all I am off from work Fri June 24 – Monday June 27th, the weekend of my 30th birthday.

I am still working out a way to get to Rochester as my love will sadly have to work that entire weekend but we’ll figure it out somehow.  A generous friend has already offered his guest room and a few rides around town for the weekend.  (The Baron thanks you!)

Astonishingly, I learned this morning that the Flaming Lips will be playing in Rochester that very Saturday!  Quite sadly I won’t be attending (I don’t have the thirty-odd dollars for a ticket and I have no one to join me besides.)  I will be on the lookout for a recording of the show in the days that follow.  If you happen to see it posted anywhere please drop me a line?

What makes the show even more special is that the Lips have been touring live performances of their 1999 masterpiece, The Soft Bulletin played from start to finish.  It’s rumored that the Rochester set will be one of the Bulletin shows!

And the band has just released the cover art for their upcoming album – The Soft Bulletin: Live La Fantastique de Institution 2011 (recorded live at SUNY Fredonia!)

Soft Bulletin Live

Just in case you haven’t seen any of the Flaming Lips’ legendary stage shows I have something special for you.  Click the link below to watch the very first Soft Bulletin Live concert from the 2011 New Year’s Eve Freak-Out.

The Soft Bulletin Live @ The 2011 New Years Eve Freak-Out

Definitely bummed that I’ll have to miss the show but I’m excited just the same that I’ll get to celebrate my 30th with all my friends and family back home.  See you then!