Jim Henson Vinyl Collection Cataloged At Last!

It’s been another productive evening! I realized that I’d never cataloged my Jim Henson / Muppet / Sesame Street / Fraggle Rock / Labyrinth / Dark Crystal vinyl collection so I dedicated some time to keying in all their matrix numbers and entered condition details and notes of the media, sleeves, and all included posters into Discogs.com.

I had to photograph and submit all release data for a few 6LP box sets that no one had ever contributed to the site before, entering all track and catalog data in addition to the images so it took some work but I’ve now got all 65 discs neatly organized with complete release data for reference whenever I’m crate digging in the wild.

Revisit your childhood and take a look at them all! Did you have any of these as a kid?

Here are just a few of the albums detailed in the link above:

Jim Henson Record Collection 05-28-18.JPG

 

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.

Fraggle Rock Raritites

I’ve got a new treasure for my ever expanding collection of children’s 80s records – this one is the more elusive UK version of the original Fraggle Rock soundtrack.

When I was about eight years old I remember having two Fraggle Rock albums – Perfect Harmony and a 7 inch long play disc in a paper sleeve called Fraggle Rock released by Weekly Reader Magazine.  These high-res cover scans were stolen from a fantastic blog – muppetmusique.blogspot.com.  Check them out!

Fraggle Rock - Perfect Harmony

Fraggle Rock – Perfect Harmony (C 40774 1986)

Fraggle Rock - Weekly Reader LP front
Fraggle Rock Weekly Reader LP back

Fraggle Rock – Weekly Reader 7″ #2072, 1983

Years later I was fortunate enough to pick up the 3CD Fraggle Rockin’ Collection which is a compiled re-issuing of “Fraggle Rock” (1983), “Perfect Harmony” (1986) and “Music and Magic” (1993).

Fraggle Rockin' Collection (2007)
Then, this past winter I discovered the 1984 German issue of the original Fraggle Rock album.  In addition to the different (and better, IMO) cover image the German disc includes two additional tracks – an instrumental of the song, “Workin” on side 1 and “Traveling Matt” on side 2.  The German issue also includes the Gorg’s “Dum of a Son of a Gun” which was not included on the 1987 Columbia reissue or on the Fraggle Rockin’ Collection.

MLP 1200 - Fraggles, The – Jim Henson's Muppets Present Fraggle Rock

Fraggles, The - Fraggle Rock US back

The US version of Fraggle Rock (MLP 1200, US 1983) w standard non-gatefold cover

Fraggles, The - Fraggle Rock (Germany)
Fraggles, The - Fraggle Rock (Germany) Gatefold

Fraggles, The - Fraggle Rock (Germany) Back

The UK gatefold version of the same album w additional tracks (PL 70221, 1984)

And for you Fraggle Rock collectors out there – there is also a version of the same album sung entirely in French and released that same year which reuses the cover photo from Weekly Reader 7″ #2072.

Fraggle Rock PL 70581 France, 1984

Fraggle Rock (PL 70581, France 1984)

I also have a tin lunchbox with thermos (thank you Hilary!), a Hasbro Gobo plush from 1985 and a 2004 Wembly from Sababa toys w tag.  While I usually opt for the earliest available versions of everything I collect (like first pressing LPs) the first Fraggle dolls which were manufactured by Tomy in 1983 are rather ugly with disproportionately small heads, so I’m happy with the ones I’ve got.

1984 Fraggle Lunch Box w Thermos
Hasbro Gobo (1985)
Sababa Wembly (2004)
And here’s my favorite Fraggle tune, this one from Music and Magic, performed by Cantus and the Minstrels.