Psychedelic Sunday

I had a fantastic day antiquing with friends today!

You come across some unique characters at flea markets and antique shows and today I learned that the man I always see with a table full of archived science fiction radio broadcasts is a good friend of Mark Evanier and has personally met Sergio Aragones on numerous occasions!  This man has encyclopedic knowledge of all his archived programs including all 26 seasons of Doctor Who.  When I asked him if he had any of the rare merchandise of the 1960s The Prisoner series, he smiled and replied, “you mean the three paperbacks?  No… but the third one is the best.”  This blew my mind because few Americans I’ve met have heard of The Prisoner, let alone read the books.

But on to the records of the day…

A sealed limited edition colored vinyl landed on my doorstep last night.  After verifying the catalog number I promptly re-sealed the packaging and shelved it away until the end of June.  It’s going to be a little birthday gift to myself.   Stay tuned for my birthday post where I’ll unveil the album.

The first table I hit at the antique market was a routine stop, and this time I found not one but two Miles Davis LPs from his electric period.

The first, Big Fun is one I’d seen at the local annual record show just a week prior.  The copy at the show was $30 so I couldn’t pass up the double-LP for the $4 it was marked this time around.  Big Fun is a collection of outtakes, but as a Miles Davis record even the outtakes shine.  The standout track is the 20 minute, “Great Expectations.”  The Allmusic guide calls it a disc for fans, because it fills in the puzzle of what was happening between 1969 and 1970.

I was delighted when I read the closing sentence of their review which stated that others should look to Bitches Brew, In A Silent Way, Jack Johnson, or Live Evil as starting points.  This rang especially true for me as my in-progress introduction to Davis followed that precise path of albums, with Live Evil as the next on my list.

Miles Davis - Big Fun

The other Miles Davis record was one I’d been eying at the market for the past 4 weeks and luckily, no one had purchased it.  A Tribute to Jack Johnson is a wonderfully funky album.  Herbie Hancock had been passing through the building where the jam session was taking place and ended up sitting in on the Hammond organ.  I later learned that the first twelve minutes of the second side revolves around a single bass riff lifted from James Brown’s “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud.”

Before leaving the vendor’s booth, he noticed the album had a very minor seam split on one corner.  He taught me a great fix – you first place a 12″ fitted poly bag around the album jacket with the open end on the same edge as the open end of the jacket.  The tight fit holds the seam together rendering it unnoticeable and prevents further tearing.  You then slide it into a 12.5″ poly bag with the open end at the top of the album.  Finally, insert the disc and dust jacket vertically into the outer sleeve.  The disc can now be easily accessed and the album back cover is still visible.  Soon you’ll forget all about the seam split.  This is just one of the many reasons I love the markets I visit.

Miles Davis - Tribute to Jack Johnson

The cement statue vendor I was looking for was away for an estate sale this weekend, so I continued on to another booth where I found a table of LPs all in poly bags.  I instantly spotted Pink Floyd’s A Nice Pair which is a double album of their first two LPs.  The copy has the generic “dentist” sticker at the upper right instead of the original ” W. R. Phang’s dental surgery” photo, and the nude center image is covered by the round pink “A Nice Pair” sticker, so I believe this is the more common version of the disc.  Still, it is a temporary remedy for not owning a vinyl copy of “Piper…” so I picked it up.

I did however discover that there are a few differences in the audio between the original releases and the US pressings of A Nice Pair.  The most disappointing change is the substitution of the live version of “Astronomy Domine” from the Ummagumma LP instead of the original recording from Piper at the Gates of Dawn.  As that was one of the tracks I was most looking forward to, I will likely be putting this double LP up for sale once I secure an original pressing of their first album.

Pink Floyd - A Nice Pair

Pink Floyd – A Nice Pair (original cover uncensored)

Pink Floyd - A Nice Pair (Dentistry sticker)

Pink Floyd – A Nice Pair (Nude Sticker and Dentistry sticker)

I’ve also just ordered two Funkadelic recordings – one which has been missing from my P-Funk library for too long and the other will serve as a replacement for a copy I bought at a record show which has significant needle wear.

More to come, thanks so much for tuning in!

UPDATE: I made a few additional discoveries about the Miles Davis recordings which I would hate to leave out of this post.

In the year 2000, Columbia Records released a double CD version of Big Fun, catalog #C2K 63973.  This version featured four additional tracks which did not appear on any of the prior releases.  I researched the bonus tracks and discovered that originally appeared on the 1998 four CD set titled The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (C4K 65570).

One of these tracks is a beautiful near-ambient piece titled, “Recollections” which nearly 20 minutes in length.  If you enjoyed a single moment of In a Silent Way, you should give this track a listen.

The other track I discovered is quite different from “Recollections.”   I had been further exploring Davis’ electric period and came upon a live album titled Agharta from 1975.  The lengthy opening track, titled “Prelude” was unlike anything I’d heard before.  The Allmusic Guide stated simply that Agharta is “the greatest electric funk-rock jazz record ever made — period.”

Turn your speakers up and check out Pete Cosey’s guitar solo.  Start viewing at the 7 minute mark of this clip.  During the next sixty seconds the band falls silent and Cosey goes absolutely wild.   Enjoy this outstanding minute of music.

I am already on the hunt for an original copy of Agharta.  I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks again!

Pre-Birthday Crate Digging

I’ve been cooling my record-buying jets a bit as my birthday approaches, but I finally made it back out to the local Antique Mall and community garage sale and brought home some fun finds.

The Dutch progressive rock band, Focus is best known for their song “Hocus Pocus,” replete with yodeling, whistling, scatting, and more.  The best version of the song was the Midnight Special performance from ’73.   The original album version is noticeably slower and doesn’t pack the punch of the live recording.  Thankfully, I found a copy of Focus – Live at the Rainbow (also from ’73) which culminates with a performance of “Hocus Pocus” that is almost on par with this Midnight Special clip.

Focus - Live at the Rainbow
For those who haven’t seen it, check it out below.

Next I found a vintage moog record I’d seen online a dozen times over the years but had never came across it in person.  Complete with kitschy cover art, here’s Hugo Montenegro’s Moog Power.

Kneel before Zod!

There are only a few novelty moog records missing from my collection (at least that I’d like to acquire), such as Gershon Kingsley’s Music to Moog By.

Gershon Kingsly - Music to Moog By
Nothing gets young lovers in the mood like moog music and nipple flowers.

At the same table of records, I found three Tom Lehrer albums, each in excellent shape.  For those not familiar with Tom, he’s a staple of the Doctor Demento show.  Lehrer was an instructor from MIT and Harvard University and wrote popular songs like, “the Elements,” “New Math,” and his most famous, “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park.”

I had previously purchased three of his albums and had the good Doctor autograph the 10″ version of his debut record from 1953 (pictured below.)

Tom Lehrer - Songs By Tom Lehrer (1953 10in autographed)

Tom Lehrer - An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer

And from the sale I brought home the following additional Lehrer records…

Tom Lehrer - Songs by Tom Lehrer (1953 12in)

Tom Lehrer - More of Tom Lehrer (1959)

Tom Lehrer - Songs by Tom Lehrer (1952-53)

Here’s Tom Lehrer’s “The Elements.”  (Also on Youtube is a most impressive video of this same song sung by a four year old entirely from memory!)

More still from the same table, I found Leon Redbone’s Champagne Charlie.  Now I have his first three LPs on vinyl (which are by far his best.)  Leon has been described as a “walking 78 record.”  His performances transport the listener to the Mississippi Delta sometime around 1925.  I will never get tired of his sound.  Hell, I even love the Mr. Belvedere theme.

Leon Redbone - Champagne Charlie
Below you’ll find Leon performing one of my favorite tracks, “Ditty Wah Diddy.”  (Advance the video to 2:00 for the song.)

I also found a James Brown LP that I didn’t already own.  It’s the soundtrack to the 70s blaxploitation film, Black Caesar.   Lyn Collins supplied vocals on “Mama Feelgood” and Fred Wesley and the JBs lent their horny horns throughout the album.

James Brown - Black Caesar

Before leaving the Antique Mall I snatched up one more disc – the motion picture soundtrack to Little Shop of Horrors.

Little Shop of Horrors - Motion Picture Soundtrack

The disc comes in a gatefold sleeve with photos from the film.  Fans have criticized this album for being incomplete, and so I made sure to get the expanded 46 track bootleg version as well.  The 80s movie soundtrack section of my collection is growing and this was a fun surprise to find in town.  I’ve also seen a rare soundtrack for They Live posted to etsy.com; something I might pursue in the future.

That’s it for now.  The next time you hear from me I’ll be thirty years old.  Still not sure how I feel about that…