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.

Treasures Untold

Between my recent motherboard failure and setting up the replacement PC my stepfather so generously donated to me, I’ve picked up a lot of vinyl that didn’t make it to my blog.  I thought I’d take a moment to highlight some of the better ones that I’ve neglected.

First, I found Funkadelic’s Electric Spanking of War Babies in NM shape at an antique shop.  It is another outstanding example of Pedro Bell’s artwork.

The next item I picked up was the first album to feature regenerative tape loops which Robert Fripp and Brian Eno dubbed ‘Frippertronics.’  The album is an ambient classic – No Pussyfooting.

Side A is the standout track at over 20 minutes in length, titled “The Heavenly Music Corporation.”

I insist on tracking down original pressings whenever possible, and I was lucky to find an extremely clean copy at a great price.

And thanks to my friend Brrrn and good timing at a flea market, two more early Eno recordings fell into my hands.  One was Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) – Eno’s second solo album and the other was a long-time favorite collaboration with Harold Budd titled Ambient 2 – Plateaux of Mirror.  Plateaux was one of my first digital ambient albums many years ago.

The next treasure is a deep cut, and one of historical significance.  I was exploring The Orb’s catalog and read about a curious track called “The Blue Room,” a 17 minute song which appeared on the album u.f.orb.  What I discovered was that the original single was in fact 40:00 long.

From Wiki:

The UK charts had recently decided that any release with more than 40 minutes of play would be classified as an album rather than single. The Orb thus decided to record a 39:57 version of “Blue Room” for a special release. “Blue Room” is the longest single to ever reach the UK charts, peaking at number eight.

If you have ANY interest in ambient house, you need to hear this song.

The last find in the spectrum of ambient music was a dollar bin neoclassical LP by David Lanz.  Nightfall is one of his best works.

There were several other discoveries including a number of Yes albums previously missing from my collection and Zappa’s Hot Rats which features wonderful contributions from Don Van Vliet.

Last but most certainly not least, I found a number of Sesame Street albums to add to my Jim Henson library.  It’s getting harder and harder to find ones I don’t already have, (over 40 at last count) so these were a treat.

The Ernie LP is extra special.  Mint in shrink, it includes some of my most beloved memories from the Street – “Rubber Duckie,” “Imagination,” “I Don’t Want to Live On The Moon,” and the hilarious “Dance Myself to Sleep.”

If only it featured “Put Down the Duckie” it would be my favorite Sesame record ever.  Sadly, that duet between Ernie and Hoots the Owl never made it to vinyl.

Here’s the video for “Dance Myself to Sleep.”  If you’re really savvy you might just catch the Andrews Sisters reference Ernie makes to a hit from 1941.  Watch for it!

Rare Sesame Street, John Cage, Zappa, and more!

It has been an absolutely amazing week for vinyl.

I started it off picking up one of the last Don Adams LP missing from my collection.  (I still need his self-titled first LP.)  The disc is titled, Don Adams Meets The Roving Reporter.  Not nearly as cool as my Agent 99 7″ radio promo, but a nice addition just the same.

Don Adams - Meets the Roving Reporter
Then I found another Sesame Street album that I didn’t have, which is getting more difficult now that I have nearly fourty Henson-related LPs.  Play-Along Songs is the re-issue of the Somebody Come And Play album from 1974.  Even the reissue is hard to come by, and I’m happy whenever I find material from the first ten years of Sesame Street.

Sesame Street - Play Along Songs

At a garage sale the same day I found three hardcover 7″ Sesame Street book-and-records, each with lyrics and an illustrated sleeve.  They were dated 1970.  I’m so glad I found them when I did, because they gave my brain something to connect with when I came across a real treasure the following weekend.

That was this morning when I hit up the Antique Mall and spotted a box set I’d never seen before with Sesame Street characters on the front.  To my surprise when I opened it, I found hardcover book-and-records just like the ones from the garage sale, but these were a complete set in near mint condition with the original box!

The Sesame Street Carry About (1970)

The Sesame Street Carry About (1970)

Sesame Street was first broadcast in 1969, and I could tell that this was from the first few years because of the images of the original Big Bird and orange Oscar the Grouch, both from Season 1.

The seller asked for $15 and I offered $10.  As soon as I got the set home I researched it and found out that it was in fact produced in 1970 along with the singles I had bought the weekend before.  The set contains songs from The Sesame Street Book & Record (which I have as well.)   And the catalog number was CCA 24509 – the first pressing for the set.  The binding is mint on the books, you can tell that the covers have not been opened all the way.  Better still, the handle is intact on box.  I found six other sets available for purchase online and none of them had the handle.  The first three sets I found were $89.99 each, the other three were priced between $100.00 and $500.00.

If I ever sell mine… I’m going back and giving the guy the extra $5.

Before I went home I made sure I stopped by the two record booths that bring me back to the Mall each weekend.  This time I found a classic comedy record I’ve loved for years – Steven Wright’s I Have a Pony.

If you’re not familiar with Stephen’s deadpan delivery, it’s hilarious.  Mitch Hedberg fans should definitely check him out.

I also found a John Cage promotional double LP from Tomato Records called Sonatas and Interludes For Prepared Piano & A Book of Music For Two Prepared Pianos.  Inside the NM jacket was a copy of a typewritten stapled document about the recording on Tomato letterhead along with the original kraft “Tomato Quality Product” inner sleeves.  I know the compositions are originally from 1948 and 1944 but I am not familiar with them so I’ll have to investigate further.  I didn’t mind paying $7 for it as copies start at $22 on the Web.

John Cage - Sonatas and Interludes For Prepared Piano / A Book of Music For Two Prepared Pianos

Just when I thought I was all done at the Mall I found two more discs.  How’s Your Bird is a 10″ compilation of early pre-Mothers Frank Zappa recordings released in Italy in 1998.  It was released as four different colored limited edition transparent discs, 1000 copies of each.  This copy is on clear vinyl.

Frank Zappa - How's Your Bird?

The seller didn’t really know anything about the disc and gave it to me for $5.  Copies are available online for between $27-$36.

The last disc was purchased purely out of nostalgia.  I’m a child of the 80s and found this disc tucked behind a GI-Joe album.

He Man & Skeletor - Masters of the Universe

He-Man & Skeletor – Masters of the Universe

I still have two large fold-out posters from He-Man magazine (thanks to a generous customer at work), and the He-Man LP should be good for a laugh if for nothing else.

All in all an excellent week of finds.  It’s good to know I’ll have fresh material to listen to come winter time.

I had this Sunday off so I took a trip to a neighborhood filled with antique shops and spent the better part of the day digging for treasure.

Found a late 70s Meters LP, but I prefer their pre-disco stuff.

Took home a “Weird Al” 7inch w picture sleeve – the song, “This is the Life” which he wrote for the classic comedy, Johnny Dangerously.

Weird Al - This is the Life

Visited a few junktique shacks and found a fun item at an estate sale just as they were closing up.

SS2 Book and Record

This was the second Sesame Street album released.  I have Book and Record #1, so I was happy to find the follow up.  This album was also released as a box set with stickers, but I don’t imagine it turns up very often.

The album features a number of my favorite classic Sesame Street songs, including two tracks that appear on Grover Sings the Blues, which I’d been looking for.

Someday I’d like to get my hands on the original 14 volume Sesame Street Treasury complete with Big Bird book holder that I had as a child, but not just yet – I’d have no place to put it.

IN OTHER NEWS – I’ve just completed my latest audio archival project!

Over the years I’ve collected a ton of Soul Coughing and Mike Doughty unreleased/live/rare/b-side material from various sources.  This past week I decided it was time to overhaul the folders.  I tracked down the original sources again and re-downloaded all the files at lossless CD quality.

Then, as none of the files had any ID3 track info (no song titles, artists, etc.) I manually entered in 550 tracks worth of information based on set lists from the live shows.

Finally, I organized the files, saved recording source information with each set and created a .torrent so that Soul Coughing/Doughty fans everywhere can enjoy it.

(Mike Doughty has commented on numerous occasions that he is cool with tape trading, as long as the shows are recorded directly from the soundboard.)

If you’ve already got all the SC+Doughty albums and are hungry for more, pick up the rarities collection here.

Soul Coughing

Published in: on March 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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