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…

Record Store Day (Revisit)

It’s been a busy week – I’ve picked up 50 new albums and am working on a post that will highlight a number of them.  In the meantime here’s a forgotten post from Record Store Day 2010 which fell through the cracks in the months between my old blog and the new site.

I hit various record shops in NYC that morning with a specific plan of action.

Record Store Map

Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica
Trout Mask Replica (1969)

“A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast ‘n bulbous! Got me?”

I was blown away when I found this disc.  It’s been on my wish-list for quite some time, but it’s long out of print and highly sought-after, so I never thought I’d actually own a copy myself.

Matt Groening had this to say about Trout Mask Replica:

“I took it home and put it on… it was the worst drek I’d ever heard in my life. They’re not even trying!  They’re just playing randomly! And then I played it again and thought, it sounds horrible, but they mean it to sound this way. The third or fourth time it started to grow on me. And the fifth or sixth time… I loved it. And the seventh or eighth time I thought it was the greatest album ever made and I still do.”

The legendary John Peel once said that Beefheart “is the most important figure to emerge from the rock era of the 1960s and 1970s.  I heard echoes of his music in some of the records I listened to last week. And I’ll hear more echoes in the records I’ll listen to this week.”

He also called him “rock’s only real genius.”

Carl Sagan - A Glorious Dawn
Carl Sagan – A Glorious Dawn 7″ etched picture disc (2009)

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

Symphony of Science is a musical project designed to deliver scientific knowledge and philosophy in musical form.  For the song “A Glorious Dawn,” speech recordings of astrophysicist Carl Sagan and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking were auto-tuned and set to music.  The result was not a kitschy novelty track, but a beautifully philosophical tune that stands quite well on its own.

As an added bonus, the b-side of the disc is etched with the image that appears on the Golden Record which was sent into space on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977.  (Sagan directed the committee that selected the sounds for the Voyager LP.)

Voyager Record

Barbara Feldon - "99" single
Barbara Feldon – 99/Max (1966)

A strange and unusual item… Barbara Feldon played the spy 99 on the ‘Get Smart’ TV show back in the 1960’s with Don Adams. Here she sings seductively about her prowess, and then, on the B side, about her secret passion for Max (Don Adams). The music is in the same vein as Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Boots Are Made For Walkin’.  I also have a recording of Beck performing this song live.  “99” is the most rare of all my Get Smart collectibles.

Fred Wesley & the Horny Horns - Say Blow by Blow Backwards
Fred Wesley and the Horny Horns – Say Blow By Blow Backwards (1979)

The Horny Horns involved many of the members of Parliament Funkadelic, with Fred Wesley on trombone, Maceo Parker on tenor and alto sax, and production by George Clinton and Bootsy Collins.  I found this disc beside a stack of Bootsy LPs, but I had to draw the line for the sake of my wallet.

Parliament - Chocolate City
Chocolate City (1975)

Another original pressing to add to my collection of all things P-Funk.  “God bless Chocolate City and its vanilla suburbs.”

JBs - Doing it to Death
J.B.’s – Doin’ It To Death (1973)

Just as I was leaving the shop where I picked up Trout Mask Replica, I took a quick look through the milk crates of “bargain bin” cheap LPs on a small table outside the store.  Astonishingly, stashed among the mostly disposable LPs was this copy of Doin’ It To Death, marked at $3!

This album also contains favorites like “More Peas” and “You Can Have Watergate Just Gimme Some Bucks and I’ll Be Straight.”