Friday, December 18, 2009

Wrappin' It Up for '09

the 45 that got me going on 45's again...

My audio format du jour...dead in 2009?

12-18-09 Wrappin’ It Up For '09


This is my last blog of 2009. A pretty good year; a new gig, some good travel, lots of records – nearly 1,500 new titles for me this year. Definitely going to cap the collection at 25,000 titles (which I could reach in a year or two, at this rate). Still convinced that the way for me to go is by just looking at 45’s for the foreseeable future.


A few fads for me in ’09 – SACD, how many are there? 45’s – all it took was Dorothy spotting that ACR 45 at CD trader and – BOOM! – I’m away. I saw Philip Glass twice this year; also saw Grace Jones, The Necks, some Gamelan music, some Indian music etc. Didn’t buy very many DVD’s this year, however.


Still buzzing around L.A. / California in my 2009 Suzuki SX-4 (‘Copper Sunset’ color). Only thing I miss about my old car? The Minidisc player. Suzuki-san has a CD player, so I’ve had to make do with that.


Very shortly, we are off to Singapore and Malaysia for our winter vacation. I’ve been to Singapore twice before, but it’s been 20 years (or more). Doubt I’ll find any 45’s there – but I may come home with some Bollywood CD’s! Bottom line: I’m going there to check out the bird population. Hornbill time!


My usual thanks to regular readers Jim D., Chas M. and Brian W. – we’re all still here, men! I await any comments / reactions etc. Definitely going to keep up with the “Time Machine” series from Strange Days magazine next year – I hope they continue it! If not, I still plan on writing about the1970’s a lot next year – what with it being the 40th anniversary of it, an’ all.


Thanks for allowing me to wax nostalgic about Spike Jones and Harry Belafonte this week. Those two artists are definitely where my music consciousness begins – before The Beatles, even!


Our band got to record again this year – we finished a new album, but we’re still waiting for it to get released. The album is called “Aquarium”, and we have worked on it for the last 5 years. I’m really happy with it. 98% instrumental, we all sound like we “really grew up”. Believe it or not, it’s almost the 40th anniversary of our band! Maybe I’ll get to take a nice photo in Singapore or Malaysia that will end up being on the cover of the LP / CD.


So, my very best regards to everybody. Keep listening! Keep collecting! Together, we will understand this stuff.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Harry Belafonte


12-17-09 Harry Belafonte


LP MARK TWAIN AND OTHER FOLK FAVORITES RCA US LPM 1022

1954 12 TRKS mono

LP BELAFONTE RCA DE LPM 1150-C

1956 11 TRKS mono

CD CALYPSO RCA US 53801.2

1956 11 TRKS ('92 issue) mono

LP CALYPSO RCA NZ LPM 1248

1956 11 TRKS mono

LP EVENING WITH BELAFONTE, AN RCA US LPM 1402

1957 11 TRKS mono

LP BELAFONTE SINGS THE BLUES RCA US LSP 1972

1958 11 TRKS stereo

LP MY LORD WHAT A MORNIN' RCA US LSP 2022

1960 11 TRKS stereo

CD AT CARNEGIE HALL RCA US 6006.2-R

1959 15 TRKS Live 4/59 stereo

LPx2 AT CARNEGIE HALL RCA US LSO 6006

1959 15 TRKS re-issue, stereo

LP SWING DAT HAMMER RCA US LSP 2194

1960 10 TRKS stereo

LP SINGS OF THE CARIBBEAN RCA US LSP 2388 (e)

1957 11 TRKS 'electronic stereo'

CD RETURNS TO CARNEGIE HALL RCA US 62690.2

1960 19 TRKS Live 5/60 stereo

LP JUMP UP CALYPSO RCA US LSP 2388

1961? 12 TRKS stereo

LP MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, THE RCA US LSP 2449

1960? 9 TRKS stereo (with a ‘Belafonte’ inner-sleeve)

LP MANY MOODS OF RCA US LSP 2574

1962? 11 TRKS stereo

LP STREETS I HAVE WALKED RCA US LSP 2695

1963 12 TRKS stereo

LPx2 AT THE GREEK THEATRE RCA US LSO 6009

1963 16 TRKS Live, stereo

LP IN MY QUIET ROOM RCA US LSP 3571

1966? 10 TRKS stereo

LP CALYPSO IN BRASS RCA US LSP 3658

1966 11 TRKS stereo

CDx3 GREATEST HITS (3CD) BMG JPN BVCM-37162/4

2000 53 TRKS Collection (50's & 60's recordings)


After writing about Spike Jones yesterday, today I had to do Harry Belafonte. My parents had the “Calypso” LP and I played it to death, as a pre-teen. My parents bought me many of the LP’s listed above. I know many of them by heart. Not so sure on some of the dates above, just guessing. I know I’m missing a few, too.


Of particular note is the multi-CD boxed set “The Long Road To Freedom – An Anthology of Black Music” on RCA / Buddah – 80 tracks on 5 CD’s – I believe it was originally intended to be a 10LP boxed set. Mr. Belafonte was one of the producers of this masterpiece compilation. It was recorded between 1961 and 1971, and finally released in 2001. The whole package is wonderful, with a hard-bound 140 page book and DVD!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Spike Jones



12-16-09 Spike Jones


LP 60 YEARS OF MUSIC AMERICA HATES BEST LIBERTY US LST 7154

1964? 11 TRKS stereo

LP BEST OF RCA DE LPM 10013

1960? 8 TRK Collection, mono (40’s recordings)

10" BOTTOMS UP (10") RCA US LPM 3054

1952 8 TRK EP

LPx2 CAN'T STOP MURDERIN' (Collection) RCA DE NL 89349 (2)

1974 23 TRK Collection

7" CARMEN MURDERED! (EP) RCA US EPA 440

1954 4 TRKS with pic sleeve, EP

7" CHARLESTON, THE / CHARLESTONO-MIO RCA US 47-3198

1953? 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

LP DEPRECIATION REVUE SILVER SWAN LP 1002

1980? 16 TRK Collection (40's recordings)

CD DINNER MUSIC FOR PEOPLE WHO AREN'T VERY HUNGRY RHINO US R2 70261

1957? 17 TRKS mono

LP DINNER MUSIC FOR PEOPLE WHO AREN'T VERY HUNGRY VERVE JPN MV 2119

1957? 17 TRKS ’80 re-issue, insert, mono

LP DINNER MUSIC FOR PEOPLE WHO AREN'T VERY HUNGRY VERVE US MGV-4005

1957? 17 TRKS mono

7" DOWN SOUTH / I'VE TURNED GADABOUT RCA US 47-4568

1953? 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

7" FAVORITES (EP) RCA US EPA 288

1951 4 TRKS with pic sleeve, EP

LP I WENT TO YOUR WEDDING (Collection) RCA INT'L UK INTS 5052

1980 12 TRK Collection (50's recordings)

7" KIDS THE CLASSICS (EP) RCA US EPA 415

1953 4 TRKS with pic sleeve, EP

7" MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE (EP) RCA US EPA-5080

1959 4 TRK EP; with pic sleeve

LPx2 MURDERS AGAIN (Collection) RCA DE NL 89354 (2)

1973 20 TRK Collection

LPx2 MURDERS THEM ALL (Collection) RCA DE NL 89044 (2)

1973 17 TRK Collection

LP OMNIBUST LIBERTY US LST 7140

1960? 8 TRKS stereo

CD OMNIBUST / 60 YEARS OF MUSIC AMERICA HATES BEST TARAGON US TARCD-1095

1960 19 TRKS 2-on-1 ('02 issue) (60’s recordings)

LP ON THE AIR! SANDY HOOK SH 2073

1983 17 TRK Collection ('43 + '44 recordings)

LP SPIKE JONES IN STEREO WARNER US WS 1332

1959 10 TRKS stereo, re-issue

7" SPIKE SPOOFS THE POPS #1 (EP) VERVE US V-2003x45

1958? 4 TRK EP no pic sleeve

LP STANDARD TRANSCRIPTION DISCS 1942-44 - Vol. 1 HARLEQUIN UK HQ 2041

1986 16 TRKS mono

LP THANK YOU, MUSIC LOVERS (Collection) RCA US LPM 2224

1960 12 TRK Collection, mono (40’s recordings)

LP THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC STARCALL UK HY 1006

1975 12 TRK Collection (40’s recordings)

LP VERY BEST OF U.A. US UA-LA-439-E

1975 9 TRK Collection (50’s/60’s recordings)

CD WACKY WORLD OF SPIKE JONES (Collection) GOOD MUSIC DMC1-0570

1982 18 TRK Collection (40’s/50's recordings)

LP XMAS SPECTACULAR VERVE US MGV 2021

1959? 21 TRKS Xmas, mono


It’s nearly impossible to think about collecting Spike Jones’ original releases. Most everything pre-Verve started as a 10” 78rpm record, and some of those were made into 2-track 45’s, some into 4-track 45rpm EP’s and some into 8-track 10” LP’s! I can find listings for many of the RCA 78’s – but I do not own any 78’s, and cannot play them. So, I try to match up the 78’s to LP’s, and I find that there is still a lot of his material that I do not own in any form.


I only recently heard about his final record for RCA, recorded / released in 1955: “Hi Mister” b/w “This Song IS For The Birds” (RCA 20-6064, a 78rpm record) – and I do not have either song on anything. Damn!


Here’s an example of the kind of discography I am trying to put together (all are 78’s):


1952 Hot Lips / Hotter Than A Pistol (RCA 20-4875 78rpm)

1952 Barnyard Christmas / Socko The Smallest Snowball (RCA 20-5015 78rpm) yellow vinyl

1952 I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus / Winter (RCA 20-5067 78rpm)

1953 I’ll Never Work There Anymore / I Went To Your Wedding (RCA 20-5107 78rpm)

1953 Lulu Had A Baby / Boys In The Back Room (RCA 20-5239 78rpm)

1953 Three Little Fishes / A Din Skal A Min (RCA 20-5320 78rpm)

1954 I Just Love My Mommy / God Bless Us All (RCA 20-5413 78rpm)

1954 Dragnet / Pal-Yat-Chee (with Homer & Jethro) (RCA 20-5472 78rpm)

1954 Where Did My Snowman Go? / Santa Brought me A Choo Choo (RCA 20-5497 78rpm)

1954 My Heart Went Boom Boom / Rickyshaw (RCA 20-5602 78rpm)

1954 Secret Love / I’m In The Mood For Love (RCA 20-5742 78rpm)

1954 My Heart Went Boom / Japanese Skokian (RCA 20-5917 78rpm)

1954 I Want Eddie Fisher For Christmas / Japanese Skokian (RCA 20-5920 78rpm)


I’m only guessing on the dates…I only have some of this material on LP – or on any playable format, such as 10” LP’s or 45rpm EP’s. To be honest, even digging 15 pages deep into Google, I can’t find anyone with a proper listing of all released Spike Jones RCA releases. I guess there are some Spike Jones reference books, but they’re all too expensive for me to even think about obtaining. I would LOVE to see a ‘complete’ Spike Jones discography .


My father played me Side 1 of “Dinner Music For Those Who Aren’t Very Hungry” when I was very small – maybe 5 years old. I believe he had (reel-to-reel) taped if off of the FM radio. When we went to Wallach’s Music City and tried to buy this LP, it was out of print – but “Thank You, Music Lovers” was in print, so we ordered it – and that’s where my interest in Spike Jones really started.


This discography is just my trying to approach collecting Spike Jones as I would, say The Beatles or The Rolling Stones – I wanted to know just how much material there was to collect – but nobody has posted a complete discography on line, as far as I can tell. So, when I find stuff of which I was not aware, it’s a big surprise to me. I recently found an early 50’s 7” 45rpm of “Down South” on RCA – never knew it existed, and it’s not on any of the collection LP’s I have.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Memories


12-15-09 Christmas Memories


As long as we were talking Christmas yesterday…


When I was very young, I found the Xmas / gift thing a bit confusing. Where were the gifts coming from? Was someone really going to try to come down our chimney? What is we had a fire going in the fireplace? Etc.


I must’ve figured it out by 1970 or so. I remember receiving the George HarrisonAll Things Must Pass” triple LP set as an Xmas gift. Had I discussed it with my Dad? Or did my Mom ask my brother? Who decided that I should get that as an Xmas gift? Needless to say, it was an expensive LP boxed set, so I was pleased to receive it. I also seem to recall getting another George Harrison project as an Xmas gift, at a later date: the “Concert for Bangla Desh” 3LP boxed set. So, was Mr. Harrison the “boxed set at Xmas” former Beatle?


In the early 70’s, it was always presents under the tree – never a gift certificate in an envelope! When did I stop having Christmases with my family? 1976 or so? What did I do on Christmas then? Uh, Tower Records in Hollywood would’ve been open! Actually, Christmas at Tower Records ended up being a place we went a lot, over the years. In later years, it always meant that all Christmas CD’s would be something like 50% off!


I once had a Christmas in Tokyo. It was a cold winter day, probably a Thursday. To Tokyo, it was a regular business day. There were some Christmas decorations up around town, but it really didn’t ‘feel’ like Christmas. I seem to recall a salty bowl of ramen near the Ikebukuro train station. “And so this is Christmas…?”


I have also had a number of Christmases in New Zealand – summer barbecues, lots of outdoor (summer) eating, drinking. I seem to recall that the liquor stores were all going to close on December 24th, and not open until January 2nd. Big ol’ lines at Super Liquor Man!


For those who like things frosty, I have had a few Christmases in Amsterdam. No, the canals never froze over – I wish they had! I remember some nice Christmas dinners in Holland; lots of cookies etc. An ice skating rink near the Leidseplein. Indonesian food! Frites Speciaal! Good friends!


This year, I will have a Christmas in Singapore. Our plans include a late afternoon “High Tea” at Raffles Hotel. Yes, I already have our reservation. Should be festive. Not so sure I will find any Indian or Chinese Christmas CD’s in either Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. But finding Indonesian food both places shouldn’t be a problem. Probably no ice skating rinks there, however. I will advise.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Xmas Music

Christmas Deluxe (Columbia Japan XS-11-C) US Columbia artists
Wonderful interior photo from a Japanese 60's Xmas LP! Presents!
"Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town / Dancing Christmas" by Nobuo Hara and his Sharps & Flats (CBS/Sony SONP 50125-J) cover detail
Home Christmas Deluxe (Nippon Columbia XS-150-N) dig the obi!

12-14-09 Xmas Music

It’s the 14th and, believe it or not, I am not sick of Christmas music yet! How can this possibly be? Well, I changed offices at the end of August, and at my new office, they do not play any music in the communal area – a few people may have it playing in their offices – but nobody out where I sit is blasting mass-market KBIG / Xmas music!


So, without the “Xmas Music O.D.”, I am actually thinking of making a new Xmas CD-R this year! Last summer, on a visit to Santa Cruz, California – I found some weird old Xmas 45’s:


GOLDSBORO, BOBBY – A CHRISTMAS WISH, U.A. US 7” promo

ROYAL GUARDSMEN – IT KINDA LOOKS LIKE CHRISTMAS, LAURIE US 7”

These two were what really got me thinking about Xmas records! The Bobby Goldsboro sounds like his attempt at a Dylan-like Xmas song; The Royal Guardsmen were, of course, the novelty group who made the “Snoopy & The Red Baron” records. Hmmm.


Another cool Xmas CD that we found was the Alan Lomax / Various Artist CD “Sing Christmas and Turn The New Year” (or thereabouts) – a BBC (England) Christmas day 1957 radio broadcast! I must dig out my Alan Lomax book and take another look at it.


A few years ago, I found a very cool book from Japan put out by the magazine called The Dig, all about collectible Christmas records. Yes, Christmas records / CD’s are known in Japan! In ’08, I ordered the Café Apres Midi Christmas CD – of course, it arrived from Japan in February ’09. Very groovy, as are all compilation from Café Apres Midi.


Being a record collector, I know that there is still a lot to learn about Christmas records – some other amazing old Japanese 60’s/70’s LP’s I got were:


HARA, NOBUO / SHARPS & FLATS – SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN' TO TOWN, CBS/SONY JPN LP

TWIS WOOD-WINDS QUINTET / AMATI STRING – HOME CHRISTMAS DELUXE, COLUMBIA JPN LP

V.A. – CHRISTMAS DELUXE, CBS JPN LP


Do you have a favorite oddball Christmas record? A co-worker told me that the first Oak Ridge Boys Christmas CD is pretty good, and not even very C&W. OK, I am willing to check it out!


I am sure KBIG is still flogging the same old chestnuts; I still hear a bit of background Xmas music when I’m out in shops, restaurants, businesses…never the stuff I actually want to hear – some of it is rather inoffensive, I guess. But tightly playlisted radio stations do wreck some otherwise cool Xmas stuff – as you well know.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Boundaries


12-11-09 Boundaries


I am considering superimposing “boundaries” on my collection. I do not want it to ever get any bigger than 25,000 titles. Already, I can not remember everything of what I have. I have been using a Palm Pilot list for about a decade – and sometimes the batteries run out. Last weekend, I made $18 worth of “mistakes” by buying stuff I already had, because I couldn’t “check my Palm”. I thought they were good titles, and I didn’t want to “leave them there” – so I bought ‘em, got home and found that they are already in my big list.


I suppose I could pull the 7” list out of my big “A-Z”, and that would give me a little more play, but – do I include 12” singles in that, too? Uh, doesn’t bear thinking about it. I like my lists complete. I do break them apart in the Palm, CD’s together, vinyl together…


It just sort of galled me (a small bit) that I bought 6 cool singles for $3 each…and I already had ‘em. I can probably find good homes for these 45’s, I must say (or I could try to upgrade my existing copies?)


But I really don’t want to get too many titles. I like to try to remember everything. 25,000 is a good number of titles to say, “I think have completed my collection”. I’m 51 now – so how much longer I am going to be in the game is in question. I do want to try to listen to everything before I shuffle off. My hearing is a real consideration, too. I want to try to listen to everything before my hearing gets too much worse. Why is my hearing bad? All those John Cale concerts, I’m afraid. Those were so loud. I am only beginning to understand just how loud those shows actually were.


I’m in the high 23,000’s at present. I can add 1,000+ more titles to my collection before hitting 25,000. I can say it wouldn’t be to hard to eliminate some titles from my collection in order to obtain more titles. I have seriously over-collected for decades – many artists have the dictum “Every title, every variant” (Frank Zappa, Split Enz etc.)


So, winter of 2009 – I am already seeing a conclusion to my collecting mania. As Steven Wright says “You can’t have everything – where would you put it?” The ultimate taboo had always been classical music. I suppose it could occur – se3lling rock records in order to make room to buy classical records. But – so far I’ve stuck to 20th century composers – Glass, Reich, Riley etc.


45’s is the area where I have the most to learn. Tons of singles never on LP’s / CD’s. Tons I never knew about. I could easily see the next 1,000 titles to my list could be 45’s. It always feels like something snaps into place when I get a particularly good 45 that seems to answer some sort of cultural / musical question that is stuck in my memory.


So, plenty more to write about – though that’s not always obvious. I am considering make 2010 be a “70’s” year – as the 40th anniversary of 1970 is upon us. Perhaps not strictly, but…as a starting point. Also, must see what Strange Days magazine does – I just loved their “Time Machine: 1969” lists!


- Ron


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Warner / Reprise “Loss Leaders”


12-10-09 Warner / Reprise “Loss Leaders”


LPx2 WARNER / REPRISE: 1969 SONGBOOK PRO 331

1969 28 TRK Compilation, promo

LPx2 WARNER / REPRISE: 1969 RECORD SHOW, THE PRO 336

1969 31 TRK Compilation, promo

LP WARNER / REPRISE: OCTOBER 10, 1969 PRO 351

1969 10 TRK Compilation, promo (not a mail-order title)

LPx2 WARNER / REPRISE: BIG BALL PRO 358

1970 30 TRK Compilation, promo

LPx3 WARNER / REPRISE: LOONEY TUNES PRO 423

1971 35 TRK Compilation, promo

LP WARNER / REPRISE: NON-DAIRY CREAMER PRO 443

1971 11 TRK Compilation, promo

LPx2 WARNER / REPRISE: HOT PLATTERS PRO 474

1971 22 TRK Compilation, promo

LPx2 WARNER / REPRISE: WHOLE BURBANK CATALOG PRO 512

1972 28 TRK Compilation, promo

LPx2 WARNER / REPRISE: BURBANK PRO 529

1972 25 TRK Compilation, promo


When writing about 1969, this set of records cannot be ignored. I probably found a flyer for “Songbook” and “Record Show” in a copy of Arlo GuthrieAlice’s Restaurant”, around Christmas 1969. $2 for a double album seemed hard to believe, but it was true! And “Songbook” had the G.T.O.’s on the cover and you got to hear Wild Man Fisher, Frank Zappa, The Fugs, Jethro Tull and a host of other new-to-me things.


There are many more WB sampler LP’s than are listed here, but these are the ones I got at the time, waited for with baited breath etc. Fans of these albums know how much cool music is to be found therein. They often put odd little bits between tracks, too. And many (most) have stellar Stan Cornyn liner notes!


Except for “October 10, 1969”, they were all mail-order albums. I think that one was an early “In Store Promo”, sent to retail or radio, in hopes of some needle time. It was a good one, too – with Norman Greenbaum “Spirit In The Sky”, Frank Zappa “Peaches in Regalia”, Fleetwood Mac “Rattlesnake Shake” and some artists about which I know less – Levitt & McClure, Denny Brooks, The Fifth Avenue Band etc. (Yes, I have the Japanese WB/Reprise CD of The Fifth Avenue Band’s album in 2009!).


The best thing about these albums is that most of them are not expensive collectibles, 40 years hence. For some reason, “Looney Tunes” seems to go for a lot of money – either for the Looney Tunes cover or the otherwise unavailable Jimi Hendrix track! But all others can be had for $2 - $4 these days. Some of my friends were so enthusiastic, we generated CD-R’s of some of these titles! The music sounds great – but the overall packages were what made these titles ‘magical’.


The British also made great inexpensive sampler albums (such as “Nice Enough To Eat” on Island), but – for my money – these WB “Loss Leader” sampler LP’s are tops.