Category: recordcollecting

Any potential coolness of a working record player Christmas ornament is rendered null and void by the fact that IT’S OCTOBER!!!

My beloved walked by this place, Turntable Retro Bar, on 33rd in NYC today when its windows were open because of the heat. Once she saw the inside, she ran in and took all these photos to send to me because it was jammed with records and all kinds of cool, ancient tech. She’s awesome. Next time I’m in town, I’m grabbing a pint at this place!

Twelve years ago, when Paul McCartney quietly released Amoeba’s Secret (top photos), a six-song live EP of a promo show he did at Amoeba Records in LA, it looked crappy, like a bootleg—cover photo with lots artifacts, and laser-printed stickers for labels. It was barebones and chintzy, even for 2007, the last year before vinyl began its amazing comeback. I’m guessing it was some kind of contractual obligation, because whoever put it together barely gave a damn and it showed. 
Now Sir Paul has re-released it as a two-LP set of the entire show, rechristened Amoeba Gig (bottom photos). The design has been updated, with the photo now slightly less digitized, actual text in the back, real labels that visually reference the cruddy stickers used last time, and if you can find it, clear and yellow vinyl copies. As for the show, it still sounds great, only now there’s more of it!

TOTALLY TUBULAR: So yeah—I like Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells.” It was the first record released by a fledgling Virgin Records in 1971 and had no hope of becoming a hit—after all, it was an album-length instrumental. 16 million copies later, it’s considered a classic, plus it’s enshrined in movie history as the spooky theme to The Exorcist. I love Side One and Side Two stinks, but there you go. Clockwise from Top: An OG UK copy; a bizarre avant-garde cover of the album by Glands of External Secretion using tape loops and no instruments (it’s awful but it has the amusing conceit of a paper clip glued to the cover parodying the bent-up bell); an early 2000s picture disc with a different mix that doesn’t quite sound “right;” and an orchestral version of the album from the mid-70s. 

A collection of Cars.

Something s little more rootsy today—a much loved copy of George Thorogood’s timeless blues classic, Bad To The Bone, signed by the head Delaware Destroyer himself for me in 2015. I expected him to be all tough-guy persona onstage but he is a straight up old-school entertainer who will do whatever it takes to get the crowd happy. It was a great show!

More Tears For Fears, but I happily found this one today—the U.K. 7-inch for “Woman In Chains,” with a limited-edition button set playing into the lyric “The sun and the moon; the wind and the rain.” Pretty cool to find this still sealed after 30 years. 

Another find from Montreal—a rare-as-hen’s-teeth Tears For Fears promotional interview LP from their Canadian record company. It’s a holy grail item amongst the band’s collectors. 

Another find from Montreal—Paul McCartney on 10” vinyl in a fold-out sleeve. There were apparently only 6,000 made and this one was sealed, but given that it flopped over 30 years ago, it don’t think I ruined its value by finally opening it. In truth, I always liked “Press,” but I’m in the minority there. Good enough tune, but it’s imbued with a forced casualness that belies its pseudo-tossed off “flight of fancy” disguise.
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More cool stuff from Montreal’s BAnQ Grande Bibliothèque (the library!). We spotted an Edison wax cylinder player, 8-tracks, even a Fisher-Price toy “phonograph.” What an amazing place!