PRETTY THINGS S.F. Sorrow. Rare original 1968 UK 13-track stereo vinyl LP on the blue & black Columbia label, recorded at Abbey Road and one of Britain’s very first rock concept albums, telling the story of Sebastian F. Sorrow from cradle to grave. The gatefold picture sleeve is laminated on the outside with inner flipbacks and album lyrics across the inner spread.
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DAVID BOWIE David Bowie. Rare 1969 UK black & silver label 9-track stereo vinyl LP, generally regarded as the first Bowie album proper, featuring Space Oddity & the early masterpiece Cygnet Committee, gatefold matte picture sleeve.
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Pressed at Optimal Media, Remastered by Ed Stasium, EXCELLENT liner notes by Mr. Steve Albini.
4 sides of The Ramones, Live At The Rainbow Theatre, London, December 31, 1977
I won’t insult you be reviewing the music. The energy is palpable, anyone who’s seen ‘em live will relive some of those pogo-feels.
Wham! “Make It Big” released 35 years ago today, October 23rd, 1984. Wham!’s second album was a massive smash and I absolutely loved it (this is my original copy from ‘84) – it went to #1 all over the world, including in the US and the UK. Fantastically crafted 80′s pop in the spirit of 60′s Motown (see the girl-group, wall-of-sound inspired “Heartbeat” in particular), Make It Big spawned four hit singles including the infectious dance track “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” (#1 UK and US), “Careless Whisper” (#1 UK and US) whose sad 80′s sax still brings up the ugly heartbreak of 13 year-old puppy love (long-story short, I got ditched at a junior high school dance and this song came on and it was ugly), “Freedom” (#1 UK, #3 US) which is notable for its video recorded while Wham! was on tour in China (1984/85 height of Cold War tensions), and “Everything She Wants” (#2 UK, #1 US), which Wham! released as a double-A side along with “Last Christmas” which, while not on Make It Big, can also count as a hit single, reaching #2 in the UK and #25 in the US (#5 on the US Holiday 100 chart, which I didn’t know existed until now).
Bowie seemingly can’t ever do wrong. This 2lp set is the first official release of this intimate 2009 performance for VH1 Storytellers. His stories are engaging and Bowie sounds like he was quite enjoying recounting them to his audience.
Led Zeppelin “Led Zeppelin II” released 50 years ago today, October 22nd, 1969. Led Zeppelin II was the band’s first LP to reach #1 – in both the US and the UK, though they only released one single from the album (and that was outside the UK; weirdly not a single Zeppelin single was ever released in their home country): “Whole Lotta Love” which hit #4 on the US Billboard chart. It’s been ranked among the top greatest songs of all time (most especially for its guitar riff) but it was not without controversy. Parts of the track were a direct lift from Wille Dixon’s “You Need Love” (recorded by Earl Hooker and Muddy Waters in 1962 for Chess Records) but Dixon was uncredited. That led to a lawsuit which resulted in Dixon winning credit and royalties (1985).
I’ve blogged about Led Zeppelin II before so I’m going to quote myself here:
Allmusic says “Led Zeppelin II provided the blueprint for all the heavy metal bands that followed it… the overall sound of the album is heavy and hard, brutal and direct. While Led Zeppelin II doesn’t have the eclecticism of the group’s debut, it’s arguably more influential. After all, nearly every one of the hundreds of Zeppelin imitators used this record, with its lack of dynamics and its pummeling riffs, as a blueprint.”
As I’ve noted in earlier posts, I was, relatively speaking, late to Zeppelin (weird subculture “rules” being what they were, 80′s punks – at least in my town- did not listen to Zeppelin, that was for the grits/heshers/dirts/headbangers) so I didn’t listen to any Zeppelin, including Zeppelin II, until I got to college. Now I love it. “Whole Lotta Love” has one of the most excellent and recognizable lead chords on any album ever, the groove of “What Is and What Should Never Be” is utterly addictive and Zeppelin’s spin on traditional blues in “The Lemon Song” is epic, sexy as hell if not very subtle (“Squeeze me baby, ‘till the juice runs down my leg/The way you squeeze my lemon I’m gonna fall right out of bed”). That’s just Side 1! Side 2′s bass riff on “Heartbreaker” is so slinky, Bonham’s drum solo on “Moby Dick” is insane and II has one of my all-time favorite tracks: “Ramble On.” I was on a serious Tolkien kick during my freshman year at college (I had read The Lord of the Rings as a kid but got it into my head to re-read the entire trilogy over Christmas break that year) so I found the lyrics amazing. Now they kinda make me giggle but I still love “Ramble On” intensely.
TRAVELING WILBURYS Volume One. Mega rare original 1988 Japanese Warner Bros issue 10-track vinyl LP with picture A-side label, picture sleeve complete with glossy 4-page Japanese text biography/lyric insert and matching title obi-strip. Thid example is in an amazing jaw-dropping near as new condition, you will not find a better copy!
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