Various Artists, This Is Soul, Atlantic SD-8170, 1968
I think I’ve been clear so far by saying I don’t usually buy-or even look for- various artists or greatest hits packages. I’d rather have the original album(s) that feature the songs and get the fuller picture of the artist and the times the songs were recorded. It used to bug me to hear some C-List celebrity on a Time Life CD collection infomercial say things like “Do you have any idea how long it would take you to track down all of these records?!?”. Why yes, I do, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
But every now and then though, something catches my eye. For this record, it wasn’t the terrible artwork. C’mon Atlantic, it’s 1968 already, people know you cater to African American artists. Put THEM on the cover! What did cause me to add this to my pile was the amazing collection that Atlantic put together. Not only are there hits from the past like Ray Charles and The Drifters, but also current records from different labels that were distributed by Atlantic. It’s very rare to see this and even tiny Karen Records is represented with the biggest hit the label ever had, The Capitol’s Cool Jerk.
It’s not in perfect condition, but this is one album you could spin at a party and get compliments from people about how great your playlist is. Spotify would kill to have these mixes. This was indeed Soul Music, compiled at the peak of it’s popularity into one record. There’s not a bad track on here, and I’m really glad I found it.
Cost: $2, $198 Remaining
Rod Stewart, Foot Loose And Fancy Free, Warner Brothers BSK-3092, 1977
For a hit 70s album, this Rod Stewart record trades at 80s flop prices. It’s odd really, how some artists straddle the very fine line between “classic” and “cliche”. Rod Stewart is one of them. While a similar selling Eagles or Fleetwood Mac album in similar condition would cost $8-$10, this record cost me $1 and there are plenty of copies online for $0.50. Heck, even an Al Stewart album costs $2.
And this is a pretty listenable album. The big hit off it, You’re In My Heart, was not only a #4 hit, but also a really nice follow up to Stewart’s biggest hit Tonight’s The Night. It’s not only self penned, but there’s no one else I can think of who could pull off the lyrics and still sound credible. The rest of the album is a familiar mix of minor hits and Motown covers, but it’s actually pretty listenable.
This near mint copy even has it’s usually missing lyric insert. These things rarely survive intact, and it just firm up what I think about records like this. They will never be cheaper, and as time passes, they will be sought out. I wouldn’t rush out and teach high and low for this one, but I also have plenty of room on my shelf for it.
Cost: $1, $200 Remaining
Elvis Presley, Pot Luck, RCA LPM-2523, 1962
This odd little Elvis album turned out to be quite a turning point for his career. It was two years since Elvis was released from the army, and this collection was supposed to be the cream of the non-film soundtrack songs he had recorded. While it did a respectable business, peaking at #4, it was dwarfed by the soundtracks to G.I. Blues and Blue Hawaii.
I’m sure the schlocky packaging didn’t help, nor the melange of top 20 hits from 1961-62, but when the sales didn’t reach The Colonel’s expectations, he focused his protege’s attention to woking solely in films. This would be the last non film or goapel album that Elvis would release un his “comeback” in 1969.
Instead, Elvis’ albums became mirrors of the weak movie scripts he got. The Elvis that changed the world didn’t do so by singing about clams, lemonade or nuns. So while his 60s albums sold well, they’re not very collectable. This flawless copy set me back $1 and i actually passed on a so-so copy of It Happened At The World’s Fair. For me, it wasn’t happening and it would be something I wold never listen to.
Cost: $1, $201 Remaining
Simon & Garfunkel, Sounds Of Silence, Columbia CS-9269, 1966
How many times can one song appear on an artist’s albums? If you’re Simon & Garfunkel, and the song in question is The Sounds Of Silence, the answer is three. As crazy as it might seem today, this was the second of three albums that Sounds came out on. The basic track was recorded in 1964 for Wednesday Morning 3A.M., which went on to sell about 74 copies worldwide. Disappointed with the sales, and without S&G’s knowledge, Columbia took the song and had a staff producer add electric guitars and drums. Released as a single in September 1965, the song took a slow climb to the #1 spot at Christmas 1965.
With a #1 hit on their hands, Columbia eventually got around to tracking down Art Garfunkel in New York and Paul Simon in London to see if they could maybe come up with a few more songs for a new album. The answer was “I guess so”. and the bulk of this album was recorded in one day. Even Columbia was surprised by the reaction, and when the follow up single I Am A Rock took off, they redesigned the cover of the album to feature the new smash.
But that’s not all! Two years later, as the producers of The Graduate were waiting for new Simon & Garfunkel songs to use in their film, they used filler songs like The Sounds Of Silence as a placeholder. The film was edited around the songs and everyone seemed to like the film as it was. So once again, Sounds was released again on The Graduate Soundtrack. Luckily, all three of the albums can be found in virtually any record store, thrift store or yard sale for next to no money.
Cost: $3, $202 Remaining
Don Henley, Building The Perfect Beast, Geffen GHS-24026, 1984
I think the real reason that The Eagles kept reuniting was because they found being solo artists to be too stressful. At least, that’s the impression I get from Don Henley and the making of this album. Henley had fights with the record company over every aspect of the record and it would be five years before he returned to recording. Drama aside, it’s a really good 80s album and I was really glad to get it for $1.
The gold leaf stamp on the top of the front cover means that Geffen gave this record away as a promo. It was most likely a radio station or music business executive that would get this album for free in the hopes of it getting promoted by them. Someone wrote 11/84 on the back cover which corresponds to the November 19, 1984 release date for the record. The disclaimer says that that this record was only being lent to the recipient and can be demanded back at any time. 33 years on, I’m prepared to do that if they really do want it back, but I’d want to see some ID first.
Collectors like to buy promo records on the assumption that they were only handled rarely and then by professionals. A radio station would professionally tape the tracks they wanted to broadcast and create tape loops in special cartridges to use on air. I don’t necessarily search out promos, in fact I prefer generally release records. Geffen took the easy way out and just stamped their promo disclaimer on the jacket of a regular record. Other companies, especially in the 50s and 60s created special promo labels for their giveaways and they can be worth twice what a standard release is.
Cost: $1, $205 Remaining
Bruce Hornsby And The Range, The Way It Is, RCA AFL1-5904, 1986
Despite the photographic pun, this is another great 80s album that I found for $1. By 1986, the CD was really becoming the format of choice for album shoppers. It wasn’t until 1988 that CDs outsold vinyl, but the handwriting was on the wall. Records like this that appealed to a slightly older crowd were already selling equally in both formats (with the Cassette hanging in there!). Still, at three million in sales, that still means plenty of vinyl copies are out there.
This is the second, better selling, design for the album. The earlier jacket was an abstract art piece that, while lovely, had no image of the group. RCA, for some reason, felt that it would be best to market this album to the New Age crowd. When The Way It Is single took off, though, people wanted to know who this group was, and a new cover was produced. Bruce Hornsby And The Range went on to win the Best New Artist Grammy.
It’s an awesome album, and I can’t believe it now trades for $1. It tells me, again, that the time to load up on these records is now, before people realize that there’s no reason to buy a brand new copy at Urban Outfitters for $25. The value will only go up, and the quality will be about the same. Record companies had really consolidated by the mid 80s, and production standards were really improved. These records are light and flexible, but more durable than flimsy 70s attempts. I’ll actually listen to this record on a rainy day, which here in Oregon will be quite a lot.
Cost: $1, $206 Remaining
Wham!, Make It Big, Columbia FC-39595, 1984
It’s Record Store Day today, and while that doesn’t mean much for most people, it meant that I was up early to see what the festivities were like here in town. One shop was having a massive $1 sale that I knew would take hours to get through, while the other celebrated by stocking up on Record Store Day specials re-issued by the record companies. While I’m constantly amazed at some of the records that get re-issued, I noticed at trend this year. There were some specials from new music, but it was 80s remixes that really were popular. Madonna and Michael Jackson, but mostly Prince all had “new” records in the stores, custom made collectibles that went on sale today.
It made me realize that 80s records are probably going to start becoming hard to find at a decent price soon. I know that original copies of Thriller and Purple Rain are already in Beatles territory price wise, so records like this can’t be far behind. I ran back to the $1 sale and focused on as much 80s music as I could find. At $1 each, these records will have nowhere to go but up in value. If Prince is like The Beatles, then Wham! records will price out like The Dave Clark Five pretty soon.
And this is a really great Pop record. A worldwide #1 in 1984, it solidified George Michael as a superstar and relegated Andrew Ridgeley to the latest in a long list of lesser known sidekick. Ridgeley is very much like & Oates and And Messina of pop duos gone by. But still, I’m pretty pleased to get a mint condition $1 copy of this record.
Cost: $1, $207 Remaining