The Amazing Mets, Buddah METS-1969, 1969
It’s Opening Day for the 2017 baseball season, so I thought I’d feature this bizarre record from the Amazin aftermath of the 1969 baseball season. The New York Mets were a 1962 expansion team that was the laughing stock of baseball who suddenly won the World Series. They did it in nail-biting fashion, with a random collection of aging stars and fierce young pitchers. Their win was so dramatic that they became a huge national story. In short, they were hot.
Naturally, the offers to cash in on the fame soon followed. Someone at Buddah Records came calling with a record deal, and it’s a really bizarre concept. Athletes are never known for their singing voices, and The Amazin’ Mets are no exception. It’s just a bunch of out of tune men singing sloppily along to public domain songs with a few cheesy and obviously quickly written originals like We’re Gonna Win The Series. There’s absolutely nothing to listen to more than once on the whole record.
It didn’t work either. Rising to #197 on the Billboard Hot 200 albums, there just weren’t too many people that interested in buying this record despite how enthralled they were with The Mets. It’s today only even really a collectible for the cover. The front has a horrible shot of the back of an usher’s head and the rest of the right field grandstand of the old Shea Stadium, but the back cover has the roster shots of the team. It would be worth a ton of money if I could get it signed by Nolan Ryan or Tom Seaver!
Cost: $5, $255 Remaining
Jimmie Walker, Dyn-O-Mite, Buddah Records BDS-5635, 1975
This is one of the more noble attempts at fame for an album produced from the fame of a hit TV show. Good Times was a top 10 show spun off from a top 10 show (Maude) that was also spun off from the #1 show All In The Family. It’s probably always the hope of a family sitcom producer to have the eldest son on the show become a teen idol, and while that wasn’t really the case here, there’s no doubt that “JJ” made the show a hit.
By trade, Walker got his start in stand up. So when it came time make a sudden fame based album, recording a comedy routine seemed like a better choice than making a subpar funk album. Go with your strengths, right?
Except that comedy was going through a big change in the 70s. Censorship battles were largely over and the new freedom allowed Richard Pryor and George Carlin to go where no comic had gone before. Walker tries here, but the material just doesn’t work. At least if it did work in 1975, it doesn’t work now. Turning a TV catchphrase into a stand up set would be hard enough, but this performance is not what I would call dynamite.
Cost: $2, $298 Remaining
David Frye, Richard Nixon Superstar, Buddah BDS-5097, 1971
What John F. Kennedy was to Vaughn Meader, Richard Nixon was to David Frye. As a public servant for 25 years before winning the presidency, Nixon was a very distinct personality, complete with mannerisms and policies that cried out to be made fun of.
But like the Lyndon Johnson record from last night, this record just doesn’t play well today. President Nixon gets put through the ringer in a number of zany ways, but it’s just not that funny. The impersonations are better than the Johnson ones, but that’s about it.
This is one of the newest of the first generation Buddah Records labels that I’ve seen. By 1972, the company turned to a maroon and brown label familiar to anyone who owns a Gladys Knight & The Pips record. This one is a decent collectable, but like the Nixon presidency, something most people could live without.
Cost: $2, $675 Remaining
Gladys Knight & The Pips, Imagination, Buddah BDS-5141, 1973
It must have taken quite a bit of imagination for Gladys Knight & The Pips to leave Motown after seven years and two #2 hits. Maybe, they might have expected to make some money from all of the records they sold, but that probably didn’t happen. Still, having to replace all that Motown did for their artists at a new company must have been a daunting task. Still, the group was so relaxed about it that they went out to the flea market and bought some old picture frames.
In fact, there had never been an act the had left Motown and been successful. True, The Four Tops left at about the same time, but they never really attained the same fame as they had with Motown, let alone become the most popular group in the world. And this record did just that for GK&TP.
It’s almost like a greatest hits package though, they never again had another top 10 hit after this album played itself out. But still, it has their signature song Midnight Train To Georgia, along with the groovy (I’ve Got To Lose) My Imagination, and the soulful The Best That Every Happened To Me. The good news is that for us collectors, the record is very easy to find. So there’s no need to jump on a bad or over priced copy.
Cost: $1, $698 Remaining