Peter Frampton, Frampton Comes Alive!, A&M SP-3703, 1976
The Wah-Wah fuzz guitar sound of the 1960s peaked in popularity in 1976. Peter Frampton was a fairly unknown English rocker when this live record came out and made his career literally come alive. Being 10 at the time, I’m here to tell you this album was literally everywhere during America’s Bicentennial year, especially if you had an older brother.
Recorded in New York and California in the Summer of ’75, you have to wonder what they were smoking to be so excited about a performer that wasn’t really all the popular before this. Sure, there are a lot of covers, but it’s the original tunes that stand out. Plus, making a guitar seem to talk is a pretty neat trick. That alone is worth looking for it.
The neat packaging is also far out. The outer cover opens up to for a cheap poster, but in a neat trick that I find annoying now, the slot for the records is at the top (and bottom when opened up), making it very possible for the record to cease to be Alive! after it crashes to the floor.
Finding a decent copy is pretty easy. The album sold about 8 Million copies in the US, and sometimes it seems like only about 250 original buyers have hung on to theirs. It’s not hard to filter through 6-7 copies in a used record store. As I type, I notice that discogs.com has 126 copies for sale beginning at $0.56. Perhaps I overpaid at $2, but this copy is pretty clean, or at least it was before I took pictures of in a desert fossil bed.
Cost: $2, $774 Remaining
Creedence Clearwater Revival, Pendulum, Fantasy 8410, 1970
Just because they haven’t (yet) had a bio-pic made of them doesn’t mean that Creedence Clearwater Revival doesn’t have a drama filled rags to riches story with a great soundtrack. Their career was peaking when this record came out, but it was all about to implode. By definition, a Pendulum swings both ways.
Puns aside, CCR was showing the strain of three full years of recording and touring by the end of 1970. Frontman John Fogerty, who wrote every song on this album, felt like he was carrying the largest load in the band, while his brother Tom was asking for more control but was being rejected. Throw in a greedy record company that was more of an enemy than a friend, and it’s a combustible combination.
In the end though, it’s the last great CCR album. It’s more full produced than the others, but the flowing simplicity of Fogerty’s songs still shines through. The band’s strain’s can be heard on Have You Ever Seen The Rain, so it’s a little bittersweet. But like all CCR albums, they can usually be found for not much money.
Cost: $2, $845 Remaning
Fleetwood Mac, Rumors, Warner Brothers BSK-3010, 1977
The good news about some landmark albums is that they sell in the millions and people get tired of them. True, you don’t really find Beatles albums in decent shape in bargain bins, but what became the best selling album of all time not long after it’s release is fairly easy to find. I may have overpaid for it at $4.
It is the classic album of the 70s. The hits are great, the non hits are great, they looked great, they sang great, they played great, so it deserved to sell in the millions. And it deserves a spot in every record collection. Thankfully for us bargain record shoppers, original owners like Mr/Mrs. Mitseff don’t always agree and toss out their once loved albums.
This decent copy even came with it’s original photo and lyric insert. These are always highly prized plusses to look for, and this one is in great shape. They’re rare because the are separate from the record and inner sleeve, and people usually either lost them or tacked them on a wall as a small poster.
The non-lyric side has a fun picture collage of the band doing everything you’d expect from a 70s rock band on tour. People are smoking funny looking cigarettes with abandon, there are some really big eyed smiling faces, and the candid photos often contain cans and bottles in the corners. The decent condition of this insert made me ok with a $4 splurge.
Unlike most 70s bands, Fleetwood Mac didn’t usually record a 11:37 version of, say, Dreams that the record company would edit down for the single. That’s both good, because what you hear in the album is what you know from 39 years of radio play, and bad because there’s no learning anything new from the album that you didn’t already know from the 45.
Cost $4, $953 Remainng