January 3, 2017 The Great Unknown

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Unknown, Aerobics Country, Upstart Records UPS-1, 1982

Another day another fitness routine.  And if you thought yesterday’s entry was obscure, this one really, um, takes the cake.  Not only does no one fess up to being the “artist” here, but this is the one and only apparent release for Upstart Records.  The record is billed as “the down-home way to aerobic fitness with easy to follow vocal and visual instructions”, as if I needed any motivation to bend over repeatedly while listening to You’re The Reason Why God Made Oklahoma.

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Besides some generally boring liner notes and general heath statistics about heart rate and body mass index, there really isn’t much instruction on the jacket.  And while the blue bathing suit and cowgirl hat wearing model looks good, I doubt she relied on this record for her body type, no matter how much she loves a rainy night.

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But I still love upstart records, like this one from Upstart Records of Arlington Texas.  I hope they weren’t under any illusions of outselling The Beatles, or even Slim Whitman, but it is an accomplishment to get this far in the record business.  No matter how awful it turns out.

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $2, $518 Remaining

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January 2, 2017 Desperate Measures

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June LaSavia, How The Waist Was Won, Plantation Records PLP-52, 1982

Fitness records were all the rage in the early 80s.  Jane Fonda sold millions of records, and soon there were a million copycats.  This is one of the worst ones I’ve ever seen.  Mainly because it is so rare and there is literally zero information available about Ms. LaSavia, I am amazed that I even found such a thing.  There are probably more still sealed copies of Revolver floating around out there than used copies of this.

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It doesn’t happen very often, but June LaSalvia has no wikipedia page.  Discos.com, the awesome record database and eBay style market has this record listed, but that’s it.  There are exactly two discographies of Plantation Records, and this record isn’t listed.  Discogs has it listed, and it appears that this was the last Plantation release of new material.  There were five more releases for the company, but they were all re-issues or compilation albums.  The company appears to have folded in 1983.

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Despite the horrible name, Plantation did have a number one hit in 1968 with Jeannie C. Riley’s Harper Valley PTA.  But once that novelty wore off and she left the label, they only put out records sporadically from then on.

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $2, $520 Remaining

December 19, 2016 Blue Christmas

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Elvis Presley, Moody Blue, RCA AFL1-2428, 1977

Naturally, it’s every record buyers dream to find a $2 record that turns out to be some rare collectible worth thousands.  This isn’t one of them, despite my momentary hope that it was.

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This was Elvis Presley’s last studio album.  Moody Blue had been a decent size hit in early 1977, hitting #1 on the country chart, but only #31 pop.  RCA wanted to release an album around it, but there wasn’t enough material recorded for one.  A followup single Way Down came out in June, and the company took some live recordings and previously unreleased (and horribly overproduced!) tracks to release this album in July.  They even pressed some copies on clear blue vinyl to tie in the theme of the title track.

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But then the unimaginable happened.  Elvis died, and suddenly this record was in serious demand, as was the Way Down single.  RCA cranked up their pressing plants, and due to the sentiment, pressed all of the records on clear blue vinyl.  An album that might have sold 75,000 copies sold over a million by the end of the year.  Nearly 40 years later, one might find one of them in a $2 and think they made a real find.  Oddly though, it’s the few thousand copies pressed on regular black vinyl that were pressed before Elvis died that are worth about $300 today.  Because vinyl variations usually mean rare, people try to hawk one of these for outrageous prices, when it was fairly priced at $2.

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $2, $554 Remaining

December 18, 2016 Rockin’ Around The Comeback Tree

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Brenda Lee, Coming On Strong, Decca DL-4825, 1966

For as big as she was from 1960-62, after The Beatles hit, Brenda Lee’s career was on the wane.  She wasn’t alone, but she was perhaps the best selling artist in the world.  She needed a hit by 1966, and got one in an enduring underground classic.

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Unfortunately, the rest of the album is just meh.  They used what seems to be a horribly outdated picture on the front and the back is nothing more than a bland description of the songs here and ads for her other albums that weren’t selling.  The other songs are just covers of hits of the day that add nothing to the rocking title track.

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When I say this is an underground hit, it comes from being mentioned in Golden Earring’s Radar Love.  That cool rock song spurred interest in the 8 year old song, especially in the UK.  So, I’ll listen to the one song I love here, but thats about it.

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $2, $556 Remaining

October 9, 2016 Baby, Check The Label

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Glenn Yarbrough, Baby The Rain Must Fall, RCA LSP-3422, 1965?

I’ve said it many times here, I don’t necessarily buy records for the music on them, but rather for the experience of listening to the music in the format that it was engineered for.   So I don’t usually go for greatest hits packages, and I really don’t go for re-issued records.

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Some records, Rubber Soul, Pet Sounds, Bookends, to name three have never been out of print since the day they were issued.  So a collector looking for a first pressing needs to be familiar with the record labels that were current when an album was released to know that it’s an original.  Other records, say Introducing The Beatles on Vee Jay, or Harry Breuer’s Mallet Mischief, obviously weren’t re-released for business or quality reasons.  But sometimes, it can be really hard to tell if a record is an original.

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Nothing about this album ever says it should have been re-issued in the 70s.  The title track single was a number one country hit, but only a number twelve pop hit.  Glenn Yarbrough also isn’t the kind of household name that people clamor for years past their peak of popularity.  So when I was flipping through a $1 clearance bin and say the cover, I tossed it into my pile, eager to hear the original hit on vinyl.  It was only when I went to listen to the record to write this entry that I saw this was an early 1970s RCA label, and not the classic black mid sixties RCA label.  It’s hard to imagine that there was a need for this record to stay in print for 10 years, but here it is.  So it’s kind of a meh discovery, much like the music on it.

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $2, $720 Remaining

September 3, 2016 I’m Gonna Tie One On Tonight!

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The Wilburn Brothers, I’m Gonna Tie One On Tonight, Decca DL-74645, 1965

I usually try to write a snappy headline, in fact I’ve done for every record up to now.  But this gem from The Wilburn Brothers just cannot topped.  Nor can the song selections, snappy titles like Drivin’ Nails In My Coffin, and Cigarettes, Whuskey, And Wild Wild Women ensure that the listener is in for a night to not remember.

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Even the monochrome back cover has it’s share of debauchery.  The liner notes by someone named Bill Claiborne begin “Decca picked me to do some commenting on this album because I tie one on every night…”.

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And fitting to the album theme, the record has a distinct aroma of a shag carpet the morning after a frat party.  Not that it detracts from the enjoyment of something I never heard of before I shelled out less than half of a pint at my favorite microbrewery.

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $2, $801 Remaining

August 29, 2016 Bare-ing It All

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Bobby Bare, Detroit City, RCA Victor LPM-2776, 1963

Folk was big in 1963 and the record came along to capitalize on it in a different way.  Approaching it from the County music side of the business, his records stood out from the Greenwich Village side of things.  This was the first big hit of a 25 year recording career.

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My keen intellect tells me that this record was first purchased on August 2, 1965.  Even though it was a two year old record at that point, it was still in stores, not because it flopped, but rather because it was still selling.

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I think I also got really lucky finding a copy that was this clean.  It plays perfectly, and it just got to show you what can happen when you look through the “other” bins.  Even if Country isn’t your thing, records like this get stuffed into that category all the time.  Seek and ye shall find!

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $2, $811 Remaining