January 13, 2017 Working Their Way Out Of Jersey

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The 4 Seasons, Working My Way Back To You, Phillips PHS 600-201, 1966

The amazing success of The 4 Seasons musical Jersey Boys not only set box office records, but it increased the value of actual records.  It used to be that albums like this by the groups were essentially free, owing to the fact that they really sold well originally but not many people kept them.  4 Seasons greatest hits packages were always available, so holding original albums like this one with only one hit that anyone would know made little sense.

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It’s not like The 4 Seasons albums ever had the cache of The Beatles’ or even The Beach Boys for interesting album tracks.  There are one or two here I like, but the group never considered their albums as concepts like other groups did.  This album is really just a collection of throw aways, plus the one great hit.

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As depicted in the show, this album came out just after original bassist Nick Massi left the group.  Even though he is pictured on the cover and wrote one of the songs, he neither played or sang on it.  After settling on Joe Long as a replacement, the group continued on releasing hit after hit with the “sound” of Frankie Valli becoming one of the greatest pop voices of all time.

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $7, $492 Remaining

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January 7, 2017 The Look Of Mascara

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Dusty Springfield, The Look Of Love, Phillips PHS-600-256, 1967

The Beatles weren’t the only British superstar act to have their American record company screw up their UK album releases to try to sell more records.  It didn’t do much damage to The Beatles’ career, but it certainly did to artists like Dusty Springfield.  Blessed with one of the best voices in the history of pop music, she never quite reached the heights that she did in the UK, and I think one of the reasons was because of her screwy record company, Phillips.

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Take this album (please).  The single of The Look Of Love was recorded early in 1967 for the soundtrack to the James Bond spoof film Casino Royale.  Despite the song getting rave reviews, Phillips released it as a B-Side to a minor British hit from 1966, Give Me Time.  DJs still gave it airplay, and the track limped to #22 in the Spring of 1967.  After several other cover versions being recorded and the song getting an Oscar nomination, Phillips rush-released this album and filled it with tracks from various British releases, plus a few covers of American hits.

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It didn’t go well.  The Sergio Mendes & Brazil ’66 cover version took off in the meantime, propelling their single and Look Around album into the Top Ten by early 1968.  This became Dusty’s last Phillips release, she signed with Atlantic Records in 1968 and produced the classic blue eyed soul records like Dusty In Memphis that are prized by collectors today.  What did she do to deserve that? (!).

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $3, $509 Remaining

July 15, 2016 It’s Raining In My Heart

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Michel Legrand & Various Artists, The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, Phillips PCC-616, 1964

I hinted yesterday at a new theme week involving TV related records.  Turning on the TV today though, I was hit with the news from France of yet another human caused tragedy there.  I’m just knocked out at how this can keep happening in this day and age, and I actually needed to go record shopping to distract myself.  Luckily, and don’t ask me why this is, but my local Oregon record shops have huge collections of international records for very little money.  I bought all of the French related albums I could find, and I found a few real gems.  I couldn’t wait to get home and listen to this one.

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It may be the nicest album package I’ve ever seen, and it’s in amazing shape for being 52 years old.  The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg was a landmark French film, and it made an international star out of Catherine Deneuve.  Michel Legrand’s musical score was also well renowned and even though I haven’t seen the film in years, I remembered the music.

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 Phillips Records released the soundtrack on their high end Connoisseur Collection, and the original owners really took care of it.  The still scenes from the movie are like real photographs attached in the gatefold cover.  Also included is an eight page lyrics guide in French with an English translation.  This must have been a very expensive album in 1964, and despite the movie’s international success, I doubt this was the kind of record that would have sold in any kind of numbers.

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There’s even a mint condition insert that features other albums from the same series.  It dawned on me that somewhere I have a copy of the Singing Nun album, and I recall that it came with a set of imitation watercolors of nuns sitting around a group of young girls and singing.  In any event, there must have been a short lived market for records that gave the listener something to ponder beyond the music.  For me, it’s an unbelievable deal to have found today for $1.  I’d have paid much more to feel a positive connection to France today.

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $1, $912 Remaining