May 5, 2017 Paint It Gold

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The Rolling Stones, Aftermath, London PS-476, 1966

In their 55 year career, The Rolling Stones have released 30 studio albums, 23 live albums, 25 compilation albums and 120 singles.  With all of that output, and despite their legendary status, not all of their records are pricey collectables that collectors search out.  Perhaps those 25 compilations have something to do with satisfying the demand for their music to the point where original albums like this one sometimes end up in bargain bins.  Aftermath, along with most of the group’s pre Jumpin Jack Flash material just isn’t as collectable as a comparable Beatles record or later Stones classics like Exile On Main Street.

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Naturally, this is very ok by me.  This may not be the most critically acclaimed Stones record, but it is the first one where all of the songs were written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.  Brian Jones shows what a flair he had for experimentation with new sounds and instruments by playing Sitar, Marimba, and something called an Appalachian Dulcimer to give this record sounds that no other pop record had yet incorporated.  It so impressed The Beatles when it came out and they were recording what would become Revolver that Ringo only half jokingly proposed calling their new record After Geography.

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Perhaps part of the reason this decent copy sold for $3 has to do with the quality of the original London Records manufacturing.  These records don’t appear to have the same feel to them that a Capitol, Columbia, or RCA record does.  Their covers usually have ring wear and split seams and the vinyl seems to be of a lesser grade.  Also, like The Beatles, The Stones’ the pre-1967 US albums were different than the UK versions.  This version has different artwork and 4 fewer songs than the UK release, including the US Top 10 hit Mother’s Little Helper.  Whatever the reasons, these are great albums to have in a collection and the prices will never be better.

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $3, $178 Remaining

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September 11, 2016 Everyday I Have To Twist Some

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Steve Alaimo, Twist With Steve Alaimo, Checker 2981, 1961

Quick, which artist had the most Hot 100 hits without ever hitting the Top 40?  If you guessed Steve Alaimo, you guessed right.  From the downtime, twist-wise, of 1961, between the two times Chubby Checker took the song to Number One, young Steve Alaimo tried to break through with it.

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This time, we actually get the artist showing us how to do the easiest dance ever, but it doesn’t help.  Despite the various costume changes, the record failed to chart.  But it did set in motion a career as an artist, writer and producer that lasted into the 1990s.  It doesn’t matter if one is not familiar with his crowning achievement as an artist, 1963’s Everyday I Have To Cry Some, a #45 hit.  Most everyone will know the work he did with TK Records, particularly with KC & The Sunshine Band.

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Checker was the second label of Chess Records, the Chicago based, mob tied, rock and blues label.  Im sure the young Steve Alaimo learned a lot from the Chess Brothers and how they ran their business, even if he wasn’t with the company for very long.  This record is in pretty bad shape, but it’s probably very rare and I never knew it existed until I found it in a $2 bin.  So while I gave it a listen for a bit, I must say that it was probably a smart move for Steve to move into producing…

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $2, $785 Remaining

June 15, 2016 New Routes To Goodwill

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Lulu, New Routes, Atco SD33-310, 1970

I really almost didn’t buy this record.  Lulu is close to one hit wonder status in the US, and this record came out three years after the hit.  The bottom seam is shot, and the record didn’t appear to be in great shape.  But as a blog writer, I was looking for a great example of ring wear to highlight for my reader(s), and this record has some of the most perfect ring wear I’ve ever seen!  So, yes fan(s), when you lay albums flat on their back instead of standing them up on their sides, the weight of the upper records presses their round shape into the covers of the lower records.  Usually the artwork presents a perfect circle from forming, but here, even the slightly raised center label ring was pressed into this cover!  I therefore present perfect ring wear for your enjoyment.

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I didn’t expect much, but I LOVED THIS RECORD!  I grabbed it in haste, so I missed the back’s liner notes telling me that not only was this the same Lulu who sang “To Sir With Love”-Duh!- but that it was recorded at the same Muscle Shoals record studio that turned out some of America’s best records of the late 1960-70s-Whoa!  Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and Lynyrd Skynyrd all made their hits there using the same backing band as Lulu did.  A guy named Dwayne Allman was the guitar player.

Arco is short for Atlantc Record Company, and the label was founded for records recorded for Atlantic that strayed from the R&B and Jazz that the parent company released. In the 1950s, the label you were on reflected the kind of act you were.  Bobby Darin was Atco’s first major star, while Ray Charles released records on Atlantic.  The back liner notes add that Lulu had just become Mrs. Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees, Atco’s leading act of 1969.  Perhaps getting signed to the label was no coincidence.

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The album contains songs that went on to become hits for others, namely Mr. Bojangles, and Feelin’ Alright, and there are two pretty cool Gibb Brothers originals included.

True to my suspicions, the record was in bad shape.  But at $1, I’m not really upset financially, and I’ll begin a search for a nicer copy online or at a shop.  This is a record I plan to really listen to.  I look forward to putting it one and having people say they really like it but have no idea who it’s by.

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It came with a nice period sleeve from Warner Brothers too.  I had no idea they had Don Rickles and Van Dyke Parks signed to them at the same time!  Still, this sleeve will probably end up one a later Perer, Paul & Mary record…

Today’s Summary:

Cost $1, $974 Remaining

June 1, 2016 Hi.

 

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June Christy, “Fair And Warmer” Capitol Records T833, 1957
Welcome to the first day of my blog!  The goal is to feature an album a day for a year, with the goal of sharing what I’ve learned about collecting records for nearly 40 years.  A year from now, a dedicated reader will know where to shop for records, what records to look for, hear music from artists that can only be heard on vintage vinyl, and end up with a record collection that will be the envy of all your friends.
If you can afford a turntable, you can afford to build a record collection.  I don’t think it takes a lot of savvy to spend thousands of dollars on mint condition or super rare collectors items, but I hope to prove that anyone can fill a bookcase with records for not a lot of money.  Therefore, I am setting a goal of featuring 365 albums and spending only $1000.  That’s less than $2.75 a day, or about the price of a cup of coffee.
I don’t necessarily plan to review music, but rather the actual records I find.  No one needs a blog to learn how to collect music, but with vinyl sales lately being the only real growth area for the music business, I think many people could use some help on how to find the best records.  Obviously, brand new records from current artists won’t be within my budget for this blog, so unless I get lucky and find an Adele album in a Goodwill bin somewhere, the records I feature will be from the golden age of the 33 1/3 Long Playing album, approximately from 1955-1985.
The first album up is “Fair And Warmer”, a 1957 Capitol Records release from June Christy.  Apparently, Miss Christy was so well known that her last name only appears on the spine and in the liner notes on the back.  I would be surprised if 5% of people under 40 today have ever heard of her.  She came along as a big band girl singer in the 1940s, just as that genre was dying out.  She left the Stan Kenton band for a solo career, and despite never really having a hit single or selling many albums, Capitol kept releasing her albums into the mid 1960s.  “Fair And Warmer” was the follow-up to perhaps her best known album “Something Cool, and this one has the same smooth west coast jazz feel that will be a hit at any cocktail party.
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Original owner Judy Terhune took decent care of this record, carefully stamping her name in the upper right corner the back side.  There is for sure some bad ring wear on the back, along with a mysterious brown stain, but the worst part is the total deterioration of the top seam.
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Some of this wear obviously comes from the 59 year old paper and cardboard, but this kind of damage usually is cause by pulling out the inner sleeve with the record every time it was played, and then shoved back in improperly.  I know some people swear that the inner sleeve should be put in with the slit facing to the top to keep the record from sliding out, but I’ve never had that happen to me since buying my first album in grade school in 1975!  To keep the cardboard seams intact, I always keep the inner sleeve inside the cover with the slit facing the opening so I can simply slide the record in and out easily.
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The original turquoise Capitol label from the mid 1950s was used through 1958.  Original label records are generally more interesting than re-issues (Hard Core Beatles collectors look for every issued variant, but, really).  Artists like June Christy barely warrant a “greatest hits” package, let alone a re-issue of a non-selling album, so you’re usually getting an original when you find a record like this.  And this record is a real find.
Today’s Summary:
Cost: $2, $998 remaining