Sonny & Cher, Live In Las Vegas Vol. 2, MCA2-8004, 1974
There are 1001 books out there on the 1001 most essential records every vinyl fan must have to be considered a serious collector. Beatles records, Bob Dylan’s 60s albums, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and The Rolling Stones all have multiple entries on these lists. Good condition original copies of these records are very expensive, averaging up to $40 each for records that virtually everyone already knows by heart. Songs from these albums get airplay on the radio everyday, and they languish on lists of best selling digital downloads. These are not obscure records.
This album isn’t on any of these kinds of lists. It spent a few weeks on the Billboard Top 200 album chart, climbing all the way to #175. With their hugely public split about to occur in 1974, this was the last album of new material of Sonny & Cher’s long career. Even though it’s mostly just an album of cover material, you get a sense of what a Vegas ballroom show was like in 1973.
So, while no one will ever call this an essential record, it is a fun one. When I ‘m making dinner or something, I’m much more likely to reach for a record like this than I am Dark Side Of The Moon. When friends come over and want to see my new discoveries, I pull out Sonny & Cher Live In Las Vegas Vol. 2 every time over The Velvet Underground. It’s fun records like this that I find essential, and I can have 1001 of them for the same price as the top 50 critically acclaimed records.
Cost: $1, $264 Remaining
Cher, Cher, Kapp KS-3649, 1971
They say that after the nuclear holocaust, the only things to survive will be cockroaches and Cher. The pop icon has had more comebacks than, um, work done. This album was one of her career highlights and it probably is where that reputation comes from.
It’s her first solo record on Kapp (which was merged into MCA in 1973. Sonny & Cher were without a major label in 1970, but their Las Vegas revue led to a CBS-TV show and the recording offers poured in. Kapp asked producer Snuff Garrett to produce, which was a switch from her Imperial Records releases which Sonny produced. Richard Avedon took the cover photos, and the TV show highlighted the hit singles. It became her best selling record since 1965.
I only really got this because of the red sticker on the outer sleeve. I don’t care what record it is, but if it survived 45 years in it’s original shrink wrap, someone took care of it. Research tells me that this is a first pressing, and after the #1 success of Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves, Kapp retitled the album to match the single. Calling it Cher was already a little nutty because her third Imperial album was already called that in 1966. Not that any of this mattered to Geffin Records, but Cher was used again in 1987 for an even more successful record. Here’s hoping for Cher 4.0 in 2017.
Cost: $1, $455 Remaining
Sonny & Cher, Good Times, Atco SD-33-214, 1967
Yes, Sonny and Cher made a movie. Not a good movie, mind you, but a theoretically released motion picture. Their co-star was the Oscar winning George Saunders, who you might remember from such films as All About Eve and Rebecca. It was directed by Oscar winner William Friedken, the director of The French Connection and The Exorcist. Directing Good Times may have been where he got the idea to use copies amounts of vomit.
But I’m not reviewing the movie (mainly because I’ve only ever seen clips of it). It’s the record that I care about. Acts like Sonny & Cher get to make movies because movies come with soundtrack albums. And that’s generally where the profit margin is for a producer. While this film lost money at the box office, the mediocre performance of the soundtrack pushed the project into the black.
While there are no new hits, the record is pretty damned good. Mostly for the two new for the film versions of I Got You Babe. One is an acoustic instrumental (and perfect for a wedding cocktail mix) and one is a vocal version of the same track. The rest is kinda meh, but i’ll still give this one a few spins a year.
Today’s Summary: Cost: $2