Vinyl Answer

Every record tells a story. Here's a few stories in my collection. Also, I've been a down-to-earth vinyl nut for decades, so if you want some record collecting advice, just ask.

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Seen but not bought - a super-rare copy of the sole album by Fuse, Rick Neilsen’s first band. I like Cheap Trick as much as the next guy and I’m curious what this sounds like—but not 60 bucks worth of curious. Still, cool to see it in real life.

I gave in and bought this, even though I don’t actually know a few of the songs being parodied (I’ve never heard “Fancy,” believe it or not, even though I’ve read about it everywhere). “Word Crimes” ranks up there with “All About The Pentiums” and “Mr. Popeil” as some of his best work ever.

A box of CDs at a garage sale this weekend. You see enough of these, you can tell exactly when the seller’s kids were about 15—in this case, right around 2002.

A box of CDs at a garage sale this weekend. You see enough of these, you can tell exactly when the seller’s kids were about 15—in this case, right around 2002.

One of the rarest Thomas Dolby records I own—an early 2000s 2-LP set of EDM remixes of “One of our Submarines is Missing,” produced with his cooperation. Turns out its a true story—read the photo with really fine print to get the sad facts.

You’ve heard his voice in stuff like Toy Story and Rugrats, but Phil Proctor is probably best known for his work in the 1970s avant-garde comedy troupe The Firesign Theatre. My favorite album of theirs is the classic Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Piliers, which he kindly autographed for me at an Audio Engineering Society event in 2012. 

As you might notice, he also marked up the back—you can see that he wrote “AFTRA”—and I just had to ask why. It turns out that when they made the record, for some legal reason, the group of hippie comedians had to join the performers union American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (which is now part of SAG). So as a pun, they labeled the photos as “Before” and “AFTRA,” but some bright spark in the art department thought it was a mistake and changed it to say “After” instead.  So 40 years later, he reinstated the joke on my copy—how cool is that?

One of the uglier picture discs I own; a shame, as it’s a great Eighties album.

Perhaps recognizing that asking fans to pay for a 2-minute single with two 3-minute B-sides is a rip-off, they included an art print of a McCartney doodle with this French 12” of “Put It There.” It’s a great song, but yeah, still a rip-off, even with the ugly print.

I’ve never been a fan of “confrontational” teenage girls behind the mic, but I liked Meg & Dia’s song “Going Away” when I heard it a few years ago, so when I stumbled over this 2009-ish LP for $6, I took a chance on it. The entire album is basically the same thing—very poppy rock with great harmonies, singing about how they don’t like Boys, God, Dad and other assorted topics. The lyrics are better than most, but it’s the tunes that stand out. By hiring Howard Benson as the producer, the songs all have heft and movement, but on the downside, it all sounds like every other Howard Benson album of poppy, heavy guitars that are compressed to hell. It’s a great sound that I like, personally, but it robs every act he produces of some originality. I don’t think this band is around anymore, which is probably just as well—complaining about your parents is lame after you’re old enough to move out of their house, a fact that gives acts like these a very short shelf-life.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Hello! When you moved your secondary blog to your new account, did it keep your blog's followers or were they all gone?
vinylanswer vinylanswer Said:

Great question; the handful of followers I had at the time were lost. During the step where you change the name of your Tumblr blog to a temporary name, you are freeing up the real name of your blog, so that you can create a new blog with that name that you will import your content into. So it is a new blog, hence no followers. You might want to post notes to your followers for a few days alerting them to the move. Thanks!

I hit the jackpot the other day and found four UK David Sylvian 45s at Academy Records in the city. Why they were released as singles is beyond me, because while I like them, only “Silver Moon” had a prayer of hitting the charts.

Picked this up at my first Record Store Day - 2010 or 2009, I think. My turntable barely turned at that point and I hadn’t played vinyl in a looooong time, but I saw this great live EP and had to grab it.

Live promo 12-inch of The Fixx. It wasn’t until years later that I rediscovered their music and realized they were heavily influenced by prog rock; the musicianship in these songs is a lot higher than I ever noticed at the time.

Bad Vinyl: I picked up this Duran Duran bootleg yesterday, Cheek to Chic, and as you can see, it has problems. That mysterious dot in the vinyl is a bubble—and there’s at least 10 of them in this record. Doing some research on the web, apparently every copy out there has this problem, which means they were likely using recycled vinyl (previously pressed, melted-down records).

To give it that extra aura of crappiness, the chintzy cover is just a big, pink photocopy sheet wrapped around a generic sleeve. Nonetheless, apparently it’s rare—rare enough that even with all these issues, it goes for $40-70 on a regular basis. Lucky for me, because of the bubbles, I got it for $5—cheap enough that I was willing to take a chance on it.

There’s no info as to what city this was, but the setlist is definitely from their 1984 tour behind Seven & the Ragged Tiger. There’s no skips, despite the bubbles, and the audio must be taken from either a TV or radio concert—I’m guessing either their Madison Square Garden radio concert (a tape of which was one of my high-school girlfriend’s prized possessions) or the As The Lights Go Down TV concert from that era. Side One sounds fine, while Side Two has some low thumps from a few of the bubbles. Given how bad the vinyl looked, I’m honestly surprised that it’s even playable, much less that it sounds good.

I couldn’t hum a single Marillion song for you, and yet I own this  autographed UK edition of what I’m told is one of their best albums. I don’t think I’ve even ever played it. Roughly a billion years ago, I was a college intern at Capitol Records’ office in NYC; there was a stack of 5-6 on a shelf in the storage room where they kept promo items to mail out. I was told if I wanted one, to help myself, so I grabbed two and gave one to a friend, who gave it to his brother, the mega-Marillion fan, for a Christmas present. I probably ought to eBay it, but I’ve always liked the cover.

Remember Cyndi Lauper’s “Money Changes Everything?” It was a cover of this Atlanta post-punk band’s song. Her version is better, more exuberant, but it’s still interesting to hear the original, moaned by a heartbroken dude.