Recollections of the hunter and his prey

About this blog

This is a blog describing the descent into madness brought about by record collecting. It is primarily about the hunt, the smells, the disappointments, the excitement, and the random occurrences surrounding vinyl records. I listen to them too, a lot, but from my perspective the hunt is what makes collecting records an exciting hobby, although it may be maddeningly frustrating and incomprehensible to those around me.

On the hunt for:

  • Articles of Faith-Give Thanks LP
  • Bhopal Stiffs 10 song demo tape
  • Black Cat Bones-Barbed Wire Sandwich LP
  • Blues Creation - Live LP
  • Freddie Hubbard-Black Angel LP
  • Henry Franklin - The Skipper LP
  • Herbie Hancock-Flood LP
  • Mount Everest Trio - LP
  • Neu!-75 LP
  • Revenant - Prophecies of a Dying World LP
  • Sam Cooke-Ain't That Good News LP
  • Sam Cooke-Night Beat LP
  • Strike Under-Immediate Action 12" EP
  • The Effigies-Haunted Town 12" EP
  • The Virgil Lights - (anything else out there besides the 45?)
  • Watchtower-Energetic Disassembly LP
  • Witchcraft-s/t LP

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve Finds

Ahmad Jamal-Freeflight
War-The World is a Ghetto
Leadbelly-The Legend of Leadbelly
The Supremes-Where Did Our Love Go
The Astronauts-Everything is A-OK!
The George Benson Quartet-It's Uptown

I found all these records yesterday. The Jamal disc was a mailbox find (from ebay) which I wanted because its the first disc where he uses the Fender Rhodes, my current favorite instrument of choice. The War, Leadbelly, Supremes, and Astronauts albums (along with the Alex Keack record from the previous post) I picked up from Krazy Kat for a whopping 9 bucks. The Supremes and Astronauts records were also 25 cents a piece but these records surprisingly play very well. The Astronauts disc is the most thrashed, with the cover basically held together with a couple pieces of scotch tape and the vinyl has some pretty bad scratches, but no skips and barely a pop. The Supremes album has one bad pop (luckily on a bad song) but plays very well. The Keack record is actually in decent shape, the vinyl is clean and the cover is still very much intact.  I'm not sure I really needed another Leadbelly record, I do have a nice vinyl box set of his Library of Congress recordings, but it doesn't have the song "Where Did You Sleep Last Night." This one does, so I'm glad to have it.

The George Benson record is surprisingly good. He is another one of those artists where their records just litter dollar bins, but I had never run across this record until now. It came out very early in his career, and has a great upbeat swinging jazz feel accompanied by Lonnie Smith on organ, as well as baritone sax, bass and drums. Benson even does a couple vocal tracks that have more a soul vibe to them, but don't feel out of place on the album.  

I picked this up at the newest vinyl spot in town, Natural Sound. Natural Sound has been around for a while as a new and used CD shop, but just starting carrying vinyl in the last few months. I'll have to dedicate a post pretty soon to some of my finds there, there have been some really great ones. Hopefully the vinyl will help the store stay open, as it never seemed to have much business when I went there.  It never really was one of my favorite places because their cd prices can be worse than mall shops, but its an indy shop and I'd hate to seem them pack it up. But, now that they have vinyl, I think I've spent more money there in the last two months than I have in the over four years I've lived in this town.

Christmas Eve playlist

Back to the vinyl! Yesterday my wife and I made a nice dinner to celebrate Christmas Eve. Not that we care so much about the holiday, but it is a great excuse to drink and stuff our faces. Here is what accompanied us throughout the cooking, eating, and cleaning up.

While we were cooking, we were listening to some Madness and Carl Perkins. The Madness record my wife brought to the collection, and the Carl Perkins record I picked up a weeks ago from a flea market my suegra suggested I go to to check out the vinyl they had. Usually when we cook a big meal it takes a long time, but the preparation went pretty quickly and we didn't even finish the Perkins disc.

While we ate dinner, we listen to a couple more mellow albums. I actually just found the Alex Keack record yesterday from Krazy Kat Records for a quarter, and it was the best 25 cents I spent in a long time. I was expecting a surf record, but this is more lounge/exotica along the lines of Esquivel. It was a great surprise from Crown records, which I had blogged about in my first ever post. The Perez Prado disc was probably not the best dinner music, the voodoo suite is great but a little dark and my suegra hated it.

After we finished dinner, we jammed out to a little Yardbirds while doing the dishes. I also just recently picked this disc up at Charlies for a meezly ten bucks, original mono issue and all.

The menu:

-Spinach salad w/feta, olives, and red onions
-Cheese plate with and Irish cheddar, some kind of white cheese from Seattle's Pike Place Market, and smoked mozarella
-Penne pasta with pesto, roasted tomatoes, kalamata olives, and portabella mushrooms
-Veggie casserole with zucchini, mushrooms, onions, green chile, marinara sauce and cheese
-Garlic bread
-Champagne (we didn't want to wait until midnight, so why not for dinner?)
-Dessert: Apple Pie and Chocolate Mousse cake from the local Flying Star cafe.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Over-priced reissues

As I work on a response to my previous post, there is a short article over here about all the recent vinyl reissues of old records. I definitely agree with the author that recent reissues of records easily available at most used record stores is really a greedy scam to get people to pay much more for something worth much less. Yeah, artists don't make anything off the used record market, but also many of these artists don't depend on the sales 20-40 year old albums to make a living, if they are even still alive. 

EDIT: Case in point, some decided it would be a good idea to re-release Weather Report's Heavy Weather. Not only is this album a complete turd, it litters virtually every record store I have walked in to. I picked this up in close to NM condition for about 75 cents about a year ago. I'd have a hard time giving this away, but maybe I can now play the vintage angle, instead of getting the new reissue for 18.99 why not get the original vintage press for the same price? Hell, I'll even sell it for half the price of the new reissue...

I want my 75 cents back.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In Defense of Piracy: Democratizing the Public Library

Music is primarily an art form, not just a product to be consumed. I mean this in two ways. First, the logic of music creation follows that of other art forms, literature, painting, sculpture, theatre, etc., not the logic of supply and demand. Music has always been and will always be created as a form of expression regardless of the economic circumstances surrounding its distribution.  Artists create because they have to create, not because it is profitable. Writers continued to write, painters continue to paint, musicians continue to play, not because they know they will receive a paycheck every two weeks, but because of something inside them that requires this form of expression. Second, the enjoyment of art should not require certain financial resources, much like public sculptures and murals, free access to public libraries, taking pictures of anything found or created that one considers art, etc. Art has been maintained in various ways, including certain styles of music (i.e. jazz, classical) not because it is profitable, but because it is considered something valuable, something that represents the beauty and the absurdity within us all.

Free access to museums and galleries (in many places), and free access to books through libraries has not destroyed other forms of art. Why has it come to the point where free access to music has been considered a crime? The absurdity of this crime becomes all the more incomprehensible when we view music as art, not as a capitalist product with a copyright. The fight to restrict music to those who can pay has a striking similarity to those who ban books, to authoritarian regimes who restrict internet access and censor cultural production. Is music revolutionary? Music can be powerful, but I’m not so idealistic to think the message of music will destroy the dominant forms of power. What are they afraid of?

For years, music has been available for free through public libraries, although the selection was somewhat restricted due to budgetary and other constraints. Libraries have not killed music, artists still create, labels still produce music, people still attend concerts. Home taping was considered the death knell of music in the 80s. But surprise! music is still around. 

Think about what it is that libraries provide to our societies. I can go to the library, check out a book, read it, return it, and never have to pay a penny. I can do the same with a compact disc, a vinyl record or cassette (for those libraries that still have them), or a DVD or VHS. Nothing stops a person from copying any of these works, yet a campaign to shut down libraries to protect copyright laws would be unthinkable as many have come to depend on library access or consider it a right.

While through libraries and other public institutions, many people have access to the greatest literary and artistic creations, for some reason, it is considered inappropriate to have access to the greatest (and no so great) musical creations. To become educated about literature, about painting, and about other arts, requires very little in terms of financial resources. However, to become educated about an equally valid art form, music, regardless if you think that applies to Mozart, John Coltrane, Morbid Angel, Led Zeppelin, Aretha Franklin, Kanye West, Albert King or the Dead Kennedys, is extremely difficult without a significant financial investment. Music is a record of the human experience, to protect this form of art for the benefit of all, for enjoyment, for enlightenment, for educational purposes, does not require making everyone pay for it, it requires making it available to as many people as possible.

File sharing, music blogs, mp3s, home taping, burning CDs, these are all ways of democratizing art, of creating a democratic library of music that ensures everyone can enjoy a popular form of art.  Lovers and appreciators of music have taken it upon themselves through the internet to revive lost musical creations to educate the young and the old about all they missed because of the absurd idea that only one art form can be enjoyed if you pay for it (while others can be free). The nameless and anonymous individuals who provide music for free are creating a historical record of music that could easily be lost or only enjoyed by a very few. Libraries and other public institutions have failed in this regard, appreciators of music as art have come forward to not only protect, but revive and share what should be available to everyone. 

The collection

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last updated 05/17/09