Dontcha just love records? Not those little CDs in their precious plastic jewel boxes that play on forever and surely not the mp4s you can buy for cheap (it seems) on iTunes, but those black (usually) 12 inch slabs of vinyl you scraped to get for $3.25 back in the day. I’ve kept all of mine, except for those Kathy and I both had, and they sit downstairs in my cube system. I haven’t counted ‘em or catalogued ’em although I suppose that’s a future retirement project. I hear they have apps for that.
On this idyl afternoon, I tired of what Spotify was dishing up and went straight to the source. I’ve got a fine Linn Sondak turntable, bought on line at the recommendation of my crazy Barnes buddy Neff. I recently replaced the cartridge as it was turning my records into scratchy messes.
So, here’s what I’ve been listening to:
Hot out of Niles, Michigan, this was their first album. They had a hit with “Hanky Panky” but filled the album with all manner of stuff, including Motown classics.
Blasting out of Akron (those are Akron scenes on the cover), Joe Walsh and friends exploded with an ear blasting disc of innovation. Joe could also play keyboard, ya know, and it’s all over this record. If Joe and the boys never ever recorded another record, this one would remain legendary. Thank goodness they did, and Joe did, and we have everything from “Life’s been good to me so far” to “Analog Man” to enjoy.
Can there be a livelier time than one with Royal Oak’s Marshall Crenshaw? The little dude has been around since the early 80s and produced perhaps the most romantic song I’ve ever heard (“Whenever you’re on my mind” (1)). I heard this before I had a girlfriend to fit, but plugged away till I found one. Here’s a recent release, Marshall and his pals bopping around NYC shortly after they burst on the scene. Wonderful energetic stuff.
I can’t get through a day without my Cody fix. This is the infamous “orange album”, endorsed heartily by the Commander himself when I asked him to autograph it, as he said the band was in peak form at the time. This is the same year they played Hill and I caught them for the first time. A rip roaring time through a live show, which was always the best way to hear them.
Who was the genius behind Traffic? Sure, Stevie had the pipes, but the best songs came from this guy, who quit and reentered Traffic at least twice. This was his first solo album after finally quitting, and what a tour de force. That they were inscribed on a piece of marbleized vinyl just adds to the wonder. Not on here is his meal ticket “Feelin’ Alright”. He’s still cashin’ checks from that.
Well, the night is young. Perhaps I’ll impose a vinyl-only injunction. Well, we’ve already proceeded onto this young ‘un.
Sweet voice. Great songs
Then, let’s spend some time with the master. How I miss this guy. Thank God he left behind so many recordings. This one, his first, might be his best. Barely 25 when he cut it in ’71 and still carrying mail for a living – which gave him all that time to compose these songs in his head – he got to put down the bag but he never stopped deliverin’ messages.
The dive into vinyl is ever encountered with treasures. Listen past the scratches.
- “Whenever You’re On My Mind” (1983) Marshall Crenshaw (HQ). YouTube 9/20/14.