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Words by Brendan
It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these. Part of this is that I haven’t done a whole lot of crate digging … or, at least, I haven’t made a whole lot of crazy/sexy/cool finds on those digs worthy of sharing here. But recently, I did just that. After an afternoon of outdoor concert-going and coffee-shop-working, I found myself at Mind Cure Records in good ol’ Polish Hill and, lo and behold, made some wonderful vinyl finds. And here I am sharing them!
Exhibit A: Shel Silverstein / Freakin’ at the Freaker’s Ball (1972) [Columbia]
This is BY FAR my favorite find of this bunch, and the whole reason for writing this post. Hell, this is likely the best vinyl find I’ve made all year. Only $6 for this gem of a record, which features Shel Silverstein‘s silly, funny, and (downright) raunchy tunes. Some of the songs are his poems set to music, but with him improvising the tempo and interjecting phrases. (And his crazy voice! So good!) Some are just fun, original songs. Most have him singing and playing piano or maybe guitar, and some have a chorus of backup singers. But all of these are awesomely fun, catchy, sing-along-able, and just damn funny. Most of all, they’ll show you a whole side of Shel Silverstein that you (maybe) never knew about. If your perception of Shel is The Giving Tree, just give a listen to “Stacy Brown Got Two”: and yes, this is a song about a dude with two cocks; you heard/read that right.
Exhibit B: Grace Slick & the Great Society / Collector’s Item from the San Francisco Scene (1971) [Columbia]
I love Jefferson Airplane. I love Grace Slick. (For several years, my desktop background image was this photo of Grace giving the middle finger.) When picking up this record in the store, I was confused about what it was, when it was recorded, and what its value is. But standing there sampling some tracks on the listening station and feeling Slick’s vocals and the psychedelic guitars fill the headphones … I knew I had to buy it. It helped when I realized that this 2xLP collection is really two albums that were originally sold separately, now combined into one. Their condition was solid, too: a little scratchy but endearingly so. I highly recommend tracking this down if you’re into that 60s Haight-Ashbury scene.
Exhibit C: TEEPEE / Morals (2009) [Senzei]
I’ve been digging TEEPEE‘s sounds for many months, especially after bringing them here to Pittsburgh for a show earlier this year. (Read this post about that.) They absolutely rocked live, and I bought some vinyl at the show. Lucky for me to stumble into another record of theirs in this store! This is an earlier album from the band, released in March 2011. They have their shimmery guitars, some drum-machine drone, and cryptic lyrics washing over it all. It’s gorgeous rock music, is what it is.
Here’s a side note that you’d only discover from the vinyl. On all vinyl records there is some info carved into the inner rings (record label, pressing number, etc.), and usually a printed label to display info about the artist and the track listing. On this particular vinyl, there isn’t even a printed label, let alone to distinguish side A from B. But, there are some etchings on both sides that amount to a joke, with side A having the setup and side B the punchline. Here they are: “Why does the penguin smell like shit? … … Because he stepped on it.”
Exhibit D: John Lee Hooker / In Person (1974) [Dynasty]
I’ve been listening to a whole lot of blues lately. For fun, I took a history class at school about the roots of rock and roll, and this introduced me to a lot of information, perspectives, and artists that I wouldn’t otherwise have discovered. Since then, I’ve been exploring a lot of the modern blues canon, since that class piqued my interest. Count John Lee Hooker in that camp. I spotted this record at the store and, despite the price being more than the other three records combined (for serious), I knew it was worth it and I had to have it. Hooker‘s full talents are on display here, and the recording lends an intimacy that you don’t get from “live video” on YouTube. But hey, however you can, check out John Lee Hooker. You’ll love him.
Filed under: Record Store Recon