Saturday, March 27, 2010


Psychelic Lolllipop

“(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet”

Went to #5 in 1967

1966 Mono release on  Mercury valued at approximately $40 in near mint condition 

Back in 2007 I wrote a  story for ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERY MAGAZINE  featuring a young woman named Session Seabolt who owns a vintage vinyl record shop.  I’m now working on something new with Session.

For this new story I’m having fun with one of the asides about the workings of the shop.  The clerks put up different trivia boards for the enjoyment of the customers (and to spark some spirited debates).  And naturally I have to research some of this trivia (also known as getting totally sidetracked for hours).  One is called the 40 Board where a theme or word is posted and customers contribute to a list of songs with that word or concept in the title or the lyrics.

 We used to play a made-up game like this when I was a teenager.  One person would say a word and the others would shout out as many songs as they could think of in a minute flat.   If a song was challenged the person who said it would have to sing a few bars.  It usually devolved into laughing fits so I’m not sure anyone ever actually won the game.

 I thought we could give this a try right here. We’ll be slackers and only go for 25.  The only rule is that the song has to be classic rock, which for these purposes we’ll define as a rock song recorded between 1950-1990  (when vinyl ruled).

 The above album by the Blues Magoos, a late 60s blues-rock band, inspired today’s theme, which is BLUE–any classic rock song with BLUE in the title or the lyrics.

 See if you can help me get the list up to 25.  I’ll supply the first five and you contribute as many as you can think of in your comments.   I’ll compile them and report back.  No googling or Ituning!  

1. BEHIND BLUE EYES, The Who, 1971

2. JACKIE BLUE, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, 1975

3. SUITE; JUDY BLUES EYES, Crosby, Stills & Nash, 1969

4.  BLUE SUEDE SHOES, Carl Perkins  (and, of course, later Elvis)

 5. TINY DANCER, Elton John, Ah….a very young Elton John in this vid,  (“BLUE jean baby, LA lady, seamstress for the band….”


                                  OKAY, YOU GO NOW!!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Potty Panner

Vinyl record albums become collectible for a variety of reasons, and collectibles become valuable because the demand exceeds the supply, in other words collectors like ‘em rare! And some are rare because the record company has recalled them shortly after they’re issued leaving few of the original versions “out there.”

Records have been recalled for all sorts of reasons.  Sometimes it has to do with the lyrics, but more often it’s the cover art.  The majority of the controversial covers have had to do with nudity or lewd gestures.  I don’t find any of that particularly interesting. Another large chunk is deemed insulting to religious groups.  I’m glad when those are withdrawn with apologies because I don’t like to see anyone’s belief system insulted.

But then there are the ones that just seem nutty. 

 The Mamas & The Papas released If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears in 1966 on the Dunhill label.   The photo on the cover had the four piled into an old-fashioned bathtub–all fully clothed, mind you, and smiling nicely.  But just to the right you can see–Oh, scandal of scandals–a toilet.

 This potty-portrait was  found to be unforgivably gauche  and the album was recalled.  A sticker (a strange, ugly sticker) listing three of the songs on the album was placed over the offending throne on the jacket and the album went out again.  But even this wasn’t enough.  In the  next reissuing the whole bathroom setting had to go and the photo was cropped tight around the group and put onto a black background.  Apparently even bathTUBS were in bad taste.

What I’d like to know is why amidst all this redoing of album covers no one ever thought to address the issue of using the possessive Mama’s and Papa’s on the cover.  Their what?

 In any case, I’m glad the album was released, else we may never have gotten “Monday, Monday,” “California Dreamin;” or this glorious version of “I Call Your Name,” by Mama Cass Elliot (written by Lennon & McCartney).

By the way, if you happen to possess the offending cover in near mint condition it could be worth $75-100 right now.  

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Media Rare

I own a version of this album. I like this album.   I’d like this album a lot more if it were the version worth approximately $25,000 dollars.  That’s what near mint copies of the first version Dylan recorded have brought at auction.

 The first version of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan featured the songs “Talkin’ John Birch Blues,” “Gamblin’ Willie’s Dead Man’s Hand,” Rocks and Gravel, and “Let Me Die in My Footsteps.” (And for those of you who are sure you'll find this one in a box of old vinyl in your basement, the number in the trail-off vinyl ends in -1)

 The album had already been recorded when Dylan was scheduled to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show.  For those of you too young to remember, Ed Sullivan was a variety show host and a stuffed shirt if ever there was one.  He’s the one who insisted that Elvis be filmed only from the waist up because he disapproved of  Elvis’ swiveling hips. 

Dylan was to sing “Talkin’ John Birch Blues,” on the show but then someone from “program practices” (read network censors) at the network got involved. Again, for those of you too young to remember, this was in pre-cable days and the content that was allowed on the public airwaves was strictly monitored.  It looks positively priggish when viewed from today’s viewpoint. In one famous example, Ricky and Lucy on the I Love Lucy show, a married couple, could not be depicted occupying the same bed, they had to be shown in a twin set with plenty of floor space in between.

 When the head honcho of PP heard "Talkin' John Birch Blues" a big brouhaha developed over the political commentary, and the possibility of the lyrics being libelous to the John Birch Society.  The song was axed. 

 Dylan walked.

 The record was recalled, whether by the record company or by Dylan himself is lost in the vagaries of time.  The four songs mentioned above were eliminated. But in any case a few of the originals were already stamped and ready for delivery, and more copies with the original song lineup had the labels from the second version attached, even though the songs were still there in the grooves.  

 A few copies of the original version have been found, one reportedly at a church-run thrift store in New York.  Even in very good condition (as opposed to near mint) it sold for $12,000.  This is the stuff of legend for vinyl hounds.

 Still, I remind myself, the value is in the music.  And “Girl From the North Country” alone makes this one priceless.

 What’s your favorite Dylan song?