Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Thrift Store Adventures: January 9, 2007: Hermiston, Oregon

When you're a bit on that "Straight Outta Lo-kash" experience, what do you do? Wait until Powerball goes up and drive long distances to buy a ticket or two, that's what. For me, that means crossing the border to Oregon for a ticket, which generally means a visit to Goodwill.

The last few visits have resulted in nothing. I had looked over the CD's and found a lot of Christian/gospel CD's, and a David Hasselhoff CD too. I was tempted to hear this crap, but I don't think his music was worth $2.50. When I went to the back to look for the records, I saw a beat up Steppenwolf album. Maybe, just maybe, there were a few goodies. Fortunately there were.

The 5th Dimension
(Bell 9000)

This is one of those that you always see at a used record store, and perhaps never bought because... well, it's The 5th Dimension. They may have had some of the poppiest pop songs of the late 60's/early 70's, but they were always backed by the best musicians, and they were definitely good songs. A few of them may be your guilty pleasure. Of course, they close with "Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In", but as was customary with a lot of artists of the time, they had their own share of medleys, and this album is packed with them.

The album has always been one of those dollar bin pleasures, moreso now that Ludacris sampled elements of one of the songs.

MP3: The 5th Dimension - Together Let's Find Love (Live) (4mb)

Heads Hands & Feet
(Capitol SWBB-680)

As I was browsing, I always try to get a feel for an album by the cover. Sometimes you can get a better feel if you look at the catalog number. In this case, I knew it was definitely a Capitol album, but who, and what? I pulled this one and I said to myself "Head Hands & Feet"? I didn't recognize anyone in the band, the songs, or the producer. It was a double LP, and even in the late 60's/early 70's (I say this because this was the lime green label) they weren't handing out double albums to everyone. I had to give it a shot.

I'm glad I did. This is rock with a bit of country and blues thrown in, a la The Band, but from a British perspective. They start out rockin' in a nice way, before going here and there and yeah, everywhere, including some lengthy numbers.

MP3: Heads Hands & Feet - I'm In Need Of Your Help (2mb)

The Impressions
The Versatile Impressions
(ABC ABCS-688)

The cover had the group photos in a distorted manner, cut up so you couldn't really see their faces. The first thing I actually noticed was the album being still sealed. Then I noticed the group name. The Impressions? Still sealed? I had to look at the back for a photo and there was the face I was looking for: Curtis Mayfield. I'd like to put it on eBay, but I want to open it and be the first one to have played it. I am in a frank dilemma.

King's Road
Today's TV Hits
(Pickwick SPC-3551; 1976)

Most people don't know who these bands are, most people could care less. But King's Road, I have no idea who they were, but they were a random group of musicians who recorded the hits of the day for Pickwick Records. Pickwick became the budget-minded label who recorded songs to sound like the originals, but sometimes they weren't capable of pulling that off either. I remember seeing this record as a kid, but why buy this when you can get real music, like Aerosmith's Rocks? I got it this time, to hear their version of "Theme From S.W.A.T.". The biggest surprise happen to be the last songs on each side. The version of "Mission: Impossible" sounds nothing like the original theme, and neither does "Theme From Star Trek", coming off like something you'd hear on a drag strip or in an old surf film than a science fiction TV series.

(EDIT: After doing a search, it seems that King's Road may have had some involvement from Jerry Vance & Terry Philips, at least according to a reply to this entry at the Scar Stuff blog.)

The Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by V. Fegomov
Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake
(Westminster Gold/ABC WGS-8248/2; 1973)

I'm not a classical music buff, but I've been wanting to get into that. In truth, this was a double album on an ABC Records-subsidiary that I've only seen on websites, so I went for it. The album was licensed from the Russian label Melodica, and is in mono.

Modern Sound
(Modern Sound MS 1021)

Modern Sound
(Modern Sound MS 1026)

I almost passed these up. The two albums do not mention who actually performed the songs, but like King's Road, it seems to be a random collection of musicians, this time from Nashville, Tennessee, covering the songs of the day. The covers were a bit moldy and I was reacting to them when I finally got home. The performances are decent, including their version of The Beatles' "She's A Woman", but nothing to jump off mountains for.

Lou Rawls
You're Good For Me
(Capitol ST 2927)

This album was fairly beaten up, and I should have opted to find one that was in much better condition. However, when you see Lou Rawls and the Capitol logo, you think of David Axelrod. This album is known for the track "Life Time Monologue", not for the dialogue but for the drum break that opens the song. I was more familiar with the mono version, where the drums are much more bold. In the stereo mix, the drums seem to be pushed back into the mix, and as stereophonic junkies know, even converting from stereo to mono will not result in the same sound desired.

MP3: Lou Rawls - Life Time Monologue (2mb)

Below the rack of records was a drawer of 45's. In it was an Emerson Lake & Palmer 8-track (the good ol' pink tapes), along with two records of interest:

George Benson
Michelob Jazz Series (7" promo EP)
(Michelob Jazz 18941; 1981)

When I had taken this out, I saw the back cover first. It was a booklet so I thought at first it was a Disneyland children's read-a-long book/record. I turned it over, and it was jazz musician/singer George Benson. Not only that, but it was a promo 7" EP consisting of radio spots.

I like a lot of his music from the 70's and a small handful of his hits in the early 80's. I just find it odd that he would do something for Michelob, considering that he has been very strong about his religious beliefs over the years. One doesn't have to drink the beer in order to endorse the product and have them sponsor your tour, I guess, and good money is good money, even from Michelob. Jazz and blues concert tours and festivals have often been sponsored by alcoholic beverage companies, so it's nothing new. But to hear him sing "Put A Little Weekend In Your Week" is funny. He may not have shown support over the original mix of Digital Underground's "Freaks Of The Industry", but if you can put a little weekend in your week, why not? Cheers!

MP3: George Benson - Put A Little Weekend In Your Week (60 sec Laidback Full Vocal) (1mb)

The Parliaments
Look At What I Almost Missed/What You Been Growing
(Revilot RV-217)

I saw the familiar label in the drawer and I couldn't believe it. I had to pick it up to be sure. A 45 by The Parliaments? The first thing I thought was if Miss Shing-A-Ling saw this, she would say pfftt, this shit ain't obscure. It was an original, as the numbers in the matrix (run-off groove) was machine pressed. No counterfeit/bootlegs here. Someone years ago gave me a Parliaments 45 for free, just like that, and this time I find another for 50 cents. I wish I could find all of The Parliaments 45's that easy.

Thrift Store Adventures: January 6, 2007, Kennewick, Washington

I have been going to thrift stores, but for the most part the supply of records has been... well, it's been there, but the selection a bit "eh!" It's been like that everywhere. Nonetheless, a visit to the Goodwill in Kennewick, Washington (right across the street from Highland Health Foods) lead to two semi-OK discoveries.

Richland High School Swing Choir and Bel Canto 1971
O Happy Day
(Century no catalog #; 1971)

I'm still a sucker for crappy school records, but of course they weren't crap when the student gave this to their parents, saying "listen, this is me in the choir". This is a record for a local high school, and I bought it to hear their version of Blood Sweat & Tears' "Spinning Wheel". No rockin' break, unfortunately, and the only decent part of the song is when they incorporated "Variations On A Theme By Erik Satie" during the intro, as heard on the BS&T album. The album was recorded by Curtis Mohr, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing a few years ago for an article that was eventually scrapped. Mohr was the man responsible for recording countless high school records throughout Eastern Washington State.

Richland High School Swing Choir 1971 - Spinning Wheel (4mb)

Flip Wilson
The Devil Made Me Buy This Dress
(Little David LD-1000

Always got to have some comedy in your life. I was a fan of Wilson as a kid, and while his comedy was not as raw as Redd Foxx or Richard Pryor, I had been told he was "risque", and I think it was because he was well known for her Geraldine character. What does amaze me is the fact that this, and a number of his albums on Little David, were nothing more than the audio track from the TV specials.