Thursday, February 28, 2019

In Search Of The Lost Chord

A year or so ago, I was stuck in a late 60's musical mindset. I was listening to tons of stuff from The Doors, Cream, The Beatles and The Stones, and I was loving the history of this music. It was fresh and pushing boundaries for it's time, and it just felt important. It has taken me a long time to finally recognize how great these bands were, an suddenly I was hit with an urge to dig around and see if there was something else that I'd been missing out on.

I started researching other bands from that era, and when I saw the name The Moody Blues, I figured that I'd give them a shot.

After checking out their discography, I decided that their 1967 album Days Of Future Passed might be a bit too much to start with since it was recorded with an orchestra, so I bumped thing out a year, and looked up their In Search Of The Last Chord album from '68.

I really didn't know what to expect here, but as we started to get into Ride My See-Saw I was getting really excited over what I was finding. The rest of the album didn't hit me as hard as that one song, but there was still something there that kind of kept my interest, so I revisited it off and on..and while it didn't completely grow on me like some of the other classic bands of the time, this is still a fun album to spin every once in a while.

While I was out visiting some local stores last Fall, I spotted the record in the racks and for six dollars, I added it to the slowly growing collection for the late 60's.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

7 Screaming Diz-Busters

When it comes to early 70's metal albums, some of my favorites would be those first few Blue Oyster Cult records. Given how much I love those albums, it is a bit of a shock that the only one that I own is the self-titled debut...and it was around 12 years ago since I'd picked that one up. I've gone looking on eBay and Discogs for both Tyranny And Mutation and Secret Treaties before, but I always end up wringing my hands over the condition of the cover, or the sellers price, and walk away empty handed. It shouldn't be this difficult to grab these records.

I've spent some time over the years digging through used bins, and of the two Blue Oyster Cult records that I need, I don't think that I've ever seen them in the wild. When I came across a copy of Tyranny And Mutation during a visit to one of the local used stores, I quickly pulled it from the rack. I wasn't happy about the bit of ringwear, or the barcode on the back cover indicating it was a later pressing, but fuck it, I just wanted this in my collection. I can always grab an original pressing down the road...because those original red and black, and inverted black and red b-side labels, are a pretty cool touch.

Damn, this album is so good. For 1972, this one is going to be right near the top of the list.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sea Hags

Back in October, Doug sent me a message, letting me know that he'd just picked up the Sea Hags album. He was obviously excited over his new purchase, and I was sitting there thinking, "Who the fuck is that?" I'd never even heard the name Sea Hags before. Doug gave me a quick lesson on their sleazy hair metal style, and I tucked the name away to check them out at a later date. Since I latched on to my obsession over Dokken, Ratt and early Motley Crue last year, I've been taking baby steps into the Hair Metal world, and checking out some bands that I ignored back in the day, so the Sea Hags record seemed like something that I'd be down to check out at some point.

A few days after Doug's message, I was flipping through the used bins at a local record store, and was surprised by the coincidence to see the same Sea Hags album sitting there. I had no idea if I was going to like it or not, but for six dollars, I figured that I'd take the chance.

Yes! This is exactly the kind of thing that I've been craving. Great sleazy rock and roll. I don't know if I'd qualify it as hair metal, but it does sit nicely next to stuff like Faster Pussycat that I've been digging lately.

One of my missions this year is to chase down the vinyl for albums that were released in 1989, and it just so happens that this one falls into that category. Not bad...30 years after it's release, I'm discovering it for the first time.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Hard And Heavy Hardware

As I was starting to get into heavy metal in the early 80's, one of the early cassettes that I bought was Headhunter from Krokus. I'm assuming that I got turned on to the band by those quality videos for Eat The Rich and Screaming In The, they don't make 'em like that anymore. I loved that album, and my brother an I quickly dug into their back catalog and picked up the tapes for Hardware, Metal Rendez-vous and One Vice At A Time... but honestly, I don't recall a damn thing from any of those albums. I think that my musical taste was changing so quickly, that soon after we picked up those other Krokus albums, we were already off chasing something heavier and faster...and Headhunter was obviously the heaviest album from Krokus, so their other stuff just didn't hold my interest.

Of course given that I've been totally immersing myself in early 80's metal nostalgia, I've been toying with the idea of digging back into those earlier Krokus albums, and giving them another shot.

I was in Portland last Fall, and checking out the record stores when I found a copy of the 1981 release for Hardware. I didn't remember a single thing about the record, but with a six dollar price tag, I figured that I'd take the chance and pick it up.

It is pretty rare for me to buy an album without playing it safe and downloading the songs and giving them a spin before actually deciding to buy the record, so it felt a little dangerous buying Hardware, but you know, sometimes I really walk on the wild side.

I didn't really have high expectations for this record, and while I've had it for about five months, I still hasn't bothered to listen to it. I was dragging my feet on this, but since it had worked it's way to the top of my backlog pile, it was time to finally give it a spin. Hot damn. This was a great surprise! I mean, back in 1983 and '84, as I was devouring a steady diet of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Dio, I can see how this would have gotten pushed aside, but as I'm neck deep in early 80's metal nostalgia, this was an amazing find. This record has been getting repeat spins this past week.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Canadian Ice

I know that I've talked a lot of shit on compilations. Generally, I've looked down on them, and have considered them to not really bring anything to the table for the long haul. Well, I'm starting to change my hardline stance on them. As I've recently been digging into the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal scene, as well as revisiting some early Metal Massacre comps, I've found myself quite enjoying these time capsules. With these metal compilations, there are quite a few bands that have been buried by time and dust, and in some cases, these comps are the only places that smaller bands had a song or two pressed to wax. Suddenly, I was looking at those old comps through rose colored nostalgia glasses, and I started to have a change of heart.

I've been hearing a lot of buzz about a new Canadian heavy metal comp on Temple Of Mystery Records, called Trapped Under Ice. The only band on this comp that I'd heard of was Freeways, and since I fucking loved their Cold Front EP so much, I really wanted this record...even if it was just to hear their new song. I'd been contemplating the purchase of Trapped Under Ice for a couple of months, but after downloading the Rocksnax and Lead Weight comps from the early 80's, I got caught up in the excitement and finally pulled the trigger.

Man, the gamble paid off, because this compilation is rock fucking solid. While I came for the Freeways track, I was absolutely surprised with how great bands like Traveler and Metalian sounded, and I found myself running to the internet to see what many of these other bands had available. Suddenly I'm excited about new metal bands!

The packaging for the Die Hard pressing is excellent. "Ice" colored vinyl with an OBI strip on the cover, plus a sheet of stickers with all the band's logos, and an exclusive fanzine.

This is a quality package, and I'm looking forward to digging into that fanzine and reading about each band.

Monday, February 18, 2019

A Ratt In Trouble

Last September, I picked up the first Ratt EP. When I grabbed that record, I was completely obsessing over that 1983/1984 time period...those days when I was first starting to discover heavy metal...and I loved finally adding those old classics to the collection. When I was digging around Discogs on the Ratt EP, I discovered that there was another pressing with a different cover, and like a fool, I needed to get a copy.

The Ratt EP was originally released in 1983 on Time Coast Communications, and then reissued in '84 when the band signed with Atlantic. Somehow Target Entertainment was able to get their hands on the rights to the EP and release their pressing of it in 1985, including a bonus track of an early recording of You're In Trouble (that was only previously available on the original UK pressing), renaming the record and slapping a quick and rather boring cover on the package.

At the time of my obsession, I was buying US and UK pressings of Twisted Sister albums because of the difference in album artwork, so of course I had ride that wave with this Ratt EP as well.

Man, that puffy jacket on Stephen Pearcy is...umm...well, it's a look.

Side by side photo of both the original cover and the 1985 Target Records reissue. Funny that I've been dropping out of the multiple pressing game for hardcore records, but for these early 80's metal records, I have no problem adding them to the collection.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Sweet Teens

Buying those Jethro Tull picture sleeve singles really gave me an appreciation for those things. I don't know what it is about them, but I've suddenly fallen in love with them. At one time, I gained interest in them when there was an exclusive b-side track that didn't show up on the album, but after my Jethro Tull shopping spree, even that wasn't a huge draw for me. I just loved the way that the singles looked with the unique sleeve. They just seemed cool to own.

When I was picking up the last Jethro Tull single, I checked what else the seller had to offer, and seeing the single from The Sweet, I quickly added it to my cart before checking out. I mean it was less than five dollars, so it was a cheap pick up, and well, I was still riding a single high.

I have had the Sweet Fanny Adams album from The Sweet on my want list for a few years now...UK pressing obviously...but I haven't pulled the trigger on it yet. This single for The Six Teens will have to hold me over for now.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Tull Obsession - Part 6: Songs From The Wood

While I was putting a hold on chasing more Jethro Tull singles, I still wanted to add another full length album to the collection. I've got the band covered for their first five albums...from This Was in '68 to Thick As A Brick in '72..but I've been hesitant to explore much beyond that. Diving into the world of Tull singles, exposed me to some stuff outside of my comfort zone, and I was ready to go a little deeper into their catalog.

I've been slowly checking out the next handful of Jethro Tull albums, and while they don't completely have me losing my shit over them, they are still quite good. One of the albums that I spent a bit of time with was Songs From The Wood from '77. I had that album queued up to listen to while on a few of my 5:00am runs in January, and those songs really hooked me while I was out there under the stars.

The Steve Wilson remixes for the Jethro Tull reissues have been great, so I was happy when my local record store had a copy of Songs From The Wood in stock.

Other than how great these sound, my favorite thing about these reissues is the huge booklet that comes with the record. I love the packaging for these things, and it is one of the few times that I'll skip the original pressing to get the reissue instead.

Twenty three pages of photos and history of the album. Perfect for just putting the album on, and flipping through the booklet to totally immerse yourself into it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tull Obsession - Part 5: Minstrel In The Gallery

I was still on my Jethro Tull kick with eight singles under my belt, and an easy goal seemed to be to aim for know, to get the perfect three by three photo for Instagram. Got to have symmetry.

So I wanted to get one more, and I hit up Discogs to see what opportunities there were. I really like the cover art for the Thick As A Brick single, but I couldn't seem to find one that was a decent price. Then I heard the title track for the Minstrel In The Gallery album, and I loved it...and was able to track down a German pressing with this cool looking cover. The exclusive b-side track of Summer Day Sand is a nice touch as well.

Nine Jethro Tull singles. I still get excited over these things, but it is time to take a break from this obsession, as I have a few other things rattling around in my record collector head, and I want to start filling some bigger holes. I'll definitely have to get back to this one somewhere down the line. This was fun.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Tull Obsession - Part 4: Sweet Dream

I was six records into my obsession over Jethro Tull picture sleeve singles, and what started as a casual pursuit, suddenly got really fucking serious. Initially, I told myself that I was only going to pick up cheap singles from US sellers, but as I got deeper into this game, those rules went out the window, and this time out I was hitting up a seller out of France. I didn't care about the higher shipping fees, I just wanted to grow the collection.

The Sweet Dream single was out of 1969, and while the a-side made it on to the Living In The Past comp, the b-side song, 17, did not, so I was especially excited to get my hands on this one. This might be my favorite cover of all the singles that I have at this point. The shaggy, long hair and the cigarette smoke...captured in black and white...goddamn, it just looks so bad ass.

Two great classic Jethro Tull songs that should not be missed!

The Stand Up album is probably my favorite Jethro Tull album...basically for the same reason that Fireball is my favorite Deep Purple album...both of them just have this perfect flow and texture. So while both songs on the Bouree single are from the Stand Up LP, and there is nothing new that is offered here, I still wanted a copy of this single.

Another French pressing, and a great addition to the collection.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Tull Obsession - Part 3: Living In The Past

Things were starting to snowball with my obsession over Jethro Tull singles. I needed more, and I kept searching Discogs for US sellers that had multiple Tull singles for sale. Things were getting a bit more serious now, and I wasn't too concerned with paying only a few dollars for these things...suddenly, this casual chase for singles was getting a bit more urgent, and when I found a US seller with a bunch of records available, I didn't bat an eye at the higher price tags.

I really wanted to cover all the single captured on the Living In The Past compilation album, so I had my sights set on the single that shared the same name. The Living In The Past single, with the Driving Song b-side was released 50 years ago. These songs come from my favorite Jethro Tull period, and are absolutely essential.

Each single was usually released with multiple covers, depending on the country of release. This is the cover for the French release.

There is something cool about those pink Island labels. Too bad the original owner had to make sure his friends didn't steal his copy by writing his name all over it.

A couple years back, the Ring Out, Solstice Bells single was reissued from Record Store Day. I wasn't interested in Jethro Tull at the time, so I let it pass me by without any interest. That reissue probably had a $15 price tag. This original UK pressing from 1976 was $3.

I generally dislike any songs that could be considered Christmas songs, but this single is an exception.

One of the albums that I haven't really taken the time to check out is the 1973 release, Passion Play. This album is supposed to be just one long song, split across the a and b side of the record, and it has seemed overwhelming when I think about checking it out. I figured that this single would give me a solid snapshot of what the album had to offer, so I grabbed it.

Just like that, my collection doubles from three records to six. I still can't get over how great these picture sleeves look, and it feels like I'm collecting history. I'm not done yet.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Tull Obsession - Part 2: Life Is A Long Song

Getting my hands on the Jethro Tull single for The Witch's Promise really had an impact on me. For some reason, I've recently found myself interested in old picture sleeve singles, and shortly after picking up that old one from Tull, I was jonesin' to get my hands on more of them.

The Witch's Promise single had me checking out the Living In The Past compilation, and since that record collects some early non-LP tracks, I used that as my starting point when I was wondering what should be my next move in the 7 inch singles game. All five songs from the Life Is A Long Song single also appear on the Living In The Past comp, and all songs are great, but fighting the convenience of compilation, I decided to chase the original single from 1971.

I was pretty casual with this mission, and figured that if I could find a copy for cheap from a US seller, I'd grab it. As luck would have it, there was one available from a seller in New York, with a reasonable six dollar price tag, and I quickly added it to my cart.

Before checking out, I decided to search the other records that the seller had available...specifically looking for more Jethro Tull. I was happy to find that they also had the single for The Whistler available, and only for a few dollars. Now, I'd never heard this song before, as it falls outside my Jethro Tull comfort zone, but for that price...and I just thought the photo of Ian Anderson with his flute, looked cool as hell...I grabbed that one as well.

When I received this single, I wasn't too excited over the song, or the b-side Strip Cartoon, but with repeat spins, I'm liking this more and more. Maybe it is time to expand my Jethro Tull experience out to '77 or '78, and see what's up.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Tull Obsession - Part 1: The Witch's Promise

It was about three years ago that I was first introduced to Jethro Tull, and it seems that after I took that first taste, I've been obsessing about the band at some level ever since. Hell, checking my listening stats on for last year, I listened to Jethro Tull at the same level as Dio and Iron Maiden, so yeah, Tull got a lot of playing time. My fascination with the band ebbs and flows, but when the obsession starts to fade, it is just an easy push to get me back down that rabbit hole.

After picking up, and posting about, the first Jethro Tull album last Fall, I got sucked into watching a bunch of live Tull videos on youtube. Man, watching those bearded, long haired ruffians playing live, just made me love them even more. During this live video binge, I discovered a performance of the song, The Witch's Promise. What the hell is this? Where did this song come from? Some quick research on Discogs revealed that this song was released as a single back in 1969...and then was included on the Living In The Past compilation LP a few years later.

As it never ended up a regular full length album, I felt like I'd found some kind of hidden treasure. I needed this song...and I needed the original single for it...desperately.

I found a seller in the US that had a copy of the UK single, with the picture sleeve, and with a price tag of only six dollars, I didn't hesitate to make it mine.

This single is 50 fucking years old this year. It is older than I am, and given my age, that is saying something. Holding this record in my hand feels important, and given the reasonable sale price, I imagine that not many people really care about this, and that just makes me love it even more.

Monday, February 04, 2019

Flotsam And Chaos

First new release of 2019! I did a rather shitty job of managing my posts for new releases last year, and it put me so far behind the eight ball, that I had to focus on nothing but 2018 releases for the last two months of the year. For this year, I'm going to try to stick to a new plan and get them up on the blog when they come in, as opposed to burying them in the used record backlog...well, hopefully I can avoid the backlog all together, but sometimes that just seems unavoidable at times.

Flotsam and Jetsam surprised the hell out of me back in 2016, when they released their self titled album. I hadn't paid attention to the band since their 1990 album, When The Storm Comes Down, so it was quite the shock when I decided to give their new record a shot a couple years ago. Man, that album absolutely melted my face, and it shot to my number one spot for my Best of 2016 list. So when I discovered that Flotsam and Jetsam had a new record coming out this year, I didn't hesitate to order a copy.

The End Of Chaos is a solid follow up. It is too early to tell how it stacks up against their last one, but this is a vicious thrash attack. I love this shit. With this new Flots album, and records on the way from Death Angel and Overkill, 2019 is going to be a great year.

Friday, February 01, 2019

Bad Boy Boogie

I've slowly been adding some Australian first pressings for AC/DC to the collection. The thing that really attracted me to them was how different those original covers were, compared to what I was familiar with here in the US...especially for those early Bon Scott records. I've been so excited over chasing those original Albert pressings that I've been overlooking the fact that I obviously need the US pressings in my collection as well.

Last year, I picked up a copy of the Australian pressing of Let There Be Rock, and I loved that black and white layout for the gatefold album cover...but it felt incomplete without the original US pressing to sit beside it. I'd searched eBay a few times, looking to get my hands on that US press, but either the record covers were beat to hell with ring wear, or the prices were way more than I wanted to pay. When I found a great looking copy in the used bin at my local record store, I jumped to buy it.

I love this album, and definitely need more AC/DC records in my life.