nate patrin.

October 24, 2007, 6:51 pm
Filed under: Music | Tags:

In an age where every CD in one’s collection can be easily transferred onto a computer and quickly shared between friends and/or RIAA agents masquerading as friends, one can’t help but cultivate a certain masochistic respect for a media format that is completely unwieldy to digitally copy and distribute. There’s this local used LP mini-chain in town — Cheapo in St. Paul, two blocks from the hoity-toitish liberal arts Macalester College, which Bob Mould attended at the time Hüsker Dü was formed; this means you occasionally find rare esoteric stuff that students have sold for weed money. I’ve made it an occasional habit to rifle through their half-dozen just-arrived copies of The Grand Illusion in the hopes of finding something interesting that still hasn’t been released to CD or at least would be novel and cool to have on the original vinyl. Some days I come home with two LPs, one of which is late ’70s Aretha Franklin or something, and some days I find a bit more. (Also including late ’70s Aretha Franklin.) Here’s what I got today:

Jr. Walker and the All Stars, Roadrunner (Tamla Motown, 1966): A solid record from the Motown sax player and the (ironically unattributed anywhere on the sleeve notes) All Stars, with the great title track, the requisite cover of Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want)” and other choice stuff. Lots of weirdness about this particular copy, not all necessarily related to that cover art — that is clearly a goose, and I know that’s meant to be smoke but it ain’t coming off its feet. Not only is the copy I found a Dutch import (insert Holland-Dozier-Holland joke here), there’s an address-label sticker on the front stating that it previously belonged to a Dr. Warren E. Scamp, who, according to Google, is apparently a dentist.

Peter Brown, “Do Ya Wanna Get Funky With Me” (12″) (T.K., 1977): Sleek mid-tempo synth-disco with a version b-side, “Burning Love Breakdown”, that sounds like it would’ve been called “electro dub post-punk” if it came out of 1982 NYC instead of 1977 Miami.

National Lampoon, Missing White House Tapes (Banana Records/Blue Thumb, 1974): Chase and Belushi lampooning Watergate-era Nixon — yeah, I know someone who might want to hear this. Extra bonus beat-nerd namedrop: a David Axelrod apparently has a hand in this, though I’m not 100% sure if it’s actually the same David Axelrod of Electric Prunes/late ’60s Cannonball Adderley/Song of Innocence/sampled a hundred times by DJ Shadow fame.

Fine Art, Scan EP (Good Records, ca. 1981/82): So apparently Christgau liked a song or two off this, which is a shock considering I kind of assumed these locals’ influence didn’t go much further than Minneapolis. What little I listened to in the store seemed pretty X-ish, so there’s that.

Pebbles Presents Highs in the Mid Sixties Volume Eight: The South (AIP, 1984): Not sure who compiled this 16-track collection of garage scuzz — helpfully and repeatedly referred to in the sleeve notes as “punk” just in case Those Kids Today might have been concerned about the prospect of buying, like, a bunch of hippie crap — but he had a sense of humor on him: “The Hazards are notable for their pronunciation of ‘Hand’, equalled only by the way they say ‘gonna’, which came out something like ‘guh-huh-unna.'”

Clipse, “Studyin’ Ya’ll/Re Up Anthem” (12″) (Re-Up Records, 2005): Listen to the A-side and then complain about how overrated Hell Hath No Fury is. I dare you. I suppose I’d be a lot more pissed if I read the Turntable Lab review that claimed it sounded “like a board meeting with RZA, Stockhausen and the Meters where the consensus is ‘more Korg'” and bought it off that description and then waited for a week for the record to arrive through mail-order and getting super-geeked in anticipation. I mean, OK, I’m actually listening to the instrumental right now, it’s not terrible, but the whole tinkly toy-piano instrumentation is an acquired taste, like pistachios or something. The Timbaland-by-numbers B-side’s a bit better, the “Queen Bitch” freestyle’s all right, whatever, who cares, it was three bucks, lay off will ya.

The Incredible Jimmy Smith, Live in Concert (Metro, 1965): Looks pretty beat-up, but he covers the theme from “Goldfinger,” so there you go. The (unattributed) sleeve notes refer to his music as “roller-rink rhapsodies,” which is both obnoxiously alliterative and weirdly fitting. Also on the back of the sleeve: METRO’S EXCITING WORLD OF MUSIC! If you like Jimmy Smith, why not look into The Mighty Sousa Marches, Kate Smith’s God Bless America or the soundtrack to the motion picture The Singing Nun?

Basement Jaxx, “Bingo Bango” (2×12″) (XL/Astralwerks, 2000): There is literally something like 51 minutes’ worth of “Bingo Bango” here. Maybe that is overdoing it.

N.W.A., 100 Miles and Runnin’ EP (Ruthless/Priority, 1990): Is it worth $7 just for the title track (still one of their most intense) and one of those classic covers that really needs to be owned in 12″ format? Yeah.

Buc Fifty, “Metal’s Advocate” (12″) (Battle Axe, 1999): The bad news: dude raps like a pissed-off Chi-Ali. The good news: “produced + mixed – The Alchemist”.

Aretha Franklin, Sweet Passion (Atlantic, 1977): Aretha’s late ’70s work doesn’t get much love, though I figure if you go from Muscle Shoals to smoothed-out, string-filled studio band disco-soul that’ll probably come across as some sort of compromise. I figure it only gets to be a problem when she loses the power in her voice, and that isn’t happening here. Still, hearing some of the more half-assed disco stuff here makes me irritated at the fact that she didn’t record with the CHIC Organization or August Darnell.


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