Bringing my vinyl into focus

I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post, but alas, it has.

I’ve done a lot in the last month. I’ve traded in my cd’s at High Voltage.  I’ve spent several days as a denizen of Tacoma’s Goodwill outlet.  I’ve bought more records than I should.  I could make lists if you like, but I think that would be a snore.

What I have had, however, is a bit of an epiphany. Going record shopping, for me at any rate, is a bit like being a kid in a candy store.  It’s money out the door fairly rapidly, I get home, and I’m not quite sure what I have.  Money spent-space taken on my record shelves, is all a bit concerning.  Yeah.

So I’ve decided to focus my record purchases on psychedelic music from the sixties.  Even that is a gigantic mass of work, including English and American psychedelia, with bands from Austin, TX, to right here in the northwest. The bottom line is I really like the genre and will happily listen to it for hours on end.

I have no illusions that I’ll ever be able to walk into a thrift shop and walk away with a minty copy of Surrealistic Pillow, but I’ll continue to nose around there, time allowing, and likely I’ll build my collection through careful shopping.

There, I did it, I used the C-word.  Collection.  I’ve written about this before.  Look, I’m really only in this for the music. In no way will this be a complete collection of anything. But, I really hope to assemble records that provide a well-rounded, approach to the psychedelic era.

A photo of Jefferson Airplane in its early configuration, with Oregon native Signe Toly Anderson as vocalist.  Anderson left the band in March 1966 to give birth to her first child.

A photo of Jefferson Airplane in its early configuration, with Oregon native Signe Toly Anderson as vocalist. Anderson left the band in March 1966 to give birth to her first child.

I have to start somewhere, and that’s going to be Jefferson Airplane.  I heard the Airplane for the first time in 1967 when Surrealistic Pillow was released.  White Rabbit and Somebody to Lover were played at a school skating party and I was smitten–with a cute 7th grade girl that also liked Grace Slick’s powerful, throaty vocals.  I’ve been in love with the her ever since. Sorry, Grace and the Airplane, not sweet Karen, wherever she is now.

Like many  bands, the Airplane went through lots of line up changes and spun off many side projects.  Most of those I’m not terribly interested in.  I’d like the records from Jefferson Airplane Takes Off through the live Thirty Seconds Over Winterland. That’s 1966-73, and includes nine LP’s, plus the Flight Log anthology because it has an unreleased single. In addition, there is Grace Slick’s work with The Great Society before joining the Airplane in March of 1966, and the work of Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady in Hot Tuna.  I’ll keep you posted as I add some of these records over time.

I’ll write a bit more about this as the tunes begin to dribble in.  Jefferson Airplane is very much like an evolving story, and quite interesting as their music changes from its beginnings.

Recent Purchase

S.F. Sorrow: The Pretty Things

The Pretty Things were a British band that was mostly active in the 60’s, though some of the original members continue to perform today.  They struggled to find commercial success, but I find them noteworthy for a couple of reasons.  The first is their 1968 record S.F. Sorrow.  It is a psychedelic record that also was the first rock opera.  Less grandiose than The Who’s Tommy, it came out before the Who’s release in May of 1969.  It’s an interesting, if depressing record, but definitely has its moments.  It’s a record I always thought would be very hard to find, and quite expensive due to limited release.  However, I found a new copy at Georgetown Records for a mere $15.00 and learned it has never been out of print.  Dopey me.

The Pretty Things released S.F. Sorrow in November 1968, making it the first rock opera.  The Who's Tommy was released some six months later.

The Pretty Things released S.F. Sorrow in November 1968, making it the first rock opera. The Who’s Tommy was released some six months later.

The Pretties are also semi famous for being the first band to join Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song label.  They put out Silk Torpedo in 1974.

They just don't make album covers anymore.  Not a great album, but amazing cover art.

They just don’t make album covers anymore. Not a great album, but amazing cover art.

It’s a record less memorable for its songs than the awesome cover art.

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