I was reading my blog buddy Mark’s year ending post. For those of you who haven’t read his work, I highly recommend it. He will finish the year with 365 posts describing a record he picked up–mostly thrifting. It’s a wonderful work of persistence and constancy-both in the acquisition of vinyl and the blogging. The storytelling and risk-taking are engaging. If you are a music lover and vinyl enthusiastic it is definitely worth your time.
I’ve written ad nauseum about my adventures with records, and the changes in my vinyl habit. It’s something I’ve really learned to love. But I expect the blog will evolve in 2016 as my buying habits evolved. I’ll always hunt for the vinyl I seek–whatever that is–but I’ll be a bit choosier.
I’ve met some very interesting people in my year of vinyl. Most are record store owners. Some are also interested in used tunes. I’ve had zero negative experiences, even when waiting outside in the rain for an estate sale to open so I can pillage the offerings.
I’ve traveled to used record stores in Astoria, Bellingham, Seattle, Tacoma and points in between. Most I really like, a few I stay away from. If I had to pick an award winner for the year it would be Georgetown Records in Seattle. I love my Pierce County shops, but there is something special about Georgetown. I don’t know if it is their pricing–which I find quite reasonable–or the uniqueness of their offerings. They have a good mix of used and new vinyl. Yesterday I picked up a copy of the 1973 repressing of Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake by The Small Faces. Not an easy find, but typical of the gems I often see at Georgetown. If you’re looking for the obvious pages of the rock canon, don’t count on finding them. But if you’re interested in a repressing of 13th Floor Elevators or records by the French Ye-Ye Girls of the ’60’s, now we’re talking. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. There is no better deal in the Puget Sound area than their $3.00 bargain bin. Leave your wantlist at home and come seeking targets of opportunity.
Look for posts about the vinyl I find interesting in 2016. But it’s also an election year. I’ve always followed politics, and believe this is such an important year for the country. Expect I’ll blather about what I see, about my three beloved but ridiculous dogs, and perhaps even a book or two.
Horses. It’s not like I’ve never listened to Patti Smith before. I have Easter and Wave on CD, but I’ve heard so much about Horses, here 1975 debut, that I really wanted to give it a try. A vintage copy is just not an easy get. The cost is going to be $30-60 and who knows what the condition will be. I took money from my record sales and invested in the Arista re-pressing from 2012 for about $20 plus shipping. I was not disappointed.
The record begins with these words “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine” and gradually launches into a raucous, squalling version of Them‘s “Gloria.” It’s nothing like the song Van Morrison envisioned. And that’s really what this whole record is about. It is wonderfully anarchistic lyrically and musically. Smith post-Beat poetic roots shine through loud and clear. The music, featuring Lenny Kaye’s simple guitar back up Smith in the best garage rock tradition. Side 2’s nine minute “Land” has been compared to “The End” by The Doors, and I see that description as on target.
Horses is described as proto-punk, and I can see that. But it’s really just great rock music. It’s amazing lyrically, though song structures are definitely not traditional. It’s weird, but there’s a lot more there than just the weirdness. Listened to it straight through twice, and I never do that. Horses is a great record, and it’s now easy to see why people were so disappointed with Radio Ethiopia.