The end is near. No not the apocalypse Donald Trump is predicting, space for my records is nearing an end. Maybe not today, tomorrow or next week, but I’m definitely running out of room.
So I’ve had to take a second look at what I have and the records I’m acquiring. I’ve had dispense with the notion I’d pick up every album this or that artist did, and just focus on the good stuff. When shopping online or at the record store, I follow meticulous lists of what I want my final product, “the collection,” to look like. What it all comes down to is I want a great collection of music that I actually listen to.
So what should that look like? The temptation is to pick up all the classic rock I’m supposed to like. But that would be pretty boring wouldn’t it? Even so, a lot of my records do fit that description, but I have tried to leave space for that occasional interesting impulse buy. For example, I picked up one of the three records from Chuck Berry’s concerts in Toronto from 1969 I ran across at Boogie Records. I also grabbed Martin Briley’s One Night With a Stranger for two bucks at an antique store-an early MTV hit.
Since I can’t have it all-a complete collection of every artist I find interesting-I’ve had to identify the best records. Usually I go to AllMusic for some help. So rather than purchase all the AC/DC, I’ve chosen Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Highway to Hell, and Back in Black as representative choices.
Meanwhile, I’m making all kinds of lists in writing and in my brain
That said there are a few bands that will feature large in my assembled pile:
The Beatles: It’s no mystery that I believe the Fab Four are the most significant band in rock and roll history, a view that is no longer universally shared. But the way their albums were released in the U.K. on Parlophone and later Apple, and then in the U.S. on Capitol creates confusion-at least for me. My goal is to have all their studio albums, including those released exlusively in the U.S. I’ve already picked up a couple of the Parlophone re-pressings, which is fine given the cost of vintage Beatles and concerns about condition. It tends to work out cost-wise. I’ll stay away from anthologies, except for the Past Masters recordings, which include singles and b-sides that didn’t appear on any albums. I’m well on my way, but have six or seven more records to finish up.
The Who: I have almost all the Who. They were the band I identified the most with coming out of college, and I still really enjoy listening. I resorted to re-pressings for My Generation and Happy Jack. Despite a long run, there aren’t zillions of records as long as I avoid the many, many anthologies. Just need Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy (yes, it’s an anthology,) to wrap up.
What I’m Listening to
With school out, I have a little more time to listen, even with Mariners baseball and political conventions raging in the background. So I’ve picked out seldom or never played records to peruse:
Maria Muldaur: Maria Muldaur Reprise 1973
Because collecting vinyl is often an exercise in nostalgia, when I saw this record for a buck someplace I snatched it up. When I was in high school “Midnight at the Oasis” was a popular single, but I was enamored with Muldaur’s cover of Kate McGarrigle’s “The Work Song.” I didn’t know many of the other songs on the album, but a careful listen impressed me with what a delightful singer and interpreter Muldaur is. There are a wide range of styles on this record-gospel, blues, country. She does a very nice version of Dolly Parton’s “My Tennessee Mountain Home.” The closing song, “Mad, Mad Me” is also excellent. Muldaur has a great supporting cast, including Ry Cooder and Mac Rebennack-better known as Dr. John the Night Tripper. Though Muldaur has gone on to focus more on New Orleans roots music, this is a very good record, and worth another listen.
Bon Jovi: Slippery When Wet Mercury 1986
The 1980’s were pretty much a musical lost decade for me. I was a young Dad, and didnt’ have much money for records. What I heard, I mostly caught on MTV. I was not a fan of the metal hair bands, and when I heard Bon Jovi for the first time I was not impressed, and did not listen closely. Let’s just say times change, people change, and I’ve definitely changed. I put this album on my want list, but it was more than I wanted to spend on Discogs. So when I went in to my local record store and there was a very nice ten dollar copy, I grabbed it.
Slippery When Wet is just a great record. It’s filled with upbeat story-songs that have wonderful, singable choruses. Side A has all those great singles: “You Give Love A Bad Name,” “Living on a Prayer,” and “Wanted: Dead or Alive,” but really it’s full of great tunes. Follow-up with “Let it Rock,” and “Wild in the Streets” and you can’t go wrong. Though it sounds a bit 80’sish, it’s still good time rock and roll, and that is always a good thing.