Amoeblog

Essential Records: The Tony Williams Lifetime, "Emergency!"

Posted by Rick Frystak, November 23, 2014 02:57pm | Post a Comment

They say music can be life-changing. I’ll buy that. Probably the most important and profound post-Beatles record in my Jazz life, or even my musical, personal and business life (you’ll see), was Emergency! by the The Tony Willams Lifetime. That’s a big sentence for an LP fiend like me. ONE record led by a drummer did all that? To me, Jazz is a huge, beautiful expression of the American Classical music, no small accomplishment in the last 100 years with everything out there. And I remember as if was yesterday how this record came to change my life.

In high school and later I was in a bluesy, Procol Harum-meets-Jefferson Airplane-style outfit called Moonfleet, after the film. We had the town and the era by the ear, so naturally we were asked to play our own Senior Picnic close to graduation at Westchester High School (still there), near the beach in L.A. I had played drums at another Senior picnic and I knew the picnics were free-for–all's in those days. We were excited to blow our fellow student’s minds, with coffins and dancers and fiery  entertainment, with myself on guitar then.

As per our gig deal, the school had hired a PA system for our show. The day came and we pulled in for a sound check with our equipment. What the hell? It’s a flat bed truck set up on the Jr. Varsity lawn!! With nice club-PA speakers! Loud!! With audio guys that knew what they were doing!! We had a big stage with good sound. But, hey, that music, coming over the system?

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Composer Carl Stone's Personal Record Collection For Sale at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Rick Frystak, October 3, 2014 01:01am | Post a Comment

Carl Stone LP Collection

Amoeba Hollywood has purchased one of the finest record collections that I have ever set eyes upon in my record store days (and that's about 13,870 days)!! Here we have obscure gems aplenty, many I've only seen perhaps once in my life, but here they are, side by side with records I've never ever seen before, and ones previously only legendary. In other words, a wonderful, rare collection!!!

Yes friends, I have negotiated a mutually satisfactory agreement that has allowed Amoeba to obtain the personal record collection of Mr. Carl Stone himself. Yes, THAT Carl Stone, composer and electronic sound artist extraordinaire, 21st-Century cultural icon, and truly a connoisseur of recorded sound in the left-of-center areas of many genres, and they are all here in the collection for sale in Amoeba's Hollywood store beginning the weekend of October 11 & 12: Avant Garde, Electronic, Musique Concrete, Experimental, Renaissance, Baroque, Medieval, Classical, New Music, World music, Jazz, No Wave, New Wave, Power Pop, Punk rock, Post-Punk, Industrial, and various "roots" musics.  All are original 1st pressings of mostly small, independent labels with loads of private pressings and imports.

Just, like, two words: mind blowing!!

This array of breathtaking LPs reflect Carl's usual pattern of being dead-center, ground zero, really at the apex of "what's happening" in music, never more true than in the pre-CD days of  this collection...a forward-thinking and quite wide-minded person's...one that doesn't come along very often. Don't think for a second that Professor Stone hasn't been feeding a constant, perhaps life-sustaining hunger to hear for himself the latest, most creatively interesting and challenging music (and in his case, even the sound of a big-piped sports car or machinery), from all over the world and across all genres. I presume he always has, and this collection of vinyl reveals that fact in every liner note and cover spine. Collectors like this are searchers, never quite satisfied with what is, what was, or even what "shall" be, barely trusting word of mouth and the writing on the walls. We collectors shake down anything that could offer that special chord combination, the emotional rush, the personal spirituality button pushed, or a memory bubbling over God-knows-how and why. Often these elusive platters make just a brief appearance in our airspace, only to become a faded memory, "Yeah, I saw that once at Amoeba…", or more likely, a 3 a.m.-tossing-and-turning-I'm-going-back-first-thing-in-the-morning-I-hope-it's-still-there angst-filled moment. Carl looked high, low, in, out and around for significant records. Carl got beaucoup promos sent to him. Carl had people hold things for him. Artists sent Carl their records out of the blue. Carl impulse-bought. Good record labels covered Carl. Carl special ordered records. Carl travelled the world and bought records as meals for his soul.

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Art for Garfunkel's Sake

Posted by Rick Frystak, June 26, 2014 10:40pm | Post a Comment

 

Ever since I first heard, "Dangling Conversation" and "Old Friends", I've loved Art Garfunkel's confident, husky-angel approach to harmony singing, and earnest, determined songsmith in his lead work with Paul Simon and...him. Not to mention all the hits these gents made, their work is of the highest caliber whenever they step up to the mic. Say what you will about Art, but that guy can SING!

Art's solo career doesn't immediately pop up in most folks' minds as being stellar hit-wise.  He did hit a high point in 1979 with "My Little Town" written and featuring Paul Simon on Art's Breakaway album, and Art won a Grammy Award in 1998 for Best Children's Album for Songs From A Parent To A Child.

Art's 1979 LP, Fate For Breakfast (Doubt For Dessert)wasn't destined for any such attention. It was Art's first music release to completely miss any top 40 chart position in the U.S., but here's an interesting sales tidbit: for this LP, the United Kingdom import edition featured another track not on the U.S. version, that was used in the film Watership Down, and stayed on the UK singles chart long enough to be the best selling single in the U/K for 1979!!! Art Garfunkel!! And...the LP went to No. 1 in New Zealand and Holland! Talk about a global marketing kerfuffle!

And, as if with a premonition of sorts for all this, and, in hopes to restart Art's arty-edgy-eclectic credibility, this release would prompt Columbia Records to go all-out on the packaging concept and warrant enough art department budget as to create at least different covers for the initial U.S pressing of the disc! Huh? For Art Garfunkel? Very odd, also, that references to this package usually say "five" different covers were made, but I have found six!!!! Could there be even more?? Click on one of the covers above to see a slide show of the 6 unique covers presently residing inside Amoeba's Vinyl Vault in Hollywood.

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Custom Record Store and Label Sleeves From Over The World

Posted by Rick Frystak, April 16, 2014 11:45am | Post a Comment

Promoting one's logo and style has always been a concern if not a priority of any creative business, especially the music business. To have your record store or record label's graphic sensibility out in the world is like a tag, a notice that, "we exist righteously", and "take a look at us, we are cool and you want to be part of this!". What better way to do this than to attach your graphics onto the outside of an LP's inner sleeve living in eternity with the record snugly inside. Or, to have the store's bag carried out onto the street by your loyal customers with your logo beaming out at the universe. Now that's promotion, or perhaps simply an affirmation of being in the moment.

Here is a 10-year collection of various record store and record label's logo and graphic style across the eras, mostly committed to an LP's inner sleeve, and some retail shopping bags inclusive, logos singing raucously or whispering of the quality within. With trends and budgets shifting moment to moment, this collection becomes a small guide to the attraction of it for everyman's taste. What do folks think will look good? How will they remember our business?  As I deal with old record collections and their ephemera daily, it's always a wonderful gift to have an exotic sleeve pop up from accross the country, or even the world. Records have always been a universally traded entertainment, and it's becoming more so by the month now. 

So, this Record Store Day, sit back and find your favorites within the trove of typographical time. Just browsing these photos fills me with hope.

Click on any image to start a slideshow.

Photographs of sleeves and bags by RICK FRYSTAK

Remembering Paco de Lucia

Posted by Rick Frystak, February 26, 2014 12:45pm | Post a Comment

Paco de Lucia

Today, the world lost a giant of music, as Maestro Paco de Lucia passed away, at 66 years young, from a heart attack at a resort in Mexico. “Paco lived as he wished and died playing with his children beside the sea,” said a statement from de Lucia’s family published on the websites of Spanish newspapers.

Paco took the Flamenco style and tradtition of the elders in the genre and blasted off into his own universe, to some early criticism, owning every note of his huge legacy and backing up all his moves with incredible chops and technique. I had many unforgettable chances to see Paco in person doing his thing, each a unique and unpredictable experience, except for the sheer technical mastery of his instrument always present. I also took away from these shows Paco’s palpable confidence, his air of “badass”-ness that deservedly asserted his own internal awareness of what he was doing in the moment. I lament his passing, and will miss him tremendously. Adios, Paco.

Fortunately we have much in the visual and audio realms  to see and hear Paco, and to mark the absolutely inimitable place that Paco held in the music landscape. The 2-CD set, En  Vivo Conciertos, won a Grammy and is a most enjoyable album, displaying Paco’s genius live, and represents the last tour he did almost exactly. Amoeba has some true gems of Paco’s here.

(photographer unknown)

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