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Before Reggae

Posted by V.B., November 21, 2014 06:00pm | Post a Comment

Head to the Vinyl Beat website to check out extensive LP label guides and wild cover galleries!

Before Reggae, Rock Steady, and Ska, Calypso was the folk music of the English speaking Caribbean. Like all good folk music, calypsos told stories in song and were often written to celebrate topical events. The music originated with slaves on the plantations. By the golden era of the late 1920s and '30s, there were many diverse influences including music heard from U.S. radio waves that reached the islands.

Here’s what Wikipedia says: Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago during the early to mid-20th century. Its rhythms can be traced back to West African Kaiso and the arrival of French planters and their slaves from the French Antilles in the 1600s.

Some of the earliest recordings were by Atilla the Hun, and The Roaring Lion, in the early 1930s.

Atilla – “Roosevelt in Trinidad”

Roaring Lion – “Ugly Woman”


 

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The Top Ten Merle Haggard Albums

Posted by V.B., October 21, 2014 02:50pm | Post a Comment

It’s been said that during his heyday, 1966-1976, Merle Haggard wrote a good song every day.  I’ve only heard that said about one other artist: Stevie Wonder.  Indeed, Merle’s albums during this period showcase his talents as a songwriter and performer.  When he wasn’t recording his own tunes, his covers of mostly Bakersfield songwriters further displayed his unique ability to get to the heart of a song.

Merle started out playing bass in Wynn Stewart’s band and soon cut some singles for Tally, a small Bakersfield label.  After scoring a top 20 country hit with “Sing a Sad Song,” Merle got signed to Capitol and was teamed up with producer Ken Nelson.  Ken let Merle use his own band, supplemented with some L.A. studio guys like James Burton, to get his Bakersfield sound.  The key components were the hot but sparse sounds of guitarist Roy Nichols, steelers Ralph Mooney and Norm Hamlet, and the stark harmonies of Merle’s then wife, Bonnie Owens.  Merle had more hits when he moved on to MCA, Epic, Curb, Anti- and others, but the hard-biting brilliance of his early Capitol works defines Bakersfield C&W music.  There were also five excellent, mostly instrumental albums by Merle’s band, The Strangers, that are worth seeking out if you like slinky West Coast country pickin’.

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Do Vinyl Reissues Lessen the Value of Originals?

Posted by V.B., September 29, 2014 05:40pm | Post a Comment

Head to the Vinyl Beat website to check out extensive LP label guides and wild cover galleries!

One would correctly assume that a record is reissued because there is a pent up demand for an out of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experiencedprint title. Let’s take the latest reissue of Jimi HendrixAre You Experienced for example. Once this demand is sated, one might conclude that the elevated value for the original would come down, citing the law of supply and demand. This should be especially true because the newest release is pressed on 180 gram vinyl and sounds superior to previous versions.

My experience however, is that the added buzz and exposure adds to the mystique of owning the original and raises the value, especially if the original is in great shape. If you buy records just to hear the music, you absolutely shouldn’t pay more just to get an original. But, if you’ve crossed the line into being a “record collector,” all kinds of other considerations start to creep in. Suddenly condition starts to matter, you tend to be more of a completest in regard to an artist’s catalog, you weigh mono versus stereo, and you start to favor original issues.

A simple analogy would be: if you were an art collector would you want the original Mona Lisa, or a $29 copy? No matter how beautiful they might think it is, most art collectors would not put a repro up in their house, even though they could never afford the original.

Getting back to Hendrix, we see below the original Reprise tri-tone label, which was soon replaced by the two tone label, and then by the 1970s a solid brown label was used.
 

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The Cover Story

Posted by V.B., February 28, 2013 06:20pm | Post a Comment

Head to the Vinyl Beat website to check out extensive LP label guides and wild cover galleries!Eric Christensen

Eric  Christensen has made an entertaining and informative documentary called The Cover Story about iconic album covers and how they came to fruition. There are interviews and stories with a number of the photographers and designers such as Bob Seidemann (Blind Faith), Henry Diltz (Morrison Hotel, Crosby Stills & Nash, Eagles), Mouse (Grateful Dead), and Jim Marshall (Allman Brothers and hundreds of others). Along the way he also interviews such rock luminaries as Nick Lowe, Ray Manzarek, Huey Lewis, Elvis Costello, and Sammy Hagar. There’s also a very intimate chat with Yoko Ono where she talks about John’s blood smeared glasses, etc. It is also a hoot to see a psychedelic Amoeba SF in the introduction.

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The Amazing Rufus Thomas

Posted by V.B., August 26, 2012 02:39pm | Post a Comment
Head to the Vinyl Beat website to check out extensive LP label guides and wild cover galleries!

Rufus Thomas

Rufus Thomas led a storied life. He started in show business in the late 1930s with a traveling minstrel show. By the early ‘50s, he was a renowned DJ on WDIA Memphis and was also recording on Meteor, Chess, and Sun Records.  

rufus thomas rufus thomas rufus thomas

“Bear Cat” - Sun Records 1953 

 
His daughter, Carla, had one of the first hits on the fledgling Stax Records with “Gee Whiz.”  Two years later in 1963, Rufus had a monster crossover hit with “Walking The Dog.” Later he recorded “Jump Back,” which became a R&R standard. 

“Walking The Dog”


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