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New "What's In My Bag?" With Our Record Store Day DJ Chuck E. Weiss

Posted by Amoebite, April 16, 2014 02:31pm | Post a Comment

Chuck E. Weiss

Before Chuck E. Weiss became known for his own musical talents, he was known for the company he kept. His circle of friends included the likes of Tom Waits and Johnny Depp to name a few. Back in the day,  Weiss was this trendsetting scenster from Denver who once toured as a drummer for Lightnin' Hopkins and recorded with Blues legends Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters. After relocating to Los Angeles with his buddy Tom Waits, Weiss befriended singer/songwriter Rickie Lee Jones and Chuck E Weiss Red Beans & Weissbecame the subject of her hit song, "Chuck E.'s In Love."  

Weiss is back with his new album, Red Beans & Weiss (Anti-Records), after a seven year gap between his last release. The new album is chock full of zany, retro, blues and rockabilly influenced jams executive produced by Johnny Depp and Tom Waits. The record is fun and catchy!

Weiss is also a bonafide vinyl collector and record store culture runs in his blood (His parents owned the Record Center, a small record store in Denver, Colorado). So it's only fitting that Chuck E. Weiss will be playing a DJ set at Amoeba Hollywood for Record Store Day on Saturday, April 19th. Click here for the full schedule of events on Record Store Day.

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What Are Those Schlocky Pop 78s Doing in My Blues Record Collection?

Posted by Sherwin Dunner, June 22, 2012 06:50pm | Post a Comment

Over the years I've shared my favorite vintage 78s with friends who are not part of the hard core 78 collector crowd. While we might share a taste for the same films, books and restaurants, we're not quite on the same page with music, at least not yet. Since I'm fondest of music from the 1920s and 1930s, and that's a long way from the 21st Century, it's a challenge to break in those who live with contemporary sounds. Not that I'm hoping to make full converts, but if I share some of my favorite 78s, maybe some will cross the accessibility threshold and they'll acquire a taste for more. Inevitably, when it comes to 1920s jazz, most fall flat – it all apparently sounds like cartoon music. With blues singers, the all too familiar refrain is that it's three chords and the same song over and over. Even though I always play those I consider "can't miss winners," in principle I can't totally disagree with them as I've spent many hours squirming my way through what I consider “formulated” blues 78s by lesser, second tier blues singers.

The great country bluesmen seldom recorded a formulated dud, but in acquainting myself with their body of work, I discovered that those few 78s where country blues singers chose to work their magic on popular tin-pan-alley hits were some of my favorite 78s. It was refreshing to hear the different tempos, more varied melodies, and new notes coming out of the instruments of these masters once outside the confines of the blues idiom. The best selling sheet music for these songs could be found sitting on pianos in middle class homes. Orchestras in every podunk town were playing stock arrangements of them at dance halls. And in a few rare cases, they made it onto “race” records by blues singers. Some of my purist blues collector friends pointed out with a sneer, those were POP records, eyeballing me like there was a cancer hanging over my blues collecting impulse, yet I prized these performances over many of the straight blues sides, and whenever possible I would swing a trade for some of these pop records by blues singers. So I'm of a different ilk, not strictly a blues collector, but a music collector who likes great blues singers, especially when they are not singing the blues.
 

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Would You Believe...Beatles 78s?

Posted by V.B., April 26, 2012 06:36pm | Post a Comment
To check out extensive LP label and price guides plus cover art, head to the Vinyl Beat website!

parlophone beatles 78s

78s were totally discontinued in the States by 1960, but not so in other parts of the world. Unbelievably, many Beatles 78s were released in the Philippines and India from 1963-1965, mainly for juke box plays.  There were also a few titles released in South America in Columbia and Argentina. The site Cool78s features all known issues, including 17 from the Philippines and 24 from India. Beatles collectors pay from $500 - $1,200 each for these sides depending on condition and scarcity. Tell your Pilipino and Indian friends to check with their music loving relatives to see if they have a goldmine stashed away in their attic.



Is There a 78 Revival Going On?

Posted by V.B., March 5, 2012 05:00pm | Post a Comment
To check out extensive LP label and price guides, head to the Vinyl Beat website!

One reaction to the digitization of our world has been the resurgence of vinyl and record collecting.Checker 78 vinyl little walter blues with a feeling People say it’s because a record feels real and sounds better than its CD or MP3 counterpart. Also dropping a needle on a turntable feels like a throwback to simpler times. Some people are taking it even further.

Some collectors are going to the roots and discovering 78s. BTW, these aren’t vinyls; they’re actually made out of a shellac mixture and are pretty fragile compared to vinyl. 78s have a broader tonal spectrum of 400hz to 10,000hz and they sound noticeably better than a 45, LP, CD, or MP3. There’s more music in their grooves!

However, there are some prerequisites for collecting 78s. First you need a turntable that can play them. A good portable ‘50s electric tube record player that can be bought at a garage sale for $50 - $100 will suffice. Purists will get an old wind up Victrola from the ‘20s or ‘30s that’s a real piece of furniture. Some prefer the cheap new designer players. They’ll work, but only until you get something better. The next step is to get a 78 needle if needed and to get your player in working order. Finally, you need to appreciate some of the music from before 1956, because there ain’t no Madonna 78s.

1920s 1930s 20s 30s victrola vintage vinyl 78s            1950s 50s electric tube record player turntable portable vinyl 78s


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Hula Time

Posted by Sherwin Dunner, December 15, 2011 03:40pm | Post a Comment
Sometimes you never know where the next batch of 78s will be coming from and it's often from unexpected places. Recently, we were contacted by San Francisco's Market Street Railway, an advocate for San Francisco's historic streetcars which run on the Market Street Line. One of their members bequeathed his books on trolley history to them, and included in the donation were the 78s bought by his Hawaiian wife back in the 1920s. Having no use for the records, they contacted us, and we were delighted to find a strong run of records by one of the great early Hawaiian bands that recorded in the late 1920s – Kalama's Quartet. Many other obscure Hawaiian 78s were part of the collection, but by far her favorite group was Kalama's Quartet, and for good reason. Along with steel guitars, ukelele, harp guitar and bass, they featured deeply moving four part harmony singing – raw and forceful, but delicate and beautiful at the same time.

Kalama's QuartetThe collectors of early Hawaiian 78s are mostly drawn to the steel guitar giants Sol Hoopii, King Benny Nawahi, and the rare as hen's teeth discs by Madame Riviera's Hawaiians featuring Tau Moe. In addtion to the traditional vocals, Kalama's Quartet features twin steel guitars, playing lead and harmony – more bang for your steel guitar buck, plus the exquisite Hawaiian falsetto singing of Mike Hanapi. Along with Hanapi (front) singing tenor and falsetto, their core personnel included the deep resonant bass voice of Bob Nawahini (left), the baritone of Dave Munson or Dan Pokipala (right) and the lead voice of Bill Kalama (behind Hanapi). They didn't bother to change their name to Quintet when somewhere along the way Bob Matsu was added as a second steel guitar.

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