Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Beatles Winner For Favorite Album Cover Art

The results of a poll on this blog reveal that the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" album cover art was voted as the best (with 60 votes in). Second place also belonged to the legendary group for the album cover art for the LP "Revolver." Rounding out the top three were the Rolling Stones with "Sticky Fingers." Here are the results:

Nirvana-Nevermind 1 (1%)

Beatles- Revolver 10 (16%)

Beatles- Sgt. Pepper 18 (30%)

Yes- Yessongs 6 (10%)

Uriah Heep- Magicians Birthday 5 (8%)

Janis Joplin- Cheap Thrills 3 (5%)

Led Zeppelin- House of the Holy 7 (11%)

Clash- London Calling 5 (8%)

Pink Floyd- Dark Side of the Moon 7 (11%)

Rolling Stones- Sticky Fingers 9 (15%)

Cover Story

As always a hearty thank you to Michael Goldstein over at for his exclusive permission to post this material on the blog:

Cover Story - The Eagles - "Hotel California" artwork by Kosh
Cover Story for August 10, 2007

Subject – "Hotel California” – a 1976 recording by The Eagles, released on Warner/Asylum Records and featuring designs, artwork and art direction by Kosh.

The follow-up to the successful 1975/early 1976 releases – the Grammy-nominated One Of These Nights and the huge-selling Eagles: Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 - Hotel California was the first album to feature guitarist Joe Walsh, whose playing and song-writing influence brought the band from their more country-leaning efforts towards a more mainstream rock audience.

During the year and a half spent in the making of the record, drummer/singer/lyricist Don Henley emerged as the “featured player”, and much of the record’s tone and subject material reflected his commentary on success (and the excesses it can breed), love lost and just how strange life in California can be.

With their arena-rock-ready musicianship now well-honed (Don Felder and Walsh on guitars and Henley and Randy Meisner providing the rhythmic fundamentals), the band was now ready for the big time and Hotel California proved that they could create music that could both sell countless millions of albums (the record went platinum in 1 week!) and make a countless millions of fans in stadiums around the world cheer loudly as they sang aloud every word of every hit song. Hotel California won the Grammy in 1977 for Record of the Year and the songs “Life in the Fast Lane”, “New Kid in Town” and the epic “Hotel California” (which you can never leave) became enduring classic Eagles tracks.

As the designer of some of the most well-known album cover images in history, Kosh has always appreciated a challenge (and a nice production budget), and so when the Eagles’ manager and record label called looking for an image to properly illustrate the release of a record by a “new” Eagles band – and a band that needed no introduction – Kosh and his team braved the California winds in a death-defying effort that produced an iconic cover image and one very exciting Cover Story…

In the words of the designer, Kosh –

“I had been designing album covers and promotional material in London for The Rolling Stones, The Who (Who’s Next?) and The Beatles (Abbey Road) at Apple and working closely with John Lennon on his 'War Is Over' campaign. Peter Asher was head of A&R at Apple Records at the time.

After a 6-month stint in New York, the family moved to LA in 1974 and I soon fell – with great enthusiasm - into the West Coast music scene. Heady times. I began working with Peter Asher again, who was now managing James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt in LA. This led me directly to Linda's label - Asylum - and the Eagles. Irving Azoff, their manager, called me in to meet Don Henley and Glenn Frey (they were still friends at this point so the conversation was fresh and lively). Don Felder was also there, along with the amazing falsetto, Randy Meisner. It was a jolly affair - the Eagles were huge, enjoying hit after hit, and the California rock scene was burgeoning. Their producer and engineer, Bill Szymzyk, brought in an acetate of Hotel California - destined to be the first cut on, and the title of, their next album. It was an obvious hit.

For the album cover, Don wanted me to find and portray THE Hotel California – a hotel which would best-exemplify a classic 'California hotel', and to portray it with a slightly sinister edge. Photographer David Alexander and I set out to scout suitable locations. We photographed three hotels (including some with a rather ‘seedily genteel’ character) that fit the brief and large prints were made for approval. By now I was dealing mostly with Henley - the rest of the band would saunter in as we progressed and mutter their approvals – and he preferred more sumptuous images. The shot of the Beverly Hills Hotel against the golden sunset was deemed the favorite.

To get the perfect picture, David and I had perched nervously atop a 60' cherry picker dangling over Sunset Boulevard in the rush hour, shooting blindly into the sun. Both of us brought our Nikons up in the basket and we took turns shooting, ducking and reloading. We used high-speed Ektachrome film as the light began to fade. This film gave us the remarkable graininess of the final shot.

Beautiful dye-transfer prints of the chosen frame were made by the great Ted Staidel. I designed and drew out the master Hotel California logo which was to become the theme of the package and the promotional materials. The script was almost impossible to bend in real neon and so, after many experiments, Bob Hickson was commissioned to airbrush the neon effect on the logo – which he did wonderfully - and it was pasted over the Beverly Hills Hotel sign on Ted's print. The whole piece was then re-photographed, re-printed on the same stock as the original image and retouched to match the grain and hide the surgery.

Next we organized the gatefold spread – a photo of the band surrounded by friends in the hotel lobby. This was shot inside a cleverly re-decorated flop house, called The Lido, in Hollywood by David Alexander. Our combined rock 'n' roll friends were all invited. Nobody knows what the sinister figure lurking in the balcony window is doing - or who he is. I assume he must have been a benign spirit as Hotel California went platinum immediately (and then some!).

A lot of great talent contributed to this LP’s packaging. Photographer Norman Seeff was commissioned to shoot portraits of the band, which were arranged as a gritty black and white fold-out poster montage that was to be inserted in the package. Throughout the package (and the related promotional items), the graphics were carefully coordinated to retain the unique color and typographic schemes. It was, for its day, and expensive effort, but a very satisfying one.

It is interesting to note that I got tangled in the same heated debate with Asylum Records over the using of the band’s name on the cover that I had years earlier with EMI in London. I thought it unnecessary to use the words, ‘The Beatles’ on Abbey Road considering the album was so eagerly anticipated and The Beatles were the biggest band in the world at the time. Such was the case with Hotel California. By 1976 the Eagles were the biggest band in the world and eventually only the title, ‘Hotel California’ appeared on the original cover of the album.

Subsequently, as the sales of Hotel California went through the roof, lawyers for the Beverly Hills Hotel threatened me with a 'cease and desist' action - until it was gently pointed out by my attorney that the hotel's requests for bookings had tripled since the release of the album.”

About the designer, KOSH –

As a designer and art director, KOSH became prominent in the mid-1960s with the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera. He met up with the Beatles towards the end of the decade and, as creative director at Apple Records, was responsible for design, promotion and publicity for The Beatles. His clientele expanded to cover the cream of the British rock bands including the Rolling Stones, the Who, and many others. He handled John Lennon’s crusades including the "War Is Over" campaign in 1969 and art-directed and produced the world-renowned Abbey Road and Who’s Next? album covers, among many others.

Kosh became well known in the London avant-garde art scene, designing and producing exhibitions, posters and books. After garnering several awards with the London Design & Art Directors Club, he was elected to the British Art Directors’ Jury before moving to Los Angeles in 1974. A seven-time Grammy nominee, Kosh won three of the coveted awards for his work for Linda Ronstadt (Lush Life, Get Closer and Simple Dreams). He served as faculty member of Otis Parson’s Institute of Art and on the Board of Governors of the National Recording Academy.

Kosh’s client roster has included Capitol Records, Tri-Star, Disney Studios, Fox Television, CNN, MCA, MGM, NFL (he designed the Super Bowl XXI logo), Disney, Sony Records and Warner Bros., Records. Artist clients include The Beatles, Jimmy Buffett, the Eagles (including Hotel California - voted No.6 in Rolling Stone Magazine's "100 Best Album Covers of All Time"), Humble Pie, Randy Newman, Pointer Sisters, Linda Ronstadt (Kosh has prepared all her graphics since 1974), Bob Seger, Electric Light Orchestra, Ringo Starr, Spinal Tap, Rod Stewart, James Taylor, 10,000 Maniacs, T. Rex, The Who and many others. A display of his more prominent graphics was exhibited at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum.

Susan Shearer and Kosh formed Ten Worlds Productions in 1995. Tenworlds achieved critical acclaim for their work on The Last Days of Kennedy and King for TBS and the ten hour documentary 100 Years -100 Movies for the America Film Institute and CBS. In 2006, Ten Worlds produced and directed DECLASSIFIED: The Rise and Fall of the Wall, which shed new light on the Berlin Wall for The History Channel.

Tenworlds is presently producing a 13 part series of DECLASSIFIED documentaries on subjects such as John Lennon, Fidel Castro, the Tet Offensive, Charles Lindbergh, Joseph Stalin and World War 1 for The History Channel, with Kosh directing. Aimed at younger audiences, these shows combine interviews with U.S. presidents, top echelon politicians and rarely seen archival footage, overlaid with innovative graphics and searing rock soundtracks. Ten Worlds is also in pre-production for a documentary celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Beatles’ Apple Corps.

To see more of Kosh’s work, please visit –

To see more of Kosh’s images that are available for sale at the RockPoP Gallery, please follow this link –

Copyright 2007 - Mike Goldstein & RockPoP Gallery ( - All rights reserved.

McCartney Wants to Stop the Madness

Paul McCartney wants to stop the madness of the broken negotiations between Apple, Inc. and Apple Corps over the licensing of the Beatles catalog to iTunes and possibly other digital download services.

In the Liverpool Echo, McCartney is quoted as saying, "It is out of our hands, really. It is a business thing and there is some gridlock somewhere. It is the usual thing. When it is a Beatles deal, it is a big deal. It is not like we are just some new act.

“When you are talking about iTunes, obviously we have got to get a great deal. I think we are right, because we are The Beatles!

“It is being held up, but I definitely hope it comes through because it is about time it happened. We have been goofing around enough, so if you are reading this, whoever is holding it up, stop it!”

I have mixed feelings about this. In my world, the Beatles catalog would only be available on vinyl. But, we know that isn't going to happen. So I think to get the Beatles music available on iTunes will open up a whole new avenue for the legendary group. It will give them a chance to have their music heard by a new generation and then they can learn how much influence that Beatles music has had over the years.

This Date In Music History-December 31


Burton Cummings -Guess Who turns 61.

Donna Summer is 60.

Police guitarist Andy Summers (1942)

Kinks bassist Peter Quaife (1943)

Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton (1951)

Paul Westerberg-Replacements (1960)

They Are Missed:

Odetta Holmes was born in 1930. She is often referred to as "The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement.”

The late John Denver was born in 1943.

In 1985, Rick Nelson was killed while en route to a New Year's Eve show in Dallas, Texas. His private DC-3 crashed in a field near DeKalb, Texas. Early press reports erroneously suggested that drug use, namely freebasing, might have played a role in the crash that killed Rick, his band, and his fiancée Helen Blair (the pilot and co-pilot survived). In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board's 1987 report determined that the fire began in a malfunctioning gas heater.

Floyd Cramer died of cancer in 1997.

Brill Building songwriter Bert Berns, who penned "Twist and Shout" and "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," died of a heart attack in 1967.


In 1929, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played "Auld Lang Syne" as a New Year's Eve song for the first time.

In 1991, Ted Nugent donated 200 pounds of venison to a Salvation Army soup kitchen in Detroit with the message "I kill it, you grill it."

In 1970, Paul McCartney filed suit against John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison as the Beatles Co., effectively ending the band. Lennon told the press that McCartney wanted to dominate the group all along, and reveals that he's [i.e. Lennon] taken drugs since he was 17.

The Beatles broke up in 1971.

In 1974, a document signed by all the Beatles confirmed the dissolution of their partnership.

Elvis Presley performed for 60,000 fans at the Silverdome, in Pontiac, Michigan in 1975. He set a world record for earning $800,000 for a single concert by a single artist.

In 1961, the Pendletons performed their first gig under their new name, the Beach Boys. The gig paid them $300.

1968- For the first time ever, Americans spent more than $1 billion on records. According to Billboard Magazine, album sales were 192 million units and singles sold 187 million units.

The first Cars concert was held, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1976.

Dick Clark's first "Rockin' New Years Eve" aired on ABC-TV in 1972, starring Three Dog Night, Al Green and Blood, Sweat & Tears.

At a New Year's Eve concert at the Fillmore East in New York City in 1969, Jimi Hendrix introduced his new side men, bassist Billy Cox and Buddy Miles. The concert was recorded for the live album, "Band of Gypsys.”

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were invited to join Fleetwood Mac in 1974, marking the band's tenth line-up change since 1967.

The Monkees topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966 with the Neil Diamond composition, "I'm A Believer.”

The Grateful Dead performed for the 48th and final time at Bill Graham's Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco in 1978.

On New Years Eve in 1984, Def Leppard's drummer Rick Allen lost his left arm after crashing his Corvette while racing another driver on a UK highway. The arm was re-attached, but had to be removed three days later. His right arm was also damaged, but he eventually re-joined the band using a specially adapted drum kit.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Your Vinyl Destination

Written by Robert Benson

The Story of Mr. Custer- by Larry Verne

Some musical acts are chosen for their uncanny musical talents, either vocally or as an expert musician. But to be selected because you spoke with a southern drawl is as unique as the number one hit for Larry Verne in 1960, “Mr. Custer.”

Let’s explore the history of this quirky, novelty tune:

To explain the full story, we must travel back in time to Sunday, June 25, 1876. In a historic battle at Little Big Horn, 700 US troops, under the command of General George Custer, fought more than 3,000 Sioux Indians; who were loyal to Chief Sitting Bull. Ultimately, within half-an-hour of Custer’s famous attack, he and all of his troops lay dead.

Fast-forward eighty-four years to October 10, 1960 and a kooky ditty about a soldier’s comical plea to General Custer that he didn’t want to fight, was the #1 hit on the Billboard charts.

This beloved classic was developed by three friends who worked in the music industry in Hollywood, California. The three, Fred Darian, Al DeLory and Joe Van Winkle were busy dubbing music at Gold Star Studios when DeLory came up with, “Mr. Custer, I don’t want to go” and the line “Forward, ho!” Someone else added the sound effect of an arrow piecing the air and as Fred Darian explained, “Mr. Custer was not a song you just sat down and wrote. It was a succession of incidents that brought it about; we just developed it as we went along.”

The three writers first met at Coffee Dan’s, which was a Hollywood hot spot that was near Wallich’s Music City at Sunset and Vine. They formed a vocal group called the Balladeers and they rented a small office on Sunset. Across the hall was a photographer’s office where Larry Verne worked developing pictures.

“We use to go to lunch together and we’d all kick different lines around and throw ideas back and forth,” said Verne.

“They invited me to the recording studio where they were going to make a sample of the song,” explained Verne. “But when we got there, they said, ‘okay, Larry, you go in the booth and do it!’ It was definitely a spur of the moment thing.”

The song was in its infancy form until they coaxed Verne into the studio, where a two-hour session with a guitar, bass, drums, background vocals and background noises by all three songwriters.

“Everybody turned it down,” recalled Van Winkle. “I mean everybody. I don’t think we missed any of the majors or independent record companies."

Finally, Bob Keene of Del-Fi Records gave the trio a $300 advance so he could release the record. After it didn’t get released, Darian called Keene and inquired as to when the song would be released.

The four-and-a-half minute track was not as funny as Keene first thought, so he didn’t seem too interested in releasing the cut. In fact, the original dub was slowly wearing out, so they went back to Gold Star to produce another version. Luckily, the owner of Era Records was in the hallway listening and asked if they wanted him to release it. Ten months after the song was originally recorded, a shortened version of “Mr. Custer” was released. Darian credits the late DJ Bob Crane with being the first to play the song on the radio.

All in all, “Mr. Custer” spent a total of thirteen weeks on the Billboard Top 100. A follow-up single (again written by Darian, DeLory and Van Winkle) did not fare so well, peaking at number seventy-five on the charts.

Larry Verne released one LP, and, other than doing some background vocals for a few years, quit the music business to work in motion pictures as a construction foreman and assistant set art director.

Larry Verne Vinyl

45 RPM
COLLECTABLES $3-5 1980’s
ERA $10-20 1960-1964

Picture Sleeves
ERA (3034 "Mr. Livingston") $15-25 1960

EPs: 7–inch
ERA (104 "Hi-Lites from Mister Larry Verne") $20-30 1960
(Promotional issue only, not issued with special cover.)

Please Mr. Custer - Larry Verne

Mr. Custer Lyrics

(That famous day in history the men of the 7th Cavalry went riding on)
(And from the rear a voice was heard)
(A brave you man with a trembling word rang loud and clear)
What am I doin' here?

Please Mr. Custer, I don't wanna go
Hey, Mr. Custer, please don't make me go
I had a dream last night about the comin' fight
Somebody yelled "attack!"
And there I stood with a arrow in my back.

Please Mr. Custer, I don't wanna go (forward Ho! )--aaww

SPOKEN: Look at them bushes out there
They're moving and there's a injun behind every one
Hey, Mr. Custer-you mind if I be excused the rest of the afternoon?
Hmm, you're a little bit late on that one, Charlie
Hooh, I bet that smarts!

(They were sure of victory, the men of the 7th Cavalry, as they rode on)

(But then from the rear a voice was heard)
(That same brave voice with the trembling word rang loud and clear)
What am I doin' here?

Please Mr. Custer, I don't wanna go
Listen, Mr. Custer, please don't make me go
There's a redskin a'waitin' out there, just fixin to take my hair
A coward I've been called cuz I don't wanna wind up dead or bald

Please Mr. Custer, I don't wanna go (forward HO)--aaww

SPOKEN: I wonder what the injun word for friend is
Let's see-friend-- kemo sabe, that's it
Nope, that itn't it
Look at them durned injuns
They're runnin' around like a bunch of wild Indians-heh, heh, heh
Nah, this ain't no time for jokin'

Classic Rock Videos

Moody Blues- Ride My Seesaw

Music News & Notes

Sweet! 70's Group Wants to Know "Are You Ready Steve?"

Sweet, the hitmakers who landed four hits in the top ten between 1973 and 1978 (Little Willie, Ballroom Blitz, Fox on the Run, Love is Like Oxygen) are preparing to record their first new album in 27 years and go out on tour.

The group has a very fragmented history, starting all the way back in 1965 with the group Wainwright's Gentlemen that included drummer Mick Tucker and vocalist Ian Gillian (Deep Purple). When Gillian left the group, Brian Connolly joined, forming the basis for the new group.

In 1968, Tucker and Connolly formed the Sweetshop (shortened to the Sweet after a conflict on the name with another U.K. band) with Steve Priest on bass and Frank Torpey on guitar. Torpey left after their first and only single on Fontana failed to chart and was replaced first by Mick Stewart and, after three more low selling singles, Andy Scott. It was the Connolly/Scott/Priest/Tucker lineup that would become the hit making machines and stay together through 1977.

After Love is Like Oxygen, Connolly left the group and, although they released three more albums, they never had the same success. Numerous versions of the group toured from the mid-80's under the band's original name and as Andy Scott's Sweet, Steve Priest's Sweet and Brian Connolly's Sweet (also known as New Sweet).

Original members Connolly passed away in 1997 from liver failure at the age of 51 and Mick Tucker died in 2002 of leukemia at 54. The remaining members of the group are dedicating next year's dates in their memory as the Are You Ready Steve? tour.

The following are the initial tour dates with additional appearances to be announced:

01/29/09 - San Juan Capistrano, CA - The Coach House
01/30/09 - Los Angeles, CA - Club Nokia (Pollstar Concert Industry Awards)
01/31/09 - Redondo Beach, CA - Brixton
02/26/09 - Moose Jaw, SK - Mae Wilson Theatre
02/27/09 - Regina, SK - Casino Regina Show Lounge
03/13/09 - Agoura Hills, CA - Canyon Club
07/17/09 - Nakusp, BC - Saddle Mountain High


Lennon Appears in Charity Ad

John Lennon is about to appear in a television public service announcement, 28 years after his death.

A film of Lennon speaking is being used in a campaign for "One Laptop Per Child" which is working on providing a tough, solar-powered laptop to children in the world's poorest countries. Yoko Ono approved the use of Lennon's image for the campaign.

Digital technology is used on archive footage to make Lennon say:

"Imagine every child no matter where in the world they were could access a universe of knowledge. They would have a chance to learn, to dream, to achieve anything they want.

I tried to do it through my music, but now you can do it in a very different way. You can give a child a laptop and more than imagine, you can change the world."

The "One Laptop Per Child" foundation was originally formed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The laptops being produced cost less than $200 per machine.


Madonna Rings Up Biggest Tour of 2008

Concert site Pollstar has announced the biggest tours of 2008. Topping the list is Madonna, who pulled in $105.3 million on her Sticky & Sweet tour. While concerts were one of the bright spots last year for the music industry, her total doesn't come close to recent year's champs with the Police pulling in $133.2 million in 2007 and the Rolling Stones making a whopping $162 million in 2005.

As far as other veteran artists, if it wasn't for one Canadian songstress (Celine Dion) and two modern country acts (Kenny Chesney & Rascal Flatts), the vets would have tied down the entire top ten.

The top ten concert money makers:

Madonna - $105.3 million
Celine Dion - $94.0 million
Eagles - $73.4 million
Kenny Chesney - $72.2 million
Bon Jovi - $70.4 million
Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band - $69.3 million
Neil Diamond - $59.8 million
Rascal Flatts - $55.8 million
Police - $48.0 million
Tina Turner - $47.7 million


Lou Reed Forms New Band, Releases Album

Undercover News is reporting that Lou Reed has formed a new company called Best Seat in the House, and has put his first album of music on the new entity. Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music: The Creation of the Universe can be downloaded from his website.

Reed posted the following on his MySpace page explaining the new group:

Statement of Purpose:

We have formed a recording unit Called BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE. We intend to put out different types of my music - from industrial to meditative to songs and all subway stops in between. Our first release is a live recording of 2 great nights live at the REDCAT in L.A. THE CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE. You can download it at various qualities as per your download taste. We include some pics by me. We will be putting it out as A2X CD for the New Year but for now for your holiday - CREATE!

The group features Lou on guitar and electrics, Ulrich Krieger on tenor sax and live-electronics, and Sarth Calhoun on live processing and Fingerboard Continuum. The group is currently playing purely instrumental music and, according to Undercover, is most like Lou's Metal Machine Music.

The download of each of the night is priced at $8 with both for $15 and a special package with the two downloads and a CD of both nights for $20.


The Beastie Boys will reissue Paul's Boutique on January 27 to celebrate the album's 20th anniversary. The album is being digitally remastered by all three members and the original artwork will be reinstated. Fans will also receive a poster and the ability to download a track-by-track commentary by the Boys that can be played along with the music.


According to a spokesman from Vanguard Records, Levon Helm is working on a follow-up to his Dirt Farmer album. Dirt Farmer II (working title) is being produced by Larry Campbell with a projected release of May or June.



Monday, December 29, 2008

Old Wax Merges With New Technology

written by Robert Benson

There is a very simple audio question making the rounds these days; why vinyl? The answer is just as simple-millions of music lovers are discovering the superior sound that vinyl offers. Add these newcomers to the millions of audiophiles and collectors who are already sold on the benefits of analog sound and one can understand why there is a ‘vinyl revival.’

With the renewed interest in vinyl records, many web sites have been launched to help vinyl lovers find their rare audio treasures. One such site,, can not only steer you in the direction of online retailers who sell vinyl records, but in a unique twist also alerts visitors to real ‘brick and mortar’ stores in the US.

The man behind is Rob Lambert who has, not only a keen interest in vinyl, but is developing a unique, interactive website to help his visitors with all their vinyl needs. I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Rob, let’s learn more about the intriguing site:

Why vinyl, what is the allure? When did you start collecting, what kind of collection do you have?

“I have always loved all kinds of music in all formats. I was born in the early seventies, so my mother had a decent collection of records that included artists that I still love to this day: CSNY, Joni Mitchell, etc. But by the time I started purchasing my own music, it was on cassette and then CDs. I still have a huge CD collection (and the MP3 versions of those on my computers) and so I am not anti-digital music. Initially, in the early 2000's, I started buying my all-time favorite records solely for the artwork to frame and hang on my walls. But one thing led to another and, and as I mention in my “about” section, I bought two palettes of (random) records which led to me actually getting a nice turntable. It then became about the whole experience. Sitting down and LISTENING to the music, looking at the artwork, and yes, the superior sound.

Today my collection is all over the board (see my favorite artists below). I probably have 1500 records or so (not counting lots of leftover boxes of junk from my big palette purchases).”

When did you launch

“End of October 2008.”

Why the fm domain?

“On a technical level, .fm is the country code top-level domain for the Federated States of Micronesia, a group of islands located in the Pacific Ocean.

Initially, I was going to build a website primarily for mobile devices. I wanted a name that was as short as possible (easy to type on little devices). An alternative to “.com” allows the possibility of finding a good, short three letter domain. I noticed the exploding trend of music-related sites using the “.fm” extension (,,,, etc). FM conjures up the feeling of classic rock radio, especially of the 70's, and to me, that goes hand-in-hand with the old school technology of vinyl records. The first short word related to vinyl records that came to mind was “wax” and sure enough, was available!”

Tell me about the future plans for the site?

“For sure:

• Better integration of the main site with the blog (see for some videos of me and other initial blog posts)

• Continue to add more records and record data

• Continue to add more vendors where specific records can be purchased online

• Continue to add more brick-and-mortar record stores

• Add record fairs to the “Find Records in Your City” sections

Other strong possibilities:

• Allow outside users to rank and comment on record stores and fairs

• Mobile/iPhone friendly version for researching records while shopping at thrift stores, garage sales, used record shops, record fairs, etc.

• Additional audio and video samples of records (but I don't want to make digital music a central part of the site).”

Where do you see vinyl, in let’s say 20 years?

“You know, I really have no idea. I truly hope that bands and labels continue the current trend to put out their new music on vinyl (and include a digital download with the purchase). It seems that the younger generations are currently really discovering, not only the allure of buying new music on vinyl, but also classic music on used vinyl from the Beatles to Pink Floyd to the Ramones – I hope that trend continues too.”

What kind of music do you listen to?

“Some of my all-time favorites: Dylan, Zappa, Hendrix, Miles, Coltrane, Mingus.

More modern 90's/2000's favorites: Wilco, Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire, My Bloody Valentine, Sufjan Stevens, My Morning Jacket, Beck, Radiohead.

I have a place in my heart for classic metal/hard rock: Sabbath, Megadeath, Iron Maiden, Van Halen, etc.

And all over the board: Johnny Cash, Public Enemy, Fela Kuti, Ali Farke Toure, Phish, Django Reinhart, Nick Drake, Grateful Dead.”

Tell me more about your company Zabada, I understand that you are working on a new service for the web and your mobile device that will make finding and collecting vinyl records easier and more fun.

“Zabada, Inc. is my company and the company technically owns The initial spark for me actually getting to work on a vinyl-themed website was my desire to look up information about records from my iPhone while looking for records at fairs and stores. But once I started building the site, I decided to put most of my energy into collecting data on records and then record stores. At that point the mantra for my site came to me: “helping you find your favorite albums on vinyl-both online and in the real world” and I decided to hold off on building the mobile interface and build a standard website (by the way, the site is relatively usable on the iPhone as it exists right now!) There are lots of great options to buy records online, but I decided that it would be great to make it as easy as possible for a user to, for example, on one page be able to see all of the options and prices for buying the Beach Boys' Pets Sounds on the internet including used versions and reissues. As I mentioned earlier, this is one area where I continue to put a lot of energy to improve the results and vendor options.”

So here we have new technology merging with a rather old audio format that is now becoming mainstream again. The future looks bright for vinyl records and the future is also bright for as Rob continues to develop his plans and help vinyl lovers find their treasures.

Count Five Singer Dies

Singer/songwriter John Byrne of the 1960’s garage-rock band “Count Five” died on December 15, 2008 of kidney and liver failure.

The band was known for their ‘one-hit-wonder’ single called “Psychotic Reaction,” a song that Byrne had written. The song peaked at #5 on the Billboard charts in 1966. The psychedelic fuzz guitar cut has been immortalized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the 500 songs that helped shape rock music.

Count Five was formed in 1964 in San Jose. Byrne, who played rhythm guitar and sang, joined lead guitarist John Michalski, bassist Roy Chaney, drummer Craig Atkinson and Ken Ellner, who also sang and played the harmonica.

The seminal rockers released their debut LP, also named “Psychotic Reaction” in 1966. They followed that with a few more singles, but were never able to repeat the success they had with their legendary single.

After the band broke up, Byrne returned to college at San Jose State University and became an accountant; later managing a Montgomery Ward store in Northern California. But his daughter said that he never quit playing music.

“Maybe I made some mistakes,” Byrne related to the San Jose mercury News in 2002, when the band got together for a revival. “I was determined to get through college. Maybe I was wrong, but I’m glad I’m an educated man. At least when people talk to me, they know I’m not an idiot.

COUNT FIVE- Psychotic Reaction

Delaney Bramlett Passes Away

Singer/songwriter Delaney Bramlett, who worked with the likes of George Harrison and Eric Clapton, passed away on December 27, 2008, as a result of complications from gall bladder surgery. He was 69 years old.

Born in Pontotoc, Mississippi in 1939, Bramlett worked the cotton fields as a teen before eventually enlisting in the Navy. After his three-year stint was completed, he relocated to Los Angles, landing a gig as a member of the “Shindogs,” the house band for the TV Pop show “Shindig.”

Bramlett formed the short-lived Southern blues-rock band called “Delaney & Bonnie & Friends” who toured as the opening act for the super group “Blind Faith.” The group had their biggest hit LP in 1970 with “On Tour,” with Eric Clapton as a member. The album peaked at #29 on the US charts and spawned a minor hit called “Comin’ Home.” As their notoriety grew, they became friends with many rock stars throughout the world, even joining up with John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band for a tour of Europe.

Over the next two years, the duo recorded three more albums, none being able to match the success of “On Tour.” But as their albums sales were falling, they suddenly found themselves as hit makers. In 1971, they cracked the US Top 20 two times, first with “Never Ending Song of Love” (which went to #13) and Dave Mason’s, “Only You Know and I Know,” which peaked at #20.

Additionally, during his time with Delaney & Bonnie, Bramlett was writing and producing music for other artists. Among his best known songs were “Superstar” (written with Leon Russell) and the legendary cut, “Let It Rain,” which was co-written with Eric Clapton. Bramlett is also credited with teaching George Harrison how to play the slide guitar, leading to Harrison playing the instrument on his single “My Sweet Lord.”

He also performed with other top rock stars including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Dave Mason, Billy Preston, J.J.Cale, the Everly Brothers and Mac Davis.

After his divorce from Bonnie, Bramlett recorded three solo efforts between 1972 and 1978 and then dropped out of the music scene for a couple of decades. He became a ‘born-again’ Christian and wrote advertising jingles. He returned to music in 2000 and released three more solo albums, the last being 2007’s “A New Kind of Blues.”


Home - Stax, 1969
Accept No Substitute - Elektra, 1969
On Tour with Eric Clapton - Atco, 1970
To Bonnie from Delaney - Atco, 1970
Motel Shot - Atco, 1971
D&B Together - Columbia/CBS, 1972
The Best of Delaney & Bonnie - Atco, 1972/Rhino, 1990 (compilation)
Hi-Five - Rhino, 2005 (compilation)

Delaney, Bonnie & Friends - Comin' Home

Rising Vinyl Sales Keep Small Shop Afloat

As John Schlapak attaches labels to a stack of merchandise in his Westwood, NJ record store, a post-grunge pop song reaches its chorus on the radio. “See, this is a typical example,” he says, scrunching a face that has seen its share of fads come and go, “some moaning, groaning song that’s going nowhere and no melody.” Like it or not, Schlapak now runs one of the hippest shops in town.

While album sales plummet in the age of new media and its profit-killing MP3’s, the format that brought Schlapak into the music business in 1979 is seeing a resurgence. With artists from Brian Wilson to Radiohead releasing vinyl versions of their latest albums and an entire label - Eyeball Records in New Jersey - planning to release all new albums in the format, nostalgia is definitely in.

If it weren’t for the CD displays, you might swear Music Merchant was trapped in a time warp. 8-tracks, a 1960’s era scale and an assortment of indeterminable old gizmos collect dust atop shelves of calcified records. The aisles are made narrow by neat rows of boxes labeled with a black marker. Schlapak, a white haired man in his early 60s, fiddles diligently behind the counter. A slow, but steady stream of customers picks through the unwieldy collection of an estimated 30-40,000 albums on a clear Saturday afternoon.

As the proliferation of digital music choked off industry earnings, Music Merchant has seen its share of competitors come and go, crowded out by big box retailers. Shlapak’s secret? “I watch my overhead.”

Of course, not every record store has the luxury of a one-man payroll, and even he was forced to close Music Merchant’s second location in the in 2004.

“In this environment, I think that if you’re holding your own you’re doing pretty well,” Schlapak said. “CD sales are down, but vinyl sales make up for it.”

U.S. album sales fell 9.5 percent in 2007, and the fate of this year’s sales numbers seem bleak considering an even more uncertain economic environment. Shlapak concedes that if not for the apparent rebirth of vinyl, especially new releases and pricey collectibles, he would likely be out of business. Music Merchant estimates that vinyl sales make up 40 percent of business, with the rest going to compact disks.

In a world where the “medium is the message,” as author Marshall McLuhan wrote while trying to make sense of media in the 1960’s, Shlapak believes music is reasserting itself as a permanent work of art through vinyl. “CD’s are disposable and have no value as a collectible,” he says, affixing a label to a CD case and placing it on a growing stack.

An older man in a cabbie hat, a bald middle-ager in a flannel shirt and a young guy with a black hooded sweatshirt and tight jeans begin a slow climb up and down the aisles in search of a hidden gem. Shlapak says his customers prefer vinyl records for the warmer sounds, durability, trendy retro appeal and album art larger than a handheld frame. Plus, he’s noticed that teenagers often raid his 49 cent discount pile, probably looking for kitchy bedroom art.

In the back of the store, John’s twin brother Tom Schlapak sorts through a stack of records. He’s got a regular job, but comes in on weekends to perform the “therapeutic” task of refurbishing records. Tom, like his brother, speaks with deliberative pauses, gazing into the salmon walls with a faint smile as he recalls better days for the industry. Also like his brother, Tom is armed with a laundry list of complaints about the modern music industry.

“It has no soul,” Tom paused momentarily, searching for a way to make his point clearer. “Excuse the expression, but it has no balls.”

The prospect of big box stores shifting to collectible vinyl draws smirks from the Schlapak brothers, whose shop is filled nearly to capacity with 30 years worth of merchandise. John figures there is little chance retailers like Sam Goody could build a competitive archive.

“I can’t get out from underneath it,” Tom said, summing up his efforts to clear more room in the store. “There’s just so much stuff.”

Live in the NJ area? Make sure to visit the Music Merchant in Westwood, NJ. Don’t live in NJ? Then support your local independent record store!


"Air and Sea Battle is your pretty okay source for half-decent media."

Mapleshade Finished Platform for Turntables

I want to thank John over at for this great review!

AUDIOPHILE AUDITION focuses on recordings of interest to audiophiles and collectors, with an accent on surround sound for music, and on all hi-res disc formats. Over 100SACD, DVD Video/Audio and standard CD reviews are published during each month, and our archives go back to January 2001.

Mapleshade Finished Platform for Turntables

Air-dried solid maple was found to be the best-sounding support for turntables and other components.

Mapleshade Finished
Platform for Turntables
SRP: $230 (for 18” x 15” x 4”)

1100 Wicomico St., 5th Fl.
Baltimore, MD 21230


I’ve never gotten around to asking Pierre Sprey if he selected the name Mapleshade for his mostly-jazz record label before or after discovering that air-dried solid maple was the very best support platform to put under turntables and other audio electronics. It may be tied in with his project 25 years ago upgrading the famous Maplenoll turntable. After much experimentation, Sprey found that air-dried solid maple - which he obtains from an Amish woodworking shop - provided the best possible turntable isolation compared to all the other possibilities - air suspension, sand boxes, marble, glass, magnetic floatation, hi-tech constrained layer damping, and carbon fiber composites. He found the alternatives all dead-sounding and smeared when compared to solid maple bases.

About half of the enhancement is due to heavy brass footers from Mapleshade, which are available in versions which screw right onto the shafts for the rubber feet that came with your turntable. I have the heavy brass Mapleshade footers which come to a very sharp point. My turntable is a SOTA Star with vacuum holddown. The first enhancement I did was to have SOTA replace their spring-loaded suspension with an elastomer suspension, which I found to be far superior. Then I added the Mapleshade heavy brass footers, which screwed onto the existing threaded shafts under the SOTA table. These then sat on a thick MSB constrained-layer steel isolation plate, which rested on four blue vibration feet on top of an Arcici inflatable turntable support - the whole affixed securely to a low CWD cabinet.

I had two problems with this setup: One was that when pushing down the SOTA record clamp, it bottomed out the Arcici base and sometimes caused changes to the leveling observed on the leveler on the turntable. The other was that moving across the room with anything less than “don’t wake anyone up” foot action, the vibrations would be transmitted to my Transfiguration Spirit pickup cartridge in my SME-V tonearm, if not causing it to actually skip. This always amazed me in spite of the air-bladder support for the turntable and the super-heavy isolation plate.

I had compared several of the new Everest CD reissues with the l996 CD reissues as well as the 1994 DCC vinyl pressings of some of the titles. The vinyl pressings never sounded any better than the CDs and often sounded nearly identical, which surprised me.


It took some courage to disassemble the entire Arcici/MSB support system and replace it with the simple 18 by 15 by 4 solid maple Mapleshade platform. (They also have two sizes for larger turntables: 24 x 18 x 4 and 24 x 24 x 4; a 2-inch-thick version has been discontinued.) The platform sits on four squarish Isoblock feet, which are another Mapleshade tweak which sells for only $24 a set and consists of layers of ribbed rubber and cork. On top of the 4-inch maple platform go the three pointy feet of the brass footers on my SOTA table. (This particular model has been discontinued but Mapleshade has a couple dozen different brass feet available now - threaded and un-.) It took some effort to get the table leveled at the top. I had to purchase some thinner nuts at the local hardware store in order to have one nut to tighten against the underside of the SOTA table and another on the same shaft to tighten against the special heavy brass feet. (The foil-covered box under the SOTA is my phono preamp, which requires additional shielding to reduce interference from a local rock FM station.)

Listening Tests

After demagnetizing my cartridge, readjusting the VTA and leveling the turntable, I returned to the comparisons of the CDs and LPs. Now the vinyl did sound slightly superior to the CDs, which it had not before. There was more air and a more natural high end that never became steely or annoying in the high end as on some of the CD versions. There was undoubtedly more life in the sonics than I had achieved with the supposedly foolproof Arcici/MBS plate system.

In addition, the two big cons with my previous setup had disappeared entirely! I could press down heard when clamping the record clamp without bottoming out, and I could tango or samba in the middle of my listening room floor without transmitting the slightest noise to the turntable. There is a noise transmission test track on the Analog Productions Test LP, and with the previous Arcici/MSB setup I could get quite a loud thump in the speakers when tapping on any part of the base or table. With the Mapleshade setup, I could only get a slight thump when I tapped vertically really hard on the actual maple base - not from any other point.

Mapleshade - besides turning out many fantastically-realistic and inexpensive jazz CDs - has come up with a variety of tweaks for audio systems. Some of them are a bit beyond the pale to my thinking - such as their cable supports which tend to collapse - but others are amazingly effective. Another great accessory for both vinyl and CDs/DVDs is Mapleshade's Ionoclast Ion Generator - much more powerful than the old Zerostat and less fuss and cost than the Bedini spinner. They also provide excellent lists in their catalogs of free or nearly-free tweaks you can do yourself for your audio system (such as lifting your cables up off the carpet). They have a variety of maple platforms and feet for loudspeakers and electronic components, and have also introduced a new cartridge and tonearm upgrade, as well as a vinyl cleaning system they claim superior to any vacuum cleaning system. Their maple platform concept is surely a winner in my estimation!

written by- John Sunier

Classic Rock Videos

The mamas and the papas - California dreamin

Top 5 eBay Vinyl Record Sales

Week Ending 12/27/2008

1. LP - Ricard Marrero & The Group "A Taste" TSG - $4,196.85 - Start: $143.00 - Bids: 19

2. LP - Pink Floyd "Dark Side Of The Moon" Toshiba-EMI Japan alternate cover - $3,899.99 - Start: $3,899.99 - Bids: 1

3. LP - Leonid Kogan "Lalo Symphonie Espagnole" EMI-Columbia UK - $2,347.00 - Start: $9.99 - Bids: 23

4. LP - The Beatles "Yesterday And Today" SEALED MONO - $2,010.00 - Start: $19.99 - Bids: 44

5. 45rpm - Buddy Cantrell "You Ain't No Good" / "Why Did You Leave Me" Tuska - $2,000.00 - Start: $500.00 - Bids: 8

This week a real oddball item tops the list, a jazz funk LP from Richard Marrero on the TSG label bids up to almost $4.2k. This is the second record from the TSG label to appear this year. Now after more than twenty years as a collector and almost a decade behind me as a dealer, I know some history of most of the top 5 items. But the TSG label is a mystery to me. The only information I could find was here. It appears to have been a kind of bootleggy tax scammy steal the master tapes kind of operation from the 1970s. If anyone knows more history please send a comment.

In the #2 spot a DSOTM from EMI Japan gets its asking price at a penny less than $3.9k. This record, with alternate cover art, was to have been made available only through mail-order, but was pulled by the label over internal conflicts about the cover art.

A classical LP of performances by Leonid Kogan, out of the UK, sells for more than $2.3k and gets the #3 spot. Next, a sealed mono Yesterday and Today #4 sells for $2k without revealing if its a paste-over butcher cover.

And last, a Buddy Cantrell 45 on the Tuska label bids to exactly $2k.

As always, I want to thank Brian over at for his reseacrh and this great data!

This Date In Music History-December 29


Bryan Holland, vocals, guitar- Offspring (1966)

Yvonne Elliman- singer (1951)

Neil Giraldo- Pat Benatar group (1955)

Ray Thomas- Moody Blues (1942)

Marianne Faithful (1946)

Mark Day- Happy Mondays (1961)

Rockabilly songwriter and country star Ed Bruce was born in Keiser, Arkansas in 1939. He wrote the classic "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys."

Swamp rocker Charles Mann was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1949.

Badfinger drummer Mike Gibbons (1953)

They Are Missed:

Cozy Powell, drummer, Whitesnake, ELP (Dec 29, 1947-April 5, 1998).

Orchestra leader Paul Whiteman died in 1967 at the age of 76.

Vocalist Gene Tanner of the "5" Royales, an early R&B vocal group, died in Winston-Salem, N.C. in 1994. The Royales originally recorded "Think," which would later become a hit for Aretha Franklin.

Singer/songwriter Tim Hardin died at age forty, of a heroin overdose in 1980. He is best remembered for "If I Were a Carpenter" (a hit for Bobby Darin in 1966 and the Four Tops in 1968) and "Reason to Believe" (a hit for Rod Stewart in 1971).


The top three songs (and five of the top seven) on Billboard's Hot 100 in 1969 all came from Motown labels.

Today in 1951, the song "Cry" by Johnny Ray topped the charts and stayed there for 11 weeks.

Barbra Streisand made her first recording in 1955, at the age of 13.

The Beatles began recording "Penny Lane" in 1966.

In 1963, after Capitol Records agreed to release the Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" as a single, New York's WMCA became the first American station to play it today.

Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes plead guilty to arson charges in 1994 for setting fire to and destroying boyfriend Andre Rison's $1 million-dollar Atlanta mansion.

Sets of commemorative stamps in memory of Bob Marley were issued in Jamaica in 1982.

In 1984, Band Aid were at #1 on the UK singles chart with “Do They Know It's Christmas?” and Madonna was at #1 on the US singles chart with “Like A Virgin.”

Jim Croce scored his second #1 US single of the year in 1973, when “Time In A Bottle” went to the top of the charts. Croce was killed in a plane crash on September 29, 1973.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience made their debut on the UK TV show “Top Of The Pops” in 1966 performing “Hey Joe.”

In 1963, the Weavers, who at one time were America's most popular Folk group, gave their farewell concert at Orchestra Hall in Chicago. The group had hits in the late 40s and early 50s with songs like "Goodnight Irene" and "On Top of Old Smokey".

In 1967, singer, guitarist and songwriter Dave Mason quits Traffic, one of the UK's most popular and successful rock bands, to embark on a solo career.

The first big Rock festival held on the east coast, “The Miami Festival,” got under way in Hallandale, Florida in 1968. Tickets sold for six and seven dollars and 100,000 people turned out for the three-day event. Those appearing included the hottest acts of the day, Jose Feliciano, Procol Harem, Three Dog Night, Chuck Berry, Fleetwood Mac, Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, The Turtles and Canned Heat.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cover Story - Pink Floyd

As always, I want to thank Michael Goldstein over at for the exclusive reprint rights to his marvelous album cover art stories:

Cover Story - Pink Floyd - "The Wall/Hammers" artwork by Gerald Scarfe

Subject – "Hammers" from The Wall – a 1979 recording by Pink Floyd, released on Columbia Records and featuring illustrations by Gerald Scarfe.

Pink Floyd’s “rock opera” The Wall (released on Columbia Records in the U.S. and on Harvest Records in the UK), is the best-selling multi-disc recording of all time, having sold well over 30 million packages since its 1979 release. The record reached #1 in the U.S. (topping at #3 in the U.K.) and included the #1 hit single “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)”, along with the hits “Hey You”, “Run Like Hell”, and the epic “Comfortably Numb”. It was voted #87 of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” in the 2003 survey published by Rolling Stone Magazine.

It was after this record that founding keyboardist Richard Wright departed, to return as a paid player when the band performed The Wall on tour, finally re-uniting as a full member in 1987.

According to the legend, songwriter/lyricist Roger Waters was inspired to begin writing The Wall while on tour in 1977 promoting their Animals record. Near the end of the tour, an angry Waters spat in the face of an audience member who was trying to jump up onto the stage with the band. Whatever the motivation, the record required 8 months in the South of France to complete.

All Pink Floyd records since their 1967 release The Piper at the Gates of Dawn had featured cover designs/packaging by Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis. For The Wall, the band chose U.K. cartoonist and illustrator Gerald Scarfe, who then also designed the giant puppets of the 'Mother', 'Wife' and 'Teacher', as well as the animations that were projected around the theater and onto the Wall constructed during the public performances of the opera. The selection of Mr. Scarfe as illustrator was inspired, as he creates “drawings that are often a cry against that which I detest, and in showing my dislike I have to draw the dislikeable. To horrify people with a drawing of the waste of war I must make a horrific drawing of war, and when I come to draw people, their bodies become vehicles for their emotions – greed, lust, cruelty.” Considering The Wall’s subject material, the story behind the making of today’s Cover Story image is particularly compelling….

In the words of the illustrator, Gerald Scarfe (interviewed July 2007, with additional quotes and info provided by Julie Davies and the nice folks at –

“In 1973, the BBC sent me to Los Angeles to work on a twenty minute animated film about all things American – a psychedelic stream-of-consciousness work featuring Mickey Mouse, Black Power, Playboy Magazine, the Statue of Liberty, Nixon and John Wayne. We used a new animation system called the ‘De Joux’ system. In full Disney-type animation there are twelve drawings to one second of film. The 'De Joux' system cut that number to only six or eight by mixing photographically between every drawing and producing the illusion of extra movement. This still meant an immense amount of work, drawing every second of a twenty minute film. I worked, ate and slept that project for six weeks, drawing every cliché I knew about America straight onto 70mm film - from Coca Cola to John Wayne. I called the film Long Drawn-Out Trip.

Two members of Pink Floyd (Roger and Nick) saw this film when it was shown on the BBC and asked me to make an animated film for their next series of live concerts, based on their LP Wish You Were Here. I didn’t take up the offer for some time – it seemed like a lot of work and I feared it might stop the flow of my other work (it did!). Directing animation is a full-time job. I ended up with a studio of about forty animators whom I tried to wean away from the Disney system in which most are trained.

The first animations I made for Wish You Were Here were projected onto a circular screen at the back of the stage, behind the band. I drew a man who walked slowly towards the camera, stopped and was eroded, like sand, by the blowing wind. A metal monster that stomped across the landscape for the song, 'Welcome to the Machine', a sea of blood that appeared over the horizon, raced towards us and engulfed two shining, circular metal towers. The blood turned to groping hands which prayed to the metal monoliths. A leaf tumbled through the sky and slowly turned into a naked man who, still tumbling, smashed through the sky as though it were made of glass.

I continued my association with Pink Floyd by collaborating on The Wall. Begun in 1979, this project became three years of work. Roger and I worked out the cover design in the South of France and I completed it on my return to London. Roger gave me complete carte blanche, complete control over it. Besides showing me the libretto, they didn’t interfere at all in crafting of the images. They obviously saw what I was going to do, but they never altered them. I remember Roger saying that “when we employ an artist, we employ him for what he does, not for what we would like to make him do.”

In as far as what inspired the 'Hammers' imagery, we obviously wanted to have some figure of oppression, and I came up with the hammers. I had to think, ‘what would be the most obvious symbol of oppression’, and the most unrelenting, crushing, unthinking thing that I could think of was a hammer. The violence of a hammer when it comes down is horrific. I was slightly worried that they might be adopted by some fascist, neo-Nazi group as a symbol but thankfully it didn’t happen. And I think that when I did the hammers, and Roger wrote 'hammer, hammer' into the lyrics, it was the one instance when the drawings influenced the lyrics.

I knew the images were ultimately going to be used in an animated sequence. The actual images came to me quite quickly, but of course the animation is an incredibly time consuming process. When we began the animation for the film there were only about 8-10 people on the project, but by the end there were around 40-50 animators using pen, paper, ink and paint.

From the original LP of The Wall, a stage show was produced, for which I art-directed. I made puppets and inflatables and directed another animated film, The Trial. The Wall was subsequently made into a feature film which I designed and for which I directed two further pieces of animation – 'Empty Spaces' and 'Goodbye Blue Sky'.

As a child who grew up in the war, 'Goodbye Blue Sky' came completely from my mind, because I had memories of the war. Roger was born after the war; as you may know, he lost his father in the war, and that’s why he refers to it, but I actually lived through it, and remember the bombs falling in London, and being in air raid shelters.

But above all else I remember having to wear a gas mask, which is a very claustrophobic thing for anyone to wear, let alone an asthmatic. I’d put this thing on and fight for breath. We had to put them on for practice – thankfully there was no occasion when gas bombs were actually dropped, to my memory. But I hated the mask. They tried to make it look cute and childlike by putting Mickey Mouse ears on it and calling it a 'Mickey Mouse children’s gasmask'. But the memory of the mask came in useful for the 'Frightened Ones'. I gave them gas-mask heads and they are running for cover into air raid shelters as the dove which explodes into the Germanic Eagle, and flies across the landscape, lays its trail of waste.

When I do my illustrated talks I like to show the 'Goodbye Blue Sky' sequence, because it ties up with my childhood really, it’s a sort of poem to the Second World War, and it was the Floyd that gave me the opportunity to do it. I am often asked if I think my drawings change anything. I don’t believe they do, but on occasion I hope they may crystallize a mood or sum up an attitude. If I have succeed in demonstrating this – or even better, in making people laugh – then I can ask for no more."

About the illustrator, Gerald Scarfe -

Illustrator and cartoonist Gerald Scarfe was born in 1936 in London. He was asthmatic as a child and spent much time drawing and reading. After a brief period at the Royal College of Art in London, he established himself as a satirical cartoonist, working for Punch magazine and Private Eye during the early sixties. He has had many exhibitions worldwide, including ones in New York, Osaka, Montreal, Los Angeles, Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago and London, as well as 50 one-man shows. He has designed the sets and costumes for plays, operas and musicals in London, Houston, Los Angeles and Detroit. His film work includes designing and directing the animation for Pink Floyd's rock opera The Wall (he also created the graphics and animation for Roger Waters' 1984 solo album titled The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking and its supporting tour). Scarfe has written and directed many live action and documentary films for BBC and Channel 4.

He has also published many books of his work, including Heroes & Villains: Scarfe at the National Portrait Gallery, which was published in September 2003. His most recent book, Gerald Scarfe: Drawing Blood: 45 Years of Scarfe Uncensored was published in November 2005. Gerald Scarfe has been political cartoonist for the London Sunday Times for 40 years, and has worked for The New Yorker magazine for 14 years. His work regularly appears in many periodicals and in 2005, he was selected as one of the 40 Most-Influential Journalists by the U.K.’s Press Gazette. In 2006, he received the British Press Award as Cartoonist of the Year.

Most recently, he has just completed working with Ozzy Osbourne on illustrating a 10-foot guitar for Gibson Guitar and their special charity event held for the Prince’s Trust.

He is married to British film/TV actress and author Jane Asher, and they have 3 three children.

You can see more of Mr. Scarfe’s work, please visit – Not only will you find a large selection of illustrations covering his whole career (including the work with Pink Floyd), but there is more information about Gerald, his book Drawing Blood (where some of today’s material was excerpted from), a CV, and writings on all the different subjects of his work.

To see more of Mr. Scarfe’s images that are available for sale at the RockPoP Gallery, please follow this link –

Copyright 2007 - Mike Goldstein & RockPoP Gallery ( - All rights reserved.

Classic Rock Videos

The Moody Blues - Question

Lynne finds inspiration in Springfield, vinyl

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Comeback CDs by Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC and Metallica have made big noise in 2008. But one disc that’s just screaming for more attention is the best quiet album of the year, “Just a Little Lovin’ ” by Shelby Lynne.

Her music is a sultry purr to those rockers’ menacing roar. The quiet restraint of her late-night pop oozes a haunting soulfulness seldom heard in this era of loud “American Idol”-inspired vocal gymnasts.

Like Amy Winehouse, Lynne nods to the past, but makes music of the moment. The subtitle of her disc is “Inspired by Dusty Springfield,” the celebrated 1960s British soul siren who struggled with substance abuse before making a comeback in the 1980s and ’90s.

“The greatest white singer that there has ever been,” Elton John said when inducting the voice of “Son of a Preacher Man” into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, just a few days after she died of cancer in 1999.

Lynne studied Springfield before jumping into this project.

“I did read a few things, but you can’t believe what you read. She’s not here to defend herself,” Lynne says. “So I just rely on the music.”

Although everything about Springfield was big — from her blond beehive to her orchestral arrangements — everything about Lynne’s disc is small.

It’s an after-midnight album — “or a Sunday-morning record,” Lynne says, her Alabama drawl sounding a bit sleepy as she speaks by phone from her Palm Springs, Calif., home, her dog barking in the background.

Lynne makes such ’60s classics as “Anyone Who Had a Heart” and “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” feel lived in again. “The most important thing when you’re doing a cover record is to keep the song as the song is,” she says. “You can’t be changing its melody. But the groove is another thing. We just kind of molassesed it down.”

Lynne recorded with celebrated producer Phil Ramone, who has worked with everyone from Bob Dylan and Paul Simon to Aretha Franklin and Luciano Pavarotti.

“I didn’t want to make a fancy record,” she says. “He’s a guy who understands that I like the real organic way of making records.”

Things clicked on the recording of the first song, “Just a Little Lovin’.”

“We just went in there on a Monday morning and just kind of found a groove,” Lynne says. “We were in a setup as a band, which I like. Everybody can see everybody. I remember looking at Gregg Field — he played the drums — before we started the first note and I said, ‘This is your record and my record. It’s all about you and me.’ So the grooves were kind of eye-to-eye. And it just took on this tone.”

Of course, to get into the proper mood, Lynne had a drink or two.

“I always have a drink or two,” she says with a chuckle.

Even in the morning?


Over the course of recording 10 albums in 20 years, Lynne, who is 40, has developed a reputation as something of a Nashville problem child, a strong-willed party girl, a spitfire with her own opinions. She can be surly as well as sultry.

Lynne dislikes doing interviews and loathes discussing the defining family tragedy when, at 17, she and her younger sister, singer Allison Moorer, witnessed their father murder their mother and then kill himself.

Even as Lynne has startlingly switched styles from pop-country to Western swing/jazz to Americana and this hushed Southern soul, her music has consistently reflected vulnerability and resilience. Where does her strength come from?

“Life circumstances, the hand that you’re dealt. You’ve got to play it,” she says. “I don’t have any complaints.”

In 1991, she won the Country Music Association’s Horizon award for best newcomer, and 10 years later she grabbed the Grammy for best new artist, for her sixth album, the critically revered but slow-selling “I Am Shelby Lynne.”

That Grammy sits atop the cabinet in which she keeps her beloved vinyl album collection. She is enamored of LPs and their covers.

“You can’t roll a joint on an iPod,” she famously told the Los Angeles Times this year.

She does have an iPod for traveling, she says, but listens only to vinyl at home. She’s not much on computers; in fact, she’s doesn’t visit her MySpace page or Web site. (“The Web site is for fans, not for me,” she says.) She has downloaded only one album — Electric Light Orchestra’s “New World Order” — because she wore out her vinyl copy.

A fan gave her a vinyl copy of Springfield’s landmark “Dusty in Memphis,” a 1969 album that invariably turns up on lists of the greatest rock albums.

“It sounds a hell of a lot better than the reissues,” Lynne says of the original vinyl.

She feels the same about her own tribute to Springfield. She thinks the vinyl version sounds “way better” than the CD.

“I personally think everything does,” she says. “But it was a record recorded the way vinyl needs to be recorded.”


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Chess Records

With the release of the movie "Cadillac Records," there is a renewed interest in the history of Chess Records. I wrote this article for the radio station and thought that others would be interested in this legendary record label:

Chess Records

Written by Robert Benson

Legendary record label founder Leonard Chess was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and for good reason. Together with his brother Philip Chess, they founded the quintessential record label of the time whose roster reads as a who’s-who in Blues music. Let’s explore the history of Chess Records:

Brothers Leonard and Philip Chess were Jewish immigrants from Poland who came to Chicago in 1928. They were business partners in liquor sales and by the 1940’s they owned and operated several bars on the south side. One of their largest was a nightclub named the “Macomba,” that featured live entertainment; mainly Blues artists who had migrated to Chicago’s south side from the Mississippi Delta in the 30’s and 40’s.

Quickly realizing that these musicians were not being properly promoted and recorded, they decided to start recording these musicians themselves. In 1947, already aware of what kind of music would appeal to the Black community, the brothers partnered with Charles and Evelyn Aron at Aristocrat Records; who had formed the label specifically to record Blues, Jazz and R&B music.

By 1949, Aristocrat Records (which would ultimately become Chess record in 1950) was a fixture in the music world and some of these early recordings remain some of the most impressive collection of Blues music ever recorded. Their experience in music helped the brothers understanding of their predominantly Black audiences and they knew what this audience craved. But they soon realized that the Blues could be marketed to a much broader audience.

With Philip Chess overseeing the nightclub and offices at Aristocrat/Chess, this allowed Leonard to produce sessions as well as scout around for new and upcoming talent. Through their connections with Chicago radio stations and nightclubs, the pair was able to build an up and coming Blues musician, Muddy Waters, into the area leading Blues attraction.

With the success of Muddy Waters, Blues musicians were drawn to Chicago and Chess records. Artists such as slide guitarist Robert Nighthawk, Willie Dixon, Gene Ammons, Jimmy Rogers and Little Walter (who revolutionized the role of the harmonica in Chicago’s Blues music) were all drawn to Chess- it gave them the chance to record their music and helped promote themselves and the Blues music they loved so much.

However, despite the success, the Chess brothers had with incoming as well as the local talent, they began to search outside of the city for more talent. Leonard was in Memphis and supervised Memphis pianist Roscoe Gordon and also shipped music by Rufus Thomas, Dr. Isaiah Ross, Joe Hill Louis and Bobby Bland up to his brother in Chicago. But one of his greatest finds and one of the top contributors to the label was the music of Chester Arthur Burnett, a.k.a. Howlin’ Wolf.

Many more Blues legends recorded for Chess records in the 1950’s including Memphis Slim, Eddie Boyd, Little Walter, Willie Mabon, John Lee Hooker, Joe Williams, Big Bill Broonzy, and Washboard Sam. Jazzmen Leo Parker, Tab Smith, Otis Spann, Lynn Hope and Eddie Johnson added diversity to the record label.

But in 1955, Chess was able to sign a new talent named Chuck Berry, whose first hit; “Maybellene” added even more credibility to the label. Another new talent was also signed in 1955 (to Checker Records, a subsidiary of Chess), a Mississippi Blues legend named Sonny Boy Williamson. His first recording for the label, “Don’t Start Me Talkin’” was recorded with the help of the Muddy Waters Band. Additionally, Bo Diddley signed in 1955 and produced a two-sided smash hit for Checker, the self-titled ditty called “Bo Diddley and the flipside, “I’m A Man.”

Furthermore, Chess Records branched out and signed and recorded two Black vocal groups, the Flamingos and the Moonglows, whose sentimental singing styles would appeal to both black and white audiences alike. But before their records (“Sincerely” by the Moonglows and “I’ll Be Home” by the Flamingos) could become hits, they were covered by white artists (a common practice back then). The McGuire Sisters recorded “Sincerely” and Pat Boone released his version of the Flamingos’ song “I’ll Be Home.” Although these white artists garnered much of the sales, Chess Records became nationally recognized as a record company that could produce hit music.

In 1956, Chess established a Jazz subsidiary label called Argo. They were able to land some of the biggest and influential Jazz musicians of the time, signing such Jazz greats as Sonny Stitt, Yusef Lateef, James Moody, Gene Ammons, Lou Donaldson, Ahmad Jamal and Ramsey Lewis, among many others. Although Argo was primarily a Jazz label, they also recorded some of the finest female R&B by a singer named Etta James.

Additionally in 1956, Chess had a keen interest in music form New Orleans and signed veteran musician Paul Gayten. Gayten was able to convince others from the area to sign on with Chess including Clarence “Frogman” Henry, Bobby Charles and Eddie Bo.

Chess also had an extensive collection of recordings of gospel and religious music. They devoted an entire series of recordings of sermons by the Rev. C. L. Franklin, who was a pastor at the New Bethel Baptist Church, located in Detroit, Michigan. They became the first record company to record his daughter, Aretha Franklin and their gospel catalog also included albums by the Five Blind Boys, the Soul Stirrers, Alex Bradford and the Violinaires.

By the early 60’s, Chess records was a major player in the music industry, selling records by the thousands. They were able to sign some new, young talented musicians including Buddy Guy and Otis Rush. Etta James made her Chess debut in 1960 and many other female artists signed and recorded with the label including Jan Bradley, Sugar Pie De Santo, Fontella Bass, Jackie Ross, Jo Ann Garrett, Laura Lee as well as a female vocal group called the Gems (that counted Minnie Riperton as a member). Irma Thomas also joined Chess in 1967, recording her music in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

When R&B merged with gospel influenced music, it formulated the foundation for Soul music and right at the top of this transformation was Chess Records. In fact, the late 60’s were extraordinary banner years for the now well–established record label. But in 1968, after the departure of Billy Davis and founding partner Leonard Chess (who left the record label to concentrate his efforts in a radio station that he owned), much of the creative structure was lost and many of the record producers and songwriters departed as well.

In 1969, Leonard and Philip Chess sold Chess Records to a company called General Recorded Tape (GRT) for over six and a half million dollars (plus twenty-thousand shares of GRT stock). The company also suffered a devastating loss when Leonard Chess died that same year. The quality of the music declined and by the summer of 1972, the Chess Chicago offices were scarcely staffed, the distribution company and pressing plants had been closed as well. In fact, the only Chess studio that was in operation was the Chess Ter Mar studios, which were also operating with a skeleton staff. By the summer of 1975, GRT was dismantling what was left of the legendary record label. By August of 1975, all GRT record operations had been shut down and what was left was sold to a New Jersey-based company called All Platinum Records.

A catastrophic event occurred when the Chess building in Chicago was sold and the new owners brought in dumpsters and chain saws and destroyed over 250,000 vinyl records that had been abandoned. In one of the music industry’s most appalling events, classic recordings by Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Bo Diddley, Etta James, Muddy Waters and countless others were hauled away to the landfill. Luckily, the master tapes survived this apocalyptic event and are now the property of MCA Records which has reissued much of the classic Chess material during the 1980’s and 1990’s.

In retrospect, the innovative genius of the Chess brothers, who certainly had a clear eye for talent, is one of the most compelling stories in music history. The now legendary musicians who recorded music at Chess Records are some of the most influential artists of our generation; still influencing a multitude of young musicians to this day.

List of Chess Records Artists


Muddy Waters
Little Walter
Howlin' Wolf
Sonny Boy Williamson II
Lowell Fulson
Memphis Slim
Jimmy Rogers
John Lee Hooker
Willie Mabon
Buddy Guy
Little Milton
The Flamingos
The Moonglows
Chuck Berry
Bo Diddley
Clarence "Frogman" Henry
The Dells
Billy Stewart
Bobby Charles
Dale Hawkins
Benny Goodman
Gene Ammons
Eddie Bo
Etta James
Jody Williams


Koko Taylor
Fontella Bass
Sugar Pie DeSanto
Jackie Ross
Bob Kames
Laura Lee
Moms Mabley
Larry Williams
Johnny "Guitar" Watson
Jimmy McCracklin
Sonny Stitt
Big Bill Broonzy and Washboard Sam
Dave "Baby" Cortez
Slappy White
Pigmeat Markham

Cadillac Records

Chess Records History Revealed

Cadillac Records is a 2008 musical biopic written and directed by Darnell Martin. The film explores the musical era from the early 1940s to the late 1960s, chronicling the life of the influential Chicago-based record-company executive Leonard Chess, and the singers who recorded for Chess Records.

The film stars Adrien Brody as Chess, Cedric the Entertainer as Willie Dixon, Mos Def as Chuck Berry, Columbus Short as Little Walter, Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters, and Beyoncé Knowles as Etta James. The film has been rated R by the MPAA for "pervasive langauge and some sexuality". The film was released in North America on December 5, 2008.

I have not seen the movie, but from what I have read it is not the best, historically speaking. Read on:

Controversy Over the Lack of Bo Diddley in Cadillac Records

One of Chess Records biggest stars in the 50's was iconic rocker Bo Diddley, but there isn't even a mention of him in the new movie about the label, Cadillac Records.
The movie even goes as far as opening with Jeffrey Wright, who plays Muddy Waters, singing “I'm a Man.” Unfortunately, Waters never recorded the song, at least under that title. It is known that Diddley based “I'm a Man” on Waters’ “She Moves Me” and that Waters did recorded a variant of the song, called “Mannish Boy,” but he never officially recorded the song he is singing in the film.

So what happened? Diddley's former manager Margo Lewis has her own ideas. "It's no secret that Bo had real issues with the Chess Brothers and their 'creative accounting practices'.

"It was Bo's recollection that every time he or another performer would go to the Chess offices to ask for their royalties, they were given the keys to a new Cadillac instead. So, in that regard, at least they got the title of the movie right.
"Regardless, we are shocked that the producers would omit such a seminal figure as Bo."

Read more about the movie on the official site:

Your Vinyl Destination

Obviously space limits me from listing all of the recordings from this phenomenal record label. Suffice to say most of the black label Chess and Checker albums by their major Blues and R&B artists are very collectible and will always be very much in demand. Even more collectible are some of the early ‘white’ label promotional albums which were pressed and released on colored vinyl. Let’s explore some of the valuable Chess records (all prices listed are quoted from the “Rockin’ Records Price Guide,” written and distributed by vinyl record historian Jerry Osborne).

Gene Ammons
45 rpm
CHESS (1442 "Soulful Saxophone") $100-200 1959
(Multi-colored vinyl. Promotional issue only.)

Chuck Berry
CHESS (1604 "Maybellene") $75-100 1955
CHESS (1610 "Thirty Days") $50-70 1955
CHESS (1615 "No Money Down") $30-50 1956

7 inch EPs
CHESS (5118 "After School Session") $400-600 1957
CHESS (5118 "Head Over Heels") $400-600 1957
CHESS (5119 "Rock and Roll Music") $400-600 1958
CHESS (5121 "Sweet Little 16") $300-400 1958
CHESS (5124 "Pickin' Berries") $300-400 1958
CHESS (1426 "After School Session") $250-350 1957
CHESS (1432 "One Dozen Berrys") $100-200 1958
CHESS (1435 "Chuck Berry's On Top") $100-200 1959
CHESS (1448 "Rockin' at the Hops") $200-400 1959

Eddie Boyd
45 rpm
CHESS (1523 "Cool Kind Treatment") $200-300 1952
CHESS (1533 "24 Hours") $200-300 1953
CHESS (1541 "Third Degree") $200-300 1953
(Black vinyl.)
CHESS (1541 "Third Degree") $300-500 1953
(Red vinyl.)
CHESS (1552 "That's When I Miss You") $200-300 1953

Bo Diddley
CHECKER (819 "Diddley Daddy") $100-150 1955
(Promotional issue only.)
CHECKER (827 "Pretty Thing") $30-40 1955
CHECKER (832 "Diddy Wah Diddy") $30-40 1956
CHECKER (832 "Diddy Wah Diddy") $100-150 1956
CHECKER (1436 "Go Bo Diddley") $150-250 1959
CHECKER (2974 "Have Guitar Will Travel") $100-150 1959
CHECKER (2976 "Bo Diddley in the Spotlight") $100-150 1960
CHECKER (2977 "Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger") $100-15 1961
CHECKER (2980 "Bo Diddley Is a Lover") $100-150 1961

John Lee Hooker
CHESS (1505 "High Priced Woman") $200-30 1952
CHESS (1513 "Sugar Mama") $50-100 1952
CHESS (1562 "It's My Own Fault") $100-150 1954

Howlin' Wolf
CHESS (1528 "My Last Affair") $300-400 1953
CHESS (1557 "All Night Boogie") $500-700 1953
CHESS (1566 "Rockin' Daddy") $200-400 1954
CHESS (1575 "Baby How Long") $200-400 1954
CHESS (1584 "I'll Be Around") $100-200 1955
CHESS (1593 "Who Will BeNext") $100-200 1955
CHESS (1607 "Come to MeBaby") $100-200 1955
CHESS (1618 "Smoke StackLightning") $100-200 1956
CHESS (1434 "Moanin' in theMoonlight") $400-600 1958
CHESS (1469 "Howlin' Wolf") $300-500 1962
(Black label.)
CHESS (1469 "Howlin' Wolf") $400-600 1962
(White label. Promotional issue only.)

Howlin' Wolf - How Many More Years

Muddy Waters
CHESS (1509 "All Night Long") $400-500 1952
CHESS (1514 "Looking for My Baby") $300-400 1952
CHESS (1526 "Standing Around Crying") $300-400 1952
CHESS (1537 "She's All Right") $250-300 1953
CHESS (1542 "Who's Gonna Be Your Sweet Man") $150-200 1952
CHESS (1550 "Mad Love") $100-200 1953
CHESS (1427 "The Best of Muddy Waters") $400-600 1957
(Black label.)
CHESS (1444 "Muddy Waters Sings Big Bill") $300-500 1960
(Black label.)
CHESS (1449 "Muddy Waters at Newport 1960")$250-350 1964
(Black label.)
CHESS (1483 "Folk Singer") $200-400 1964
(Black label.)
Note: Orange and blue labels in the 1400 series are mid-'70s reissues, in the $10 to $20 range.

Willie Mabon
CHESS (1531 "I Don't Know") $40-60 1952
(Black vinyl.)
CHESS (1531 "I Don't Know") $100-150 1952
(Red vinyl.)
CHESS (1538 "I'm Mad") $40-60 1953
(Black vinyl.)
CHESS (1538 "I'm Mad") $100-150 1953
(Red vinyl.)
CHESS (1548 "You're a Fool") $40-60 1953
CHESS (1554 "I Got to Go") $40-60 1953
CHESS (1564 "Would You, Baby") $40-60 1954
CHESS (1580 "Poison Ivy") $40-60 1954
CHESS (1592 "Come On Baby") $40-60 1954
CHESS (1608 "The Seventh Son") $30-40 1955
CHESS (1627 "Knock on Wood") $30-40 1956
CHESS (1627 "Knock on Wood") $75-125 1956
(Promotional issue only.)

CHESS (1611 In My Diary") $250-275 1955
(White label. Promotional issue only.)
CHESS (1611 In My Diary") $75-100 1955
(Silver top label with chess pieces.)
CHESS (1619 "We Go Together") $30-50 1956
(Black vinyl. Silver top label with chess pieces.)
CHESS (1619 "We Go Together") $500-750 1956
(Red vinyl. Silver top label with chess pieces.)
CHESS (1430 "Look, It's the Moonglows") $200-300 1959