Saturday, August 23, 2008

World's Largest Record Collection-Update

Pittsburgh-area record collector shuts down store

PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh-area record collector who hoped to sell his vintage vinyl for at least $1 a record has instead, bitterly, closed up shop.

Paul Mawhinney locked up his Record-Rama Sound Archives for good on Thursday, saying he's been squeezed out of business by the recording industry and big-box retailers who can sell compact discs for about two dollars less than his wholesale cost.

Mawhinney stopped buying CDs in 2002 and sold off his 300,000-disc collection in recent weeks. But efforts to sell more than a half-million albums, a million more 45 rpm singles, and thousands of tapes foundered. One buyer went bankrupt while another on eBay turned out to be bogus.

The 68-year-old started collecting records in 1951 when he bought a Frankie Laine single called "Jezebel."

Let's hope this masterpiece of music finds a permanent home very soon.

Legendary Session Drummer Buddy Harman Dies

Buddy Harman, the Nashville-based drummer who played on over 18,000 recordings, passed away Thursday of congestive heart failure at the age of 79.

It was Harman's drum that struck the beat on Roy Orbison's Oh Pretty Woman, shuffled along on Patsy Cline's Crazy and rocked out Elvis Presley on Little Sister. In a forty year career, Harman played at least once with the vast majority of artists that recorded in the southern U.S.A.

Harman learned drums at an early age and studied in Chicago under Roy Knapp. Upon returning to Nashville, he initially found it a slow go as country was yet to fully integrate drumming into it's sound, but early recordings with the likes of Ray Price, Patsy Cline and Marty Robbins allowed him to develop a distinct style that would see him as being credited as one of the developers of the Nashville Sound.

As a session musician in Nashville, Harman was part of the Nashville A-Team which also included Harold Bradley, Hank Garland, Grady Martin, Boots Randolph, Charlie McCoy, Floyd Cramer, Hargus "Pig" Robbins and Bob Moore, among others. Harman also has the distinction of having played on the soundtrack to all 33 of Elvis Presley's movies.

In his book Heartaches By The Number: Country Music's Greatest Singles, author David Cantwell wrote "Buddy Harman set the standard, both quantitatively and qualitatively, for what a great country drummer should be. The mind boggles at the number of musically distinctive and emotionally fitting ways Harman found to lay down a beat."

WSM radio personality Eddie Stubbs commented, "If anybody could be called the father of modern country drumming, it would be Buddy. He defined the role of the drums in country music. No matter the song, he knew what to play. More importantly, he knew what not to play. Always."

In 1959, Harman became the first house drummer at the Grand Ole Opry, a position to which he would return in the early-90's. Among his accolades are the award for Drummer of the Year from the ACM in 1981 and the "Super Picker" Award from NARAS for drumming in 1975 and 1976.

Among Harman's 18,000 recordings are these gems:

• Oh Pretty Woman - Roy Orbison
• Crying - Roy Orbison
• Cathy's Clown - Everly Brothers
• Little Sister - Elvis Presley
• King of the Road - Roger Miller
• Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash
• Crazy - Patsy Cline
• Big Bad John - Jimmy Dean
• Bye Bye Love - Everly Brothers
• Only the Lonely - Roy Orbison
• Crazy Arms - Ray Price
• Walking After Midnight - Patsy Cline
• Night Life - Ray Price
• Rose Garden - Lynn Anderson
• I'm Sorry - Brenda Lee
• Stand By Your Man - Tammy Wynette
• Coal Miner's Daughter - Loretta Lynn
• The Battle of New Orleans - Johnny Horton
• Viva Las Vegas - Elvis Presley
• Heartaches By the Numbers - Ray Price


This Date In Music History- August 23


Rick Springfield ("Speak To The Sky") turns 59.

Jimy Sohns of the Shadows of Knight ("Gloria") is 62.

Tony "Spaghetti" Micale, lead singer of the Reflections ("Just Like Romeo And Juliet") is 66.


Drifters vocalist Rudy Lewis was born in Philadelphia in 1936. His tenure with the group ended tragically sometime on the night of May 20, 1964 -- the following morning, he was found dead in his bed; some accounts say the cause was a drug overdose, while others who knew him say that Lewis, who was a binge eater, choked to death in his sleep. The group's other lead singer, Johnny Moore, stepped into the breach that same morning on the scheduled session for "Under The Boardwalk", and was the Drifters' lead vocalist for the remainder of their tenure on Atlantic and beyond.

The Beatles performed at the Hollywood Bowl in 1964 (the performance was finally released 13 years later).

Today in 1969 the song "Honky Tonk Woman" by the Rolling Stones topped the charts and stayed there for 4 weeks. Released the day after Brian Jones’ funeral, it’s the group's first hit with guitarist Mick Taylor (Jones’ replacement).

In 1975, Fleetwood Mac's self-titled album entered the charts. It's the former blues band's first record with pop-oriented songwriters Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham on board.

The late Keith Moon of the Who ("Pinball Wizard") was born in 1947.

The Looking Glass hit the top of the Billboard singles chart in 1972 with "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)."

The Beatles' movie "Help!" premiered in the U.S. in 1966.

The self titled-debut, "Blind Faith," entered the U.S. album chart in 1969, eventually reaching #1.

Killer Queen. “Queen's Greatest Hits” was released in Iran in 2004. Queen is the first Rock band to receive the official seal of approval in Iran even though Western music is strictly prohibited and homosexuality is considered a serious crime. Queen`s late singer, Freddie Mercury, who died of AIDs in `91, was of Iranian ancestry and bootlegged albums have been available for years.

Ringo Starr quit The Beatles during the recording sessions for "The White Album" in 1968, after finding that Paul had been erasing his drum tracks and replacing them with his own. During his absence, Paul fills in on drums for the taping of "Back In The USSR". He did return.

In 1969, Johnny Cash started a four-week run at #1 on the US album chart with "Johnny Cash At San Quentin.”

In 1987, there was big trouble at a Grateful Dead concert, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Love, when police killed an escaped drug addict who had shot one of the officers. The band's "In the Dark" album was sitting at number 6 in the US and its single, "Touch of Grey", was still climbing toward the Top Ten.

Oasis' "Be Here Now" sold 696,000 copies in its first two days of release in the UK in 1997, setting a record for the fastest selling album ever. It will top the chart the following week and reach #2 in the US in September.

In 1978, comedian Steve Martin was awarded a gold record for "King Tut", which had reached #17 on the Billboard chart.

A fan surreptitiously taped a Velvet Underground set on an ordinary cassette recorder in 1970. It turns out to be Reed's last night with the band and was later released as Velvet Underground - "The Velvet Underground Live at Max's Kansas City.'