Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Spiral Scratch Records

I love independent record stores and their respective stories. This one caught my eye because I was born and raised in the Buffalo, NY area for the first 15 years of my life and it is where I bought my first 45 rpm record; which by the way was Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" (I fell in love with the flip side "Birds" as well)

written by Chao Li

Spiral Scratch is a Buffalo record sanctuary, with an amazingly broad selection of vinyl.

Even though Spiral Scratch has a small collection of CDs, this fairly new shop is the king of vinyl. "I just love music," says owner Dave 'Anchovies'. Dave is a soft-spoken guy, oozing with passion for music, especially the big-black-disc kind.

"I've always thought it was a shame that Buffalo, a city with such a great music scene, didn't still have the type of non-intimidating record store that I feel we need."

This is exactly what Dave built. His inspiration comes from music stores that he'd visited and loved spending time in, and Spiral Scratch has all the comforts of a small-city record store.

Spiral Scratch, occupying the space that used to be Sit and Spin Records, is not the first record store in Buffalo, but it's different. One of the most noticeable differences is that all the records are a couple dollars less than the prices one normally finds. Because Dave uses a handful of independent distributors or buys directly from the music labels themselves, the record price can be kept low.

Spiral Scratch is open to special orders. "It may take me a little longer to get the record, but I can sell them for really cheap," Dave says.

The store also buys back old records, and it also has a modest used CD collection. In addition, Dave is involved in promoting local shows and selling tickets for shows. Recently, Dave was moving tickets to the Boris show at Soundlab. Even though Spiral Scratch supports local music, you will not find a segregated section in this store.

"Local music shouldn't be separated into its own thing. Great music is great music, that's why I mix them all in together," Dave explains.

More of a fan than a businessman, Dave's establishment is driven by his passion for music and the rest seems to follow, making Spiral Scratch nearly unique in Buffalo. Dave did not show off the rare items he had on the shelves, neither did he mark up the price to a ridiculous level. They are just there, waiting silently for someone who'll recognize them as treasure--for the love of the music--not the fact that they may be a first pressing.

Introduced to music by his late father, back in the day, Dave believes that vinyl records and the vinyl scene is due for a comeback. "CDs are compact, but they fail after you use them for a couple years," Dave says. "If you take care of your records, they last forever." Vinyl records have large, visually appealing cover art and some come with posters and other fold-outs. Today, in the age of digital music, many vinyl records are released with a code so that people can also download the songs in mp3 formats to put on their digital music player.

"I still don't see myself as a collector. I just have a lot of records," Dave states. "If a record was released with two different album covers, a collector needs to have both. If I just have one--it's probably the cheaper one."

Even though it is still early on in the game, Dave's aim is clear. "I want this store to be broader than any of the other record stores," he says. With the help of his family and close friends, Spiral Scratch imports and sells records from a wide variety of artists. The collection ranges from Sigur Ros, to Sleep, to Nico; anyone can find something to take home. Dave backs that thought up by saying, "I don't want to just sell music I like, I want to have something for everyone that comes into the store."

Spiral Scratch Records
2531 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14216

SOURCE: http://www.buffalorising.com/2009/01/spiral-scratch-records.html#SlideFrame_1

Vinyl's still vital

I love vinyl related articles and found a beauty at lancasteronline.com

Store owners see a rise in LP sales despite digital options


Kenny Cotich loves placing a vinyl record on his record player, finding the song he wants by counting the lines, positioning the stylus or needle on the record and relishing the little pop as the electronic connection is made.

Cotich, of Manor Township, is only 19, and he is not alone in his love of records. Young and old are returning to vinyl as the music format of choice.

Forget the MP3 players, compact discs and computer downloads. Records have the best sound and the best aesthetic experience, fans say.

Nationwide, Nielsen SoundScan, reported 1.88 million records sold in 2008, almost twice as many as 2007. The numbers are still small, compared to the total 428.4 million albums that were sold, nevertheless the statistics reflect the growing interest that local independent record stores have been seeing over the past five years.

Local record store owners are seeing more interest in vintage records and in records made by many modern alternative bands, especially variations of indie, punk, electronic and folk music.

To read the rest of this interesting story:

Outrageous Heavy Metal Album Covers.

Last week we looked at Gigwise.com's list of best & worst album covers for 2008. Switching gears a bit, let's look at www.spike.com's look at The Top 20 Most Outrageous Heavy Metal Album Covers. Actually, I think some of these are classic album covers, I love heavy metal covers! We will look at five a day, sometimes that's all a person can handle. Longtime readers of the blog will certainly recognize some of these classic album covers.

Heavy metal bands have always relied on their album covers. Most metal bands wouldn’t have been half as popular if it wasn’t for their ridiculously awesome album art. But how did it go so wrong? When did bands start thinking it was okay to take their shirts off and pose as medieval warriors? Let's explore #15-11 on the list:

15. Whitesnake: Lovehunter

14. Ozzy Osbourne: Speak of the Devil

13. Morbid Angel: Covenant

12. Exodus: Bonded by Blood

11. Anthrax: Fistful of Metal

Classic Rock Videos

CCR - Bad Moon Rising

Music News & Notes

Clint Ballard Jr. Passes Away

We are all just learning now that legendary songwriter Clint Ballard, Jr. passed away on December 23 at his Denton, Texas home. He was 77.

Ballard's songs include Game of Love (Wayne Fontanna & the Mindbenders), You're No Good (Dee Dee Warwick, Linda Ronstadt), Gingerbread (Frankie Avalon), Good Timin' (Jimmy Jones) and I'm Alive (Hollies).


Nick Drake Tribute

A number of current artists are coming together to record a tribute album to English singer/songwriter Nick Drake. Included in the project are Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl, Norah Jones and Jack Johnson. Also on the album will be a version of Drake's Black Eyed Dog recorded by Heath Ledger in late 2007.


Blind Pig January 2009 Releases

On January 27, 2009 Blind Pig Records will release new studio CDs from a pair of up-and-coming blues stars as well as LP reissues from two blues legends.

The label will release new recordings from vocalist/harmonica player John Nemeth (Love Me Tonight) and guitar phenom Damon Fowler (Sugar Shack), and audiophile quality vinyl records from Walter Horton (Fine Cuts) and Otis Rush (Tops).

John Nemeth burst on the scene last year with his dazzling debut album, winning acclaim as one of the most gifted artists on the modern blues scene. He skillfully blends retro and modern blues and soul into compelling music that is simultaneously old and new. Brimming with energy, his new CD is tougher and edgier. Nemeth re-visits the inspired sounds of the 50's and 60's when Chicago blues was adding funk and rock to the mix. By reinvigorating the sound of vintage American R&B with his spine-tingling vocals and considerable songwriting skills, John has crafted a timeless slice of American music. Frequent collaborator Elvin Bishop guests on two tracks.

Damon Fowler, another fast-rising blues star, has made a name for himself with his guitar expertise and fusion of roots, rock, blues, and sacred steel. He's been compared to Johnny Winter and Jeff Beck, while his slide guitar has a hint of Ry Cooder and the late Duane Allman. He can play fiery runs with the best of them, but it's his lyrical work on lap steel and Dobro that sets him apart from legions of guitar players. Sugar Shack is pure Southern Americana - a skillful blend of swamp, blues, and Southern rock.

Big Walter Horton, whom Willie Dixon called "the best harmonica player I ever heard," was a highly influential harp master who combined a unique, fluid style, a genius for tone, and a rare emotional intensity. Fine Cuts, released in 1978, was one of the first recordings from the fledgling Blind Pig label, when the company was still headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Otis Rush, another blues giant and one of the premier Chicago blues guitarists, is captured live in a searing, soulful performance at the San Francisco Blues Festival in 1985. This fired-up, imaginative program showcases Rush's prodigious skills, immaculate chops, stinging, vibrato-drenched guitar and tortured, intense vocals.


Ringo Not Mute Anymore

Ringo Starr is back, sort of. A number of months ago, he announced on his website that he would no longer be signing autograph requests. He's backtracked slightly on that declaration, signing a drum head for a contestant winner.

The ex-Beatle has also been silent up until the now, writing on his website "I don't feel blue any more. It's 2009 and I feel fine. Couldn't get any better, could it? Peace and love to Ricardo, hope you have a great life. Peace and love everybody."


Patty Smyth & Scandal Reunion Update

Over six months ago, a story of how Patty Smyth and Scandal were ready to go the reunion route. They had done an episode of VH1's Band Reunited and said it felt so good that they were ready to try it full time again.

Now, a half year later, new information has surfaced from a conversation that Smyth had with Spinner.com. The new group with original members Smyth, Keith Mack (guitar) and Benjy King (keyboards) and new members Tom Welsch (bass) and Eran Asias (drums) originally went into the studio and recorded an EP of fresh material.

Originally set for release in late-2008, what the group heard made them so excited that they decided to hold off and record a full-length album. Now set for a release sometime this year, Smyth is excited. We did a bunch of gigs and that's all I heard at every show, 'Are you gonna make a new record?' I really felt compelled to do it. I figured, 'Why not?'

"It doesn't sound retro at all. Keith just really evolved, just as I like to think I have as a songwriter and singer. That's kind of what you want...to be different but still us."

Rock & Roll Tidbits

The first time that Dick Clark heard a Beatles' record he said, "I don't know what the heck you're so excited about...it'll never fly."

According to vocalist Davy Jones, The Monkees were allowed to choose some of the songs they recorded. Two that they turned down were "Knock Three Times", which would become a Billboard chart topper for Tony Orlando and Dawn in 1970 and "Love Will Keep Us Together", which became a million selling number one for The Captain and Tennille in 1975.

The term "rock and roll", which was black slang for sexual intercourse, appeared on record for the first time in 1922 on Trixie Smith's "My Baby Rocks Me With One Steady Roll".

The term "rhythm & blues" was coined in 1948 by a young Billboard reporter and future Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler, to replace the negative term "Race Records".

After John Lennon made his unfortunate remarks about the Beatles being "more popular than Jesus", the Bishop of Montreal, the Rt. Rev. Kenneth Maguire said: "I wouldn't be surprised if The Beatles actually were more popular than Jesus. In the only popularity poll in Jesus' time, he came out second best to Barabbas."

In the summer of 2005, recording industry insiders estimated that there were still 28 billion songs being illegally downloaded yearly.

Mike Stoller, one half of the songwriting team of Leiber & Stoller, survived the 1956 sinking of the luxury ship Andrea Doria off Nantucket Island. When he returned to New York on a rescue freighter, he was greeted by his partner Jerry Leiber who told him that they had just scored their first hit record by "some white kid called Elvis Presley." Stoller replied "Elvis who?"

Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees considered himself to be quite the ladies man. In fact, his standard pick-up line was that he had fallen in love and wanted to get married. He was known to walk around with a pocket full of engagement rings but this technique got him into trouble especially when five or six of his ‘fiancĂ©es’ gathered together at the stage door.

"House Of The Rising Sun" is a traditional Folk song that was first recorded in 1920 and tells a story about a brothel in New Orleans named after Madame Marianne Le Soleil Levant (which means "Rising Sun" in French). It was open for business from 1862, when Union Troops occupied the town, until 1874, when it was closed due to complaints by neighbors.

After the death of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham in 1980, guitarist Jimmy Page refused to even pick up a guitar for nearly nine months.

Monkees’ guitarist Mike Nesmith wrote Linda Ronstadt's 1968 hit, "Different Drum".

Gene Chandler, who reached number one in the US in 1962 with "The Duke Of Earl", was the producer of "Backfield In Motion", a 1969 Top Ten hit by Mel And Tim.

Tommy Roe wrote and recorded a song called "Sheila" when he was just 14 years old. The effort went nowhere, but six years later, he recorded it again for ABC-Paramount and this time it went to number one in the US.

Peter Noone, better known as Herman of Herman's Hermits, once interviewed Elvis Presley for the UK music paper New Musical Express.

In 1972, Chuck Berry complained when his record company recorded a concert performance in London. But Berry stopped complaining after a song from his set went on to be his biggest-selling hit. The song? “My Ding-a-Ling.”

Many listeners believed that Bjork’s song “Humanbehavior” contained lyrics sang in Icelandic. Not true, say Bjork, “People think it’s Icelandic,” she quipped. “But actually whatever noise it feels naturally to sing.” Uh, have you met Yoko Ono?

In the first two years after the Beatles fired drummer Pete Best, they would gross over 24 million dollars. Best went to work as a baker, earning 8 pounds a week.

In the Spring of 1969, The Cowsills had the number two song on Billboard's Hot 100 with "Hair". The changing music scene soon left them hopelessly outdated and by 1970, guitarist Bob Cowsill had a job sweeping a parking garage.

When Jerry and the Pacemakers returned to England following their first tour of America in 1964, they were shocked to find that not only did the band not make any money, they actually owed over three thousand dollars in expenses, thanks to lavish dinners and limousine rides.

Question Mark and The Mysterians 1966, number one US hit "96 Tears" was recorded in the living room of their manager's house.

None of The Beatles were invited to attend the private funeral of their manager Brian Epstein. They did however hold a memorial service for their former leader a few weeks later.

The song writing team of Holland - Dozier - Holland wrote "Where Did Our Love Go" for The Marvelettes, who hated the song and turned it down. It was then offered to The Supremes, who reluctantly recorded it. By mid-July, 1964, it became their breakthrough hit, climbing all the way to number one on Billboard's Hot 100.

Phil Collins was an extra during the filming of the first Beatles' movie, "A Hard Days Night".

Although the term "teeny-bopper" came to mean a young teenager in the 60s and 70s, the original term "bopper" was a street gang term for one who was always looking for a fight.

This Date In Music History-January 20


Paul Stanley- KISS (1952)

Ian Hill- Judas Priest (1952)

Eric Stewart- Mindbenders (1945)

Rick Evans- Zager and Evans (1943)

Slim Whitman was born in 1924.

Songwriter Lee Pockriss ("Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” "Johnny Angel” and many others) turns 81.

They Are Missed:

Born on this day in 1942, Billy Powell, vocals, The O'Jays (died on May 26, 1982).

Ron Townson of the 5th Dimension was born in 1933 (died on August 3, 2001).

Lead Belly was born in Mooringsport, LA in 1889 (died December 6, 1949).

Alan Freed, who many credit with coining the term "Rock and Roll,” died in 1965 at the age of 43. Freed was a Cleveland disc jockey who started promoting dances that featured the top artists of the day, including, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis. After moving to New York and appearing in some teen movies, he was caught up in the payola scandal of 1959 for accepting money for playing certain records on his radio show. Before his death, he was virtually broke and fighting charges of tax evasion. It was a sad end for one of Rock and Roll's most important pioneers.


In 1973, Jerry Lee Lewis was booked to play the Grand Ole Opry on the condition that he would stick to Country and Western tunes only. Jerry did just that for a while, but eventually broke into his old Rock hits from the 50's, while swearing up a storm. He proclaimed, "I am the rock and rollin', country and western, rhythm and blues singin' motherf***er."

"Get A Job" by The Silhouettes was released in 1958. The song would climb to #1 in the US and is considered to be a Rock and Roll classic, although the Philadelphia quartet who sang it never had another Top 40 hit.

In 1965, the Byrds covered Bob Dylan’s "Mr. Tambourine Man." However, only group leader/guitarist Jim McGuinn was allowed to play on the track. CBS Records decided to use Hollywood session musicians rather than the group.

"Meet the Beatles" was released in the US in 1964.

In 1982, Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a bat thrown onstage by a fan in Des Moines, Iowa. He was taken to hospital to undergo a rabies injection.

Today in 1968, the song "Judy in Disguise (with Glasses)" by John Fred & His Playboy Band topped the charts and stayed there for 2 weeks.

In 1969, Elvis Presley recorded "In the Ghetto" and "Suspicious Minds" It was the first time he had recorded in Memphis since 1956.

In 1970, Creedence Clearwater Revival hits #2 with "Travelin' Band" and "Lookin' Out My Back Door," and #4 with "Up Around the Bend.” The group never had a #1 hit.

In 1988, The Beach Boys, the Beatles, the Drifters, Bob Dylan, Berry Gordy, Jr., Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Les Paul and the Supremes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during ceremonies at New York's Waldorf Astoria. During the Beach Boys acceptance speech, vocalist Mike Love insulted just about everybody in the music business, including Paul McCartney, Diana Ross, Bruce Springsteen and Mick Jagger. "I don’t have much to say ‘cause I’m the quiet Beatle," dead panned George Harrison in his speech.

In 1990, Michael Bolton started a three week run at #1 on the US singles chart with 'How Am I Supposed To Live Without You', the singers first #1 and the first #1 single of the 90's in the US.

The Rolling Stones appearred on the season premiere of ABC’s pop music show Shindig in 1965. They bring Blues great Howlin’ Wolf along as special guest.

In 1958, KWK, a radio station in St. Louis, wraps up their "Record Breaking Week". After the station manager Robert Convey decided rock 'n' roll should be banned from their airwaves, DJs were allowed to play every rock record in their library once on air and then smash it to pieces. Convey describes the stunt as "a simple weeding out of undesirable music."

In 1968, having been in seclusion since his 1966 motorcycle accident, Bob Dylan tried to build bridges with the folk community he left behind by "going electric". He and the Band performed at a Carnegie Hall tribute to Woody Guthrie, sharing a bill with Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, Richie Havens, Odetta and Ramblin' Jack Elliott.