Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pearl Jam Album Cover Art Game

Pearl Jam recently announced the release of their much anticipated new album, Backspacer (produced by Brendan O'Brien) on September 21, plus a handful of UK tour dates in support of the record.

For Backspacer's imagery, the band enlisted the creative genius of their friend and renowned political cartoonist Tom Tomorrow. Here's one image from Backspacer below - click on it to discover more.... or visit more on Pearl Jam's site here:

Cover Game

Classic Rock Videos

Ramones, Baby I love you!

Top Ten Most Valuable Records

I did a post last week and after searching the Internet for the world’s Top Ten Most Valuable vinyl records, one can be sure that the lists can be subjective, vary from country to country and will fluctuate over time. For instance, the copy of John Lennon & Yoko Ono “Double Fantasy” LP, the one that he signed for Mark David Chapman just a few hours before he was shot to death, is at the top of a common list.

However, the record remains unsold, so the asking price may not be exactly what the record is worth. With the recent death of Michael Jackson, copies of “Thriller” were selling at more than three times what the record price guides listed and Jackson’s rare vinyl has also skyrocketed. Although the prices for his more common records will even out, one can assume his rare vinyl will remain at high prices.

In all actuality, a record is worth what someone will pay for it; which is true of most collectibles. Many variables will effect the price, such as demand, the death of an artist, the condition of the vinyl itself, just to name a few. However, in the case of vinyl records, there are some recording artists that always show up on the ‘top ten’ lists, including the Beatles and the Sex Pistols. My guess is that there will always be a demand for the Fab Four and the Sex Pistols, hence the prices for their records and the rare ones will always be on the high end of any list. Also, the lists include acetates, which are another rare form of a record release.

If we take a look at the three lists below we see that the early Beatles work done as the Quarrymen show up on both the Wikipedia list and the list from the Telegraph in the UK. Also, the Beatles show up as the one that command the most money at (according to their database).

Most Valuable Records Lists

The following list is an attempt to list some of the most valuable recordings. Data is sourced from Record Collector magazine, eBay, Popsike, Good Rockin' Tonight and other sources.

Source: wikipedia

1) John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Double Fantasy (Geffen US Album, 1980) Note: Autographed by Lennon five hours before Mark David Chapman assassinated him. Value: $525,000

2) The Quarrymen – “That’ll Be the Day”/”In Spite Of All The Danger” (UK 78 RPM, Acetate in plain sleeve, 1958) Note: Only one copy made. Value: $180,000

3) The Beatles – Yesterday and Today (Capitol, US Album in ‘butcher’ sleeve, 1966) Value: $38,500, though more typically prices range from $150-$7500

4) Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (CBS, US album, stereo 1963 featuring 4 tracks deleted from subsequent releases) Value: $35,000

5) Long Cleve Reed & Little Harvey Hull – “Original Stack O’Lee Blues” (Black Patti, US 78 RPM in plain sleeve, 1927) Value: $30,000

6) Frank Wilson – “Do I Love You?” (Tamla Motown, US 7” 45 RPM in plain sleeve, 1965) Value: $30,000

7) Velvet Underground & Nico – The Velvet Underground and Nico (US Album Acetate, in plain sleeve, 1966 with alternate versions of tracks from official release) Value: estimate $25,200.

8) Elvis Presley - Stay Away, Joe (US, RCA Victor UNRM-9408, 1967) Note: One side promotional album.

9) The Five Sharps - “Stormy Weather” (US, Jubilee 5104, 78 RPM, 1953) Value: $25,000

10) The Hornets - “I Can’t Believe” (US, States 127, 78 RPM, 1953) Value: $25,000

Here is a list from the UK (note they do list several acetates, which are different from vinyl, these are very rare indeed!) and the two lists certainly are different and the estimates of worth vary.


1. THE QUARRYMEN: That'll Be The Day/ In Spite Of All The Danger (1958): £100,000 ($165,000)

2. SEX PISTOLS: God Save The Queen (1977) Value: £7,000 ($11,500)

3. SEX PISTOLS: Anarchy In The UK (1976) Value: £6,000 (double-sided acetate) ($9,900)

4. QUEEN: Bohemian Rhapsody (1978) Value: £5,000 ($8,250)

5. JOHN'S CHILDREN: Midsummer's Night Scene (1967) Value: £4,000 ($6,600)

6. TOBY TYLER: The Road I'm On (Gloria) (1964) Value: £3,000 (acetate) ($4,950)

7. DAVID BOWIE: Space Oddity (1969) Value: £3,000 ($4,950)

8. JOHN LENNON WITH THE PLASTIC ONO BAND: You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) (1969) Value: £3,000 ($4,950)

9. XTC: Science Friction (1977) Value: £2,500 ($4,125)

10. JACKIE LEE COCHRAN: Ruby Pearl (1957) Value: £2,500 ($4,125)

Now let’s explore the Top Ten Vinyl Records that have been documented as sold by (although this does not include private sales between record collectors)


1. Beatles - White Album UK 1968 Mono LP Cover No.0000005 2008-11-23 ($31,700)

2. VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO 1966 Acetate LP ANDY WARHOL 2006-12-21 ($25,200)

3. SEX PISTOLS - God Save the Queen - GENUINE A&M AMS7284! 2006-03-02 ($20,900)

4. SEX PISTOLS God Save The Queen PUNK PRE A&M 2006-04-02 ($17,750)

5. SEX PISTOLS - God Save the Queen - GENUINE A&M AMS7284! 2006-06-30 ($16,500)


7. SCARCE Northern Soul 45 Junior McCants KING RARE PROMO 2008-10-05 ($15,099)

8. Sex Pistols- Jamie Reid Complete Set LTD Edition Signed 2007-12-12 ($15,000)

9. THE MISFITS- PLAN 9 1009- HORROR BUSINESS ULTRA RARE 2008-01-26 ($14,301)

10. PINK FLOYD Meddle BLUE VINYL Colombia ULTRA RARE UNSEEN 2009-01-17 ($12,000)

Bird And Animal Names In Rock And Roll History- part twenty-three

Let’s continue our series about “bird” and “animal” group names in rock and roll history:

Based out of Los Angles hails the rock band led by Grant Lee Phillips called Grant Lee Buffalo. Playing alternative pop rock, the group released five albums, "Fuzzy" (1993), "Mighty Joe Moon" (1994), "Copperopolis" (1996) and "Jubilee" (1998) as well as the LP called “Storm Hymnal-Gems From The Vault Of” in 2001; which is a compilation of singles, album tracks and rarities.

Often sounding like their influences (David Bowie, John Lennon, R.E.M. among many others), Phillips’ songwriting received prominent critical acclaim as he gracefully tackled political and social issues with his lyrics. Musically, the band is equally adept at hard rock and roll, folk rock or haunting ballads.

The group was a popular live attraction, opening up for some of the major players at the time including R.E.M., Pearl Jam and the Smashing Pumpkins. However, as popular as the band was with their fans and critics alike, they could not break through into the mainstream music arena, despite the strong musicianship and original styles of the band. The group gave up their efforts in 1999 and Phillips launched a solo career, issuing the intimate album "Ladies Love Oracle" on the Internet in 2000. His first full-length LP, "Mobilize," was released to enormous critical acclaim in 2001. He has continued to work in the business, guesting on albums by Eels, Neil Finn, Harvey Danger (among others) and releasing several solo efforts.

Before going solo, Linda Ronstadt fronted a band called the Stone Poneys that cracked the Billboard Top 40 with a Michael Nesmith (of the Monkees fame) written tune called “Different Drum.” The band’s debut album did not contain this hit song (it was on the second album), but provided listeners with strong original folk material from the band’s guitarists, Bob Kimmel and Ken Edwards. The Stone Poneys broke up during the recording of their third release, leaving Ronstadt to finish it up with various session men and is a great LP, including songs written by Mike Nesmith, Laura Nyro and three Tim Buckley originals. While the album served up some classic California folk rock and was well produced, it was the last of the Stone Poneys. But with this springboard, Linda Ronstadt went on to mega-stardom and recorded the number one song “You’re No Good” as well as many other Top 40 Billboard hits.

Although the popular California psychedelic band Country Joe & the Fish may be best remembered for their legendary performance at Woodstock with a version of the song “Fixin’-To-Die” and the obscene “Fish Cheer,” the band actually capitalized on the psychedelic era with their raunchy guitars and tongue-in-cheek lyrics, free love preaching and political protest ideals.

The first release, an EP with a folk version of “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die-Rag,” along with a second EP release were combined with other songs by the band for their debut album, “Electric Music For The Mind And Body” and the album fit in perfectly with the times. Subsequent releases captured audiences with more heavily a distorted guitar, organ heavy psychedelia and Country Joe’s good-time lyrics and stage antics.

But the band’s main claim to fame and one of the decades most famous war protest songs “Fixin’-To-Die” could never be duplicated, although Country Joe fronted several versions of the band after the group’s third release, “Together,” which featured a classic country Joe and The Fish tune called “Rock and Soul Music.”

Mallard was a short-lived experimental rock outfit that featured several former members of Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band, including: guitarist Bill Harkleroad (aka Zoot Horn Rollo), bassist Mark Boston (aka Rockette Morton), and percussionist/drummer Art Tripp (aka Ed Marimba), the latter of which also played in Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention for several albums, as well. Boston and Harkeford played with Beefheart for 1968 through 1974, but they had a falling out over their unhappiness with the album “Unconditionally Guaranteed.”

So the unhappy musicians recruited Art Tripp and were joined by a host of others including John “Rabbit” Bundrick, singer Sam Galpin and percussionist Barry Morgan for the release of Mallard’s 1975 self-titled LP. The record was financed by Beefheart fan Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull; however the LP was only available in the US as an import. Mallard’s next LP “In A Different Climate” was released in 1976 but in spite of the musical talents of these veteran musicians and support from the British press, Mallard never achieved commercial success. In 1994, both albums were re-released on CD by Virgin Records in the UK and in the US.

Grant Lee Buffalo Tidbits:

Grant Lee Buffalo was - Grant-Lee Phillips (vocals and guitar), Paul Kimble (bass) and Joey Peters (drums). All three were previously members of another Los Angeles band, Shiva Burlesque.

Grant Lee Buffalo had an Americana tinged sound, clearly influenced by the likes of Neil Young and elements of old-fashioned country music.

In 1995, Phillips was voted best male vocalist by Rolling Stone Magazine.

Stone Poneys Tidbits:

The band was discovered by a couple of music industry executives while rehearsing at a soul food restaurant called Olivia's which was located in Ocean Park, a community between Venice Beach and Santa Monica that was famous for its food and clientele, including The Doors.

In 1970, the Pickwick record label licensed nine Stone Poneys tracks from their Capitol albums and released Stoney End under the name Linda Ronstadt & the Stone Poneys. The album featured "Different Drum", "One for One" and "Some of Shelly's Blues,” as well as their recording of the 1960's classic "Let's Get Together.”

Their misspelled name came from Delta Blues singer Charlie Patton's 1929 song "The Stone Pony Blues" (also known as "Pony Blues."

Country Joe & the Fish Tidbits:

Country Joe and The Fish were regulars at Fillmore West and East and Chet Helms' Avalon Ballroom. They were billed with such groups as Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Led Zeppelin, and Iron Butterfly.

They played at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. In 1971 the band appeared in a Western film starring Don Johnson as an outlaw gang called the Crackers.

The group's name is derived from leftist politics; "Country Joe" was a popular name for Joseph Stalin in the 1940s, while "the fish" refers to Mao Tse-Tung's statement that the true revolutionary "moves through the peasantry as the fish does through water."

Country Joe's anti-war activity led to his being called as a witness at the Chicago Seven conspiracy trial in 1969.

Music News & Notes

Echo And The Bunnymen Plan New Album And Tour

Liverpool veterans Echo and the Bunnymen have confirmed details of their next album, which is set to be released on October 12.

'The Fountain' will be preceded by a single, 'I Think I Need To Know' on 28th September.

The forthcoming album, which will be their first since the release of 'Siberia' in 2005, will be followed by a five date UK tour.

Last year the band marked their 30th anniversary by playing an acclaimed show at the Liverpool Echo Arena that saw them perform their classic 'Ocean Rain' album in full.


Anita Baker, Snoop Dogg to Collaborate on New Album

Revered R&B singer Anita Baker is releasing an album with some surprising guest artists next year, according to reports.

The record will feature a combination of live performances and new music Baker wrote for other singers, as well as collaborations with contemporary artists, including the unlikely pairing of eight-time Grammy winner Baker and rapper Snoop Dogg.

The Ohio-born soul singer was quick to explain that, although she's working with rappers and more contemporary singers, the music will not be a major departure from her sound. "It will be an Anita Baker record, but it will have a lot of surprising elements in it," Baker told Billboard. "We'll take a lot of our contemporaries and bring them into my project where they may fit."

Baker's upcoming album (her seventh studio record) will be distributed by legendary jazz label Blue Note records, and is scheduled for release next spring.


Sea Wolf Sails Into Expansive New Territory On Sophomore LP

An expansive collection of modern mythology and lush orchestration, Sea Wolf's sophomore LP, "White Water, White Bloom," will be released September 22nd on Dangerbird Records. Akin to Sea Wolf's debut LP, "Leaves in the River," the latest was penned solely by Alex Brown Church but was this time recorded with a full band, which expanded the sonic palette. These new compositions were injected with a raw, dynamic energy that the band developed through extensive touring together, and will be unveiled on a cross-country six-week tour beginning in September. The album can be pre-ordered via Dangerbird. Fans have the choice of a 180-gram vinyl package that comes with two vinyl-only bonus tracks and a digital download card or a standard CD digipak with fold-out poster.


Fogelberg Release

Before he passed away, Dan Fogelberg put the finishing touches on some new tracks and a few that had been lingering on tape for a number of years. The results are Love in Time, his final album of new material which will be released on August 13 via the digital services by Universal Music Group. A CD version of the album will be out at a future date after Universal has a chance to finalize production and advertising.

The family pushed for the August 13 release, even if only digitally, as it would have been Fogelberg's 58th birthday. He passed away on December 16, 2007 after a battle with prostate cancer.


Detente Reveals New Album, "Decline," Cover Artwork

LA metal band, DÉTENTE, has revealed the cover artwork for their upcoming record, "Decline." The art for "Decline" was painted by Michael Leone with additional graphic work performed by Christopher Leone. DÉTENTE's "Decline" is tentatively scheduled for a December release.

I nominate it for heavy meatl cover art of the year....