Monday, October 12, 2009

Record albums have staying power

Vinyls are coming back in style

By Amanda Dovel

Walking down the stairs of “Albums on the Hill,” the store is a cluttered mess of fliers, CD’s, posters and of course an entire room full of LPs. The new Built to Spill album “Good Ol’ Boredom” was playing in the background of the store, unleashing a new part of the music world few are familiar with. This is the underground world of vinyl records.

Andy Schneidkraut has owned Albums on the Hill for 22 years. He sees a lot of young people buying and collecting vinyls and believes it’s about the sound quality and actually understanding the music.

“It’s about the experience, its more relational and intimate,” Schneidkraut said. “The music is not intended to be background noise, it’s about wanting to listen and having to actively get up and turn it over to listen to the other side.”

Recently, the top album sold at Albums is the limited edition 12” vinyl single from Thom Yorke of Radiohead. The record features “FeelingPulledApartbyHorses” and “The Hollow Earth.”

Classic rock albums such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, the Grateful Dead and many more from the 60s and 70s are still topping the charts in record sales. Records were born in a time where rock and roll ruled the music scene and the young adults that listened to it.

The cultural influence of these albums is obvious as the demand for classic records continues to increase. Many students expressed their love for vinyl records that have been passed down to them from their parents who collected many albums.

Taylor Iverson, a 20-year-old double majoring in film and journalism, said he found a vintage Beatles album in his parent’s collection and has collected over fifty records since. Iverson said he believes the best sound quality is in LPs.

“With vinyl, you hear the music exactly the way the artists want you to hear it,” Iverson said. “It’s the most pristine sound possible.”

Sam Sacher, a 21-year-old junior ethnic studies major, said she too became interested in record collecting because of her family.

“My dad listened to a lot of bad music but also some cool jazz, funk and soul,” Sacher said.

Sacher said was hooked on “The Blues Brothers” when she was younger, and she believes records are a different, more involved way of listening that has been lost over time.

She said that if she knows she likes the whole album, she’ll buy the record. If she only wants one song she’ll just buy the MP3, although she agrees the sound quality of a record is much better than anything else. Her most recent purchase is Betty Davis’ “Nasty Gal” LP.

“The album is raunchy, sexually charged funk,” Sacher said.

Vinyl sales have helped encourage people to continue buying music, rather than getting it for free off the Internet. Modern LP releases often come in a package that enables the purchaser to walk away with tangible album art, a high quality sound recording and often a code to download the MP3 version of the album for free.

LP purchases always support that band, but also the artist who designed the album art.

Iverson said he just bought the vintage “Grand Funk Railroad,” double LP, and that it came with “an awesome poster.”

Sacher said that she hopes the increase in record sales will encourage bands to wait on releasing their album until it’s perfect. That way, people will want to purchase the entire album to listen to it all the way through and really appreciate it’s crackling sound on the record player.

Adam Ladwig is the director of Radio 1190 on campus and a 21-year-old broadcast news major. He said he collects records because he likes the feel of a record; by holding a record the collector is much more involved in the music, when compared to the impersonal action of Internet downloading.

“It’s much more fun to drop a needle on a record than it is to play a CD,” Ladwig said. “There is a more earthy sound coming off a record player.”

While portability is sacrificed with the use of a record player, an iPod or mp3 player will never get sound that “pops” and “hisses” like that of a record player.

John Martinez has been employed at Bart’s CD cellar for 12 years now and he works upstairs in the vinyl section. He describes how his love of music has connected him with vinyl records.

“I like being around records,” Martinez said. “I’ve had the vinyl bug since I was little and I have been at it so long I just cant imagine doing anything else.”

He believes vinyl records are an “all encompassing medium” with has visual, audio and sensual qualities about it. Martinez also said he believes records create the best sound possible and you can hear the entire audio spectrum.

“Music is a really good escape from reality, it’s a distraction,” Martinez explains. “Music takes you out of yourself, a good concert invigorates you for days. It allows you to tap into feelings you have trouble expressing whether they’re happy or sad.”


Vinyl Collective Top 10 Sales of the past week

Stop By for some great muisc and awesome collectible vinyl!

1 Vinyl Collective Raffle Ticket 123 copies
2 MICAH SCHNABEL (of Two Cow Garage) “When the Stage Light Goes Dim” CD 108 copies
3 Suburban Home Chad Price Fall,Winter Sampler DIGITAL ALBUM (mp3) 68 copies
4 LAWRENCE ARMS “Buttsweat And Tears” 7″ 50 copies
5 COBRA SKULLS “American Rubicon” LP red w/ white marble vinyl 36 copies
6 WHATEVER 30 copies
7 THE SWELLERS “Welcome Back Riders” 7″ pink/blue half and half vinyl 21 copies
8 LUCERO “1372 Overton Park” LP 20 copies
9 THE SWELLERS “Welcome Back Riders” 7″ pink w/ blue haze vinyl 19 copies
10 CONVERGE “Axe To Fall” LP colored vinyl 16 copies
10 CHUCK RAGAN/ BRIAN FALLON “Gospel Songs” 7″ brown vinyl VC exclusive color 16 copies
10 Suburban Home SHOTGUNATOR black 16 copies

A few interesting numbers. The Raffle got off to a great start. 221 more tickets and we will be picking some winners. Micah Schnabel’s CD got off to a good start and should be sold out by next week as we are only getting 200 copies. The Lawrence Arms 7″ is again sold out, just asked if we can get more. The Cobra Skulls “American Rubicon” got off to a solid start, but seriously, everyone should own this album. And the Swellers are keeping strong. ~ Virgil

Top 5 eBay Vinyl Record Sales

Week Ending 10/10/2009

1. LP - The Beatles "Please Please Me" Stereo Parlophone Gold UK First Press - $7,328.72

2. LP - Johanna Martzy "Bach: The unaccompanied Violin Sonatas" Columbia Box set UK - $5,625.00

3. 45 - William Powell "Heartache Souvenirs" / "The Chicken Shack" Power-House - $5,000.00

4. LP - Jackie McLean "New Tradition" Ad-Lib - $4,036.00

5. LP - Hank Mobley self titled Blue Note 1568 - $3805.00

As always, a special thank you to Norm at for this great data. Stop in and listen to their unique radio show Accidental Nostalgia with Norm & Jane On Radio Dentata - 60 minutes of rare records and nugatory narration. Every Tuesday 4PM PT/7PM ET, Sunday 9AM PT/12PM ET & Monday 12AM PT/3AM ET

Waylon Jennings' RCA Years Reissued On Collectors' Choice

Waylon Jennings is the recognized father of the Outlaw movement of country, a rebel against the Nashville establishment whose recordings blended honky-tonk, rock 'n' roll and folk in a way virtually nobody else was doing at the time. Collectors' Choice has chosen six of Jennings' many RCA long-players from 1966-'70 and will release them as three twofer CDs: "Folk Country/Waylon Sings Ol' Harlan," "Love of the Common People/Hangin' On and Waylon/Singer of Sad Songs." The CDs will hit the streets on November 24, 2009. Grammy Award-winning annotator/historian Colin Escott wrote the liner notes.

In the 1950s, Jennings was a Lubbock DJ and fledgling singer whose first record was produced by Buddy Holly (Jennings briefly played bass for Holly, and gave up his airplane seat to the Big Bopper before the ill-fated flight that took the lives of the Bopper, Holly and Richie Valens).

In 1963 Jennings, then living in Phoenix, signed to A&M for one LP that went nowhere, and was advised by Bobby Bare, for whom he'd co-written a hit, that Nashville was the place to be. So when RCA Nashville A&R head/producer Chet Atkins invited Jennings to sign, he jumped at the chance: "I started out for Nashville in a yellow Cadillac with a yellow-haired woman."

As Escott reminds us in the liner notes for Folk Country/Waylon Sings Ol' Harlan, "Waylon, remembered by many these days as a grizzled cowboy stoner, was young once. Most artists dismiss their old work, but Waylon thought he was as good as he could be during every phase of his long career, and the evidence bears him out." The two albums, coupled onto one CD, document the 1966-67 period as Jennings found his way in Nashville.

"Folk Country," Jennings' RCA debut, was so called as Atkins wanted to attract some of the folk hootenanny crowd, but the record was mainstream country all the way -- most of the songs written by Harlan Howard, "among the most gifted and prolific writers in country music history," as Escott notes. From the album came Jennings' first hit, "That's the Chance I'll Have to Take." One year, two LPs and a movie later (Nashville Rebel, 1966), Jennings returned to the studio for his fourth RCA album, Waylon Sings Ol' Harlan, cut in '66 and released in '67. Included were Howard songs "Busted," "Tiger By the Tail," "She Called Me Baby," "Foolin' Around" and "In This Very Same Room."

The second CD combines "Love of the Common People" (1967) and "Hangin' On" (1968). Early in his career, Jennings released three LPs a year featuring old songs, then-current songs that moved him, and his most recent hits. Included on "Love of the Common People" were the title track, Lennon/McCartney's "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away," Mel Tillis' "Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town" (three years before it was a hit for Kenny Rogers & the First Edition) and "Young Widow Brown," later recorded by Frankie Miller. In the fall of 1967, Harlan Howard's "The Chokin' Kind" became Jennings' biggest hit, peaking at #8 on the country charts. It appeared on Hangin' On, and later became a #1 soul hit for Joe Simon. Also on Hangin' On: "Lock, Stock and Teardrops," "Hangin' On" and "The Crowd." Atkins, says Escott, "didn't care too much about albums. Singles were his business." And so after accumulating enough recorded material from Jennings, thrice yearly Atkins would pull songs for an LP. Hangin' On came out of several sessions between February and September 1967. And this got Jennings thinking about the meaning of albums.

Jennings grew weary of the "Nashville way." As Escott points out, "It was an assembly line and after five years, Jennings was beginning to resent it. He wanted less quantity and more quality. He wanted albums to be personal statements, not assemblages of songs from different sessions. And he wanted to work with his road band, not session men. Rock singers had achieved that level of autonomy but country musicians were still locked into Nashville's old ways."

Collectors' Choice's third CD twofer includes two 1970 LPs, when the tides were starting to turn. It was a big year for the artist as six of his songs appeared in the Mike Jagger movie Ned Kelly, A&M Records released a compilation of his early recordings, and RCA released a greatest hits collection. He also produced an album by his wife, Jessi Colter. And Chet Atkins, long Jennings' producer, was withdrawing from production to refocus on playing. Jennings was assigned a new producer, Danny Davis, and the transition didn't go well. "I would go into the studio and do tracks," Jennings wrote, and when I came back, I wouldn't recognize the same song." And there were other grievances. Yet their first collaboration, Waylon, turned out well and bore a #3 hit, a cover of Chuck Berry's "Brown Eyed Handsome Man." Also included were Mickey Newberry's stoner anthem "Thirty-third of August" and "All of Me Belongs to You," as well as a re-record of "Yellow Haired Woman."

Jennings shares CD space with Singer of Sad Songs, produced by the late Lee Hazelwood not in Nashville but rather Los Angeles. Sidemen included Randy Meisner (Poco), and future New Riders of the Purple Sage members Allen Kemp and Patrick Shanahan. Material ranged from Hazelwood's "She Comes Running" to Chris Kenner's R&B hit "Sick and Tired," plus songs by Tim Harden, Tom Rush and the Louvin Brothers. The transition to Outlaw was now complete. Singer of Sad Songs was an artistic success -- likely ahead of its time -- but commercially it failed. Escott writes, "Within couple years, however, Waylon Jennings would be making albums that are even now considered unapproachable classics . . . Waylon was in search of something and he was beginning to discover what it was. We'd all find out soon enough."

Music News & Notes


The Misfits are getting ready to release their first studio recordings since 2003's MISFITS PROJECT 1950, and their first original material in over a decade.

The horror rock icons will release 2-new tracks, "Land of the Dead" and "Twilight of the Dead" digitally beginning October 27th (just in time for Halloween!), before offering them on vinyl in several limited-edition configurations.

They will also press the two songs in a limited edition (1,000 copies) 12" maxi single in clear red vinyl with a cover by Arthur Suydam in a salute to George A. Romero's films. Those that attend Misfit shows during the balance of the year will also have an opportunity to buy a copy on clear orange vinyl.


Jon Anderson Once Again Criticizes Yes Bandmates

A little over a year ago, Jon Anderson wrote a cutting post on his website about how he felt disrespected by the other members of Yes for their lack of communications after he became ill and his replacement in the band by a singer they found on the internet.

Rock Radio is now reporting that he has once again come out with criticisms of his bandmates over their current tour with Yes tribute band singer Benoit David up front when he was healthy enough to do the tour with them.

"I'd actually been ill for about five years and it got to the point where I couldn't continue. I had to take a complete break - and ended up having six operations."The band recruited a guy from a Canadian Yes tribute band and went on the road with him. I felt they could have waited until I'd recovered.

"I said to them I was available, but they said they were contracted to Benoit. It's a complicated situation.

"I think it's inappropriate and not respectful to the fans. People have bought tickets thinking I'm performing on the tour.

"I would like everybody to know that, as much as I wish the band well, they should not tour as Yes. The fans should be advised that I'm not part of the tour."

While the announcement may not be part of Yes' tour advertising, the following statement is prominent on the front of their web page:

Yes will be Europe starting in late October. Steve, Chris, and Alan will once again be joined by Benoit David on vocals and Oliver Wakeman on keyboards. All dates can now be found on the Europe Tour page. Jon Anderson is not part of the lineup on this tour...


King Crimson Listen

Seven of the early members of King Crimson reunited on Friday night, not to play. but to listen to remastered versions of their albums In the Court of the Crimson King, Lizard and Red. Robert Fripp, Michael Giles, Pete Sinfield, Bill Bruford, Mel Collins, David Cross and John Wetton gathered at Air Studios in North London to hear selections from the albums, recently remastered by Fripp and Steven Wilson and released on Britain's Panegyric label. The balance of the group's works are schedule for remastering and release next year.


Lucy In The Sky Song

Julian Lennon has recorded a tribute to his childhood friend, Lucy Vodden, who passed away recently from lupus. A drawing of Vodden by Julian inspired John Lennon to write Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds for the Beatles.

Lennon was in the studio working with new artist James Scott Cook on Cook's new album for Lennon's theRevolution Records. Originally, Julian was to sing background vocals on Cook's song Lucy, but the circumstances of Vodden's passing turned the record into a duet that is being released as a charity single to benefit lupus research.