Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I was knocked out by the high values, and endless nuances affecting those prices, for the “Introducing the Beatles” album covered in your recent column.

I would very much like to have similar details and values for first state issues of “The Beatles Yesterday and Today,” with the Butcher Cover.
—Jesse Watson, Burlington, Wisc.

DEAR JESSE: Of course you'll be needing this information for both the monaural and stereo issues, right?

On the small chance anyone reading this is unfamiliar with the story, the first edition — also known as first state — of “The Beatles Yesterday and Today” sported what was by 1966 standards a highly controversial photo.

The front cover, described by the Beatles as having “their own brand of pop art satire,” pictures the four boys wearing butcher smocks, while surrounded by chunks of raw meat, bones, and pieces from toy dolls.

Commonly referred to as the Butcher Cover, reviewers, radio stations, and print media who received advance copies, swamped Capitol Records with complaints — to such an extent the company quickly recalled it and replaced the butcher shop image with a very mundane one.

The recall and cover switcheroo took place before record stores received copies, which means the Butcher Cover edition was neither commercially available nor sold in stores.

By modern standards, such an embarrassing imbroglio over a cluttered yet nontoxic photograph is clearly much ado about nothing.

On the bright side, the controversy did give birth to a very valuable collectible.

Monaural first state copies (T-2553) are now in the $5,000 to $7,500 range. Stereo first states are at least twice as rare as monos and twice as valuable: $10,000 to $15,000.

DEAR JERRY: There is something about a teener record I bought in the 1960s that has been nagging me since then.

Unfortunately, this is a flop that fell through the cracks, one no one seems to know a thing about. The title is “Submarine Race,” and the credit reads Danny & Gwen (Liberty 55490).

The issue is how familiar these two sound, especially Gwen, though I can't think of anyone named Gwen who recorded at that time.

I just found a copy on eBay, but the seller left no comments whatsoever. He obviously knows nothing more than I do about Danny & Gwen.

Might one or both of this duo be known under other names?
—Rusty Crutchfield, San Mateo, Calif.

DEAR RUSTY: Danny may not be known to you, though he does have about a dozen hits to his credit.

He is Jerry Naylor, best known in the '60s for “Stop Your Crying” (1961) and in the '70s for “But for Love” (1970) and “Is This All There Is to a Honky Tonk” (1975).

Briefly, Jerry sang with the Crickets in 1961, also for Liberty Records, two years after Buddy Holly's death.

Giving you Gwen's name at birth, Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona, isn't much of a clue, but I think you know this talented singer better as Vikki Carr.

Five years later, Vikki landed in the Top 3 with her signature song, “It Must Be Him.” It and Dean Martin's “That's Amore” are the two featured vocals in the 1987 film “Moonstruck.”

In the years after “Submarine Race,” Jerry and Vikki each made many records, but never again recorded together.

IZ ZAT SO? Though most folks are never likely to see one, a precious few still-sealed copies of the first state stereo “Beatles Yesterday and Today” do exist. Quantity estimates vary, but most put the number preserved in the original shrink-wrap at no more than 10.

Should one of those pop up in a properly-run auction, the hammer would not likely fall until bidding reached the $40,000 to $60,000 range.

Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column. 

Write Jerry at: Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368


Visit his Web site:

All values quoted in this column are for near-mint condition.

Copyright 2010 Osborne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission

Music News & Notes

Two Free Elliott Smith Downloads From Upcoming Reissues

On April 6, independent label Kill Rock Stars will reissue Elliott Smith's first and last full albums, completing its library of the late singer-songwriter's independent releases. To promote the reissues, the label has made a remastered version of "Last Call" (Roman Candle) and "Twilight" (From A Basement On The Hill) available for free download.

Roman Candle, Smith's first album, was recorded in his then girlfriend's basement, and, as the story goes, only because she convinced him to mail it in to Portland-based Cavity Search Records did it ever see the light of day. The Kill Rock Stars founder, Slim Moon, vividly recalls his first real encounter with Smith's music at Kill Rock Stars' Web site. For the reissue, Roger Seibel, along with the Smith family's archivist, Larry Crane, have remastered the album, known for its scratchy, lo-fi home production. Roman Candle will also see its first U.S. vinyl release through the KRS reissue. From A Basement On The Hill was the last album that Smith worked on before his death in 2003. It was released posthumously on ANTI-Records.


Band of Horses Announce New Album

Band of Horses return with their much anticipated third album, Infinite Arms, on May 18. But what label will release it? Possibly Sub Pop, who released their first two albums, but possibly not. The label hasn't been announced yet.

Touring members Tyler Ramsey and Bill Reynolds make their debut on record with Infinite Arms, which was produced by the band and Phil Ek, who worked on the band's past albums. All five members contributed to the recording process, causing frontman Ben Bridwell to state, "in many ways, this is the first Band of Horses record."

Band of Horses plan to tour long and hard throughout the rest of the year.


Genesis Guitarist Steve Hackett Announces Album Release

North America will soon see the release of Steve Hackett's new album Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth. The album is scheduled to hit streets on June 8th via InsideOut Music.

Released late last year in the world-renowned guitarist/composer's native UK, Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth is a rock album which features beautifully-sweeping symphonic sounds highlighted by Hackett's signature soaring guitar and unsullied vocals. The tracks contain a mélange of influences from classical to Middle Eastern and showcase Hackett's prowess as a composer with the ability to meld seemingly disparate styles.

In other news, Hackett will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame on March 15th in The 25th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2010 Induction Ceremony alongside his Genesis bandmates from the classic line-up: Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford. For more than three decades, Steve Hackett has been known for his innovative tone and extraordinary versatility as a guitarist and composer. He helped define Genesis' sound as lead guitarist in the classic line-up and went on to have a highly-successful career as a solo artist, and also as part of 80s supergroup GTR with Steve Howe.


Mr. Gnome Announce EP And Tour

Critically-praised Cleveland duo Mr. Gnome has announced U.S. tour dates beginning in March in support of a new EP due out later this month.

The EP, titled 'Tastes Like Magic' will be released on vinyl and digital download on March 16th. The new songs were recorded at Josh Homme's (QOTSA, Them Crooked Vultures) Pink Duck Studios in Los Angeles, where Mr. Gnome also recorded its recent album, Heave Yer Skeleton.


The Black Keys New Album Details

The Black Keys release their sixth full-length album, Brothers, May 18 on Nonesuch Records. The album arrives on the heels of three other acclaimed projects the band released in the past year: Dan Auerbach's solo effort, Keep It Hid, the debut LP from Patrick Carney's band Drummer, and Blakroc, a collaboration between The Black Keys and renowned MCs including RZA, Mos Def, Q-Tip, and Raekwon.

The band will support Brothers with a tour that includes a sold out performance at Central Park's SummerStage in New York City on July 27 (additional dates will be announced soon).

The New York Times has called The Black Keys' music "tough-minded, blues haunted songs," and the ghosts of Muscle Shoals inhabit Brothers' 15 tracks. Of the album, Auerbach says, "We like spooky sounds…like Alice Coltrane, where a dark groove is laid down. That's the headspace we tried to get into for this record."


Metallica Boycott

Metallica fans in Israel were excited when they learned that the band would return to the country for the first time in over a decade on May 22nd to play at the Ramat Gan stadium in Tel Aviv. However, their mood blackened when they learned about the excessive ticket prices.

Metal Israel reports that the show's "producer Marcel Avram is charging no less than 600 shekel for the cheapest seats (around $159 according to today's exchange rate) while floor seats are twice that price." Because of this an online drive via Facebook has been started by fans calling for a boycott of the show.

Over 500 fans have reportedly already agreed to boycott the concert. According to Metal Israel, "The initiators of the boycott state that Metallica tickets do not cost nearly as much as this in the rest of the world and assert that the promoter is trying to take advantage of loyal Metallica fans."


The Charlatans' Debut Album 'Some Friendly' Gets 20th Anniversary Re-Release

Beggars Banquet are re-releasing The Charlatans' debut album 'Some Friendly' this May to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The expanded edition of the record features a remastered version of the original album plus a 19-track second CD of single b-sides and complete BBC sessions from the John Peel and Mark Goodier shows.

The album's re-release coincides with Tim Burgess and co.'s performances at Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona and The Roundhouse in Camden where they will play the album in its entirety.

Released in October 1990, 'Some Friendly' shot to number one in the UK charts and contained their breakthrough single 'The Only One I Know'.


Deerhoof to Release Two Vinyl Reissues for Record Store Day

In honor of this year's Record Store Day (April 17), Deerhoof are reissuing their 2003 album Apple O' and 2005 EP Green Cosmos on vinyl. Each comes with a download code for the album's contents, plus four bonus tracks. Apple O' is on blue vinyl, while Green Cosmos is on green vinyl.

Deerhoof's Greg Saunier wrote a note about the reissues and his relationship with independent record stores which can be read over at the Kill Rock Stars site.

Ambitions to release new EP

Although they broke up in mid-2008, Ambitions recently found themselves in the studio recording for a compilation and decided to record new material for a 7" to be titled "Surface To Air." Here's the official word from frontman Jay Aust:

"This past December, we were asked to do a cover song for an upcoming Chain Of Strength tribute 7". Although we hadn't been an active band for some time, it was hard to pass up the opportunity to record again. Since our last show in Fall 2007, we have been busy with various musical endeavors (Jeff and John formed Daybreaker, Jake has been playing in Defeater and his new band DreamTigers, Keith has been touring with Energy, and I have been keeping busy with Unforgiven). Despite everyone's schedules, it has been a cool experience to get everyone together, especially given we are spread out over 3 states.

"The Chain of Strength compilation, which is being released by 1124 Records, will include a 2x7" vinyl and will also feature songs from our friends in The Geeks, Offsides, Reign Supreme, and others. Our contribution will be "There Is A Difference" off the True Till Death 7".

"While in the studio, we also decided to record a few new songs. In late spring, we will release a new 7" entitled Surface to Air. The recording is currently in progress at Getaway Studios (Bane, Shipwreck, Defeater) by Dan Rose and will be mixed by Jay Maas. Everything is going well and we should be wrapping up around the end of March. More release details and updates to follow.

"Lastly, we were recently given the opportunity to play a one-off show in Texas in June alongside With Honor. Having never had the chance to play the Southwest, we are very excited to get out that way! The show will take place June 18th @ The Abilene Civic Center in Abilene TX.

"Although not officially back together, we may do a few shows in support of the new release late spring/early summer. Hope to see you soon!"


From Ashes Rise Return with New Live Album, EP and Montreal Reunion Show

Portland-based hardcore quartet From Ashes Rise called it quits in 2005 after a sturdy eight-year run. However, the band have returned with both a live album and their first shows in five years. On top of that, they have a new EP in the works.

As reports, the live album is going to be called Live Hell and was recorded in Los Angeles in 2005. The 13-track release is available now through iTunes, and will get a limited 500 copy vinyl release by Jade Tree on March 23.


And Finally.....

Vinyl records making a comeback