Friday, January 11, 2008

Turntable and Vinyl...What????

Yes, it's true, I still have all of my albums. Vinyl albums. I have a lot of them. I'm not the person with the most albums of all time....not even close, I imagine. But the 650-700 that I do have I treat like you all treat your kids: some I like a whole lot better than others; some are a whole lot better looking than other ones; some of them get way more attention from me than the others do; and some I'd just like to put up for sale on eBay. Yeah, I know what you're saying: "TFKoP, how could even say that about me and my kids?? I would NEVER think one was better looking than another one...." hahaha!

Well, for the past couple of years my turntable has been broken, so my albums have not gotten any playing time during its absence. I've dilly-dallied around about getting a new turntable, instead getting this or that, figuring I'd just pick one up "soon". Well, "soon" turned into two years, but thankfully, "soon" finally arrived this week. I finally got a new turntable.

My Panasonic PL-990 Stereo Turntable arrived this week. I found it on (I'll give them the plug) and it was through that the sale was facilitated between myself and the seller, J&R Music World, out of NYC.

Hooking the turntable up to my existing stereo was easy, but the hard part was to come: which 33rpm album to play first. Not such an easy decision when there are so many albums to pick from. Do I play the first album I ever owned (The Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers)? Do I play something from the alternative rock era (REM's Murmer)? Do I just close my eyes and randomly pick an album from one of the 6 boxes that I have filled (Lords of the New Church's Lords of The New Church)? Yikes...this might not be so easy to do.

After careful consideration, I decided to play Wilco's Sky Blue Sky album first. Here's why: Wilco just released this album last year....that's 2007. Yes, hard to believe a band would release something on vinyl in this day and age, but they did. Of course it was available on CD also and via download, but I loved that they took the time to release it on the old format of vinyl. And being a Wilco fan, it was a no-brainer that I was going to get a vinly copy in addition to the CD version. Vinyl Sky Blue Sky has been patiently waiting for a needle to caress her grooves (wow...that sounded dirty...nice...) and this was the perfect opportunity to break in a new turntable. And it's such a great set of music, which always helps. For this album, Wilco's sound harkens back to those early/mid-70s sounds reminiscent of the Allman Brothers, or The Grateful Dead...that mellow, laid back rock. "Impossible Germany" and "Shake It Off" are slow building rockers, and you can just lay back to enjoy "Sky Blue Sky" or "Please Be Patient With Me". One of the 5 best albums, or CDs, or 2007.

Here are the other 4 albums that were next to make their way onto the turntable. Journey's 1982 release Departure. I imagine some of you are groaning about this choice. But I'm not lying when I say that I loved Journey when I was in high school. Hell, I still love Journey. Not the new lineup with the different singer though, as you may remember Neil Schon and Journey kicked Steve Perry out of the band in the 1998 because he had degenerative bone loss in his hips and it would've delayed their tour for him to have surgery. So the band booted him and replaced him with a guy who looked exactly Steve Perry, hit high notes like Steve Perry, and whose name was Steven Augeri (Oh-jerry), which even SOUNDS like 'Perry'. That lineup didn't last long and he has since been replaced by Jeff Scott Soto, and more recently he was replaced with Arnel Pineda. Despite all that recent crap, this album, Departure, for me is their best album. It has the best line-up of their several (Infinity and Evolution also had this line-up), and the tunes run from rock ("Anyway You Want It"), to bluesy ("Walks Like a Lady", "Line of Fire") to quiet and mellow ("Good Morning, Girl"). It's a great album. And it was great hearing it with the hisses and pops you can only get from a turntable needle.

The third album to play was Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School by Warren Zevon. This was the first album he released after Excitable Boy, which contained his one and only hit "Werewolves of London". Though this album did not reach the masses as easily as his previous one, it was an album that just rocked. The title track, the cover of "A Certain Girl", "Jeannie Needs a Shooter" and "Play It All Night Long". Great album by one of my all-time favorite musicians.

Hermitage by the Waxing Poetics came on fourth. Who the hell are the Waxing Poetics, you ask? A fair question. The Waxing Poetics are a band that I came to know during my stay in Virigina Beach while I was in the Navy. I was stationed in VA Beach from 1985 to 1987 and there was a decent alternative music scene that had taken hold in in this East Coast city. The Boneshakers, Kings Dominion and The Waxing Poetics were just three of the many local bands playing the alternative music circuit in Virginia Beach. I saw all of them play so many times at Cafe Loco, The Jewish Mother, Waves, Dominic's and Coogans. The Waxing Poetics were great live, and they have a jangly-pop-alternative sound that is both hummable and catchy. You can't help but get up and groove when this album is on. I miss the days of seeing them live. The went on to release two more albums that moved away from the jangly sound to one that was more thoughtful and a little dark, but they were great albums (Bedtime Stories and Manakin Moon). I'm so glad that I have this on vinyl as I don't even know if "Hermitage" can even be found anymore, let alone as a platter. "Mrs. Dance's Skeleton", "If You Knew Sushi", "Beauty and The Beatitudes" and "Walking on Thin Legs" are just 4 of the 11 great tracks on this album. And Mike Mills, bassist for REM, was one of the producers of this album along with producer-extraodinaire Mitch Easter.

Led Zeppelin had to make an appearance for the turntable to be properly broken-in, so Physical Graffiti was heard for a long time yesterday. And by "heard" I mean throughout the whole friggin' neighborhood cuz I had it CRANKED. You tell me a rock-album side better than side 2 of this two-album set: "Houses of the Holy" followed by "Trampled Underfoot" followed by "Kashmir". Pure. Rock. Bliss. Side note: what do you think of when you hear "Kashmir" playing on the radio? Me? I always think of the scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High when this song plays as Stacey and Mark are makikng out. Great great movie, by the way.

I couldn't wind down the turntable without making sure that it also worked on the 45rpm setting. So, since Zep had just completed I kept the theme alive and cranked my Japanese-import copy of "Immigrant Song", which has on its B-side the non-album-release song "Hey Hey What Can I Do". What a great fucking song!!!!!! I love that song. Interestingly, if you can see in the pic, there is a liner-notes paper that came with the 45 of this song. It has the lyrics to "Immigrant Song" both in English and in Japanese.

Ahhhh.....I'm so happy having a funtioning turntable once again. I can just see all of my vinyl getting some spins in the very near future, I'm telling you.

Maybe in another post I'll give you the list of albums and/or artists that will never find a home on my stereo. (Europe, I'm looking in your direction....)

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Blogger The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:15 PM  
Blogger The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Journey rocks and nobody sings like Steve Perry! We rock it to Journey at this house still alongside High School Musical.

10:17 PM  

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