This Is Me--2024 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Themes in the past have covered a range of topics and for 2024 the theme is a personal retrospective that I call "I Coulda Been" which is in reference to my job and career arc over my lifetime. I'll be looking at all sorts of occupations that I have done or could have done. Maybe you've done some of these too!

Saturday, April 30, 2022

ZOUNDS! We've Reached the End! ( #AtoZChallenge )

       Zounds!  Here we are at the end of another great Blogging from A to Z April Challenge and I'll count my 13th effort an absolute success.  There was a lot of work, but well worth it rediscovering some of the great music that I have collected over the years.  So let's get on with the often dreaded letter Z.

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter     Not much to see for the letter Z, but more than one might have expected.  Never got rid of any Z albums, but I never had many to begin with.  What I had, I kept. Here are my Z's...

Links to the music are included throughout the post if you want to hear the music.

Zoo (1969)  This album stood out and announced itself to me from some forgotten cut-out bin.  Big black letters on a bright orange background with the simple proclamation "ZOO".  And it was less than a dollar so why not?  Then there is the violin player in the band.  If you've been reading my posts you know what that means, but just in case I'll mention that I play violin so I'm always interested in any album featuring a violinist.  The rocked out electric violin is just one bonus feature of this little known (in the U.S.A.) French group.  They've got a big brassy horn section as well as a powerhouse rock singer who is a match for a singer like David Clayton Thomas of Blood Sweat & Tears.  The album rocks with tasty jazz overtones and the songs are downright funky good.  You won't see this album many places, but you will find it in my collection.

The Zombies   "Odyssey & Oracle" (1968)  Wrapping up my theme of "My Vinyl Collection" it seems appropriate to close with one of the best rock albums of any of the British Invasion groups of the sixties.  This album is a musical fireworks display of eclectic pop rock psychedelic fusion.  Lovely songs that evoke memory of  a sweet past and a hopeful future are found throughout this album.  Then there's that great Zombies hit "Time of the Season".   If you're looking for rock music with melody, heart, and intellect then look no further than this one.  Since I was a Zombies fan from the beginning, this album was a delightful find in one of my cut-out bin explorations.  I  would have bought it at full price, but the bargain was a pleasant bonus.  If you've never heard this album and love music of all kinds, do yourself a favor and give it a listen.  Maybe you'll end up loving it as much as I do.

          And so my A to Z Challenge series closes for another April.  These are posts that I'll return to frequently just to click on the great music links.  It was fun for me to go back to listen to these albums. I hope you enjoyed this journey as much as I enjoyed compiling it.  I'll have to admit that I have a darn good collection of music on vinyl.  Maybe I'll eventually have to dig into the treasure troves of my cassette and CD collections which are far bigger than my vinyl collection.  Whoa!  Talk about epic!  That might be overwhelming.  But it might be well worth the effort.  What do you think?

       Did you know any of the Z albums?   Do you listen much to groups from countries other than your own?    What are some Z artists that you can name?

Friday, April 29, 2022

Yowzah! We've Almost Reached the End! ( #AtoZChallenge )

 Yowzah!  We've almost reached the end of another A to Z.  These last two posts will be short ones.   So let's get started.

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter       Never had many albums under Y.   The only one I've gotten rid of is one by Steve Young and that was a pretty good one that maybe I should have kept.  You can probably guess which Y artist I did keep and I kept several of his albums.

Links to the music are included throughout the post if you want to hear the music.

Neil Young takes up a lot of space in my music collection.  Pictured are the vinyl Young albums that I still have.  Most of my Neil Young albums are found in my CDs and cassettes.
Rather than provide a bunch of links (most of you likely know his music and either like it or not) I'll offer the rarer selection of Time Fades Away (1973), a live album that Young himself disliked and allowed to go out of issue until it was put in a 2020 box set.  It's one of my favorite Neil Young albums.

        Are you a fan of the music of Neil Young?   Have Young's outspoken views recently affected your opinion of him?    Are there any Y albums that you would add to this list?

Thursday, April 28, 2022

X--The Scourge of the A to Z ( #AtoZChallenge )

 X is often the scourge of the A to Z Challenge and X was particularly difficult for me in finding albums to match.  That's when I have to be creative.  I don't think I did too badly.

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter      Gone are my albums by groups starting with the letter X.  Gone because I never had any.  But I had these...

Links to the music are included throughout the post if you want to hear the music.

Okay, had to get creative with X as usual.  Why these two albums?  They each have ten songs which in Roman numerals is X.   Works for me.  What are the albums?  Read on...

Celebrate the Son:  A Collection of Contemporary Songs from the Heartland Family of Artists  (1984)   This is a label sampler album that includes songs like "Love Lifted Me" by Cindy Richardson and "Shout It Out" by Prodigal.  This is an album I bought at a large discount book store on Kingston Pike in West Knoxville TN.  I bought a bunch of albums that day and mentions of some of them appear throughout this series.

Tropical Palmeras de Tampico  (@1975?)  contains 10 (or X) songs like Los Mandados for example.  This is a tropical style dance music from Mexico.  I bought this album in a record store in Ciudad Acuna Mexico in 1976 at the same time I bought a copy of a War album (see the W post).  It must have been relatively inexpensive since at that time I was watching my pennies.  I seem to recall that they were playing this album loudly in the store while I was looking at albums.  I must have been kind of moved by the music.

OXO  (1983) could have gone under O, but look at all those X's on the cover.  I'm not real sure where I bought this album, but most likely I got it in the late eighties.  I probably got it at a discount bookstore like I mentioned above.  I was buying a lot of things at those bookstores back then.  Seems like there were several in Knoxville and the surrounding areas. This is a pretty good album although I haven't listened to it enough for it to really sink in.  But I used to see the "Whirly Girl" video on MTV a lot and grew to like that song.  The video was pretty cool too.

        Anything in this post you recognize?   Is the X post usually a difficult one for you?   Besides the group X are there any X artists you actually come up with? 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Where Will This Post Take Us? ( #AtoZChallenge )


Where will this post take us?  Down memory lane for me and maybe down "what the heck is this music?" for others   Whatever, wherever, or whoever--this music is pretty good in my estimation.  But what do you think?

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter   My albums by Michael White were sold along with Joe Walsh and Stevie Wonder.  Oh well, I still have a handful of albums under W...

Links to the music are included throughout the post if you want to hear the music.

Wally (1974)   This is another one of those albums that I bought based on hearing one cut on the radio. This was in early 1975 when I was living in a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains.  When I heard the cut "The Martyr" I stopped what I was doing in order to listen.  The song prominently features the sound of electric rock violin and it being an excellent song I decided this was an album that I wanted to own.  Soon after I heard the song on the radio, I went to Knoxville to get the album.  No cut-out bin for this one--I had to get it for full price.  I think it was worth the money.  It's an excellent album by a little known prog rock band.

War  "Why Can't We Be Friends?"  (1975)  Maybe you're wondering why the album title is in Spanish on my copy.  I bought this in 1976 when I crossed over the border to Ciudad Acuna Mexico. Upon seeing a record shop I decided to check out the music to see if there were any bargains.  I saw this album in the window and thought it would be an interesting addition to my vinyl collection. It wasn't that much of a bargain price, but it's cool to have the Spanish version where everything on the cover is in Espanol, but the it's the same recording that you'd find on a version purchased in the U.S.  It's a good album.  You probably know this music.

Ralph Vaughn Williams  "Sinfonia Antartica"  (1970)     This is Williams' seventh symphony which expands upon incidental music he had written for the 1948 film Scott of the Antarctic.  When I heard this on the University of Tennessee radio station WUOT I became very interested in the music.  This was an easy record to find at the University Bookstore--they must have stocked anything they played on the station.  What particularly drew me to this symphony was the use of the sound of a wind machine as well some unique symphonic orchestration that included an organ.  The imagery created by the music does remind me of the vast icy wastelands of Antarctica.  This is great music for reflection and relaxation.  

Wichita Fall  "Life Is But A Dream"   (1968)  Side one & side two   There are certain albums that I would typically put on when my head was in a certain altered state that called for music like I found on this album.  When I saw the album in a cut-out bin I could tell it was likely a weird interesting one.  I was right.   This was the kind of album that I'd put on late at night when the friends were all gone and the party was over.  Dreamy strange textures of orchestration and lyrics that were somewhat mundane but conducive to a state of reverie.  The music did much of the thinking for me when I listened to it.  I'm still entranced listening to this.  Big orchestral sounds in a rather impressive production.  Seems like this is an apt album to keep in my collection.

Nick Waterhouse   "Time's All Gone"   (2012)   This, my most recent acquisition, came as a gift from my youngest daughter and her significant other a few years ago as a gift (birthday?).  Unfortunately I have yet been able to play it since I don't have a turntable at present.  But thanks to YouTube you and I can listen to it.  Not bad at all.

        Is there anything in this post you remember?   Have you purchased any foreign releases of albums from the United States?    Which W artists are some of your favorites?  

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Very Interesting and Very Eclectic V Albums ( #AtoZChallenge )

Very interesting that there should be so many V entries in this post.  This was unexpected, but when it comes to A to Z we shouldn't be too surprised about what some of the letters have to offer.

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter      Vanilla Fudge should have been a keeper for me but I let that one go. Likewise I vacated the space for Vivaldi in my vinyl shelf, but that has been replaced amply in my Vivaldi CD section.  And what about all of the "Various Artists" album compilations that I used to have?  Mostly gone.  Still, I'm somewhat surprised about how many V albums still remain...


Links to the music are included throughout the post if you want to hear the music.

Vox Boxes

     When I frequented the bookstore at the University of Tennessee when I was attending that school in the early seventies, I usually gravitated to the cut-out bins to see what new treasures had been added.  One of the more outstanding products to be found in their cut-outs was a series of classical boxed sets called Vox Box records.  They had many composers represented and now I wish I had bought them all.  These were outstanding music overviews that included three discs and detailed booklets about the music and the artists.  Alas, I only bought two of these.  It was a time of limited funds for me as a college student so it was difficult to come up with the $5.99 or whatever it was those boxes cost at the time.  At least I got two of these sets by two of my favorite classical composers.  

Vox Box set  String Quartets and Quintet of Franz Schubert by the Endres Quartet (1960's).   "Death and the Maiden"    As you've probably learned if you've kept up with many of my A to Z posts, I'm a fan of string music.  I especially like string chamber music such as quartets and quintets, etc.  This box has a fine selection of two quartets and two quintets that I've grown to love over the years.  I've spent hours listening to the music in this set.   

Vox Box Sets  (@1968?)  Frank Glazer plays music of  Eric Satie on Piano.   Includes the well known "Three Gymnopedies"  In my S post I wrote about my appreciation of the music of Eric Satie.  Now Satie makes another appearance in this very fine Vox Box of Satie's almost complete piano works.  For many years this was considered the definitive collection of Satie's piano music.  It still remains a wonderful compilation of Satie's work.  This album led me to a greater appreciation of solo classical piano work.  

Velvet Underground  "Peel Slowly and See"  (1995) CD box set      My friend Vernon had bought a copy of Velvet Underground's 1969 album in the early seventies.  I had read about the group, but was never interested enough to seek out one of their records to buy.  We were both mildly interested in the record he had bought.  I think I only listened to it once--not sure how many times Vernon listened to it.   Years later when I ran across this boxed CD set at a good price through a CD club I went ahead and added it to my collection. By now they were considered legendary and my musical tastes had become more inclined to listening to their style of music.  It's a nice set to have in my music collection, but not something I have listened to often.  

Martha Velez  "Hypnotized" (1972)   I didn't find the entire album on YouTube but here's the title song.   This is another album I found in a Knoxville discount book store that had a large cut-out record section.  I liked the cover and the song titles--especially "Hypnotized".  This is a nice album though maybe not a knock-out.  An actress and singer, Velez has put out a number of albums as well as having appeared in a number of movies and television shows.  Years after buying this album I married my third and present wife of 24 years--her maiden name is Velez.  

Greg X Volz   "The River Is Rising"  (1986)  For many years Volz was the lead singer for the Contemporary Christian Rock group Petra, who you can read about in my P post.  I was a big fan of that group and I thought Volz was one of the best rock singers around.  The River Is Rising was released after he went on to a solo career.  In 1988 I booked a concert at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium with Volz as the opening act and Mark Farner as the headline act.  It was a great concert aside from me losing a lot of money on it.  At least I got to meet Volz and hear him live.  And now I have this album to remember his music.

The Ventures   "Ventures in Space"  (1964)   This was among the first albums I ever bought.  It was 1964 and I was 13 years old at the time.  This was just the sort of thing one would have expected a kid like me to buy.  Since I loved all things Sci-fi and "Twilight Zone" back then, this album seemed like a must have.  Evoking those adolescent more innocent times, this really is a great album of fine guitar rock music.   After all these years, this album still sounds pretty good.

       Are there any albums or artists here that you recognize?  Do you buy many box sets or artist retrospectives?   What artists starting with the letter V can you recall?

Monday, April 25, 2022

U Know This Post Will Be Short ( #AtoZChallenge )

      U know this post will be short because U know there aren't many artists with names that start with the letter U.  U know?

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter      I got nuttin' for U.  I have some U music on CD and cassette, but the only one I had on vinyl I kept.  It's this one...

Links to the music are included throughout the post if you want to hear the music.

The United States of America  (1968)  This is another group I read about in Lillian Roxon's Rock Encyclopedia which was my go to for finding interesting music--for a while.  For one thing this group features a violinist and by now you must know about me and my interest in violin music.  Well I like it.  And the music is psychedelic, which is one of my favorite genres.  This album has so much of me written all over it that I sought it out.  As was often the case with more obscure music I found a full list price copy at the University of Tennessee bookstore.  This album was often part of the soundtrack for some of my wilder mental adventures and I won't say more than that about that.  I have since obtained a CD copy of this album, but still the vinyl has personal historical significance so I'll save it for my museum collection. 

          Have you bought albums based on just reading about them without hearing the music?   Do you find psychedelic music to be appealing to you or just too out there?  Which artists starting with the letter U can you name?  

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Teasing with T's ( #AtoZChallenge )

      Teasing you with some great music in the T category, we get closer to the end of this Challenge.  This will be a somewhat long post because there are a lot of T artists.  Read on--I've got T in the bag.

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter       Traffic and the Turtles are with my vinyl collection no longer .  The same goes for Richard Thompson, 10CC, Robin Trower, and the truly peculiar psychedelic sound of The Tea Company.  Still the T's have a strong representation in my collection.  Just look at these T's...

Links to the music are included throughout the post if you want to hear the music.

Thirteenth Floor Elevators  "Easter Everywhere" (1967) and a bunch of other albums by this great group.---  In 1969 I acquired an 8 track cartridge version of Easter Everywhere and was amazed and befuddled by this arcane sounding group. I didn't know much about the group I was listening to and there were no liner notes to help out.  The album stuck in my head even after the 8 track was defunct.  Years later I started reading about the 13th Floor Elevators and became all the more curious.  Searching far and wide in my cross-country travels I could not find anything from this group.  And then all of a sudden in the late eighties I started finding cassettes and albums by the group.  Every one of those that I would find that I did not yet have I would buy to add to my collection.  Now I was obsessed.  Later I started locating CD versions of the albums and I bought those.  The Elevators epitomize the psychedelic spirit and sound.  I'm a big fan of this group as well as its co-founder the late Roky Erickson.  This music is not for everyone, but when you hear it you know who you are.

The Troll  "Animated Music"  (1968)  If you're looking for weird then look no further than this album by this short-lived group from Chicago--I give you The Troll.  A bit of Iron Butterfly mixed with Beatles, New Vaudeville Band, and whatever else you might scrape out of the record closet.  This is another find from the cut-out bins at Green Acres Discount Store in Alcoa TN.  I recall seeing quite a few copies of this one so I guess the record company had a lot of them to get rid of.  It was a fun find for me that gave me hours of listening pleasure.

Tee and Cara   "As They Are"  (1967)  This album is one of my favorite cut-out bin finds.  I recalled having heard their version of the Beatles song "Hard Day's Night" on the radio in 1967, but never saw the album anywhere.  Then in the early seventies I found it being sold for an absurdly low price in a cut-out bin. Needless to say I snatched it up.  This duo should have achieved music greatness.  This is some of the sweetest harmonizing of any pairing of singers.  As They Are is one of my all time favorite albums. Too bad they didn't make any more albums than this.  I'd never give this one up.  It's mine!

Thorinshield (1968)   I believe I paid a quarter for this album.  It was in a cut-out bin somewhere and it was inexpensive and it seemed kind of interesting.  It's a typical album of the late sixties.  Nice songs with a pleasant sound.  Maybe it's kind of collectible now. At least I've collected it. 

The Tragically Hip (EP) (1987)  My second wife Susan really liked the name of this group.  They took the name from a skit in a Michael Nesmith movie called Elephant Parts.  We bought some of their albums on cassette when we were working in Canada and we both liked the group's sound.  This vinyl was sent to me by the group's booking agency when I was inquiring with them about booking a tour in the U.S. southern states.  Due to lack of resources I never booked that tour, but I got a nice vinyl EP from the inquiry.

The Touchables Soundtrack  (1968)    "All of Us" by Nirvana   I've always been curious to see the movie this soundtrack comes from. The cover art intrigues me.  I sure it's probably a pretty bad movie judging from the reviews I've read, but still.   I've listened to this soundtrack so many times and it's not all that bad.  Unfortunately I couldn't find many cuts from the album so I've linked to my favorite by the group Nirvana which is not the same-named Seattle group that came later.

Third Ear Band "Alchemy" (1969)  And now for really weird, here's a band that sounds ethereally like some kind of world music mish mash.  In my first year at the University of Tennessee I saw this album advertised in the university's newspaper The Daily Beacon. It was an instrumental group that included an interesting sounding line-up of a percussionist playing an odd assortment of drums, a cellist, an oboist, and--wait for it--a violin player and that's all I'll say about that since I've mentioned my interest in violin music repeatedly over the course of my series.  This is music I mostly listened to alone since it was so weird and often in an altered state of mind.  

Bonus 8-Track Cartridge!   Robbin Thompson  "Robbin Thompson"  (1976)  When I moved to Richmond VA for a while in 1980 I was living a short distance from a Baptist church that I attended a few times.  I heard from someone that Robbin Thompson went there sometimes.  I only had a vague notion of who Thompson was, but later I learned that he had been with one of Bruce Springsteen's early bands and they often played at each other's performances.  Though Thompson often played at clubs around Richmond, I never saw him perform.  However in the late eighties I was surprised to find this 8-track at a Walmart in Alcoa TN in the record department's cut-out section.  The tapes were 10 for a dollar so I bought a bunch of them.  Thompson, who passed away in 2015, has collaborated with many well known artists over the years.  A few months before his passing, the state of Virginia named Thompson's hit "Sweet Virginia Breeze" as the official state rock song.   A pretty cool honor.

Robbin Thompson  Band "Two B's Please"  (1980)  With another entry by Robbin Thompson comes this album which I have on cassette and CD.  I had thought I had a copy on LP vinyl as well, but I couldn't find it.  This album has Robbin and his band with a very strong selection of songs.  This is really a great album that is worth a listen.  This should have been a big hit in my opinion. 

      Which of these entries are your cup of T?    Are there any artists that you are particularly obsessed with?   What other artists in the T category come to your mind?

Friday, April 22, 2022

Singers, Swingers, and Stringers ( #AtoZChallenge )

       Singers are a main focus of my vinyl collection, but without the great musicians the music would be rather lacking.   A song sung well is an absolute delight, but the virtuosity of a great musician is dynamite. 

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter      Sad to see the departure of Sad Cafe.  Likewise, I miss Styx and Stryper.  Stockhausen, Stravinsky, and Saint-Saens slipping away left a big hole in my classical section.  And why, oh why, did I sell off that unique album by The Smubbs?  A slew of S albums have gone, but several remain...

Links to the music are included throughout the post if you want to hear the music.

Spanky and Our Gang  "Like to Get to Know You" (1968)   This album was given to me by my dear late friend Fred.  He tended to do that:  Give away his stuff after enjoying it for a short while.  He must have sensed that he would leave this world far too early.  Besides, this is a marvelous album with great songs and exquisite vocal harmonies.  I couldn't let go of this album--especially since it is a reminder of a very good friend whom I miss.

Don Shirley Trio  "Don Shirley Presents Martha Flowers" (1962)    "Don Shirley in Concert" (1969)    I was thrilled when I heard about the movie Green Book (2018) being about one of my favorite jazz pianists.  It's a wonderful movie that you should see if you haven't already.  And you should check out the music of Don Shirley.  I found his collaborative effort with Martha Flowers in a cut-out catalog and had to order it since I already knew his music from the concert album.  I had originally heard a cut from Don Shirley in Concert on the University of Tennessee NPR station WUOT in Knoxville. Hearing his trio's rendition of "Georgia on my Mind" enthralled me and I was compelled to find his album, which I did at the University of Tennessee Bookstore.  So many times I've listened to this album and been carried away to a magical place in my musical mind.  The songs are classics played in a classical style, but still it's jazz. It's a truly amazing album that I'd never want to let go of.

Eddie South  "The Dark Angel of the Fiddle"  (originally from 1958, re-released in 1981)  When I was a kid my parents had a magnificent album by jazz violinist Eddie South.  That album eventually disappeared--probably thrown out due to wear--but I never forgot the music. After I started collecting albums I searched for the music of this artist.  Finally in the eighties I ran across this "Dark Angel" album in either a bookstore or a record close-out catalog.  There was no question in my mind about buying the album and there is no reason to get rid of it now.  This is a great album of jazz violin music.

Eric Satie  "Orchestral Music" (1970)  In the late sixties I first discovered the music of Eric Satie and developed somewhat of an obsession about it.  I'd seen a PBS documentary about "The Velvet Gentleman" and found it to be quite interesting.  Then I heard a Satie "Gymnopedie" piece on the second album by Blood Sweat & Tears.  I started looking for any Satie I could find.  It was not an easy task at that time.  I found an 8 track cartridge recording called "The Velvet Gentleman" and then later a boxed set (you'll see that one on my letter V day).  Now I have several collections of Satie's music on CD, but this album of Satie's orchestral music is a special find.  I bought it through a catalog of classical cut-outs.  It was a nice find then and worth keeping now.

Small Circle of Friends   (1968)  This album from a cut-out bin was cheap, but it was good.  This got plenty of spins on my turntable.  This is a nice collection of pop songs by an excellent vocal group.  This is music that I always enjoy hearing.

Frank Sinatra  "Try a Little Tenderness"  (1967)  This album originally belonged to my mother, but I listened to it frequently back in my teen years.  This is some of Sinatra's best work with his top arrangers and conductors.  Since it belonged to my late mother then I will keep this one even though it's not in tip top condition.  She didn't take as good of care of her records as I did, but it's probably still playable.

Status Quo "Picturesque Matchstickable Messages from the Status Quo"  (1968) This is another cut-out bin treasure that nicely complements my collection of psychedelic music.  Keeping it.

The Sugar Shoppe  (1968)  This is a long time favorite album of mine that I'm so glad to have discovered.  Now I'm not totally sure when I first discovered this group.  I can remember hearing their song "Poor Papa" on the radio, but now the details are a bit hazy to my memory.  Whatever the circumstance, I apparently put it on my 1968 Christmas list for my mother and, by golly, she found it.  I've listened to this album more times than I can count and have never tired of it.  I just don't get rid of albums like this one.

Spirit  "Clear" (1969)   "Time Circle" (1991)  In my estimation, Spirit is one of the best groups ever. Great songs and great performances.  This eclectic group mish-mashed rock with jazz and classical.  I would list them among my favorite groups.  I was so fortunate to run across their "Clear" album in a cut-out bin where I paid far less than I would have otherwise. This album is one that I listened to many many times back when I used to listen to a lot of vinyl.  Later I found their retrospective package "Time Circle" on CD and it's an absolute must have compilation for anyone who loves the music of the seventies.  

String Driven Thing  "String Driven Thing"  (1972)  When I saw this album in a used record store in Knoxville TN back around 1988 there was no question as to my buying it.  The name of the group implies strings, i.e. violin.   And if there was still any doubt then the cover picture depicting the weird robot looking guy playing the violin confirms any suspicions.  The song titles sounded pretty cool as well so that was that. I bought the album.  This Scottish group has a number albums released, but this is the only one that I have come across.  I'll keep this one.

   Which of these artists or albums do you recognize?    Do you have many albums that were given to you by others?   Which S artists would you like to include in my list?

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Round Discs of Plastic ( #AtoZChallenge )

    Round discs of plastic is what one might see when looking at vinyl records.  But there is magic in the grooves of that plastic.  What a great invention the vinyl record was!

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter        My record purges got rid of albums by The Rascals, Lou Rawls, and Leon Russell, but at least I've got their music on CD and cassette.  My Rachmaninoff  vinyl may be gone but it's been replaced by some better albums by that Russian composer.  A few R vinyl LPs are gone, but most I have kept as you can see to follow...

Links to the music are included throughout the post if you want to hear the music.

Rig  (1970)  "Rig Selections"  "Have a Cigar"    I wish there was more on YouTube from this album as this has always been among my favorites. At least you can listen to a few cuts from this album.  When not in classes at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, I could often be found in the University Bookstore perusing the record bins.  They had one of the better record selections in Knoxville at the time, including a lot of records not easily found elsewhere.  I was intrigued enough by this album by Rig until I finally broke down to spend the big bucks to buy it full retail price.  The album became one of my favorites.  It's nice country rock pop.  It still sounds good to me.  Probably always will. 

Rich Mountain Tower (1971)   This was one terrific group that came out of Knoxville TN in the seventies.  Oddly, although I was living near Knoxville at the time, the first I heard of this group was reading about them in a Washington DC newspaper when I was visiting with a friend.  In a very positive review of their debut album I learned about this group and how their album was the first (or maybe one of the first) album to be released in Quadraphonic sound--at least that's what the review had said. When I got back home to Maryville TN I went out and bought a copy of the record.  And I was so happy that I did.  This is great mostly acoustic flavored rock with a country tinge.  Knoxville should be very proud of this group.  They didn't release many albums after this, but they are local music legends.  Sadly, though the album has achieved critical acclaim over the years, the Rich Mountain Tower debut album is mostly forgotten and neglected.  You should treat your ears and mind and give this album a listen.  Maybe you will like it as much as I do.  I maintain that it is one of the best rock albums of the early seventies. 

Todd Rundgren  "Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren" (1971)  I think there is general agreement among those who know their music that Todd Rundgren is a musical genius.  He has put out so much great music of his own as well as producing a slew of great music for other artists.  Listen to this early album of his and you might agree.  Genius or whatever, this is a wonderful album that I discovered in a cut-out bin for a steal.  I'm keeping this one.

Rebecca and the Sunny Brook Farmers  "Birth"  (1969)  This was a cool find in the cut-outs.  It was very inexpensive and very interesting.  This is psychedelia with a touch of Joplin at times. Oh, and the group has a viola player--almost like a violin and that was enough for me.  Soon after I bought this album I realized the violist was the same one who played on the Doobie Brothers hit "Black Water".  If you've been following all of my April posts you might remember my mention of Ilene Novog who went under the stage name of Novi.  After Rebecca's sunny crew broke up, three members went on to become the group Chunky, Novi, and Ernie.  But back to the "Birth" album, there's fine playing, decent vocals, variety of substance, and enjoyable songs.  I like this album so I'm not likely to get rid of it.

Cliff Richard   "We Don't Talk Anymore"  (1979)    "Walking in the Light" (1984)   I thought that the song "We Don't Talk Anymore" was such a great song that I went out and bought the vinyl.  It was during a brief period when I was living off the road and listening to records again.  This album is a very good album that evokes memories of a complex time of my life.  The "Walking in the Light" album I purchased at a previously mentioned discount bookstore in West Knoxville TN with a number of other cut-out albums. This was during the time of my life when I was buying a lot of Contemporary Christian Music.   Cliff Richard is a pro who had a long career in music so I think his albums deserve a place in my album line-up.

The Rockets  (1968)  This group's mention caught my attention from Neil Young's song "Running Dry (Requiem for the Rockets)",   At first I thought it was part of some kind of Neil Young mythology until I discovered this was the root group that turned into Young's back up band Crazy Horse.  The first time I ran across this LP in the cut-out bins was at the Big K in Alcoa TN and for some nutty reason I didn't buy it.  When I went back to buy it, the album was gone.  For months after that I searched cut-out bins all over with a special eye for this album.  Eventually in late June of 1971, I found a copy of the album in the bargain record bin at a big variety store in downtown Morgantown WV.  At the time I was visiting my grandparents and traveling by bus.  I had to package up the record and mail it home.  I was concerned whether the record would make it okay and fortunately it did and I have it to this day.  After all of that effort there's no way I'd give this one up.  Even though I eventually found a CD copy from Amazon.

Rotary Connection  "Aladdin"  (1968)  I had read about this group in Lillian Roxon's "Rock Encyclopedia" to which I used to refer often in 1970 and had made a mental note to be on the lookout for their albums.  Then there it was in the Big K cut-out bins!  I got it, loved it, listened to it a lot and eventually bought some of their other albums on CD.  Rotary Connection is a great group of vocalists who sing some impressive song arrangements.  

Richard Twice (1970)  I paid a dollar or less for this album procured from some unremembered cut-out bin--very likely Big K.  As I recall they had a number of  copies and it looked like an album I should have.  And I'm glad I bought it.  Reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel, this sunny pop rock album carries me back to the seventies.  I've listened to this album so many times.  From the credits I recognized the names of well known session musicians known as the Wrecking Crew.  That suggested that the music would be high quality and indeed that what's on this record.  I never knew anything specific about this artist or this album until I was researching this post and then found this 10 minute video.  It's an interesting look at this musical history.

     Anything here you remember?   Do you ever wonder what happened to certain artists you listen to?  What are some favorite R groups for you?