Sunday, October 28, 2012

Vinyl's Final Fifteen

As I've gone through my old vinyl collection on a nostalgic voyage of rediscovery, I've noticed a few old favorites that are either in such bad condition that they're no longer enjoyable or (even worse) aren't present at all--probably jettisoned in the late 1980s when I presumed I'd never listen to them again. I plan to eventually replace all of them, but rather than just ordering them all through an online collectibles site, I think I'll take a little time to check a few local sources first. Here are the albums I intend to replace in the coming months; those marked MIA are albums that disappeared entirely over the years, while those marked damaged are albums that either have major scratches or are warped due to storage problems.

(1) Thunderball Soundtrack - My copy is a mass of scratches and scuffs since it was played hundreds of times on cheap equipment in 1965 and 1966. I think this was the soundtrack to my life during the summer of 1965, in fact; I recall playing the soundtrack over and over again as Gary Steele, John Ball, and I played the Thunderball board game. (Damaged)

(2) Association's Greatest Hits - I fell in love with this album once Susan introduced me to the joys of the Association; includes a few favorites, most notably "Requiem for the Masses." (MIA)

(3) Tracy by the Cuff Links - Perhaps the finest two sides of pure pop ever. Ron Dante, who did the voices for this as well as for the Archies, is an underappreciated genius. (MIA)

(4) Best of Cream - This album truly lives up to the "best of" name, with nary a bad track on either side. (MIA)

(5) Love Can Make You Happy by Mercy - Another album that I discovered via Susan; it has a few weak tracks on it, but it's another one of my oft-played favorites from 1969 and 1970. (MIA)

(6) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Soundtrack - "Not Going Home Any More" makes this one worth the cost of the whole album, although it also includes the delightful "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head." (MIA)

(7) Cosmo's Factory by Creedence Clearwater Revival - Have it, but it has a wretched scratch all the way through "Heard it Through the Grapevine." This is the best thing John Fogerty and CCR ever did. (Damaged)

(8) Steppenwolf Live - I like the performances on this disc even better than the studio versions of most of these songs, and that's not something I say very often! (Damaged)

(9) Deja Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young - Someone (I'm not naming names, my dear sister Kimberly) gouged out the first minute or so of "Carry On" and left a heavy scratch or two on the middle part of "Woodstock." Need to replace it, because it's my favorite CSNY album. (MIA)

(10) - Magic Christian Music by Badfinger - Part of the soundtrack of my life for the summer of 1970, and the finest thing that Badfinger ever did... and that's saying a lot, because I love pretty much every album they did prior to Pete Ham's suicide. (MIA)

(11) Led Zeppelin I - The finest example of everything that made Led Zep great. "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" is on my short list of all time favorite songs. (MIA)

(12) Led Zeppelin II - Yes, they get two places on this list--but they deserve it. Ida Hutchings introduced me to this album, and it was actually my first Led Zep listen. "Whole Lotta Love" used to be my favorite new stereo demo song. (Damagedd)

(13) Mellow Yellow by Donovan - The title song isn't one of my favorites, but I consider "Young Girl Blues" to be one of the most moving pieces that Donovan ever wrote. Simple, observational, melancholy, insightful--it's the highlight of a most wonderful album. (MIA)

(14) Barabajagal by Donovan - Now this is the best album Donovan ever recorded. The addition of the Jeff Beck Group to the mix gave the album a real energy, and it includes one of my all-time favorites, "Atlantis." (Damaged)

(15) - Blind Faith by Blind Faith - If there was ever an album that should have had only one side, this is it. The second side is an absolute throwaway, but the genius of "Had to Cry Today" and "Presence of the Lord" and "Can't Find My Way Home" are indisputable. (Damaged)

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