Thursday, May 31, 2012

How Vinyl Records Are Made

An interesting video on how vinyl records are made nowadays (the basics are the same as in the ol' days):
Part 1  Part 2
A minor thing that is needed in addition to what's shown in the video ... some musicians to do their stuff. =)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Record #0009: Last Train To Clarksville / Take a Giant Step – THE MONKEES

Colgems 66-1001 (original), USA, August 14, 1966
Words & Music by:  Side ATommy Boyce, Bobby Hart; Side BGerry Goffin, Carole King
Musicians:   Micky Dolenz (vocals), Louie Shelton (guitar), Tommy Boyce (acoustic guitar), Wayne Erwin (guitar), Gerry McGee (lead guitar), Larry Taylor (bass), Billy Lewis (drums), Gene Estes (percussion), David Walters (percussion on side A), Jack Keller (piano on side B), Michael Rubini (harpsichord on side B), Bobby Hart (glockenspiel on side B)
Recording session:  (Side A) RCA Victor Studio, Hollywood, CA, July 25, 1966 (7 pm-3 am); Side B on July 9, 1966 (2-9 pm)
Highest chart positions:  US #1, UK #23

The group was put together for the TV series “The Monkees” and the members were chosen out of 437 applicants who replied to the job ads that were put in “Daily Variety” and “The Hollywood Reporter”. Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz were the lucky ones to get the job. Nesmith and Jones were the only ones who had some degree of credibility as musicians before joining the Monkees.
This was the Monkees’ debut single, but Dolenz was actually the only member of the group to appear on these two songs. RCA used seasoned studio musicians (and Boyce – Hart, who also produced the record) to play all the instruments. 

List price:  “Very Good+” is $7.50 and “Near Mint” is $15.

Record #0008: The Ballad of Davy Crockett / Farewell – TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD

Capitol F3058 (original), USA, 1955
Words & Music by:  Side A – Tom Blackburn, George Bruns; Side B – Davy Crockett, George Bruns
Musicians:   Tennessee Ernie Ford (vocals), orchestra & chorus led by Cliffie Stone
Recording session:  Capitol Studios, Hollywood (?), CA, 1955.
Highest chart positions:  US #5, UK - 

“Tennessee”Ernie Ford goes Disney, as the A-side was the theme song of Disney’s 1954-55 TV miniseries “Davy Crockett” (and the two movies that were edited together of the episodes).  The flipside is from the series as well.
This was recorded few months before one of Ford’s biggest hits, “Sixteen Tons”.

List price:  “Very Good+” is $7.50 and “Near Mint” is $15.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Record #0007: It Happens To Be Me / Alone Too Long – NAT KING COLE

Capitol F2754 (original), USA, 1954
Words & Music by:  Side A – Sammy Gallop, Arthur Kent; Side B – Arthur Schwartz, Dorothy Fields
Musicians:   Nat King Cole (vocals), John Collins (guitar), Charlie Harris (bass), Lee Young (drums), plus many others in the orchestra conducted by Nelson Riddle.
Recording session:  Capitol Recording Studio, Hollywood, CA, 1954.
Highest chart positions:  US #16, UK - 

I didn’t find much story for this piece of Valium on vinyl. :)
The flipside is a cover from Broadway musical "By the Beautiful Sea".

List price:  “Very Good+” is $5 and “Near Mint” is $10.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Record #0006: Telstar / Jungle Fever – THE TORNADOES

London 9561 (original), USA, 1962
Music by:  Side A – Joe Meek; Side B – Geoff Goddard
Musicians:   Clem Cattini (drums), Alan Caddy (lead guitar), Roger LaVern (keyboards), George Bellamy (rhythm guitar), Heinz Burt (bass)
Recording session:  Joe Meek’s studio, London, UK 1962
Highest chart positions:  US #1, UK #1 (also #1 in Belgium, Ireland & South Africa … #17 in Finland)

TheTornados (the “e” was added to their name in the US) were London-based session musicians and also Billy Fury’s backing group in 1962-63.
The title song of this record was named after AT&T’s communications satellite Telstar, which went into orbit on July 10, 1962. This single was the first US #1 by a British group. Indeed, they did it well before the Beatles had theirs. It is also the only instrumental single that has hit #1 in both US and UK weekly charts.
Joe Meek, who could be called the British Phil Spector, wrote and produced Telstar. A movie about his life was released in 2008.
Heinz Burt left the band and went solo in 1963. He had one big hit as “Heinz” with his single “Just Like Eddie” (UK #5). I’ll come back to this record later, when it comes up.

List price:  “Very Good+” is $12.50 and “Near Mint” is $25.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Record Grading

Here's Record Grading 101 as per the Goldmine Price Guide. As a rule of thumb with the prices, VG+ is 50% of NM and VG is 50% of VG+ price. For the definitions of each grade, please see the page behind the link.

Record #0005: Under the Boardwalk / I Don’t Want To Go On Without You – THE DRIFTERS

Atlantic 2237 (original), USA, 1964
Words & Music by:  Side A – Kenny Young, Arthur Resnick; Side B – Bert Berns, Jerry Wexler
Musicians:  Johnny Moore (lead vocals on Side A), Charlie Thomas (lead vocals on Side B), Eugene Pearson (vocals), Johnny Terry (vocals), others unknown
Recording session: New York, NY, May 21. & 22, 1964
Highest chart positions:  US #4 (#1 in R&B Charts), UK #45

The recording session had some tragedy to it. The Drifters’ lead singer Rudy Lewis died of a heart attack (suspected heroin overdose) at the age of 27 the night before they were set to record “Under the Boardwalk”. The group didn’t postpone the session, though. On a very short notice they got their former lead vocalist, Johnny Moore to take Lewis’ place.
I Don’t Want To Go On Without You” was recorded on the 2nd day of the session. This song was a tribute to Lewis.

List price:  “Very Good+” is $7.50 and “Near Mint” is $15.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Record #0004: Dueling Banjos / End of a Dream – ERIC WEISSBERG

Warner Bros 7659 (original), USA, 1972
Words & Music by:  Side A – Arthur“Guitar Boogie” Smith, arranged by Eric Weissberg; Side B – Trad. arranged by Eric Weissberg
Musicians:  Eric Weissberg (banjo), Steve Mandell (guitar), others unknown
Recording sessions: unknown
Highest chart positions:  US #2 (#1 in US Adult Contemporary Charts) in 1973

Dueling Banjos is a bit off the mainstream and was so at the time of the release, too. Still it almost hit the top of the US charts, failing only to get past Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly With His Song".

Dueling Banjos was made famous by the film “Deliverance”. It was actually used there without the composer’s permission, which led to a (successful) lawsuit. The credits on the label do not even show Arthur Smith and I wonder if this was handled in the court as well.

List price:  “Very Good+” is $2 and “Near Mint” is $4.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Record #0003: Rock Around With Ollie Vee / I’m Gonna Love You Too – BUDDY HOLLY

Coral 62390 (re-issue), USA, 1963
Words & Music by:  Side A – Sonny Curtis; Side B - Joe Mauldin, Norman Petty, Miki Sullivan
Musicians:  Side A – Buddy Holly (vocals), Sonny Curtis (lead gtr), Grady Martin (rhythm gtr), Don Guess (bass), Doug Kirkham (drums); Side B – Buddy Holly (guitar & vocals), Jerry Allison (drums), Joe B. Mauldin (bass)
Recording sessions: Side A – Owen Bradley’s studio, Nashville, TN on July 22, 1956; Side B – Norman Petty Studios, Clovis, NM during June 29.-July 1, 1957
Highest chart positions:  none

This record compiles the A-sides of two singles released in 1957 (Rock Around With OllieVee) and in 1958 which both failed to chart in the US. The original UK single “I’m Gonna Love You Too” (Coral 72288) did reach #16 among the Britons, though. This posthumous (Holly died in a plane crash on Feb.3, 1959) “re-issue” of the songs, however, didn’t make it to the charts anywhere. Probably this stuff was getting too old in 1963 and Buddy's death didn't boost the sales of his records anymore.

List price:  “Very Good+” is $20 and “Near Mint” is $40. A promotion copy (old style light orange label) would sell for about $90 (VG+).

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Record #0002: Jackson / You Only Live Twice – NANCY SINATRA

Reprise 0595 (original), USA, 1967
Words & Music by:  Jackson – JerryLeiber and Billy Wheeler; You Only Live Twice – Leslie Bricusse and John Barry
Musicians: Nancy Sinatra (vocals), Lee Hazlewood (vocals in Jackson), the London Symphony (in You Only Live Twice), others unknown
Recording sessions: Jackson – Los Angeles (?), CA, 1967(?); You Only Live Twice – London, UK, 1967(?)
Highest chart positions: Jackson – US # 14, UK # 11; You Only Live Twice – US #44, UK #11

It must have been a challenge to decide which song to put on the A-side. The solution was to make this a “double A-sided” single meaning that both tracks were regarded as featured songs. You Only Live Twice being the theme song for the 007 film (starring Sean Connery) got a lot of attention worldwide, but kind of failed to climb up the US charts.

List price:  “Very Good+” is $10 and “Near Mint” is $20.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Record #0001: Surfin’ Bird / King of the Surf – THE TRASHMEN

Garrett 4002 (original), USA, 1963
Words & Music - Side A: Wahrer , Side B: LaPole
Musicians: Steve Wahrer (drums & vocals), Dal Winslow (guitar & vocals), Tony Andreason (lead gtr & vocals) and Bob Reed (bass)
Recording session, place & date unknown
Highest chart positions: US #4, UK #3

While most of the surf bands of the early 60’s came from California, this one came from Minneapolis, MN, where surfin’ wasn’t that big.  The Trashmen was a one-hit-wonder and this was their hit single. Surfin’ Bird has later been covered by quite many bands and it also appears on many movie soundtracks.

List price:  “Very Good+” is $15 and “Near Mint” is $30. (I’ll make a separate post on Goldmine’s grading later)

Gettin' Started

I'm a record collector with few boxes of old 45 and 78 rpm records, most of which have not been organized. The idea here is to catalogue a record a day ... get it all done little by little. It's going to be a fairly long ride and it will get even longer as I go, because I'm still looking for more of these little round black objects. How many records are there now? Well, I won't say (don't even know the exact number), but I'll tell you when I have posted the last one. :)

Surely there will be days when for a reason or another I can't make a post, but I'll try to keep the overall pace at 365 posts per year.

I've found most of these vinyl and shellac records in the vicinity of Seattle, WA, when living in the area (in 2003-2009). The rest I've bought in Finland, where my home is currently. Majority of the records are from 1940's - 1990's; few from the 2000's and some as early as 1910's and 1920's (Edison Diamond Disc Records). Quite a few of the records were bought in bigger lots, where I didn't know exactly what each and every record was. That explains some odd pieces (e.g. ABBA) that will come up sooner or later, if I don't get rid of them first. :)

In each post I'll share a short bit of the record's history if I happen to know it, or if I can find it in the web in 10 minutes or less. It may not always be 100% correct as I won't take the time to verify every single piece of information before posting it. I'm trying to keep this fairly lean & simple. If any reader knows more about a record or wants to correct something, please comment & share. :)

Record's list price will also be included, when I can find it in my Goldmine Catalogs. When the list price is not available, I'll check to see if I can find a range of typical selling price (in auctions) for the record. Why do I want to show the price? Well, it's the best indicator for the level of rarity of the record combined with the level of demand there is for it. In addition to other factors, both of these variables depend a bit on your location and the latter also on the current popular trends in music. Due to the origin of the majority of the records (and the fact that Goldmine is in the States) the prices in most of the posts are based on the US record market.
Final note on the prices; very often the price does not equal the value. You may have a record with a $500 list price, but nobody wants to buy it for anything near that price. On the other hand, a big fan of the artist may buy a record for way more than the listed price.

Each post will include a photo or two. I'll aim to take all the photos myself and I'll also keep the copyrights for those. Should there be a photo taken by somebody else, I'll mention that in the post.

See if I'm up for it. I'll go now and grab the first box and get this started. Oh, and the posts will not be in any particular order because the records are not in any order - yet. :)