Odd Vinyl

Keep On
Big Brother and the Holding Company / Be A Brother

3 Word Review: Solid, Groovy, Interesting

So before Janis Joplin was famous in her own right - she was hanging around with BB&THC. Sadly, in this album, she’s relegated to providing only occasional (yet unmistakable) background vocals. She’s not pictured on the album, and is credited as “friend.” This is lame when compared to Janis’ outright awesomeness on later albums, but I might be a little biased there. Overall it’s good rock (if a bit “yelling” in the vocals at times) for a hot summer night, but stick to the later albums where Janis is free to shine.

BB&THC’s comments about this very thing, years later:

 She was a real intelligent, Janis was, and she always rose to the occasion. She sang the songs. It wasn’t like this moment of revelation like you would like it to be. Like in a movie or something. It wasn’t like, “Oh my God, now we have gone to heaven. We have got Janis Joplin.” I mean she was good but she had to learn how to do that. It took her about a year to really learn how to sing with an electric band.[6]

19 plays
Everything I Own
Bread / Best of Bread

3 Word Review: Summer, Southern, Manly

Manly? Yeah, I dunno. I’m running out of adjectives. 

One way to get introduced to a band is through its greatest hits. This has a lot of clean guitar, guys singing about their ‘girl’ and solid drums throughout. Not a lot of songs that I got too excited about, but this is my first taste of Bread. It’s not bad but, nothing that I’ve been jumping up and down about. Then again, I might not be the target demographic here.

Interesting tidbit: The song “Everything I Own” has been covered by an odd and diverse group of artists. In addition to being on the Happy Feet soundtrack, it was covered by a ska band, a heavy-metal band named Tesla (I actually have one of their albums somewhere in this collection…) folk-rocker Jude and, finally N’SYNC. Who’d have thought?

81 plays
The Load Out/Stay
Jackson Browne / Running on Empty

3 Word Review: Lonely, Honest, Clear

Though I’ve heard a lot more Jackson Browne than I realized, I never really paid him much attention when I heard him on the radio. Sure I know ‘The Pretender’ and ‘Running on Empty’ but listening to a whole album of his music was a different experience. The stories that are told through his songs are interesting, very personal, and all have a little twinge of lonliness associated with him that I haven’t heard articularted since listening closely to anything that Johnny Cash sings. As a whole, awesome songs, but even the most updat ones have some kind of lonely undertone, and most of the subject matter is about wary, endless road travels. Kinda sad.

5,139 plays
The Village People / Cruisin'

3 Word Review: Flamboyant, Fun, Active

Another one to get you off your couch. Like disco? Me too. (No, seriously, it makes great workout music!). What I didn’t expect from this album was that it is dripping with raunchy innuendo. So obvious! Needs a PG-13 label. However, the nice long dance tracks are great to groove to all night long, despite the “dirty” disco lyrics. Your neighbors might look at you funny, but at least it’s a good time.

89 plays
Heard It Through The Grapevine
Gladys Knight & The Pipps / Anthology

3 Word Review: Fun, Spunky, Powerful

What can I say about this one? this is the perfect album to put on and dance around your livingroom. I challenge you to listen to this album and not smile. Gladys Knight’s voice is awesome, the beats are good, and it contains great classics like “Heard it Through the Grapevine.” A spirited romp in Motown and just full of energy. A must-have.

869 plays
Walk on By
Dean Martin / I'm the ONe Who Loves You

3 Word Review: Simple, Old-School, Heartfelt

A classic of this era. Can’t help but picture swanky bars, classy dames and awesome fashions. Neat and simple, there are some dated bits, but it has held its own over time. Records like this from the Rat Pack made up the soundtrack to my childhood, always on in the background whenever we went to visit relatives. 

30 plays
I Like Beer
Brendan Shine / Brendan Shine

3 Word Review: Fun, Twangy, Light

Figured after I cracked open a beer in honor of St. Patrick’s day I’d temporarily abandon the randomness and try to find out if I have any Irish music in the mix. This is the first one that I came across - and you can’t get any more traditional the cover - a guy in front of a little irish home wearing a cute hat and… wait, cowboy boots? I was surprised actually at how non-traditionally Irish it was. There is definitely a lot more Nashville and country influence here than all Irish. A few gems, though, including a song entitled “I Like Beer” which is pretty amusing. Brendan Shine was worth it - if not just to blast some country/Irish music out the window on this breezy spring afternoon. Cheers.

739 plays
Hello there!

Welcome to anyone new checking out the blog! Just a quick note to let you know a little about my collection. I started collecting records when I was a junior in college and moved off campus. At the same time, my parents sold our house and were thinking about getting rid of the records they had. I took them (about 50 of them total) because I thought they were cool and I’ve added to them ever since. 

I buy from local record stores, garage sales, and have also been given several ‘donations’ of records from people getting rid of them. If the opportunity is right I’ve also bought “lots” of records and don’t always know what I’m getting when I purchase them.

So, 1500 albums later, I thought it was time to start going through them! I’m not a pro music critic but just someone embarking on the adventure to explore what I’ve got - the good, the bad, and the odd.

Happy Listening,

sweetraus said: Hi! Love the project. I was wondering (as a gear nerd) what kind of turntable and speakers you own?

Thanks for asking! Got a Technics SL-QD3 and a Harmon/Kardon hk490i receiver with everything working but the FM tuner. The speakers are Marantz but I don’t really know a lot about them.

Laura Branigan / Branigan

3 Word Review: Fun, Strong, Bold

Ah 80s female vocalists - you can be so under appreciated. Laura has a very strong voice here and some great tunes to use it in. She’s faded into (relative) obscurity behind Pat Benetar, Bonnie Tyler and others but I’d like to bring her back. This album is full of songs that need to be belted out, and the hit single, “Gloria” is pretty recognizable even if you don’t know it by name. I’m probably going to rip this one to MP3 so that I can listen to it while I drive. It’s a great one for that. Give her a listen and tell me that she doesn’t kick some butt while hitting those notes. 

759 plays
The Maine Stein Song
The Blazers / College Drinking Songs

3 Word Review: Funny, Energetic, Old-School

This album is a fun snapshot into college life in the 1950s. Sung mostly a-capella, this this collection reflects the cheeky humor, the good-natured antics of the drinking-age college student. I can picture fraternities going on panty raids, peering into girl’s dorm rooms, and having a grand time toilet-papering the university president’s house. Putting this on might remind someone like my dad of fraternity “good times” so I caution you that if you play it for people who may have lived through this era that you might have to sit through some reminiscing. But it’s all worth it for the sake of history.

Interesting tidbit: The Maine Stein song is the first song on here and it is about the University of Maine - where I currently work. Pretty cool.

49 plays
Without A Word
Tom Verlaine / Dreamtime

3 Word Review: Warbly, Hypnotic, Odd

So I had no idea who Tom Verlaine was - apparently this is his second solo album after leaving the more popular band ‘Television.’ I checked my collection and I do not have any records by them, so this is my only exposure to Tom Verlaine. I’ll be frank - he’s got a voice like the lead singer of the Cars, and it wavers and is strange, and I’m not a fan. It’s that early 80s music that became the precursors to… something… but it just isn’t my style. The guitar is nice though, you can tell he is talented there because of the tone of the guitar that rings through very clearly. But the vocals leave something to be desired.

49 plays
Diary of a Madman
Ozzy Osborne / Diary of a Madman

3 word review: Evil, Epic, Rockin’

This album has it all: Ozzy, epic guitar and bass riffs, fun songwriting and great songs. The cover design on this one, though, is one of the cheesiest and funniest I’ve seen yet. Dead stuffed cat prop? Check. Fake blood on Ozzie’s torn white pants? Check. Angry evil little kid pointing at a book of spells in the background? Check. As for the music though, if you’re a fan at all of rock from this era, you probably owned this album. I mean, the guitar riffs alone are enough to put some hair on your chest. I hesitate to call this classic, but this is one of those albums that if you own it, you should try to find the original on vinyl. When they reissued it there was a big controversy because Ozzie had the bass/drums re-done because the band members that did them on the original were jerks (I’m paraphrasing here) and the original is (according to fans) much much better. Having not heard the reissue myself, I can’t verify that, but if you get the vinyl you also get a cool insert sleeve with fake satanic writing on it. Worth it ;)

Interesting tidbit: This album is Osbourne’s personal favorite of all his releases.

69 plays
Low Down Ways
Marshall Tucker Band / Where We All Belong

3 Word Review: Classic, Energetic, American

This is a neat 2-disk set that has one studio album and a live album, so you get a taste of the music and then can go to your very own concert while drinking beer in your living room. I am not a huge fan of live albums but this one is very well produced, and if my neighbors would let me I’m sure it would be a great one to blast through the apartment. These guys are classic, with great guitar work, a little twang, strong vocals and a driving pace that just keeps you excited. The studio album contains a few familiar tracks and seems like it would be the perfect soundtrack for tailgating or other summer activities. I’d probably classify this as rock/country, but there are a few tracks that feature flute, etc., so a little hard to classify but always easy to listen to.

1,819 plays
Odd numbering on 2-disk sets?

Maybe this is something that I’m just not used to, but I just pulled out a 2-disk set that is ordered like this:

Disk A: Side 1 & Side 4

Disk B: Side 2 & Side 3

So to play the full album, I have to put the first record on, put the second record on, flip the second record, then put the first record back on. WHY?

Now, owning only one turntable, I’m not quite sure why you would do it this way.

Why not:

Disk A: Side 1 & Side 2

Disk B: Side 3 & Side 4?

Which results in a more pleasant: Put record on, flip it, Put next record on, flip it. Scenario.

Edit: Thanks for all the helpful responses guys!