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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Two from the Summer Stacks...

When summer hits, I get the itch.  I take to the streets in hopes of finding a garage/estate sale with a choice selection of vinyl stashed in the back.  Granted, nine times out of ten I'll find a crate filled with beat to hell polka, Streisand, and The Graduate soundtrack.  But, every once in a great while I find a goldmine.  This summer would be no different.

Over the next few weeks I'll post some of the more excellent discoveries, ranging from Morricone Spaghetti Western soundtracks to 60s Psychedelia to 80s synth rock.  Good shit.

To begin, I was most excited to find a clean copy of Graham Nash's unbelievable solo effort entitled, Songs for Beginners.  The sleeve is beat, with extensive edge wear, and some solid ring wear...but the vinyl itself is well kept and pop-free.  For $1, you can do no wrong.

The album kicks off with a whimsical, marching sing-along anthem called "Military Madness" only to be followed by a quiet, dark examination of lost love, titled "Better Days."  Each song that follows has aged amazingly well--thanks to an excellent production.  Other standouts include: "Be Yourself" (a catchy plea to resist conformity), "Man in the Mirror" (a drunken Country Western toe-tapper), and "Chicago" (an organ heavy cry for help).  Definitely worth a listen if you have the time and/or are a fan of CSNY.

Another LP I was ecstatic to find was Mama Cass' (Elliot's) Dream a Little Dream.  Her first solo release, and an exceptional example of her musical abilities.

The album smacks of off-kilter, poppy psychedelia with an excellent sound design.  Recorded almost completely live, the tracks will drift from stage performance (with chattering, chanting, clapping, even howling audience participation) to beautiful studio production (with lush guitar work and deep, rich bass).  All-in-all, a concept album that pleases on many levels.  Standout tracks include: "Dream a Little Dream of Me," "Talkin' to Your Toothbrush" (love the bass here), "Rubber Band," and the Graham Nash penned "Burn Your Hatred."

Next week I'll pull a few more from the Summer Stacks.  Hope you enjoy the tunes.

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