Sunday, December 16, 2012

Misleading Descriptions

I will start this post by stating outright that descriptives such as "psychedelic" and "progressive", in terms of musical style, are very much open to interpretation and argument. Some albums which I consider to be psychedelic in sound are not such to other collectors and vice versa. Classification as progressive music is probably even more open to debate, much to be found online. Indeed, anyone who has listened to a great number of "progressive" bands will know that, just like with any genre of music, alot of it sounds the same. And wouldn't that seem to fly in the face of a body of music being progressive?
All that being said, it has been long established that record dealers are often liars. I understand that they are salesmen, and salesmen in general bend the truth to make the sale, their only objective, but when it comes down to blatant false advertising I get a tad cross.
A perfect example is an album by a Canadian band named The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.
I have seen this album advertised many times in the past by dealers online and in published listings as "psychedelic rock" and "psychedelic blues". I bought a copy a few months ago. The shop where I bought it is not at fault here, they had no descriptive attached, it was merely in the stacks and I bought it based on how I had seen it advertised in the past. Once I set needle to groove I found that rather than being psychedelic or bluesy, it was in fact a rather mediocre set of country-rock. Country-rock is a genre I am not really interested in even when written and played well. Had I not been misled by the false advertising of dodgy dealers I would not have bought this. There is a consumer base for all genres. There is no need to lie.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - All Over The Road (1970)

Now this leads me to another topic. As I have been posting some of my favoured used vinyl stores I have debated in my mind whether or not I should do postings of stores I do not favour. I have pretty much opted not to do this for fear of possibly detering potential customers from a business over what may or may not be a petty reason.
That said there is one vinyl store that I will mention here as I will not do business there for several important reasons, including the above.
Beach Sound Records on Kingston Road does have some decent titles, but they are vastly overpriced, very much so. Many of the albums I inspected there had feelable scratches, further pushing the prices into absurd realms. Rather than just stating the high prices in a normal fashion prices are marked by a series of dots - each dot representing $5. Some times this is marked on a price tag as a group of dots, sometimes written as say "12 dots", and sometimes actually written on the inside of the sleeve. I can not fathom the reasoning behind this method other than to confuse or mislead those buyers who are not particularly good at math.
I was in there on a weekend afternoon some time back. I noticed a Moondog LP on the wall and, being a fan of Moondog, I remarked "You have Moondog, cool, I don't see that much." The owner offered that he wasn't really familiar with the artist and asked me if it was "psychedelic". I told him that no it wasn't. Moondog tends to be a mix of Jazz, Classical, Folk and Minimalism in varying degrees. Moments later a customer entered and advised that he was interested in psychedelic albums. The owner immediately referred him to the Moondog LP stating that it was "very psychedelic". My mind was blown (in a very un-psychedelic fashion, ha)! And I believe the customer was well aware of the dupe as he said nothing, spent a few minutes half-heartedly glancing at the stacks and left. 'Nuff said.

Moondog - Moondog 2 (1971)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dust - Hard Attack

Dust - Hard Attack

Kama Sutra KSBS 2059, USA, 1972

This is the second and final album by New York's Dust. An excellent album of mostly hard rock numbers with a couple of ballads and a short country influenced track thrown in. Initially released in a gatefold, this, I believe, is the second pressing in the more common single pocket style sleeve, but still on the pink Kama Sutra label.

A trio, two of the members would go on to their own further fame - guitarist Richie Wise as the producer of the first two albums by Kiss (along with Dust producer Kenny Kerner), and drummer Marc Bell would later join Richard Hell's band the Voidoids before becoming known as Marky Ramone in 1978. Listening to this album I can hear what was to come with some hints of a proto-punkish exuberance on some tracks ('Learning To Die'!!!) and the energetic drumming overall. I have heard rumours of an unfinished third album, but that is all - rumours.
Also of mention is the terrific barbarian cover art by New York fantasy artist Frank Frezzeta, also known for his cover art for several Molly Hatchet albums, and of course if you are of my generation and tastes, his work for Heavy Metal magazine (an American SF/Fantasy comicstrip magazine for adults; not a music magazine).

I had attempted to purchase this on ebay six times over the space of a year and each time the bids went beyond my budget, hitting 80-120 dollars US. I could not believe my luck when I found this clean copy at Kops Records for a mere 17 dollars. Just goes to show that patience really is a virtue!

Side 1 - 1. Pull Away/So Many Times (4:59) 2. Walk In The Soft Rain (4:18) 3. Thusly Spoken (4:18) 4. Learning To Die (6:20)
Side 2 - 1. All In All (4:03) 2. I Been Thinkin (2:14) 3. Ivory (2:38) 4. How Many Horses (4:18)
5. Suicide (4:53) 6. Entrance (0:19)

Kenny Aaronson-bass/slide/pedal steel guitar; Marc Bell-drums/percussion; Richie Wise-guitars/vocals.

Recorded at Bell Sound Studios, New York City.

Listen to 'Learning To Die' here:
and 'Suicide' here:

Kops Records

Kops Records

This downtown Toronto store has a rather average selection for my tastes, with only occasional gems. Their prices, however, are pretty decent overall and I have gotten some very good deals there (see my Dust post after this one). They have a good section of recent additions and a nicely sized bargain section with scale-priced LPs marked by coloured stickers (the kind that are easily removed without tearing the cover!). I think Kopps caters to a lot of DJs and accordingly has substantial funk, soul and jazz sections. They also have loads of 45s which must take days to search through - I have no patience for searching through 45s! The staff are friendly and helpful and the owner deals with fairness and an open mind. I also like that they are located pretty much across the road from The Rex (Toronto's #1 jazz club), so I can pop across for a pint and good music immediately after I make my purchase.

Kops Records
229 Queen Street West
Toronto, Ontario, M5V 1Z4
416 593 8523