Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Kops 2

Kops Records in Toronto has a new second location at 592 Bloor Street West and they are having a special grand opening showcase this Saturday, September 28th,  featuring plenty of bands and DJs. They will also be offering $5 off purchases over $30. Go show your support for the bands and find some great vinyl.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Space Opera - st

Space Opera - st

Columbia ES 90116, Canada, 1972

With a name like Space Opera you'd be forgiven for expecting some tripped out cosmic space rock somewhere between Pink Floyd and Hawkwind, but that, of course, would be far too obvious. What Space Opera play is a high quality country rock full of jangly 12-string, vocal harmonies and excellent twin lead guitar. Progressive movements elevate the music, as does some accomplished fuzz guitar, buzzing like a swarm of angry bees on "Holy River", feverish and frantic on the 7 and a half minute instrumental "Guitar Suite". Elsewhere the band utilise flute, harmonica, cello and harpsichord to good effect. The album sits well alongside Grateful Dead, CSN and the like and it is too bad they didn't get wider recognition which may have led to further albums. Both tracks on their sole single (Epic 10971) are taken from the album.

Many collectors believe that Space Opera were a Canadian band (as did I), but they actually formed in Texas in 1969. They later moved to Canada in the early 70s, recording the album at Manta Sound in Toronto. The American pressing was released on Epic (32117).

Side 1 - 1. Country Max (3:20) 2. Holy River (5:26) 3. Outlines (4:10) 4. Guitar Suite (7:36)
Side 2 - 1. My Telephone Artist (3:46) 2. Riddle (3:05) 3. Prelude #4 (3:52) 4. Lookout (2:46)
5. Blue Ridge Mountains (2:11) 6. Over And Over (5:56)

Brett Wilson-drums/percussion;
Philip White-bass/guitar/keyboards/vocals;
Scott Fraser-guitar/keyboards/vocals;
David Bullock-guitar/flute/harmonica/vocals.

Recorded at Manta Sound, Toronto.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Terence - An Eye For An Ear

Terence - An Eye For An Ear

Decca DL 75137, USA, 1969

The Terence of this album is Canadian 60s pop icon Terry Black from British Columbia. Black had his first hit in 1965, at the age of 15, with his second A-side "Unless You Care" (Arc 1074) which charted at #2 in Canada and #99 in the USA. This was quickly followed by several other charting singles and a "Best Male Vocalist" award in the same year. A brief move to the US followed where this album was conceived, though recorded in both New York and Toronto. An Eye For An Ear generally does not appear in Terry Black discographies and it is believed that this album is a "studio project" rather than an outright release by the artist.

While certainly not bad, this is also not a great album to my ears. Too much pop balladry, orchestration and blasts of brass. Black's deep, soulful vocals remind me of other late 60s psych-crooners like Damon and Beauregarde and quite frankly lack the depth or nuance to keep me inspired. That said, this is still an album of its time with decent fuzz guitar licks and hip organ flourishes to be heard throughout. The standout track for fans of psych is the side two opener "Fool Amid The Traffic" featuring a hypnotic organ and drum backing to a healthy spread of wah-wahed and fuzzy guitar. This track would be a great addition to any psych compilation. For fans of the weird and experimental the non-song "The Emperor" offers sound effects, wordless female vocals and Terry Black's spoken retelling of the emperor's new clothes tale.

I don't believe there was a Canadian pressing, this American issue covering both markets. There was, however, a 1969 German pressing on MCA (MAPS 1884) with different cover art. The Museum of Canadian Music website values originals at $45.00, though I consider this to be high. Indeed, friends in England have told me that over the last decade or so An Eye For An Ear has been a common charity shop find at a few quid (this may refer to the German press).

German issue.

Side 1 - 1. An Eye For An Ear 2. Rap 3. Second City Song 4. Power 5. Exiles
Side 2 - 1. Fool Amid The Traffic 2. Priscilla 3. Lighting Frederick's Fire 4. The Emperor 5. Does It Feel Better Now?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Jeff White - Grey Lord

Jeff White - Grey Lord

Stovepipe ST0001, Canada, 1976

Originally from Cornerbrook, Newfoundland, Jeff White relocated to Ontario in 1974 and recorded this rare private pressing at Eastern Sound Studios in the Yorkville area of Toronto a couple of years later. A very enjoyable folk album, I found the tracks to be full of pleasant surprises. Subtle psych, progressive and pop elements rise and fall. An effected electric violin raises its head, elsewhere a pulsating and somewhat warped bass, the occasional electronic sound, and some nice electric guitar.

Vocally White has a mellow and soothing voice with a decent range that fits the music well. Lyrical inspiration comes from his following of the Baha'i faith at the time. Completely unknown to me when I bought this a few months back, I consider Grey Lord to be one of the choice albums in the Canadian section of my collection (despite the waterstains and scratches on the front cover). The tracks on this album were all written in the early 70s (1970-1974) and the album was issued with an inner lyric sleeve.

Other releases by Jeff White include "While Dylan Grew Whiskers" (a compilation), "Red Arrow" and "Ol' Crazy Half Moon Wheel". I have no information regarding these other than that they are CD releases. In 2005 he formed a duo with vocalist Kati Durst called Young & Foolish.

Side 1 - 1. Charlie (It Was September) (4:44) 2. Jubal (4:12) 3. Happy (A Song For Susan) (2:56) 4. Buffalo Boy (4:46) 5. The Ugly Truth (5:17)
Side 2 - 1. The Merchant Of Shiraz (5:13) 2. Tahirih (5:10) 3. Funeral (3:50) 4. Grey Lord (5:37)

You can purchase the album and individual songs here:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Carp - st

Carp - st

Epic E 30212, Canada, 1970

The main reason I bought this album is because of the inclusion of Gary Busey as drummer, singer and chief song writer (and the shop in question was selling it pretty cheap in good condition). I didn't expect alot musically and upon listening I didn't get a hell of alot, but it was better than I was expecting. Offered up is half decent country rock with some honky tonk piano and Busey's X-tian lyrics. There are some nice lead guitar passages here and there and the song writing is a tad better than some albums of the same style. Occasionally the band even rocks out, in their own fashion. Perhaps as a statement of warning, the notes on the back cover advise that this isn't the typical 60s rock album, going so far as to mention Jefferson Airplane by name. I have seen some criticism of the sleeve design and, like many others, I initially thought that the front was the back until I turned it over. While somewhat unique, this is definitely not a sleeve I would display in a frame.

I have read somewhere that throughout Gary Busey's acting career he has not once mentioned Carp in an interview, though I can't verify this nor the reasoning. I must wonder, though, if during Busey's recent stint on reality show Celebrity Apprentice, was there possibly an impromptu behind the scenes jam session with fellow contestant (and country music star) Trace Adkins? mentions that Gary Busey played in several backing bands (including those of Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson) before appearing in his first film in 1971, but does not mention Carp. It does state that he was in an Oklahoma band called The Rubber Band, and while this may have been an earlier name for Carp, sleeve notes state that Carp was formed in spring 1966 and so it is likely the Rubber Band reference is an error. Busey would later perform guitar and vocals for his portrayal of Buddy Holly in The Buddy Holly Story (1978).
The original American issue is of the same year and catalogue number.

Side 1 - 1. Drink To The Queen Of May (2:15) 2. Circuit Preacher Brown (2:30) 3. He's Comin' Back To Check On What You've Done (3:10) 4. Pine Creek Bridge (2:00) 5. Rosabelle Bovine (2:00) 6. Page 258 (2:30)
Side 2 - 1. Jotham Clay, Mississippi (2:46) 2. The Great Kansas Hymn (4:10) 3. Mammoth Mountain Blues (2:50) 4. There Goes The Band (2:00) 5. Jesus Is The Mountain (3:45) 6. Firehouse Dog (0:30)

Gary Busey-drums/vocals; John Crowder-bass; Ron Getman-guitar; Glen Mitchell-piano

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Vortex Records - Annual Summer Sale

From Lincoln at Vortex Records -

"Thursday, 20 June - 25% off***
Friday, 21 June - 30% offSaturday, 22 June - 35% offSunday, 23 June - 40% off
We're open 10 - 10 all days except Sunday which'll be 11 - 6.
All USED items will be on sale: CDs, DVDs, Vinyl, Blu-rays. New vinyl will not be on sale.
*** On Thursday, June 20, if you spend more than $100 (before tax), we'll give you an extra 10% off everything, making your discount 35%. This is a great way to avoid lines and get a bigger discount.
Note: We almost didn't have a summer sale because the sales are generally brutal on the staff, with the final day of our last sale being the busiest day in Vortex's history. None of us wanted to go through it again so soon, but we are heavy on stock and low on space so it's happening. 
HOWEVER, please realize that by waiting an extra day or two, the extra discount is not that big. Some of you waited in line last sale for very long periods of time and saved, literally, $2 more than you would have the previous day when there was barely any line at all. We've been questioning your sanity ever since. This summer sale, redeem yourself. Shop smart!
Note 2: We PREFER not to buy stock during our sales so please don't bring things to sell us as we will probably turn you away.
Note 3: You should get to the store early. Last sale we had to lock the door an hour before closing time. If we hadn't, we'd still be serving some of you. We reserve the right to do it again this year. Come early. 
Note 4: When the staff tell you it's time to get in line, IT'S TIME TO GET IN LINE. Seriously. If not, we reserve the right to refuse your service all together, which means you'll get nothing.
Thanks. And it would be AWESOME if you could forward this email to your fiends or share the sale news on your Facebook page so your lovely friends can save cash to.
Pretty please.

Vortex Records is located at 2309 Yonge Street, Toronto. Tel: 416 483 7437. Website link in column at right.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Michael Waite and Eyes - Cosmic Wave

Michael Waite and Eyes - Cosmic Wave

Eye-To-Ear DZD 555, Canada, 1982 (coloured vinyl / ltd edition of 1000)

An eclectic mix of new wave, Super Tramp/Klaatu-ish commercial radio-prog, hard rock and electronica sounds. "Magic" on side two is a sub-standard ballad to these ears, yet somehow reminds me of Terry Brooks and Strange in its ambience (though the music is actually miles apart). Guest appearances come courtesy of Nash The Slash and Kim Mitchell, among others.
The album was originally realeased in 1982 on the small Eye-To-Ear indie label as a limited edition of 1000 on light pink vinyl (usually decsribed as white for some reason). In 1983 it was picked up by A&M and re-issued on standard black vinyl. It is interesting to note that the original issue is credited to Michael Gregtheodeg Waite & Eyes, while the A&M issue omits the Gregtheodeg. Both issues include an inner lyric sleeve.

A&M SP 9092, Canada, 1983

I rate this album highly but must warn that it is not for psych, prog or hard rock specialists as this really is a mixed bag.

1982 issue on pink vinyl.

In the early 70s Waite was in a band called Breathless with Nash The Slash. It appears they only recorded one song, "Slasher", which appeared on a promotional compilation titled 'Concept', but was never officially released. Throughout the 80s Waite made appearances and received producer credits on several albums by Canadian progressive rock band FM, as well as on Nash The Slash's 1984 album 'American Band-ages'.

Side 1 - 1a. Electric Violence 1b. Electric Violinse 2. The Prisoner 3. Time 4. Me And The Silver Surfer
5. You Won't Believe Your Eyes!
Side 2 - 1. The Machine Stops! 2. Without A Doubt 3. Magic 4. No Brains; No Pains 5. See-Behind Glasses (An American In New York)

Michael Waite-vocals/bass/piano/guitars/synthesizers/Roland drum computer/percussion/tubular bells/flute;
Martian Wars-electric 5-string violins/electric violcello/mando-guitar/Roland guitar synthesizer;
Mike O'Brien-drums & percussion

Recorded at Integrated Sound.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Upcoming Toronto Record Fairs

Sunday 24 March, 2013

Toronto Downtown Record Show
Estonian Banquet Hall
958 Broadview Ave., Toronto
11AM - 4PM
Admission $5
Contact: Akim Boldireff (416-224-5068)

Sunday 14 April, 2013

Toronto Musical Collectables Record & CD Sale
Capitol Banquet Centre
6435 Dixie Rd., Mississauga
10AM - 4PM
Admission $5
Contact: BlueNote Promotions (1-800-255-4416)

Sunday 28 April, 2013

Flipside DJ & Collectors Record Sale
Gladstone Hotel
1213 Queen St. W., Toronto
10AM - 4PM
Admission $5

Sunday 26 May, 2013

Toronto Mid-Town Record Show
Greenwood College School
443 Mt. Pleasant Rd., Toronto
10AM - 3:30PM
Admission $5 / Early Admission $15
Contact: N/A

Monday, February 18, 2013

Alpha Ralpha - st

Alpha Ralpha - st

Warner Bros. 56 330, France, 1977

From Paris, Alpha Ralpha released their only album of progressive rock in 1977. Mixing elements of symphonic and jazzy prog, the music is in turns upbeat and spacey, borrowing equally from the British and French progressive scenes, as well as displaying the occasional suggestion of some of the Italian bands of the earlier half of the 70s. While this is essentially an instrumental album there is a wordless acappella vocal harmony seemingly tacked on to the end of the first track of side one. It then reappears as the 31 second track "Gothic" on side 2. It doesn't really fit in with the rest of the album and comes across as some ill-advised filler material, or a scrap of an idea rescued from the floor.

While not terribly original, I think overall this is a very enjoyable album with some fine guitar leads for fans of the rock and jazz fusion schools and the mandatory cosmic washes for the symphonic fans.
It was also released in Canada, same year, same catalogue number.

Side 1 - 1. Synergie (4:14) 2. Nova (5:55) 3. Syrtis Major (2:20) 4. Genese (9:27)
Side 2 - 1. Rez (3:47) 2. Gothic (0:31) 3. Magellan (7:30) 4. Lagune Ouest (3:42) 5. Hymn (4:15)

Claude Alvarez-Pereyre-guitars/violin/organ/marimba/vibraphone; Charlie Charriras-bass; Michel Mareska-electric guitar; Jean Alain Gardet-piano/organ/elka/mini-moog; Emannuel Lacordaire-percussion/vibraphone/marimba

Recorded at Studio IP May and September 1976.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Ever go into a store, see something you want, look at the price and say 'I'm not paying that!, I'll find it cheaper somewhere else!"? I have done that a lot. Or maybe you thought it was overpriced but bought it anyway because you really wanted the item or were too lazy to shop around? I have done that too. Experience has taught me that the monetary value of any given object, and especially used items, is only what someone is willing to pay for it.
So how do I go about valuing my vinyl? There is a plethora of published value guides available for purchase. Some of these publications release new additions annually, some not as often. While they all offer some good advice with regards to collecting, identification and grading, I prefer not to use these books as I find that the values are simply too static.
There are several factors that can effect the value of a record. A dip in the economy, as we have all experienced, can greatly reduce what a collector is willing to spend. For most (if not all!) of us, such things as rent/mortgage, groceries, etc... take precedence over that groovy 1968 private pressing in original shrink.
Sometimes a rare album will be re-issued on vinyl or CD and the value of the original will drop now that the music is more easily accessible and at a much cheaper price. It should also be noted here that many psych reissues, which tend to be limited editions, have proven to increase in value over the years, and can be a valid collecting option in their own right. Also, a cheap reissue can reveal that the music on that expensive rarity actually sucks (more common than one might think).
Renewed interest in a band can increase values significantly as well. Back in the early 90s I was collecting Pink Floyd vinyl almost exclusively. Foreign pressings, bootlegs, coloured vinyls, you name it. In 1994 Pink Floyd released The Division Bell, their first album in six years, and began a world tour the same year, resulting in the live Pulse album in 1995. Pink Floyd was now in the forefront of a lot of minds and accordingly values of used Floyd vinyl increased, sometimes doubling. I bought the new releases but at this time I generally decreased my overall Floyd purchases and started to focus on other bands.
And so, rather than rely on a published value that may remain fixed for a year or more I prefer something that better reflects the natural fluctuations in the market. This thinking might lead one to see what a given title is currently selling for, be it in a physical shop on the street or online. Certainly Ebay would be the easiest place to check for most. I was speaking to a guy recently who mentioned a record he had and that it was worth $60. In my mind I thought he was overvaluing by a long shot and I asked him how he figured $60. He told me he saw one for sale on Ebay for that price. Remember the question I opened this article with? I told him, yes it may be for sale for $60 but will it actually sell for that much? Ebay is full of overpriced items that don't sell. I referred him to a website I use often, and you will find in the links column, Popsike is an auction value database listing closing prices for finished auctions. In other words, what a record actually sold for. You will get the high and low ends as well as the average. Another site that does this is (also in the links).
I go with the average, considering the extreme highs and lows to be exceptions. What might cause these exceptions? Low ends might just reflect a general lack of interest in the artist or title at the time of auction/sale, though they could represent a sudden surge in available copies. A sudden or overall lack of copies of a title can obviously work the other way and cause an interested collector to spend a bit more than usual. There are many other reasons a
record can sell for a noticeably high price. Many vinyl collections contain within them sub-collections. I have a sub-collection of John Mills-Cockell in the works, within the body of my overall vinyl collection. Let's say there was only one release I needed to complete that sub-collection and let's say it isn't very common. I might find one for more than I would normally have paid for it, but as it is the last piece, I might be willing to pay more rather than keep hunting for months or even a year for a cheaper copy.
Foreign pressings will often sell for more than domestic pressings and likewise foreign buyers will often pay more for our domestic pressings than we will. I knew a fellow in Birkenhead, England who owned a used record shop. Over pints he once told me that business wasn't so good locally, but he had a collector who flew in from Japan once a year and bought a shed load of vinyl "at top price", essentially keeping this fellow's business afloat. I experienced the same selling British pressings of early Floyd singles at a flohmarkt in Klagenfurt, Austria. Collectors from Italy would snap them up without haggling or question. I've also known some more affluent collectors who regularly travel abroad on vinyl hunting expeditions, buying foreign releases for a fraction of the prices in their own countries.
Overall, the best thing to remember is that vinyl is worth what you will pay for it or what someone else is willing to pay you for it. All factors considered:)

Monday, January 21, 2013



Columbia KC 32032, USA, 1973, promo

Not a lot of information is available, but I believe Gentlehood were a Californian band playing a pleasant light, folky rock with acoustic and electric instrumentation and some vocal harmonies. The album spawned a single, 'America, Oui, Oui'/'Finally Home', though I have only seen a Dutch pressing (Columbia 1599), so can't verify a domestic release. Personally I feel that the A-side is not the strongest track on the album and a better selection certainly could have been made.

Prior to the album Gentlehood recorded a handful of songs for the Zabad label in 1970. The only release from this era I have been able to confirm so far is 'Gazebo(stereo)'/Gazebo(mono) (Zabad 2525) which is probably a demo or promo release, however several of these 1970 recordings exist online. There is also a 14 minute live recording to be found online, '1975 Gentlehood Live' inwhich it appears that the band had increased from the trio pictured on the inner gatefold sleeve of the album to a 5-piece. Note that this live recording only features excerpts of several songs from their stage show.

While many demo/promo releases appear on altered labels (usually white labels, or label printed as being demo/promo), sometimes a demo/promo is indicated as such by a sticker on the sleeve or label of a standard issue. My copy of this album is an example of the latter with a small promo label on the bottom of the back cover and "demonstration record-not for sale" rubber stamped on the label of side 2.

Here is the picture sleeve of the above mentioned Zabad single. It sold on Ebay for 46 US dollars back in 2008...

Gazebo(stereo) / Gazebo(mono) (Zabad 2525, 1970)

Side 1 - 1. Oh My (4:20) 2. He Said She Said (3:11) 3. Bridges On Progress Day (3:10) 4. Jacob Salk (3:25) 5. Closer To Me (3:43)
Side 2 - 1. Can I Be Your Man (2:51) 2. Finally Home (3:01) 3. America, Oui, Oui (4:34) 4. Hey John (4:09) 5. Life Performances Of Hymn (3:30)

T. Russo; S. Khanzadian; T. Fiegel

Recorded at Hollywood Sound Recorders and Wally Heider Studio.

Listen to 'Closer To Me' here.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Record Collecting and Women

I have noticed over the years that the vast majority of women I see visiting used vinyl stores tend to be in the company of a man who is the one actually buying records.
Only occasionally have I seen a woman hungrily flipping through the stacks, oblivious to the world around her, a pile of choice titles to her side. Admittedly, when I see such a rare sight, I get a secret thrill and fantasies of vinyl-filled love flood my brain. Of course the inevitable breakup would result in a war over who owned which discs. I think a pre-nup is in order.

Below are a couple of excerpts regarding collecting and women. The first is from an article by J.C. Furnas that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post of 27 May 1939, subtle sexism intact;) The second is a quote by artist Robert Crumb (probably best known for Fritz The Cat) who is an avid collector of 78rpm's. This quote appears in the book Vinyl Junkies: Adventures In Record Collecting by Brett Milano (St. Martin's Griffin, 2003, ISBN: 0312304277).

Robert Crumb:
“Picking up chicks? Forget it! It never gets them hot, they don’t give a shit about collectors. I wouldn’t say that collectors are antisocial – that would imply that they want to do something harmful to society – but it’s not very sociable either. Very self-obsessed, kind of asocial. That’s why the world looks down on collectors, it takes a certain kind of personality. There is nothing sexy or glamorous about it. Women aren’t attracted to people because they collect. You can go up to them and say, ‘I’m an outlaw bandit’ and they’ll like that. But if you say, ‘I’m a collector’ – no chance.”

Robert Crumb has a few records.

Cover art for 2-CD compilation 'The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of: Super Rarities & Unissued Gems of the 1920s and 30s' (Yazoo 2202, 2006) by Robert Crumb.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Missing Pictures On Posts

I deleted my old google account and swapped the blog over to a new one resulting in the loss of all images. I will reinsert all images over the next week or so. Sorry for the inconvenience. Happy New Year:)

UPDATE - All images have been reposted.