I’ll be on vacation with the family tomorrow, so I won’t be posting new comics this week. I’ll be sure to have new ones up when I return. However, I will have a new comic Wednesday over at LeeandtheBoys.com. As always, thanks for reading!
This is my first post in what will hopefully be a regular feature – The Record Bin. In these posts I will showcase some interesting finds in the world of records. I’m not talking about run-of-the mill Top 40 stuff. These will mostly be things that are a little “off the beaten path” and probably not anything you’ve ever heard of. So let’s get to it…
This is a record I picked up in a used bin a couple of months ago. When I bought it I hoped the music on it would be good, but I really had no idea what was on it. I bought it because the cover was drawn by one of my favorite cartoonists - Peter Bagge (I noticed that before I noticed the odd title – Groin Thunder!) If you don’t know who that is, he’s most well known for his 1990′s comic book series Hate. He also had a long run drawing Bat Boy for Weekly World News, he’s a regular contributor to Mad Magazine and Reason Magazine. His style is instantly recognizable by the way his characters bend and twist like Plastic Man.
Bagge also has a background in music – he plays in a band called Can You Imagine. I’ve seen one other album cover by Peter Bagge and I’m sure there are others out there that he’s done. I may have to try to track some of them down.
Coming back to the music on this album, it did actually turn out to be pretty good. It is an album of various punk rock bands covering songs by The Troggs. Who are The Troggs, you ask? I admit, I didn’t know either. They were an English rock band from the 1960′s. Their main claim to fame is their song Wild Thing, which pretty much everyone has heard. That song as well as many others appear on this double LP. I’ve never heard of a single band on the record and there may be a reason. I believe this was pressed in Australia so perhaps all of the groups are Austrailian.
I still don’t know why it’s called Groin Thunder!
Since the main character in this comic strip is a record store owner, I feel like I should make a brief mention of Record Store Day 2012 which was this past Saturday. Record Store Day is one day a year when record labels and artists release recordings in very limited numbers to promote independent record stores. The last couple of years these have primarily been vinyl releases. I see fewer CD releases than in years past.
Since these records are released in limited numbers, you really have to be an early bird if there’s something you really want. My local record store opened at 9 am and I got there at 8:30. The line was so long, I didn’t even get in the store until 10:00. And I don’t think I got close enough to touch a record until 10:15. I’m amazed by how much money some people spend on this day. There’s always a few guys buying a stack of records a foot high (in case you don’t know, new vinyl records ain’t cheap. $20-$25 dollars is about par for a single LP). The records I picked up were a 45 rpm single by Arctic Monkeys, a Dave Brubeck reissue, a Ricky Scaggs LP, and the soundtracks to Empire Records and Pretty In Pink (That last one requested by my wife. To be honest, I’ve never even seen the movie).
All good finds, but the one I was really after was the Brubeck LP. This one was recorded by Brubeck’s octet, not his more famous quartet that
recorded the jazz standard Take Five (although that song’s author does play alto sax on this one). It’s called Distinctive Rhythm Instrumentals and it’s pressed on 10″ red vinyl by Fantasy Records. I believe this album was originally released in the early or mid 1950′s and it’s a real winner.
The album features some interesting Picasso-esque artwork on the cover. Many jazz album covers of this era reflect the sensibilities of the artworld in America at the time, which was mainly Abstract Expressionism. Brubeck especially was interested in modern art and painting. His quartet’s album Time Further Out features a painting by Joan Miro. The compositions on the album are Brubeck’s musical interpretations of Miro’s painting. Sounds a little hokey to me, but I’m a simpleton.
So, I went by my local record store today just to see what I might find. I was flipping through the new country vinyl and found a reissue of Johnny Cash’s first LP on Sun Records, Johnny Cash and His Hot and Blue Guitar. Being a Johnny Cash fan and seeing as though this album has a lot of classic Cash songs (I Walk The Line, Folsom Prison Blues, Cry, Cry, Cry) I decided to buy it.
Well, when I got home and actually played it I was sorely disappointed. This album may have the same title and the same cover, but it is definitely not a reissue of the classic 1957 album. I quickly realized that this album does not contain the same songs as the original. Most of the very well known songs like I Walk The Line and Folsom Prison Blues are missing, and replaced by other songs that didn’t originally appear on this record. However, you can tell that the liner notes on the album are original because they mention some of the songs that are absent on this version.
I did a little digging online about the record label that made this reissue, Doxy Music. Apparently, they are a European label that basically makes unauthorized bootleg reissues on vinyl. From what I can gather, copyright laws are different in some European countries, so songs fall into public domain before they do in the US. What these companies do is take those songs in the public domain and bootleg them. Probably due to the popularity of the songs I mentioned above, they were unable to include them on this record and substituted them with other Cash songs. Obviously this is totally misleading and dishonest. They do print the true tracklisting on the album, but if you know the songs that are supposed to be on the album you probably won’t pay much attention to that.
So I guess the lesson to be learned is BUYER BEWARE when it comes to vinyl reissues. I know I will pay more attention the next time I buy one.