Articles by Dave Hoenack

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These days there’s something brought back into print on LP every week. Some of this month’s releases (the soundtrack, for instance) seem unnecessary, simply because it seems to us someone could find a nice original copy of they put some effort into the search. Others are albums that all but hardly ever appeared on vinyl, especially during those dark times in the 90s when the industry was trying to convince us all we didn’t like records anymore.

Later this month several of Tom Petty’s albums from that era will be back in print, including the soundtrack to She’s the One. You probably don’t remember this movie, even if you’ve actually seen it, but if you’re a Tom Petty fan you likely remember the album as one of his best. Also being reissued is The Last DJ, which we thought was just as good.

Those old CDs work just fine, but some people really want to have their favorites on vinyl. So if you’re a Tom Petty fan and you’d like these two great albums, good news! You don’t have to buy an original copy online at a price tag in the hundreds — reissues for these two will be out in just two weeks! Also, if you’d like one of those Saturday Night Fever reissues, we could order one for you. Otherwise there’s pretty much always a nice copy in the shop for under ten bucks.

Once in a while we check in with country troubadour Tom T. Hall to see how things are going. Usually not so well, as his songs are often tragic. Today we’ve got something which didn’t appear on one of his album — this is the storyteller narrating a Chevy Blazer commercial.

Hey everyone, just a quick note here at the beginning to letcha know that we posted the set times for our SEVENTH ANNUAL RECORD STORE DAY BLOCK PARTY on our facebook page and on the events page here on the website.

The Clash has always been one of our favorite bands, and Mick Jones one of our favorite musicians in the world. We were beside ourselves when he came into our li’l neighborhood record shop years ago. In our view, the only problem with Mick Jones’ records is that there aren’t enough of them — sometimes we’ve listened to all our Clash albums, all our Big Audio Dynamite albums and all our Carbon/Silicon albums (do you remember this band he founded with former Gen X guitarist Tony James?) and we wish there were something else.

After hearing new that Gorillaz has a new album out in April, we recalled that Jones and Paul Simonon played on the title track to Plastic Beach and toured the band. This inspired us to find his other guest appearances on albums.

We dug up a record by his one-time flame Ellen Foley on which he was a producer and songwriter, and also this album by Ian Hunter.

The last time we listened to the former Mott the Hoople frontman here on the Hymies blog we were making the case he was owed credit for the melody of John Cougar’s “Small Town.” Other folks know his solo career for introducing “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” and “Cleveland Rocks.” We’ve always liked listening to Hunter’s albums while we’re working here in the shop, but we never put this one on the turntable.

Jones produced the record in between The Clash’s Combat Rock and Sandinista! and you can definitely hear those records reflected in this one, especially the two songs we chose here. Jones’ bandmate Topper Headon even played the drums on Short Back n’ Sides. We’re gonna go out on a limb and guess that the 1995 CD reissue’s bonus disc includes a lot more material like the Clash-y ‘instrumental’ “Noises.”

Anyways, fellow Clash fans, if you’re ever in the mood for a li’l more Mick Jones, check out the Ian Hunter section at your favorite record shop for this one.

Our cat Momar paid a visit to the record store this morning to poke around.

Which reminds us, isn’t it sort of peculiar that a guy named Cat Stevens wrote a song called “I Love My Dog.”

No record for today’s post. Instead we wanted to remind you that the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) which offers weekly fresh produce pickup here at the corner of 39th and East Lake Street every week is now taking new members for the 2017 season.

Our family loves to cook and we’re always very impressed by the quality of the extra produce they sometimes share with us! You can learn more about the farm through their website here. You can also meet the farmers at our 7th annual Record Store Day Block Party (details for that are here) on April 22nd.

Dalton Trumbo’s novel Johnny Got His Gun is familiar to metalheads as the source material for the Metallica song “One.” The novel was originally serialized in the Daily Worker, and published in book form just two days after Britain and France declared war on Germany to mark the beginning of World War II, but tells the story of a soldier in the First World War. It’s title is derived from a then-popular song, “Over There,” which in its hit recordings by Al Jolson, Enrico Caruso and others may have been one of the best-selling tunes of its time.

Johnny in Trumbo’s story is actually Joe Bonham, who loses loses his arms and legs and much of his face in an artillery explosion. He comes to realize he is trapped inside of his body, unable to end his life because he cannot stop his breathing through a tracheotomy. Using morse code, he expresses his desire to be shown to others throughout the country so they can witness firsthand the horrors of war, but is devastated to realize this will not happen.

The video for “One” provided an enormous commercial break-through for Metallica and propelled the album, …And Justice For All, to be their best-selling yet although it was less enthusiastically welcomed by fans and critics. The video used footage from the 1971 film adaptation of Trumbo’s novel, for which the band purchased the rights rather than paying royalty fees. Through regular rotation on MTV the video exposed Metallica to their largest audience yet.

The song’s anti-war sentiment sat well with others on the album, which make reference to environmental destruction and economic discrimination. “One” also displayed the group’s innovative approach to arrangement and featured a highly praised guitar solo by Kirk Hammett, but fans were disappointed by the thin production of …And Justice for All, in particular the lack of bass. There was a lot of drama involved in the recording and mixing of the album. Producer Flemming Rasmussen talked about it in Rolling Stone around this time last year.

“Jason is one hell of a bass player,” the producer says. “I’m probably one of the only people in the world, including Jason and Toby Wright, the assistant engineer, who heard the bass tracks on …And Justice for All, and they are fucking brilliant.”

Rasmussen went on to say he still doesn’t know why the tracks were “nixed in the mix,” as the mixing duo Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero had been attached to the project prior to his arrival. “It’s not on them, that’s for sure,” the producer says. “It was Lars [Ulrich] and James [Hetfield] who said to turn the bass down. I know that for a fact because I asked them.”

Interestingly, Rasmussen, who produced three Metallica albums in all, once wrote a song based on Dalton Trumbo’s novel as well. At the time he began working with Metallica, he was likely best known for his work behind the mixing board, rather than the folksy rock album he released for Reprise in 1971. It was his work as an engineer on Rainbow’s album Difficult to Cure, ten years later, which caught the ears of Metallica as they set out to record Ride the Lightning.

“Johnny Got His Gun” opens the second side of Rasmussen’s self-titled album, an album focused on hippy themes (other titles include “A Song for the Children” and “The Whole World is Crying”). The record was released the same year as the film adaptation.

Johnny Got His Gun had previously been adapted for radio by NBC with James Cagney in the lead, but we haven’t figured out if Radiola, the 70s label which reissued classic programs on LP, had pressed that production.

Flemming Rasmussen remains a respected recording engineer in Denmark. The Sweet Silence Studios where Rainbow, Metallica and many other bands recorded were demolished in 2009. After a short time working elsewhere, Rasmussen reopened it as Sweet Silence North in a town outside of Copenhagen. His official website is here. His self-titled album on Reprise Records remains out of print.

According to the jacket of this 70s collection of rare 78s, Bluebird Records released more than 2,000 blues singles between 1933 and 1946. The album appears on RCA’s “Vintage Series,” which also included whole collections of single artists who recorded for the label and its various subsidiaries. Bluebird was its budget label during the 1920s-40s, but its distinctive sound influence blues and early rock and roll in the following decade.

Considering Third Man Records has produced  lavishly-packaged collections of recordings from Paramount Records (the Wisconsin label known for its blues catalog) we wonder whether the Bluebird catalog could merit a more substantial reissue program. Individual artists who recorded for Bluebird have certainly been anthologized by Document Records on CDs.

We’re surprised and fascinated by the sales of similar records which anthologize blues and roots recordings from the 1920s, and sixteen out of two thousand is hardly a fraction of a single percent of the blues records Bluebird released during this period.

This single by Tampa Red is from the same period as his biggest hit, “Let Me Play With Your Poodle,” a song which reached #4 on the “Harlem hit parade,” which was Billboard’s early R&B chart. Although he recorded from 1928 until 1961, he only released two albums — both on the Bluesville label late in his recording career. In another of traditional music’s tragic tales, his life fell apart due to alcoholism after his wife’s passing in 1953, and Tampa Red died in poverty and anonymity in 1981.

In addition to recording stack of singles in his early career, Tampa Red collaborated with Thomas Dorsey (then Georgia Tom) who went on to become “the Father of Gospel Music,” and also backed singers such as Ma Rainey and Memphis Minnie. He can be heard on the recent Memphis Minnie reissue, Keep on Goin, which collects some of her early records for labels such as Columbia, Okeh and Vocalion.

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