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best known overtures

Canned goods

canned goods“Canned Goods” by Greg Brown

We have skinned, cored, cooked and canned so many tomatoes in the past couple weeks that we’re not sure we ever want to see another one, let alone eat it. But we’re pretty sure these jars are going to make us more than a little happy in December.

canned tomatoes

tom waits russian lpIn case you were wondering how to spell Swordfishtrombones in Russian, here’s a counterfeit copy of the classic 1983 album by Tom Waits. The cover features a painted adaptation of the original artwork (not the slight variations), and the album’s sequence is changed a little, moving “Frank’s Wild Years” to open the second side. The sound quality is sort of poor, but the album is still pretty awesome.


We love the text on this old Columbia inner sleeve. And it’s only partly out of date.



1. THEY’RE YOUR BEST ENTERTAINMENT BUY. Records give you top quality for less money than any other recorded form. Every album is a show in itself. And once you’ve paid the price of admission, you can hear it over and over.

2. THEY ALLOW SELECTIVITY OF SONGS AND TRACKS.  With records its easy to pick out the songs you want to play, or to play again a particular song or side. All you have to do it lift the tone arm and place it where you want it. You can’t do this as easily with anything but a phonograph album.

3. THEY’RE CONVENIENT, AND EASY TO HANDLE. With the long-playing record you get what you want to hear, when you want to hear it. Everybody’s familiar with records, too. And you can go anywhere with them because they’re light and don’t take up space.

4. THEY’RE ATTRACTIVE, INFORMATIVE AND EASY TO STORE. Record albums are never out of place. Because of the aesthetic appeal of the jacket design, they’re beautifully at home in any living room or library. They’ve also got important information on the backs — about the artists, about the performances or about the program. And because they’re flat and not bulky, you can store hundreds in a minimum of space and still see every title.

5. THEY’LL GIVE YOU HOURS OF CONTINUOUS AND UNINTERRUPTED LISTENING PLEASURE. Just stack them up on your automatic changer and relax.

6. THEY’RE THE PROVEN MEDIUM. Long-playing phonograph records look the same now as when they were introduced in 1948, but there’s a world of difference. Countless refinements and developments have been made to perfect the long-playing record’s technical excellence and insure the best in sound reproduction and quality.

7. IF IT’S IN RECORDED FORM, YOU KNOW IT’LL BE AVAILABLE ON RECORDS. Everything’s on long-playing records these days … your favorite artists, shows comedy, movie soundtracks, concerts, drama, documented history, educational material .. you name it. This is not so with any other kind of recording.

8. THEY MAKE A GREAT GIFT. Because everybody you know loves music. And everyone owns a phonograph because it’s the musical instrument everyone knows how to play. Records are a gift that says a lot to the person you’re giving them to. And they keep on remembering.


PinkFloyd-album-ummagummastudio-300Of course, one of the most famous is these is the so-called “Gigi cover.” Early copies of Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma depict a copy of the cast album. The picture is also a unique example of the droste effect (a repeating picture within a picture) because the band members change places with each iteration.

More often than not the albums which appear on albums are on shelves in the background. We like the idea of a passing glimpse at the collection of a favorite artist. It’s no surprise to us that Andre Previn’s shelves are far tidier than Roland Kirk’s.

right as rain

roland kirk


We’ll bet it would have been a lot of fun to go record shopping with Roland Kirk or Leontyne Price. And Andre Previn, who incidentally composed the Gigi score seen in the Pink Floyd album above, can have any record he finds at Hymie’s on the house.
Photo on 7-12-15 at 5.05 PMTake a close look at Santana’s Amigos and you’ll see a blue monkey holding a copy of their debut album — the monkey’s got good taste!

ernest tubb record shopAnother common way for records to appear on the covers of other records is when the performer poses in a record shop. Ernest Tubb is seen beaming before a rack of albums from his label-mates in his own record shop on the cover of this 1960 album. There are now two Ernest Tubbs’ Record Shop locations in Nashville, Tennessee — at the Music Valley Village location you can also see the Green Hornet, a 1964 Silver Eagle touring bus used by Tubb himself. It travelled over three million miles before being restored for display!

hard promisesAnd Tom Petty is seen inside an un-named record shop on the cover of Hard Promises. To Petty’s left you can see the same sort of spinning 45 rack we have here in our shop — we would like very much to know where this shop is so we can go there and straighten up those singles!

Petty’s choice of setting is fitting, for Hard Promises was of course the album over which Petty fought MCA’s policy of “superstar pricing” (charging an extra dollar for top-selling artist). Olivia Newton John and Steely Dan gave in, but Petty was next in line and considered either not delivering the album to the label or titling it the standard price, $8.98, to protest the increase. As if we needed another reason to think Petty was a good dude.

DJ shadow

Another album which fittingly features a record store on the cover is Entroducing…DJ Shadow, a highly influential (and enjoyable) album built around innovative samples. In the documentary Scratch, he returns to the record shop where he found most of the albums sampled on his 1996 debut album. He’d gone there for years before they let him look through the basement where albums were stacked everywhere under bare bulbs.

“Just being in here is a humbling experience for me,” he explains. “Because you’re looking through all these records and it’s sort of like a big pile of broken dreams.”


spitfire LP montrose LP


Dragons are one of the most universally cool things in the world, and like all such things — for instance spaceships or girls on roller skates — they appear on album covers a lot more often than they do in real life. For the life of us we can’t imagine why a band that’s actually called Dragon wouldn’t put one on all their album covers.

dragon lp

Our favorite album about a dragon is the one where Spider-Man saves the Earth from Draco, King of the Dragon-Men. Our second favorite is “Perci the Dragon” by folk singer Ken Lyon.

perci the dragon

DSC07400We wouldn’t call her a contender for “America’s teenager,” but it’s still hard to believe Cyndi Lauper is sixty-two years old. Her birthday was yesterday — a day she shares with Kris Kristofferson, Roy Drusky, and one Osmond or another (Alan? Is that an Osmond?).

We have a paperback of This Day in Music History in the office. It’s where we find the birthdays we write on the blackboard each week. Afterwards its not really something we think much about, but this week it seemed like the musical birthdays would make a peculiar playlist. Here today are a few from this weekend.

cant slow down“Can’t Slow Down” by Lionel Richie

Lionel Richie was born on June 20, 1949, and was thirty-four years old when Can’t Slow Down, his second solo album, began its fifty-nine week stay in the top ten. That’s why you see copies of this album in nearly every record store in America — but you know what, it’s that popular for a reason. When was the last time you played your copy? You’ll be surprised how much you enjoy hearing it again.

Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual isn’t quite as ubiquitous as the first three Lionel Richie albums, but for folks in their thirties these days its an old favorite. That’s why Lauper took the entire album on a world-wide 30th anniversary tour two summers ago.


snowbird“Snowbird” by Anne Murray

This was the song which set singer Anne Murray’s career on track — it wasn’t originally chosen as a single from her album Country in 1969, but becoming an unexpected hit when released the following year. “Snowbird” was written by another Canadian, Gene MacLellan.

Golf For Women magazine named Murray the world’s best female celebrity golfer in 2007. Betcha didn’t know that.

Billy Guy was one of the longest-serving original members of the Coasters. He also released a series of solo singles in the sixties on Double L Records and — true to the group’s narrow walk between pop and novelty — had a couple of comedy projects in the seventies. One was a double album about drag queens and the other, The Tramp is Funky, featured his own raunchy stand-up material. “Poison Ivy” captures the Coasters’ flair for suggestive humor.

poison ivy“Poison Ivy” by the Coasters

in my room“In My Room” by the Beach Boys

And last we have Brian Wilson, the enigmatic Beach Boy who released his eleventh solo album, No Pier Pressure, earlier this year. We still have one copy in stock for those of you interested in hearing it. The album was originally planned to be a Beach Boys record, to follow their 50th anniversary album That’s Why God Made the Radio, and so includes some of his former bandmates, though obviously not Mike Love who for all intents and purposes fired founding members Wilson and Al Jardine, and David Marks who had been a member since 1962. Mike Love has his own, more profitable version of the Beach Boys which is playing shows in California this month. We’ll let Cyndi sum it all up for today…

money changes everything“Money Changes Everything” by Cyndi Lauper

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