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Sometimes we don’t look too closely at the art on these Musical Heritage Society LPs. They often contain excellent recordings of both well-known and esoteric classical pieces.

This album collecting what’s called Schubert’s Biedermeier Dance Music is a great example of the latter. They are the most famous of the fifteen hundred compositions he wrote in his thirty-one short years, but the album is an interesting addition to a collection of his music. We thought “Biedermeier” might refer to a beer hall or tavern, but it is actually a reference to a time period in Central Europe during which the middle class took an interest in the arts. One significant aspect of this in regard to music was that it was a time when people performed music in their homes and even held small concerts.

This was where Franz Schubert thrived, in as much as he was ever successful. In fact, during his lifetime his music was only performed in a public concert once, in March of 1828. Otherwise Schubert was a denizen of the house show, so to speak.

This album has several chamber works for a quartet with piano, and a pair of pieces (including “Six Valses Sentimentals” above) for piano performed by Verena Pfenninger.

It was only posthumously that the music of Franz Schubert was fully introduced to the concert hall, but many of his works have become a staple of the classical repertoire ever since (for instance his String Quintet in C Major, the “Cello Quintet” as it is often known, is considered one of the finest chamber works by any composer).

This copy of Schubert’s Biedermeier Dance Music is here in your friendly neighborhood record shop for just $3. Of course, there’s some asshole selling it on Amazon for $225 right now, if you’d rather have it delivered to your door. Absurd prices such as this for classical recordings are fairly common, especially on Amazon, so there must be some unfortunate souls out there who actually pay them. Is the music on the LP actually worth a couple hundred bucks? Well, if you look closely at the jacket you can see that it is in fact so good that its taught dogs and cats to get along with one another…

The ticket stub is from October 17, 1985. Jim, who received the note, lives just around the corner from the record store and brought in a box of albums yesterday. He saved a few other cool ticket stubs we’re hoping to show him later today.

This guy is dressed like a pirate.

Seriously, Steve Jordan isn’t just dressed like a pirate, he’s dressed like an awesome pirate. Puffy shirt and frilly pants and awesome boots. And he’s wearing so much turquoise jewelry that it probably rattles when he washes his hands.

And what’s with the eyepatch? 

How did Steve Jordan lose that eye? It doesn’t appear to be just a casual part of his pirate outfit. Wikipedia only reports that he was partially blinded as an infant.

Someone stamped their address on the cover.

Yeah, its the same stamp he used for his return address stamping purposes, but Mr. Gonzalez turned it on his record collection with a vengeance. This copy has a total of four stamps!

It’s not as distinctive as the legendary “Bud’s Music Collection” stamps in a collection we purchased years ago, but it is awesome that we know a guy who lived just off the west side of Cedar Lake owned this album at one point.

Where is the record? 

The jacket had no album. And its been sitting on the desk in our office for nearly a year because it’s awesome. We don’t even remember the collection which contained it, but we do remember at the time desperately checking every jacket for Steve Jordan’s La Camelia.

We had to hear at at least one song from the album, and found it on Youtube:

 

We often find jackets missing their record, or vise versa, but with something like this record we rarely are able to make the connection. Somewhere out there is a loose copy of Steve Jordan’s album and we hope it found a listener who appreciates it.

Steve Jordan was awesome!

Better known as Esteban Jordan, he was a multi-instrumentalist but best known for his accordion prowess. He was such a great performer that Hohner named a model of accordion after him, and he has been called “the Jimi Hendrix of the accordion.” Jordan is a legend in modern conjunto music, but for all the collections of accordion music we see here in Minnesota his LPs are few and far between. Everything we heard online will keep us on the lookout!

Last night an orange cat walked into the record store. Anyone recognize this li’l fella?

We have seen so many copies of Switched-On Bach over the years that we couldn’t begin to count them. The 1968 album of Moog synthesizer renditions of Bach’s music had sold more than a million copies by the mid-70s, topping Billboard’s classical chart for years and peaking at #10 on the pop chart.

Wendy Carlos had worked with Robert Moog on the development of his synthesizer, and even used one to make experimental recordings and music for television commercials.

For many record collectors the album remains an introduction to the instrument. For us it also remains one of the goofiest album covers of all time.

For starters, this is not Wendy Carlos dressed as Bach on the cover. Carlos, who became one of the first figures to publicly speak about being transgender in a Playboy interview in 1979, is never photographed on her albums and has rarely made public appearance during her long career. She has only given one live performance.

We can’t help but wonder where the man on the jacket is today. He’s one of those famous record album people, like the man seen on the cover of Abbey Road who didn’t like the Beatles music. or the couple seen on the Woodstock soundtrack who are still together. Oh, Moog Bach guy, where are you now?

You may be surprised to learn that the cover seen here is not the album’s original jacket. The first pressing of this unexpected hit features Moog Bach guy seated, apparently displeased with what he was hearing. Carlos and collaborator Benjamin Folkman objected to the image, which they felt insinuated that the music was not to be taken seriously.

Seated or standing, this scene featuring Moog Bach guy remains silly. What’s he reading? We can’t tell the title of the big book on his bench. Why does he keep flowers in front of his Moog console? Seems like they would get in the way. It’s nice that he took time to put a lace doily on the table before setting up his synthesizer, because otherwise it could have damaged the finish. He really should be more careful where he puts his candles, though, because it seems precariously close to the dried plant on top of his bookcase.

And the cat! Have you ever noticed there’s cat in the room! We only noticed it yesterday. This is absolutely our favorite thing about this album now. Moog Bach guy has a cat that sort of looks like a little version of himself. Did they have trouble getting it to sit still? It doesn’t seem to have moved in either version of the cover. Maybe the cat really liked the music.

 

 

“Aimless Love” by John Prine (back cover)

Seasick Steve live at Third Man

Carole King “Music” (inside the gatefold)

“It’s A Lifetime” by Craig Nuttycombe

“Poor Man’s Paradise” by Tracy Nelson

“Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere”

“Dirty Dog”

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