Beethoven started working on what became his 5th Symphony in 1804. If he’d finished it earlier, it would have supplanted the fourth. It was not debuted until December of 1808, and in the long interim he composed many other works: his Violin Concerto, his Appassionata sonata, three string quartets, his Fourth Symphony and Fourth Piano Concerto, and a first draft for his sole opera, Fidelio.

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This entertaining LP explores Beethoven’s composing process. In it, Leonard Bernstein provides insight by performing many of the sketches on the piano, as well as with the New York Philharmonic. Think of this as the “alternate takes.”

We are personally very partial to Bernstein’s recordings of the nine symphonies in New York. We are also well-known to be partial to Beethoven altogether, and own several recordings of each symphony. Bernstein’s study on this album reveals his sincere enthusiasm.

This exploration of a single movement touches on many of the remarkable qualities of Beethoven’s oeuvre, in particular the passion which propels his symphonies forward with unbridled passion.

This particular copy is in pretty poor condition, but we imagine there are many out there who will enjoy hearing it regardless. The second side of the album contains the contemporaneous recording of the symphony conducted by Bruno Walter, which can be easily found in much better condition than this copy.

This message was left on a Sunday morning.

Remarkably, when we traced the call it turned out to be this guy…

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Jazz legend Earl “Fatha” Hines had a little to say with this oddball single, released during the California gubernatorial campaign of 1966. His parody of “Mack the Knife,” a jazz standard taken from The Threepenny Opera, responds to the candidacy of Ronald Reagan, who at the time promised to “get the welfare bums back to work, and to “clean up the mess at Berkeley” (in the Gipper’s own words).

Hines speculated on the effects of Reagan’s budget proposals, which in fact did freeze and then cut funding to both the University of California, and Medi-Cal, the state’s medical assistance program. The flip side was an instrumental (“The Medi-Cal Blues”).

DSC06750Earl “Fatha” Hines was sixty-three the year he cast his vote for Governor Pat Brown, and had only recently come out of a lengthy retirement from jazz, during which he ran a tobacco shop in Oakland. Just a couple years earlier his friend and oftentimes manager, jazz writer Stanley Dance, had pushed the pianist to perform again, leading to a surge of recordings in the mid-60s which were highly praised by jazz critics all over the country (Downbeat named him the “#1 jazz pianist” in 1966 — the first of six times he would receive their venerated award). Dance is one of our favorite writers, and we last referred to his amazing contributions to the history of jazz in this post about Johnny Hodges pet monkey, Shuma. For his part “Fatha” became an essential link between early jazz and it’s modern children, performing with musicians from several generations extensively until he passed away in 1983 at the age of seventy-nine.

Highlights from Hines’ post-retirement career include a session of duets with Jaki Byard which is one of the most interesting explorations of jazz piano ever recorded, and a fun appearance on Ry Cooder’s Paradise and Lunch where the two perform Blind Blake’s “Ditty wa Ditty” [sic]. Hines’ other duets from this period include duets with Marian MacPartland, Oscar Peterson and Teddy Wilson. He also joined legendary bassists Charles Mingus and Richard Davis, drummer Elvin Jones and singers Peggy Lee and Dinah Washington on sessions in his seventies. “Fatha” was so important to the history of jazz that no less an authority than Count Basie called him “the greatest piano player in the world.”

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We spent a fair amount of time last week cleaning and filing this gigantic collection of albums, which is why there were so few posts here on the Hymies blog. There’s an awesome variety in the collection, which was stock from a record store that had closed ages ago, with the albums apparently buried in the warehouse from the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark until they were re-discovered. Lots of favorites, lots of oddballs, lots of sealed albums, and — as with any collection of records from the 70s, lots of K-Tel albums.

In one of the boxes we found this catalog from K-Tel Records, the ubiquitous Minnesota-based compilation label. We’ve always had a soft spot for these, and several years ago we featured some of our favorites (here), which includes some of the records in this catalog.

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This catalog comes with a K-Tel “preferred customer bonus dollar,” as well as a money-back guarantee. Who on earth would return a copy of Believe in Music or Super Bad?!

We suppose there are some K-Tel collections one might return, like World of Strauss and 25 Polka Greats, but even these show up pretty reliably all these years later so somebody enjoyed them.

And it turns out 25 Polka Greats is a lot of fun! The albums in this catalog are only a small sample of the total K-Tel discography, which would probably take a long time to collect. And now you know that if you’re disappointed, all you have to do is mail the album back to Minnetonka for full credit or exchange.

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But we’ll see you soon! Today we’re gonna visit family (and also go into the shop and make some repairs).

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Another record store day block party has come and gone here at Hymies. Once again we were fortunate to have some of our favorite artists in the Twin Cities performing on 39th Avenue. We couldn’t have done it without the help of our neighbors at Peppers and Fries.

We have a few of the record store day releases left, but not very many of them. Feel free to call if there is one you were still hoping to find.

Thanks to everyone who came to the block party, and a GIANT THANKS to the people we see here in the record shop throughout the year.

Our ninth annual block party for Record Store Day is Saturday April 13th! We’ll have special limited edition releases inside the shop, and the big attraction will once again be on 39th Avenue. Welcome spring with delicious burgers, burritos and brews at Peppers & Fries, while enjoying some of our favorite local artists.

Live music on 39th Avenue performed by

Gabe Barnett and them Rounders 11AM

The Southside Aces 12PM

Pleasure Horse 1:30PM

Little Fevers 3PM

Mina Moore 4:30PM

Toki Wright & Big Cats 6:00PM

Set times will be here later today, along with more details about the Record Store Day releases. A special thanks to this year’s sponsors, Windsor and Fulton Brewing! Hope to see a lot of familiar faces for one of the funnest days of the year!

Inquiries about special Record Store Day releases can be directed to either our email addresses or the phone here in the shop starting on Wednesday when we’re certain everything is shipping. Click on contact above. Please understand that we are not allowed to hold specific titles for customers and the adage about the early bird is as true as ever.

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