Vintage Vinyl Vault

For purists, the download on a computer of a record just isn't ‘real’. There is nothing better than holding a newly acquired 12” vinyl record in your hand. The large cover art, the inner sleeves, large lyrics to read, the spine printing, the record label. It used to be that the record package was as much a statement of the artist, as the music it held inside. It’s something very unexplainable to those who do not understand, and in the past few years the term “crate diggers” has been coined to describe this type of ‘vinyl collector’.
Here we look back at albums which preserve the passion of the music in it’s grooves, played as they were meant to be heard – ON VINYL!

PAUL McCARTNEY AND WINGS...London Town (1978) McCartney and his band crammed over 50 minutes of music onto this album (a bit long for records which made the volume lower on this one) but it's 50 minutes of some very cool music. Includes the number 1 hit "With A Little Luck", "I've Had Enough" and "Deliver Your Children." It's kinda laid back and McCartney's bass playing is outstanding. 

STEVIE NICKS...Bella Donna (1981) By far her best solo album, we're giving this one a 4 out of 5 stars. Of course, Stevie's vocals are magnificent and her songwriting is brilliant. Fleetwood Mac would have benefitted if any of these had been on their record. Guest vocal apperances from Don Henley and Tom Petty just add to the quality of the package. Tom sings with Stevie on "Stop Draggin' My Hear Around", Don sings with her on "Leather And Lace". "Edge Of Seventeen" is also another standout. 

ROBERT PLANT/ALISON KRAUSS...Raising Sand (2007) If you find a new never been opened copy of this record snatch it up immediately. What an incredible album from these 2. Slow and bluesy, and ddifferent than anything Robert had ever been involved with. "Please Read The Letter" is the album's best track. Other gems are "Rich Woman" and "Gone, Gone, Gone (Done Moved On)". T Bone Burnett produced this one, yet another attraction to it. 

THE ROLLING STONES...Hot Rocks 1964-1971 (1971) A double album containing 21 of some of the most recognizable Stones early hits. If you have very little or no Stones musio this is a decent album to start off with. It was the first of many compilation albums to be released throughout the years. In 1971 this was a fantastic collection, today it's a nice piece of history

Did you know you can have an extensive music collection relatively cheaply?  You don't have to buy your music from iTunes, Best Buy or Walmart at their full prices.  If you take the time to travel to a brick and mortar building that sells used records and CD's it's easy to do.  However, at the same time, you can get into some serious money if you wanna play with the big boys.  For example, a Beatles "Yesterday...And Today" butcher cover on Capitol Records released in 1966 in mint condition, first pressing, can fetch up to $47,000.  Another example:  Bob Dylan's "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" released in 1963, stereo, first pressing on CBS Records can run you $35,000, simply because it contains 4 tracks deleted from subsequent releases.  We're not talkin' about that kind of collecting.  You probably won't lay eyes on those much less your hands.  We're talkin' about just thumbing through the bins and looking at all your old favorites and titles and artist you've never heard of.  If you're a serious music listener this can be an extremely fun endeavour, AND frustrating at the same time if you're as broke as most folks.  Here are four suggestions that you might consider picking up on your next journey...that is, if you don't already own them. 

FOREIGNER...Double Vision (1978)  A "Hot Blooded" record indeed.  Contains the title track, plus "Hot Blooded", "Blue Morning, Blue Day" and "Tramontane".  The band is on fire on this their second album.  Highly recommended for those who really like 70's rock.

ZZ TOP...Fandango  (1975)  Half of this album is new studio tracks, while the other half is the band live.  This is ZZ in top form, bluesy, rockin', jammin'...just an excellent record from those Texans.  Contains perhaps their most widely known track "Tush", along with "Blue Jean Blues" and :Heard It On The X".  It also contains the worst ZZ Top song ever "Mexican Blackbird".  What a freakin' waste of 3 minutes in your life, otherwise this record is highly recommended.

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT...Agents Of Fortune  (1976)  Easily their most popular of all their albums, simply because of the hit single "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", which is by far the best track on the record.  Another highlight is "E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)"  The rest of the album is good but not near as noteworthy as these two tracks.  Recommended, but you might check out other less known BOC albums, you might find something you like even better

STEPPENWOLF...16 Greatest Hits  (1973)  Steppenwolf had a long and illustrious career by singing these songs for an eternity.  Not a bad job, tho.  i wouldn't complain.  Steppenwolf is one of those bands who had a handful of songs that were fantastic but then the rest were just album fillers.  This record gathered 16 of the good ones, including the biggies "Born To Be Wild", "Magic Carpet Ride" and "The Pusher"  (even tho the lyrics to this are awful it has a very cool melody and groove to it).  Recommended for us aging 70's kids.

Check 'em out!!

FOREIGNER...4 (1981)
Producers...Robert John "Mutt" Lange and Mick Jones

Side 1
1. Night Life
2. Juke Box Hero
3. Break It Up
4. Waiting For A Girl Like You
5. Luanne

Side 2
1. Urgent
2. I'm Gonna Win
3. Woman In Black
4. Girl On The Moon
5. Don't Let Go

The 4th album from Foreigner reached the number 1 spot on the U.S. Billboard album chart. It is by far the best effort the band has ever released. "Juke Box Hero" is the best track in the Foreigner catalog. "Urgent" was the first single from the album and I can remember hearing it at a Pizza Hut one night and I immediately thought what a great way to have a saxaphone on a heavy track. Here is a track-by-track look at the record:

Night Life...I've always thought Lou Gramm has always had to strain his voice to reach some of the levels he wanted, but yet, it always worked. That's definitely true in this track, and it's a great opener. Just a straight ahead rock n roll song, nothing fancy, a good way start off a record.
Juke Box Hero...What a fabulous song! Starts off with the bass, keyboards and drums pounding out a light beat which then flares up as the song progresses with the rest of the band. It is by far the best track on the album and in the Foreigner catalog.
Break It Up...a few seconds into the song it just slams into your speakers, and rocks all the way to the end. Good track.
Waiting For A Girl like of the first 'power ballads" of the 80's. This is a great track, good vocals, good feel and vibe to the song, and deserved to be the big hit it was.
Luanne...Speeds the album back up, but not a powerful track. Good toe-tapping beat, good track.
Urgent...A great opener for Side 2. I've always been impressed with the saxaphone solo, played by Jr. Walker. Great rocker, driving beat.
I'm Gonna Win...almost a bluesy feel to it, makes you do a slight headbang, driving guitar chords, great vocal by Gramm. Like it a lot.
Woman In Black...Good guitar to open the track, a good rocker.
Girl on The Moon...A very interesting track, kinda slow, the keyboards kinda give it a 'feeling' that makes it almost eerie in a way. Good song.
Don't Let Go...A good closer, makes one happy that there are no bad tracks on the album. A catch track heavy on the continuous bass notes, good vocals. I highly recommend you check this album out.
All thriller, no filler. pull it out of your closets and check it out again.

JOURNEY...Escape (1981)
Producer...Mike Stone, Kevin Elson

Side 1
1. Don't Stop Believin'
2. Stone In Love
3. Who's Crying Now
4. Keep On Runnin'
5. Still They Ride

Side 2
1. Escape
2. Lay It Down
3. Dead Or Alive
4. Mother, Father
5. Open Arms

It was 1981, John Lennon had just been killed at the end of 1980. Rock And Roll need a face lift, something to bring a jolt...a kick in the butt. Something to assure us that it was still alright to rock. REO Speedwagon had Hi Infidelity, a good record but a little more pop than they had been before. Two albums answered the call in 1981. AC/DC's Back In Black and Journey's Escape. I can remember driving around in my little hometown, windows down and blaring the cassette of this very fun album.
With the recent release of the latest Journey album "Eclipse" I've had them on my mind lately. It was time to bring this one out of the vault and onto the turntable. "Escape" is by far the best offering the band has given us. All 10 tracks are good, very good or great. The opener, "Don't Stop Believin'" that's a great track. Steve Perry is a superb vocalist for one, the song's structure is awesome, building from a terrific piano to some heavey rock, with excellent guitar from Neil Schon. "Stone In Love" continues the rock with some great guitar rock riffs. "Who's Crying Now" is the first ballad on the album. We all know and love this hit. The lyrics suggest a couple who fight a lot, cry a lot but their love is worth saving. "Keep On Runnin'" could be the worst track on the album, but still a good track. "Still They Ride" ends side 1 on a good note, a very cool track to listen to.
The title track opens side 2, a very good rocker. "Lay it Down" features some good vocals from the band, another good rockin' track, with Perry really belting it out on this one. The guitar solo could be the best one on the album from Schon. "Dead Or Alive" is a fast moving, in your face attack from the band, telling a story of a secret agent that ends up being shot by a woman. The most interesting track on the album is "Mother, Father". What I gather from the lyrics is a boy talking to and about his family, coming from a broken home, trying to tell them to have faith, keep believing in each other even tho they have suffered through tragedy and death. The songs structure is both a rocker and a ballad rolled into one, offering the intriguing story and a great performance from the band. Quite enjoyable track. The album ends with another hit single "Open Arms". An outstanding track, a brilliant love song about a couple who drifted apart but now have found each other again. Great vocals from Perry.
There is no question about it, this is all thriller and no filler. 10 great tracks from Journey, one of the classic bands of our generation. Pull it out of your shelf, give it another listen. You'll enjoy it as much now as you did as a teenager.

Led Zeppelin – Presence

Label – Swan Song
Producer – Jimmy Page
Art Direction – Hipgnosis
Nationality – US
Running Time – 44:25
Released – March 31, 1976

Side one
1. "Achilles Last Stand" Page, Plant 10:25
2. "For Your Life" Page, Plant 6:24
3. "Royal Orleans" Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant 2:58
Side two
1. "Nobody's Fault but Mine" Page, Plant 6:27
2. "Candy Store Rock" Page, Plant 4:11
3. "Hots On for Nowhere" Page, Plant 4:43
4. "Tea for One" Page, Plant 9:27

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

“Presence” was the seventh studio album by Led Zeppelin, and the record was written and recorded during a turbulent time in the band's history. Robert Plant and his wife were seriously injured in a car accident which forced the band to cancel a world tour, and delayed recording of the record. And this was right when the band was at the height of their popularity. The album came together slowly over a period time and after much rehearsal, the band recorded the tracks in just under 3 weeks – with Plant in a wheelechair. Upon release the album received mixed reviews from critics and despite the fact it rushed to number 1 in many countries, it is in fact the lowest selling original studio record in the band's catalogue. This may be a direct result of the band not touring upon it’s release for over a full year – and only two of the tracks were performed live by the band when touring resumed. ("Achilles Last Stand" and "Nobody's Fault but Mine") (Note: "For Your Life" was played for the first time at the Ahmet Ertegün Tribute Concert in December 2007)
The album cover and inside sleeve of this album, created by Hipgnosis, feature various images of people interacting with a black obelisk-shaped object referred to simply as "The Object". Hipgnosis was nominated for a Grammy Award for the record in the category of best album package.
To me, “Presence” is the most underrated record in their catalogue. With no acoustic numbers or keyboards (which were to dominate the follow up record) the record is heavy and has an energy that builds throughout the record, and then the band brings you back to earth with the bluesey slow number to finish it off. Throughout, Jimmy Page’s guitar just dominate, and Bonham’s drumming – especially on “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” show why he was one of the best drummers who ever played.
It is highly recommended.

Humble Pie – Performance Rockin’ The Fillmore

Released – November 1971
Label – A&M
Producer – The Pie
Art Direction – Roland Young
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 72:32

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

Side one
1. "Four Day Creep" (Ida Cox) – 3:46
2. "I'm Ready" (Humble Pie, words by Willie Dixon) – 8:31
3. "Stone Cold Fever" (Humble Pie) – 6:18
Side two
1. "I Walk on Gilded Splinters" (Dr John Creaux) – 23:25
Side three
1. "Rollin' Stone" (Muddy Waters arranged by Humble Pie) – 16:07
Side four
1. "Hallelujah I Love Her So" (Ray Charles) – 5:10
2. "I Don't Need No Doctor" (Nick Ashford, Valerie Simpson, Jo Armstead) – 9:15

“Performance Rockin' the Fillmore” is a 1971 live double-album by English blues-rock group Humble Pie. It reached #21 on the Billboard 200.

This set clocks in well over an hour and only has seven songs!! There is only one original song and a handful of cover tunes, all beefed up and presented in true Humble Pie-style. A young Peter Frampton is on guitar, playing some incredibly tasty licks while bandmate Steve Marriott's vocals are just superb and full of excitement and energy.

"I Don't Need No Doctor" was the biggest airplay hit from the album (having been issued as a single in a much chopped up edited version, and it reaching a respectable #73 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1971). But I would consider the albums biggest highlight to be the Doctor John cover of "I Walk On Gilded Splinters". It stretches out over and entire side and is almost 24 minutes; but it’s just such a great and moody track, complete with a bottle dropping in the intro to help set the mood.

Sadly (or perhaps thankfully – depending on your point of view) just before this record was released, guitarist Peter Frampton left Humble Pie due to growing friction between Marriott and himself. The album sold well and it became the band's first RIAA gold certified record.
It is recommended listening.