Boneyard Media

Archive for the ‘Vinyl’ Category

Album ID: The Moody Blues – In Search of the Lost Chord (1968)

Friday, March 30th, 2007


A few more sentimental/ potentially fetishistic words on the virtues of dead media. Until recently, I’d always heard this record three important ways:

1 – As a cassette from the strip mall library close to where I grew up. The tape was horribly muddy-sounding, and it came packaged in a hard shell that the librarian would toss in one of those big brown folders with the string that wrapped around a brad under the flap. A photocopy of the freaky cover had been glued onto the shell but it was all bubbly and on the verge of peeling off. The album sounded mysterious indeed as I listened on my shoebox tape recorder with the Graeme Edge recitations and all and I checked it out many times.

2 – As an 8-track in 1981, when I was somehow roped into a ride to the dump with my friend and his ancient brother in their parents’ Oldsmobile Toronado. Sitting in back, I found the tape under the passenger seat, and it looked much like that library cassette, with the cover picture starting to peel off. I showed it to my friend who stuck it in the 8-track player. It played uninterrupted and had our undivided attention. So there we were, wind blowing through our hair, garbage-scavenging seagulls frolicking above us in the sun, and “Voices in the Sky.”

3 – As a vinyl LP in terrible condition which I bought at the Deseret Industries shortly after the spectacular ride to the dump. The DI was a thrift store near our house in which it was, in the early eighties, always 1968. I always got very contemplative and even a bit reverent whenever I went to this particular location. (It always smelled vaguely of mothballs and vegetable soup, which is certainly how 1968 must have smelled.) I bought it for a quarter. The group’s name has been traced with pen on the front. In the gatefold it says “from John to Franklin on a Saturday night!!” and “wild dreams with Chuck.” It’s also got a crude drawing of an eagle with the words “some bird” next to it, and someone started to treat the Hindu Om design as a color-by-numbers project. I recently bought a remastered CD version of this, and it’s great, but it’s a completely different album. Needless to say, I’ve gotten accustomed to hearing my mellotrons under a layer of crackling murk, so I prefer my DI version.

The Moody Blues – “Voices in the Sky” (DI vinyl version)

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Song ID: The Beatles – “I Feel Fine” (1965)

Monday, February 19th, 2007


I discovered my dad’s “I Feel Fine”/ “She’s a Woman” 45 in a basement box when I was a grade schooler. It was pretty scuffed up, so it sizzled enticingly when I put the needle down. The opening riffs on each side of the single blasted through with such abandon that I forgot all about the white noise. It turns out the white noise enhanced the music, giving that 45 an irreplacable, unique quality.

So if the experience of finding a little treasure box in our basement – which contained a single so fabulous that I can say in all honesty that I first took drugs when I was eight – makes it easy for me to say that “I Feel Fine” is one of my favorite singles, maybe what I’m really saying is that it’s my favorite material single. Is there more legitimacy to one’s experience with music and the value one assigns to it when it’s tied in with one’s tactile relationship with it, like this Beatles 45 with white noise so unique that it added something precious to the mix? Or the experience of pulling out a hidden box and finding it there in the first place? (Or what about a song’s relationship with a beloved radio? For example, I’m sure none of the Top 40 hits during the summer of 1979 would mean as much to me as they do now had I not gotten my first transistor then.) I don’t think I’m talking about fetishism when I say that the music most meaningful to me has a distinct material tie-in.

* * *

When the Beatles CDs came out in the late 80’s, I was convinced producer George Martin had made some sort of terrible mistake, especially with “I Feel Fine,” “She’s a Woman,” “I’ll Be Back,” and “Yes it Is.” These became my four main reasons why I thought CD technology was killing something vital in music. And no one else seemed to care. Then I realized, a long time later, that only the US versions of these songs had reverb, which is what I was missing so badly. So when the “Capitol Albums” box sets came out, which featured the crucial American mixes, I was a reasonably happy consumer and put my voice-in-the-wilderness complex behind me. Still, even though I know vinyl purists can be a silly bunch, when it comes to “I Feel Fine” there’s still ultimately no other way for me than that very same 45 I first discovered. Here’s a straight dub of it compared to the Past Masters Volume One CD version (that red number ones album that everyone owns uses the same dead UK mix).

The Beatles – “I Feel Fine” (Capitol vinyl 45)

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The Beatles – “I Feel Fine” (Past Masters Volume One CD)

The Lovemeknots – “Winchester 73” (1993)

Thursday, February 15th, 2007


The Lovemeknots were a hard-working staple on the Indianapolis club scene until 1995 when they called it quits. They put out 3 CDs and a vinyl 3-song EP called Home Tonight, which has that understated college rock feel that almost begs you not to notice it. This is fine, because when you take it for a spin and get charmed you sorta want it to be your own little secret anyway. “Winchester 73” is the EP’s bruiser, complete with righteous cowbell.

The Lovemeknots – “Winchester 73”

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Song ID: The Knack – “Good Girls Don’t” (45 version) (1979)

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007


It’s 1979 – I’m ten years old and I’m at the drugstore with my mom. We run into my friend and his mom. He shows me what he’s just bought with his allowance money – the new single by the Knack. I end up going home with them and we listen to both sides of his 45 over and over and eat Zingers for the rest of the day.

I’m linking to the clean radio version here, with the line that ends with “chance” instead of the one that ends with “pants” and the line that ends with “place” instead of the one that ends with “face.” I prefer this one to the intolerable Get the Knack album version because the thought of singer Doug Fieger salivating over a minor happens to creep me out. (He’s the guy second to the far right and he’s always reminded me of a leering cop show character who ends up in handcuffs before the closing credits roll.)

The Knack – “Good Girls Don’t” (45 version)