Frank Gutch Jr: Vinyl!!! Grab Yours While You Can Because Quantities Are Always Limited!!! (A Precursor to Christmas Giving), A Pac Northwest Discovery and a Half, and Notes…..

FrankJr2You can thank Chris Ashford at Wondercap Records for this preemptive strike on your Christmas lists.  You do have a Christmas list, right?  What?!  You don’t!  Well, maybe it’s time you did because that really cool gift you want to give your girl or guy or your best friend could very well be gone by the time time the turkey hits the table and the really mad rush begins (or, in the case of the States, continues).  What could possibly be the cool gift item this year?  A hybrid car?  If you’re rich.  A handmade macaroni-trimmed picture of you and the wife on the first date?  (If you want to kiss that sorry marriage goodbye)  A box of chocolates?

(Seriously, people, if you can’t be more creative than that, you’re not in love, you’re in limbo!)  Nope.  The hot item(s) this year are records.  Those flat and (mostly) black discs with music in the grooves.  What’s that?  No stereo?  Buy him or her one of those too because, seriously, the fun isn’t just with the music, it’s with the delivery system.  As much as I don’t buy into the whole vinyl-is-better argument, I do remember the thrill of Side One and Side Two (and in some cases, Three and Four) and that is to me a much bigger thrill than the old iPod shuffle.

recordplayingI suppose you could break the sides down in the old iPhone (through which more people get more music these days, according to the ads), but why bother?  Marking music in your head is an effort you don’t really have to make, even if you do get a thrill out of hearing Side One of Dark Side of the Moon straight through.  It is so much easier and more refined to lay back on the couch and let the machine do it for you.  There is something final about that thunk at the end of a side, just before the tone arm ejects.  It defines the whole album concept.  Even with 45s, it says fini, end, that’s all, folks.  For many of us who grew up on actual record albums, this whole digital thing seems incomplete.  No thunk = no satisfaction.  Just ask the Stones.

freddythegearsSo Chris sends me this 45 by Freddy ‘Boom Boom’ Cannon & The Gears and damn if it isn’t one of the prettiest things I’ve ever seen.  Right off, you get the message, the hot rod art of Kalynn Campbell screaming Rat Fink but more refined and updated.  There is Freddy, smiling away, as The Gears give him a ride in their custom (cartoon) rod, smoke rolling off the racing slicks and flames shooting out of side exhausts.  Naturally, the flip (yep, there is even a flip on the pic sleeve) shows the same scene from the rear.  Printed on fairly substantial white cardboard stock, it is pure eye candy to picture sleeve connoisseurs and is put together to last.  Nothing cheap about this package.

The music?  Hey, it’s Freddy Cannon, fer chrissakes, and you have to be happy if only because he made it into the studio under his own power.  I’m kidding, of course.  I had a number of dinosaur jokes in the queue but decided not to use them, partially because Freddy and I grew up together (he’s probably only a few years older).  No, I don’t know him, but I remember Palisades Park and Tallahassie Lassie and even Abigail Beecher, all of them hits in my corner of the world (the Willamette Valley in Oregon).  He was a rock star when it was rock ‘n’ roll.

freddycannonWell, he’s still rockin’.  It’s rock/rockabilly and Cannon could not have asked for a better band than The Gears to work with.  The A-Side is an upbeat rocker written by The Gears’ Kidd Spike titled Keep Movin’ and it will.   Keep you movin’, that is.  Echoes of updated Bill Haley & His Comets here and some foot-tappin’ goodness, to boot.  Get it?  Foot-tappin’?  To boot?  Damn, I slay myself sometimes.  Rather than slip another original onto the B-Side, the heads combined and decided instead on a cover of Hank WilliamsMove It On OverKeep Movin’ wins the battle, though, hands down, thanks to some brassy guitar courtesy of the aforementioned Mr. Spike.  Hell of a track.  (Comes with my “Play It Loud” recommendation, too)

While one big selling point to the 45 is the artwork and the “fairly substantial white cardboard stock” on which it was printed, the 45 itself wins an award for quality.  The first 1,000 are pressed on high quality transparent red vinyl.  I can tell the quality from the weight alone.  Better yet, it plays like an album, the sound jumping off the vinyl rather than being coerced.  The label, green and yellow with a touch of orange, is the icing on the cake.  I tell you, this would look great under any tree (though you probably should wrap it so it’s a surprise when opened)

And in case you’re interested, Wondercap also has two other vinyl offerings— The GearsFour On the Floor 10” EP (on red vinyl) and a collection of punk tracks from the early days of L.A. on a 10” record titled What Is It?  It features bands such as The Dils, The Spastics and The Germs.

Available from Wondercap Records (click here).  And say hello to Chris for me.

Checking In With the WarHen…..

warhenI know I have mentioned Charlottesville’s WarHen Records a lot but for the purposes of this column, I must needs do more than mention.  Vinyl is everywhere of late, it seems, but few have taken more care in getting things right than these guys.  The small roster of artists is more than made up for by the quality of the recordings and the, erm, limited quantities available means instant collectibles.

WarHen started their catalogue with Sarah White & The Pearls, a bit of a local legend in Charlottesville.  She has had a long and varied career in music, the last part of which included rejuvenating her then-defunct backup band, The Pearls, then putting together Josephine. (You can read a short version,of her musical life story by clicking here)   She recorded Married Life b/w I.L.Y. shortly after resuscitating The Pearls.  WarHen pressed 90 copies on white vinyl, 210 on black.  Only black vinyl copies remain.  How many is anyone’s guess.  Oh, and they are hand-numbered.

Red Rattles is one of those minimalist bands becoming so popular lately— just guitar and drums with a voice.  Luke Nutting supplies the voice, lazy but with a punch on Uh Huh, nothing but punch on Try To Do and downright rockin’ on the punkish/semi-Blue Cheer-ish You Could Leave.  Recorded live at C-ville’s Jefferson Theater for that brash, raw sound.  Small spindle hole instead of large 45 hole.  33-RPM, 3-song EP.  Pic sleeve is a fold-over sheet printed in black and white inside a clear plastic good quality sandwich bag-type protector.  Only 150 pressed on red vinyl and hand-numbered.  That’s it.  You can check out their Facebook page here.


The Fire TapesSkull Xbones b/w Elements—  Coming off of the solid psych of their album Dream Travel, these guys ripped out two tracks in preparation for their next WarHen release, Phantoms.  Both sides are upbeat semi-psych rockers with a groove I really get, but I was already totally sold on them after hearing Dream Travel the first time through.  Cool thing is, you can stream that album as well as the two tracks on this killer 45 (Yes, it is 45 RPM).  Just click here, make your choice and lay back.  The 45 is pressed on what they call “randomly-mixed splatter (mostly green)” and are limited to 150 pieces, though, as with all of these releases, there cannot be many left.  Again, hand-numbered with color 45 sleeve, a fold-over with the same good quality sleeve protector as the others.  These songs will be available on The Fire Tapes‘ upcoming LP release Phantoms, but alternate versions will be used on the album.  Phantoms, by the way, will be limited to 100 copies.  Here is a link to their website.

Sons of Bill:  Band Dancer b/w  Higher Than Mine was pressed as a Record Store Day item in quantities of 500.  There are a handful left on opaque red vinyl with screen printed outer sleeve.  Sons of Bill, in case you are unaware, is C-ville’s showcase band and have been making sweeps and gaining fans all over the East Coast and Deep South.  You can stream the 45 here.

You can stream any of WarHen’s releases, in fact.  They have a page set up which streams these 45s as well as Dwight Howard Johnson‘s Take Anything LP.  They’re a band, folks.  And, in case you’re wondering, that album is on randomly mixed splatter and only available in quantities of 200.  To stream, click here.

I Wish I Could Figure Out Them Crazy Modern Peasants…..

…and I know good friend Nate Hill will be all over my ass about the information I am missing, but this is one very small and very cool label and I want to include it, so forgive the lack of info.  I promise that as soon as Nate fills me in on the hoops you have to jump through, I will update everything.

The thing about this label is that it completely cracks me up.  Not musically.  Musically, the label is full up with sometimes in-your-face grill-cloth rock, the bands on a take-no-prisoner jag.  And sometimes, it’s just crankin’ good stuff.  Reminds me in places of some of the New Wave/Punk bands of the late seventies.

Nate says they are going to upgrade the site (click here) and will fill in holes.  They also have a couple of other projects on tap (remember the days when you were in a band, you were in A band?).

puttersgotsomethingFor those too involved with themselves or too lazy to look, let me give you a taste.  Their welcome message:  “Modern Peasant records is a way for members of the Putters to distribute material from their respective whore bands.  A whore band being any band that isn’t the Putters

This whole thing was Robert’s idea and in his fragile emotional state we don’t like to tell him no.  Most of the site is still under construction and by most I mean all. We hope to have a paypal account soon so y’all can buy our shit.”

See?  I swear to God they only play live to work on their standup comedy routine.

Here’s another:  “Playing for gas money since 1992.”  Ha!  They always say that the best humor has a little truth in it.

I will leave you with a recommendation for you to visit the site and the titles of two of the Putters‘ EP titles:  Got Something For Your Daughter and Good Friends With Your Mother.  Creepy scary or outrageously outrageous?  I think, the latter.  By the way, they have vinyl.  You might have to arm wrestle them for it, though.

Sometimes You Eat the Bear…..  The Score of the Week (Month) (Year)…..

plimsoulsbeachtownYou’ve heard this before, but nobody tells me nothin’.  I’m piddling around on the Net looking for cool vinyl sites and come across this page for what turns out to be Alive Natural Sound Records.  When the vault doors opened, I was blinded by the gems within.  You want vinyl?  Boy, do these guys have it!  In spades.  For one thing, the site has some sort of connection to BOMP Records and even though I was not looking for that label, it is amazing what they have.  I really have never seen any of the following, but supposedly they have for sale—

Iggy Pop & the Stooges/California Bleeding LP

Nikki & The Corvettes/Nikki & The Corvettes LP

Phonograph Record Magazine with articles by Lester Bangs and Greg Shaw

Pandoras/Hot Generation b/w You Don’t Satisfy 45 (Pic Sleeve)

Dead Boys/Night of the Living Dead LP

and a ton of other goodies.  And that’s just BOMP!

On the Alive page, they list a few million titles, most available on either CD or vinyl, such as

The Plimsouls/Beach Town Confidential

Peter Case/Alive LP (on pink vinyl)

Paul Collins/King of Power Pop!

The Nerves/Live!  I had no idea this even existed!

Sonic’s Rendezvous Band/Live

and titles by Brian Olive, Hacienda and The Sights, among others.

It’s freaking amazing what they have and, no, I haven’t checked them out outside of the site but it sure has me salivating. There is nothing that says Merry Christmas better than limited edition vinyl, you know?

For retro and psych freaks, they have The Crawdaddys and The Haunted and the Tell Tale Hearts and a Voxx LP containing tracks by bands of Winnipeg circa 1965-66.  They have Pebbles compilations and a handful of Highs In the Mid-60s albums and even a very limited edition box set of Pebbles LPs on colored vinyl!!!  Holy crap!  They even have a Green Pajamas flexi-disc 45!

Crapola!  If I’d seen this list twenty years ago, I would be diving through these lists with youthful fervor.  As it is, I am cleaning out my collection as I go, not wanting my most rare and best albums to end up on the Goodwill heap the day after I kick the bucket.  Sigh.  Timing is everything.  Or, as in this case, disturbing.

wackers45And Bob?  Why didn’t you tell me that BOMP put out a Wackers 45?  Whilst scrolling, one reached out and slapped me upside the head.  Tonite b/w Captain Nemo.  Why do I have to search the entire Net to find these things?  Couldn’t you have just told me and saved me the trouble?

My head hurts!  I spent a couple of days scrolling through the various pages and have just  plain run out of gas.  Tell you what, though.  I will supply you with the link and you can scroll yourself to your heart’s content.  Click here and be prepared to be amazed.

Speaking of Christmas, I had a bit of a Christmas rush myself this past week.  I stumbled upon a site which had me rolling in memories of Seattle about the time I arrived there in ’78 or so.  It happened this way:  I punched “vinyl” into CDBaby’s search engine and they came up with a small number of albums and 45s.  One was a box set of the old Everly Brothers titles released on Cadence Records back in the day.  I scoped it out and decided to see what else that site had to offer so I clicked on that link and, voila!  A time tunnel opened for Seattle, the late seventies.

jrcadillacThree bands and a couple of artists jumped out at me and knocked me over:  Jr. Cadillac, Kidd Afrika, and The New Tweedy Brothers, the bands;  Jim Page and Tim Noah, the artists.  They were pretty much standard names when I got there, each having their own cachet, so to speak.

I had heard a lot about The New Tweedy Brothers and you’re right, they weren’t around when I got there.  They were long gone.  They had put out a single and one record, to my knowledge and I always wanted to hear them but never did.  Until now.  Well, kind of.  The site, Disk Eyes, puts samples up rather than streams so what I heard was bits and pieces, but it was satisfying to hear the band after all of these years.  I’m not sure they were as good as I’d hoped, but they did have that period feel to them.  Nothing like a little folk/psych to get my mind to wandering.

Jr. Cadillac were kings of the bar circuit long before I got there and still were in ’78 but were getting a run for their money by the up-and-coming Skyboys and the soul revue of Annie Rose and the Thrillers.  I loved Cadillac.  They had the fifties and sixties down and when they played it was a party.  They pretty much played the hits, though the ones they played were long gone— Fannie Mae, Sea Cruise, Nadine and Night Train being an example of the core of their sets.  I can still see in my mind’s eye Ned Neltner at the mic, cajoling people into dancing (which got easier as the night progressed and the booze flowed freer), Les Clinkingbeard always looking to Ned for the cues, his sax almost as big as he was, and Buck Ormsby standing back by his amp, moving very little— he seemed to prefer being left alone.  I had seen Buck with The Wailers over ten years before, the night they proved to me that they were the kingpins of Northwest rock, out-dueling The Sonics with apparent ease.  He pretty much stayed back by his amp then too.  Security issues, I guess.

Disk Eyes listed four albums by the band, all available through either iTunes or Amazon:  Live at the Pipeline 1976, All Nite Long, Jr. Cadillac Is Back So People Can Dance and Carry On, and For Sale.  I’m pretty sure these are download only, but finding them at all is a treat.

jimpageI got to know Jim Page pretty well, too.  He was a folkie, a throwback to the golden age of folk, in fact.  He spent a lot of time on the street, busking I guess they call it, and gained quite a reputation.  Good enough to pack out The Rainbow Tavern whenever he felt like playing bars (he preferred to not).  He was coming into his own back then, developing a style all his own and writing songs which were among the best I’ve ever heard (Runaway Shah off of his In the Act album is as good a political song as I’ve ever heard).  I would try to make his shows because he looked for me and I did not want to let him down.  I remember a couple of times I was exhausted and wanted to go home but was so glad I didn’t.  He had a way with people and it was magic watching him work a room.

If you want Jim Page, Disk Eyes plopped a ton of them on iTunes and Amazon— again, download only.  If you want to hear folk done the right way, I suggest In the Act, an extremely well-recorded night somewhere, I believe, in Sweden.  Even back then, Americans had to go to Europe or Japan to get heard.  Sigh.

Tim Noah wrote and sang for kids, but some of us older people dug him too.  He played a lot of shows around Seattle and his audience got bigger as the kids found him.  He was huge for a portion of the time I was there.  Hell of a guy, too.  iTunes and Amazon lists no less than six albums.  Did I mention prolific?

kiddafrika2After listening to the samples provided by Disk Eyes, I am wondering why I never saw Kidd Afrika live.  They have a distinct feel to their music that I should have liked.  They played across the street at The Rainbow a lot.  It must have been the crowds.  They attracted more of the upscale crowd and they came out in droves every time the band played.  They had a bit of a funk groove that I now enjoy (maybe I didn’t back then) and I do remember them doing an a cappella song one time, though I can’t remember where.  Disk Eyes has two up for sale.  Again, iTunes and Amazon.  We sold a ton of what they now call The Lost Windham Hill Record.  Back then, I think it was just called Kidd Afrika.

Strange thing, too.  Disk Eyes also has a string of collections put together by genre.  You know the type.  Americana Sings.  Choral Magnificence.  Romance On the Water.  Stuff like that.  Hits by genre performed by people you’ve never heard of.  Except some of the albums sound amazing— superb productions and arrangements of hits performed very well, indeed.  They have Beatles Grass, Stones Grass, Eagles Grass, Fleetwood Grass.  They even have Simon & Grassfunkel.  I know!  Made me laugh too.   I have no idea who the players are but I would like to know.  They can play!  And just so you know, they do not limit their genres to bluegrass.  That was just the easiest to find.

See how much fun you can have searching the Web?

stonedarlingOh, back to the vinyl.  Stone Darling put their 45, I Stopped Missing You Today, back up for sale.  There is a pleasant early sixties girl group vibe to it that I really enjoy.  (Click here)

Green Monkey Records still has copies of their Monkey Business LP compilation for sale.  Pressed in 1986.  (Click here)

Seattle’s Good To Die Records has a number of vinyl LPs and 7-inchers available.  Unfortunately, Sandrider‘s excellent self-titled LP is not one of them.  Sold Out.  If they repress, I heartily suggest you pick one up.  The album is a killer.  They call themselves Stoner Rock.  Sounds good to me.  Still, there are other bands worth checking out on the label.  (Click here)

Small Stone Recordings have a number if albums available on record, some on more than one color of vinyl.  This could well be one of the best of the collector’s labels, paying more attention to detail than most and having a stable of impressive acts.  I really need to take a day and scope out their many artists.  I know a few people who like to rock.  Or, as one of my favorites Freedom Hawk says, RAWK!  Here is their vinyl page.

The Notes section is a bit small this week.  I really need to start keeping better notes.  I know there is a lot more information to pass along but sometimes I’m a total flake.  Hopefully, I will make up for it next week.  Anyway, here’s…..

Music Notes smallNotes…..  Ever hear of Leigh Stephens?  Then you don’t remember the original lineup of Blue Cheer.  Leigh was the original guitarist who provided the punch on the band’s only hit, Summertime Blues.  Well, Leigh is back with a new album you can check out here.  I was never much of a  fan of Blue Cheer, but Leigh put out an album after he split from that band titled  And a Cast of Thousands which impressed me with its bluesy feel.  Just thought you might want something different, for a change*****  Devon Sproule has teamed up with Mike O’Neill on this beauty of a video.  Not only is Devon fearless when it comes to film work, the two voices blend beautifully.  Evidently a new album is miraldi2aimminent.  Thank the gods.  It has been way too long.  Click here*****  This just in!  No, really!  I just found out about this!  Cleveland’s Dan Miraldi is releasing a new album or EP or 45.  I know, I suck when it comes to details, but they will be forthcoming, I promise.  The point is, he has something new for us!  If you don’t know Dan or his music, I suggest visiting his Soundcloud page (click here).   The kid has the goods!***** 


Frank’s column appears every Tuesday

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DBAWIS ButtonFrank Gutch Jr. looks like Cary Grant, writes like Hemingway and smells like Pepe Le Pew. He has been thrown out of more hotels than Keith Moon, is only slightly less pompous than Garth Brooks and at one time got laid at least once a year (one year in a row). He has written for various publications, all of which have threatened to sue if mentioned in any of his columns, and takes pride in the fact that he has never been quoted. Read at your own peril.”

One Response to “Frank Gutch Jr: Vinyl!!! Grab Yours While You Can Because Quantities Are Always Limited!!! (A Precursor to Christmas Giving), A Pac Northwest Discovery and a Half, and Notes…..”

  1. […] Cadillac was not the only band hitting the bars, though.  Seattle had a handful of impressive bar-but-more-than-bar bands.  Kidd Afrika, for instance.  No fifties and sixties for those guys.  They melded genres, did they, tripping around the edges of soul, funk, jazz and new age and developed a following which followed them religiously from tavern to tavern.  Folkie Jim Page was second in popularity only to Reilly & Maloney on the folk circuit, and to be fair, Page gained followings internationally where R&M didn’t.  His In the Act album contains a classic original titled Runaway Shah which to this day in my mind stands as a yardstick track for political protest songs.  Disk Eyes has no less than twelve of his albums ready for download through either Amazon or iTunes.  The New Tweedy Brothers had quite the reputation back in the early seventies and the tracks available on the site are the only ones I can find anywhere.  Toss in Main Attraction, a four man vocal group (mostly a capella) and Tim Noah, who vied with Raffi for the title of king of the kid set and you have a rounded out list of albums of the time.  Early seventies to mid-eighties, these were the Seattle artists whose albums I sold in quanitity.  Those were the days.  If you are at all interested in these bands, you can read an earlier column I wrote regarding Disk E… […]

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