Knoxville has a plethora of thrift stores. Every week or so I visit one or more of these stores in search of treasure amongst the flotsam and jetsam. I spend most of my time sifting through racks and boxes of dusty vinyl LPs. When I find something obscure or interesting or just plain weird from the LP era, I will tell you about here in an occasional column.
Automatic Man: 'Automatic Man' (1976)
Published 10/9/2013 at 10:25 a.m. 0 comments
The career of guitarist Pat Thrall illustrates, among other things, that the music business is foremost a business.
Sly and the Family Stone's 'Greatest Hits' (1970)
Updated 7/19/2013 at 4:02 p.m. 2 comments
Sly and the Family Stone are not generally mentioned with the giants of American rock ’n’ roll, but they should be. They presaged so many things that their history alone, quite apart from their music, is worth attending to.
The Buckinghams’ 'Greatest Hits' (1969)
Published 5/22/2013 at 3:18 p.m. 0 comments
Collecting thrift-store musical jetsam has allowed me to learn a great deal about life in the 1960s.
Vanilla Fudge: 'Vanilla Fudge' (1967)
Published 3/20/2013 at 10:00 a.m. 1 comment
So how does this idea sound: Let’s take bona fide pop-rock classics such as “Ticket to Ride,” “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” and “She’s Not There,” and play them at half-speed. This will make the songs longer, weirder, and more ...
Cheap Trick: 'Heaven Tonight' (1978)
Published 1/16/2013 at 11:02 a.m. 0 comments
Cheap Trick is one of America’s greatest bands. They are criminally underappreciated. As proof, consider that Cheap Trick can’t sniff the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, even though it has inducted the likes of Donovan, Jackson Browne, and the ...
The Zombies: 'Odessey and Oracle' (1968)
Published 11/20/2012 at 10:07 a.m. 0 comments
Odessey and Oracle (the lads couldn’t spell) is one of my best ever thrift-store finds. In summary, it is a blockbuster.
Ambrosia: 'Life Beyond L.A.' (1978)
Published 9/19/2012 at 10:56 a.m. 1 comment
I’ve written previously about my affection for soft rock. To date, I have exactly zero converts to my basic view of soft rock, which is nothing more complicated than that it sometimes is enjoyable to listen to.
American Flyer: 'Spirit of a Woman' (1977)
Published 8/1/2012 at 12:14 p.m. 0 comments
Music trivia is like a great Pacific Ocean garbage island in my brain—it takes up a lot of space, has a half-life of 5,000 years, and will never allow anything else to sprout up in its place. Yet sometimes the ...
The Bee Gees: 'Saturday Night Fever' (1977)
Published 6/13/2012 at 12:16 p.m. 3 comments
Has any group in history as undeniably talented band as the Bee Gees been subject to as much derision as they have?
Neil Young's 'Time Fades Away' (1973)
Published 5/16/2012 at 12:39 p.m. 4 comments
Every time one is tempted to dismiss Neil Young as irrelevant, he roars back with a Harvest Moon or a Prairie Wind.
MC5: 'High Time' (1971)
Published 4/11/2012 at 12:01 p.m. 1 comment
When I found the album I thought to myself, “What kind of jackass would stuff this classic album in the Goodwill bin?” Upon reflection, however, I realized that I was the one engaging in jackassery.
Ram Jam: 'Ram Jam' (1977)
Published 2/29/2012 at 2:22 p.m. 0 comments
One way to avoid the pitfalls of enduring rock stardom is to not endure. The ephemeral Ram Jam—comprising a group of guys who were thrown together by record executives and thus hardly merit the moniker “band”—preserved its place in rock ...
Spirit: '12 Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus' (1970)
Published 1/18/2012 at 11:16 a.m. 1 comment
So why do I keep buying records? Because I listen to them and I enjoy having them around. Sometimes the latter is more important than the former.
Marcus Joseph: 'Things I Meant to Say'
Published 12/14/2011 at 3:15 p.m. 1 comment
“Soft rock” is much maligned, viewed by the intelligentsia as fluff cynically foisted on the listening public while America burned. I have a much more positive view; as an unpretentious reaction to a nihilistic politics, a brutal and confounding war, ...
Hilly Michaels: 'Calling All Girls' (1980)
Published 11/16/2011 at 1:45 p.m. 1 comment
Rock ’n’ roll has never been particularly silly, and grunge made things worse. Hilly Michaels, whose 1980 album Calling All Girls I found at the Broadway Salvation Army, is the anti-Cobain. The album cover shows Michaels relaxing in a lounge ...
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