Bonus Tracks

February 5, 2013

Various ages of angst and a RCN challenge

Rick Rubin


Darondo Listen To My Song2012 was full of great musical discoveries and 2013 is getting off to a good start. I got hipped to the label Omnivore Recordings. They have a pretty diverse catalog that includes Ernie Kovaks, Jelly Fish, the new Bert Jansch release and my two favorites from their Oakland-CA-based Music City Sessions series, Darondo Listen to My Song and The Two Things in One, Together Forever. The Darondo CD especially killed me. It’s got about a dozen early ‘70s East Bay R&B and Funk grooves that I just cannot stop listening to. I love that Music City stuff. Check it out for sure.Two Things In One Together Forever

By the late ‘80s I was in my early 30s and my musical taste was ten years behind the times. I was losing my angst. Getting fat. Today it seems that I’m more like 20 years behind the times. I’m confessing this because I just got the Sony Legacy 20th Anniversary Edition Luxury box set of Rage Against The Machine’s first album. Originally released in November 1992, I remember my kids listening to RATM. But I couldn’t have told you the name of the band… So, I was delighted when I received the deluxe giant 2-CD, 2-DVD and 180-gram remastered LP box set with never-before-seen, early concert footage and full, 2010 Finsbury Park Victory Concert. The music is powerful and totally holds up 20 years later. It rocks thunderously and my kids think I’m pretty cool. A really nice box set.Rage Against The Machine

Check out the newest Rick Rubin produced release from ZZ Top, La Futura. It’s the best thing ZZ Top has done since they went downtown looking for some tush. You can tell you’ll still be listening to this record in 20 years. I don’t know the details of this record — how it was “made.” But, essentially, ZZ Top hooks up with Rick Rubin and they put out the most important ZZ Top record in a long while. It seems to me that it’s another Rick Rubin production where genius brings out the genius, right?

Everything Rick Rubin pro-duces seems to bring out the essence of the artist he’s working with. So I have an offer for you Mr. Rubin, sir.  Let’s spread a little genius around… let’s put out a newspaper! Think words and images. I’m inviting you to edit an entire issue of Record Collector News. It’s all yours. Invite your friends to work on it with you if you want to.

Fun idea, huh? And don’t worry about getting paid. I have DOUBLED the budget for this. That’s double the normal $200 budget for any issue of Record Collector News for a total of $400. (And guess what? We’re talking TAX FREE. Because its less than $600 bucks a year. Smart, huh? You don’t have to tell anybody about it. Put it in your pocket and spend it.) I know what you’re thinking, Mr. Rubin. It’s a HUGE edit budget to try to manage. But fuck it, man. It’s only money. And the thousands of people who read this rag, and the hundreds of independent record stores that support it, well, they’ve been working their asses off lately and well, it would be such a treat to get something really special when they open up their RCN. Just saying. And again, do not worry about the $400. (If your friends work on the issue, you guys all have to share the $400. Not each.)

Vinyl Flat

Back in the ‘80s I saw the band Mano Negra and was blown away. I only own one of their records and it’s warped beyond belief. The first three songs are unplayable. So I was intrigued by the Vinyl Flat record-straightening machine advertised in these pages and finally got a chance to try it out. Short story – it works. Long story — it can take a while. To use the Vinyl Flat you secure it between two heavy discs and bake it for half an hour. I was a little too cautious at first and didn’t give it the amount of heat they recommended. I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t cook my record. The second attempt, at the recommended temperature, straightened the record out enough to play without any noticeable problems. It was still a bit of a roller coaster ride for my cartridge but totally playable. By now I was feeling cocky, so I tried again and things got even better. But each try is about an hour. Half an hour in the oven and half an hour to cool.

It’s not designed for mass de-warping of that box of twisted LPs you’ve been saving for some reason. But if you’ve got a few special records that are too warped to play, at around $80, it’s worth a try. I had great success with Vinyl Flat. It simply fixes warped records.
The Undertakers
This really cool northeast-ern Oklahoma based garage band from the late ‘60s released a live 1967 dance show in Cleveland, Oklahoma. Lots of great covers. My band could have done that. But we pretty much sucked. And the Undertakers rocked. Great music. Great packaging. Top quality vinyl pressed at QRP in Salinas Kansas. Out on In Person Records.

Happy digging. 
Happy listening. 
Peace and love,
Jim Kaplan


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