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Record Store Day 2018 Part Three

May 9, 2018

Latin Playboys – Latin Playboys

In the mid 90s Los Lobos was on a roll. They had released several classic albums over a ten year run. They had so much juice that David Hidalgo and Louie Pérez formed a supergroup with producer/keyboardist Mitchell Froom and producer/engineer extraordinaire Tchad Blake without diluting their brand.

This music is weird, but listenable. As AllMusic critic Richie Unterberger described it:

“…a twisted and avant-garde take on roots music. Latin Playboys draw from blues border music, experimental studio trickery, and cinematic sound textures.”

This is an album from the heart of the CD era (1994) and the RSD gimmick is that this is the first time the album has been issued on vinyl. I loved this album at the time, but it fell off my radar. It is a delight to be able to spin it on my turntable.

Prince – Nothing Compare 2 U

Speaking of being on a roll, in the mid 80s Prince could do no wrong. He had hit albums, hit songs, spin-off groups, hit movie and hits for other artists.

In 1984 Prince was exploding with creativity – writing at least a song a day. “Nothing Compares 2 U” was part of that eruption. Prince’s sound engineer, Susan Rogers, recalls it “came out like a sneeze.” Prince recorded the song immediately, but never released that version until now. He did place it on the album of one of his pet projects The Family whose album flopped. About five years later Sinéad O’Connor reimagined the song and made it an international hit. It has become one of Prince’s most beloved songs.

Despite the success of O’Connor’s version, Prince hated Sinéad’s cover. Paul Peterson, who was the voice of The Family, recalled:

So when Peterson heard O’Connor’s version – and saw the famous tearful video on MTV – he first thought, “That should have been me,” but later loved it and told Prince he was pleased that [Prince would] get lots of money from her recording. “He went: ‘Money?! It’s not about money!’ He told me he didn’t like it [O’Connor’s version]. Unless he asked them, he didn’t like anyone covering his songs.”

Prince was never one to reveal his muse, but this song is alleged to be an ode, not to a lover, but to his housekeeper who had to leave Prince to take care of a family emergency.  This housekeeper kept Prince’s life in order and he was at loss without her.

RSD2018 was the same weekend that Minneapolis was celebrating Prince. Prince’s label pressed 1984 purple 45s of “Nothing Compares 2 U” for the celebration weekend attendees and provisioned 300 copies to the Electric Fetus for RSD.

The Prince version is close to The Family version, with the exception the Prince’s version has a banging sax solo. It is more of a rock song than O’Connor’s version. But the truth is O’Connor nailed the song in the same way Hendrix nailed Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower.” She found a gem that even the composer did not see and completely reinvented it. But it is still cool to witness the original vision.

My wife and I had our copy framed in a clever way so as not to damage the record or cover by our favorite framing store Posters On Board. They do a fabulous job on framing – especially their titular poster mounting technique.

The Allman Brother Band – Live at the Atlanta International Pop Festival: July 3 & 5, 1970

One of the most important albums of the classic rock era is the Allman’s At Fillmore East. Live at the Atlanta International Pop Festival: July 3 & 5, 1970 predates that album by about a year. Atlanta was originally released in 2003 on CD. The Allmans were still pretty fresh on the scene when Atlanta was recorded (their debut came out in November of 1969 and was a commercial flop – as was its follow up in the fall of 1970).

Atlanta features songs from their first two albums and At Fillmore East. Despite their youth, they sound sure of themselves. They are just as amazing as they are on At Fillmore East. It is hard to imagine that they hatched as a fully realized classic rock band (Duane was just 23 and Gregg was 22 when this album was recorded), but they did.

I just gave At Fillmore East a fresh listen.  The Allmans got better over the next year, so the paragraph above was a bit overstated. As great as they sound on Atlanta, they are next level a year later.  There is a reason At Fillmore East has the accolades, it deserves them.  As important as the Allmans are to the classic rock era, their fans deserve a historic document like Atlanta.  

The album is not available on streaming services. But it is On YouTube:

Almost through the RSD2018 pile – one more post to go!

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From → Music Reviews

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