Last Train for Colgems 45’s – Later Day Original Labels

Good evening!

Tonight I’m going to turn the way back switch to the mid-1970s – say 1975, 1976 or so.

My memory is a little bit fuzzy to the exact timeline but the one thing  I do remember clearly is the record store where all this took place – Smoky’s Record store.

You see back in those days there was this little hole in the wall record store in the city where I lived called Smoky’s Records. It was full of hundreds of 45’s of practically every hit song from the 1950s to the present day and its musty floor was filled to the brim with records of all shapes and types stacked everywhere.

The store must have been there since the 1950’s and every corner of it seemed to reek of the distant past. The walls were also lined with various odd instruments and advertising that was carefully overseen by the burly Southern owner – Smoky Montgomery.

Now Smoky had the personality of an car salesman and would have been right at home on the streets of Tijuana, Mexico.

He loved to bargain and follow you around the store to see if you wanted to buy anything. His slow drawl and thick southern accent where always touting something you needed to buy.

My oldest brother loved to go to Smoky’s Records and buy 45’s and sometimes my mother would take the both of us and I would manage to grab some of those old groovy 45’s myself.

Now let me also say that this was back in the time that Monkees records were out of print and hard to find. And of course I had abused most of my Monkees records by playing them to death and was always on the hunt for new copies and most of the time came up short.

The original Colgems pressings of Monkees albums and 45’s went out of print around 1971 so by this time it was pretty hard to find anything but the Flashback 45’s which were in print at that time I believe and available at say Musicland. (Of course we had a Musicland in our local mall but it was sorely lacking the cool atmosphere of Smoky’s and his fun record treasure hunts!)

As usual it was Smoky to the rescue as he had a huge inventory of 45’s and had a lot of old store stock that still lined the bins of his 45 inventory.

I clearly remember one shopping trip stumbling upon three Monkees 45’s on the Colgems label – “Last Train to Clarksville”(with picture sleeve), “I’m a Believer” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”

Now I remember being really excited to see these 45’s and equally perplexed by the look of the Colgems label.

I was used to my oldest brothers beat up 45 of “I’m a Believer” with the classic Colgems label but these Colgems 45’s had the later day Colgems logo with the red and white label but no Columbia and Screen Gems logos only the newer Colgems logo in their place.

I managed to talk my mother into buying them for me but for years I was sort of disappointed as they didn’t look like originals and I wanted to find ones with the original Colgems label.

Well I’ve come to find out that these 45’s were the last Colgems versions of these 45’s and are much rarer than the original copies. Now I’m really glad that I have them and in such great shape to boot.

These later day 45’s must have come out in 1970 or 71 (some say 1969) and corresponded to the later reissues of the first two Monkees albums with the newer Colgems logo on the rear of their jackets (more on those in a future post).

Anyway, I thought I’d spotlight those three 45’s that I bought that long ago day and post a few pictures of the labels and the Clarksville picture sleeve.

And since old Smoky has long since passed away it’s with a great fondness that I think of him and his boisterous character whenever I take these 45’s out and give them a spin on the turntable.

Take a look above and below at these most groovy later day Colgems 45 pressings.

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Paul McCartney Archive Collection on Capitol Vinyl – I See Colors!

Well, it looks like Christmas came early – at least for me!

Today I received eight Paul McCartney colored vinyl albums that are being re-released as part of McCartney’s esteemed Archive Collection: McCartney (red), Ram (yellow), Band on the Run (white) Venus and Mars (red and yellow), Wings At the Speed of Sound (orange), McCartney II (clear), Tug of War (blue) and Pipes of Peace (silver).

All of McCartney’s solo work new and old is back on Capitol Records after several years on the Concord record label thus the return of these albums to the Capitol fold and to my turntable.

Now, in the past I’ve not usually been a huge fan of colored vinyl but in my advancing years I’ve acquired an appreciation for all things vinyl and if it comes in purty colors all the better.

Earlier this week I did a blog post on a couple of the CD issues from this same series but  these new colored beauties are the main attraction for me of McCartney’s latest reissues so I thought I’d share a few thoughts and photos of them here so folks can see them.

As you can see from the photos, these new reissues have restored full album artwork without the distracting Archive Collection banner on the left hand side of the covers which is a welcomed treat.

The new covers look spectacular with sharp, clear artwork and all the goodies from the original issues of these albums plus a few new bonus treats.

The “Venus and Mars”album for example has all the posters and stickers that came with the album originally and the “McCartney”, “Ram” and “Wings At the Speed of Sound” albums have lyrics sheets added to these new issues which is a nice surprise.

These reissues have the same mastering as the Concord versions of this material (though no bonus tracks) and since I only had a couple of those issues on vinyl I’m excited to give these new pressings a spin and soak in some of McCartney’s best solo music on spanking new vinyl while I’m preparing for the holiday season.

One of the highlights of these vinyl issues is 1982’s”Tug of War” album which was totally remixed in 2015 for the Archive Collection and sounds much better on vinyl as the CD issue is a tad bit too loud but has been tamed on this vinyl version.

I will have to give all the others a spin soon but wanted to post some photos of the albums here first. I’ve included close-ups of all the new hype stickers – don’t you just love fresh new vinyl in the shrink wrap!

Enjoy and if you’re a McCartney fan and get the chance grab one of these beauties and give them a spin. The Archive remasters sound terrific and these new vinyl issues look superb.

To quote McCartney himself:

“Sitting In The Stand Of The Sports Arena
Waiting For The Show To Begin
Red Lights, Green Lights, Strawberry Wine,
A Good Friend Of Mine, Follows The Stars,
Venus And Mars
Are Alright Tonight.”

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Come On, Get Happy – Celebrating the Music of David Cassidy (R.I.P.)

For anyone who grew up in the 1970s, yesterdays announcement of the death of David Cassidy was sure to bring a reaction.

Whether you liked him or not, David Cassidy was such a huge recording and television star that even if you didn’t like his work you knew who he was and knew his image.

Personally, some of the first music I ever bought and listened to was the music of The Partridge Family.

Say what you will but the music that David Cassidy recorded as a part of The Partridge Family still endures, still entertains, still brings a smile and still sounds great. It’s lasting, it’s well written and most importantly well sung by David Cassidy.

The first three Partridge Family albums especially – The Partridge Family Album, Up to Date and Sound Magazine – are loaded with one pop gem after another: “Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque”. “Somebody Wants to Love You”, “I Think I Love You”, “Brand New Me”,”Only a Moment Ago”, “I’ll Meet You Halfway”, “Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted”, “Morning Rider on the Road”, “I’ll Leave Myself a Little Time”, “You Are Always on My Mind”, “There’s No Doubt in My Mind”. “One Night Stand”, “I Woke Up  in Love This Morning”, “Echo Valley 2-6809”, “You Don’t Have to Tell Me”, “Rainmaker” and “I’m On My Way Back Home”.

David Cassidy’s lead vocals highlight all of The Partridge Family recordings and his impassioned delivery is really what makes these songs shine. His voice was so right for pop music and oh so right for these songs.

Above and below I’ve shared photos of all The Partridge Family and David Cassidy CDs I  own. I hope if you’ve never heard this music, you should make it a point to explore it sometime.

It took me a while to really explore Cassidy’s solo music but there are also some gems on those albums as well. They feature a bit more rock and soul which was more to his personal tastes but again they are well written and produced and sung exceptionally well.

The Razor and Tie issues of The Partridge Family albums are best (the first five Partridge family albums) but thankfully all The Partridge Family albums were released on CD and can be found pretty easily.

There are also several greatest hits the best of which is “Come On Get Happy!: The Very Best of The Partridge Family” which is the only place you can find the songs “Together (Havin’ a Ball)”, “Let the Good times In” and “Stephanie” which were all featured on The Partridge Family TV show but not released until this collection.

Whether you seek this music out on disc or online take a moment to listen and yes come on get happy.

The best tribute to anyone is not to be forgotten. And as long as people listen to music David Cassidy will not be forgotten. At least not by me or the millions who grew up listening to him.

One of my favorite Partridge Family songs “Only A Moment Ago” says what I’m feeling so beautifully:

“Why has the music stopped? 
Where did all the happy people go?
I know they were there, songs everywhere
Only a moment ago.
I only blinked my eye; and now the world that I used to know
Is changing’ on me; why can’t it be
Only a moment ago?”

R.I.P. David Cassidy

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Paul McCartney Archive Redo, Redux and “Capitol”ized

Howdy folks!

Well, it’s the week for turkeys and appropriately enough I’m a turkey for CDs. Well, at least collecting them.

As anyone who has read this blog will know, I tend to take the irrational road on occasion for my love of the physical medium and also on occasion I buy a reissue of my favorite album or albums knowing full well that:

A) I need this CD like a hole in the head

B) It’s not even a new mastering just different packaging

C) All of the above and more

(Note: This blog post tonight is mainly for the hardcore McCartneyits out there who might enjoy seeing how these new Capitol Records version look and see inside them a bit. Trust me I know it’s a bit much but then that’s collecting!)

Below are two of new reissues of Paul McCartney albums that are a part of his Archive Collection: Venus and Mars and Tug of War

Eight titles in the Archive Collection were re-released last Friday in the following formats: regular vinyl, colored vinyl and CD.

Are you still with me?

These eight titles are being reissued because Paul McCartney just recently went back to Capitol Records his home for the majority of his career. They were previously issued on the Concord label in 2 CD versions with bonus tracks but these new issues are just the regular albums that folks know and love.

There is no difference in the mastering from the Concord releases but the albums have reverted back to the artwork that they were originally issued with when they first came out.

The Concord releases of these albums had a white bar added to the left hand side of the cover which obscured some of the artwork much to the chagrin of McCartney fans. These new issues show the entire artwork and look fantastic and sound great as well – the remastering and remixing of these two albums is really nice!

Those who have never owned the Concord versions and are just looking to have these albums without bonus tracks are in for a real treat. Anyone who does own the Concord issues will most likely punt on these unless like me you are just this side of “seriously dude?”

Anyway, soon I will spotlight the colored vinyl versions but here’s a taste of two of the new CD reissues. Since this is most likely the last versions of these albums to be released on CD I couldn’t resist adding them to my collection.

So check them out (above and below) and take it away! (I know, lame but the thought was there!)

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Beware My Love or Welcome to the World My Fine Feathered Fakes

Fakes.

Copies.

Reproductions.

These three words strike fear in the hearts of collectors everywhere. Trust me I know!

Over the years I, along with thousands of other trusting souls, have managed to find a few choice fakes of some really cool items, mostly Beatles items.

Today I’m sharing two fake finds I own that are really interesting:

  • Reproductions of early Beatles 45’s with picture sleeves
  • A set of four “Mexican” Beatles REMCO dolls

Most of my fake finds were acquired in the late 1970s and early ’80s through mail order or magazine ads. At a time I was young and naive and was desperate to find some original treasures that were cheap and looked amazingly genuine.

I had a thing for Beatles 45 picture sleeves and when I was twelve I saw a mail order ad featuring a slew of singles with their picture sleeves cheap and mint. I was hooked! Couldn’t put my order in fast enough.

For any future collectors out there, finding rare items for what seems like too good a deal usually is a red flag.

These reproductions were so nice looking that for a few years I thought they were the genuine items. It wasn’t until I bought a real sleeve of one of the singles at flea market that I realized I had been swindled.

Don’t get me wrong, every now and then I still manage to score a few dudes on ebay or from the Amazon marketplace but for the most part I am much more aware of what a real item looks like and I’m not willing to spend much money unless I’m certain an item is real.

Thankfully I’ve never been taken for large sums of money for fake items and in my younger days I thought cheaper price meant better bargain. Nowadays my first thought is cheap equals phony or abused.

Look at my photos of these fakes or reproductions (below).

Take a close look at the Beatles Swan and Capitol 45’s. From a distance the sleeves look great and so do the labels. Impressive actually.

But when you take a closer look you can see the fuzzy blur on the photos (see “We Can Work it Out” sleeve) and the font on the Capitol singles labels is slightly different from originals as well as the colors of the yellow and orange swirl.

Also if you look closely at the matrix markings in the run out grooves they are not machine stamped like originals but sloppily hand etched.

The best reproduction that I knew was most likely a fake even when I was buying it is a groovy set of Beatles REMCO dolls (see photos above and below) that I bought on ebay about 11 years ago. They were listed as “Mexican” made Beatles REMCO dolls that were supposedly quite rare and original.

Now I’ve never found any trace of REMCO Beatles dolls being produced in Mexico but this set was only $75 and since they look so funny with the super long hair I thought they would look great on display.

They do resemble the genuine REMCO dolls but lack instruments around their necks and have colored eyes and painted eyebrows (unlike originals) and the hair on these REMCO repros is about three times as long as the real dolls!

That hair!

It’s so out of control and over the top that it really makes these reproductions worth owning as long as you don’t pay too much. Side by side with original REMCO dolls I actually enjoy the freakish look of the fakes to the originals!

There are so many resources in print and online these days that it’s now much easier to spot fakes but there are some really good ones out there.

Feast your eyes on these fun reproductions and as always BUYER BEWARE!

Enjoy and until next time Happy Collecting!!!

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Bits and Pieces or Virtual Music Dumpster Diving

Thank God It’s Friday or so the saying goes – and boy am I ever!

Today here in Blogland I thought it might be fun to take a look at a few things I found recently that will bring back some fond memories for those of you who were music fans in the ’70s and ’80s.

It’s sort of a virtual musical dumpster dive into my grab bag of weird items I’ve saved forever for no apparent purpose other than to fill up this blog lol.

So let me take you back about 37 or 38 years or so. Back to a time before cell phones – can you believe there was such a time? Back before personal computers, Google, Netflix and certainly back before downloading.

You see back in my late grade school and high school days (1978-1981) music shopping for me meant haunting department stores to get my current music fix.

Of course looking back it makes perfect sense. I didn’t have my driver’s license until 1981 and since I was usually going with a parent or friend’s parents to department stores that’s where I found most of my music and records.

Back then I followed the Top 40 religiously and knew every artist and new song and kept track of every chart movement and every stat of my favorite groups much like a rapid sports fan.

I loved to listen to Casey Kasem on American Top Forty on the radio and that show pumped me up for my record shopping excursions.

Nowadays I’m lucky to even recognize anything in the Top 40 but for a few short years I loved all the current hits and bought a good share of them as well.

What I usually did whenever I went to say a Kmart or Montgomery Wards store was march over to the record section and grab a few flyers advertising the latest hits or the most popular hits at that particular store.

Most of them were just printed on flimsy pieces of colored paper that I’m sure didn’t survive the passage of time, errr in normal households.

I, of course, did manage to save a few of these lovely flyers which is really a nice time capsule as it takes me back to that time in a vivid way. Makes me want to grab for a frozen Coke which I often did while reading them back in the day.

Oh, the other thing that I want to share (see photo above for front and below for rear) is a rack card for a Flashback 45 of The Monkees “I’m a Believer”.

This is my earliest item here today and it was purchased in the mid-1970s from a grocery store not a department store.

I distinctly remember a local grocery store stocking several of these hit 45s which were part of a series called “20 Years of Gold – Gold Hit Records from the Past”. Remember those?

The store had a huge display filled with these cards which had the 45 shrink wrapped on them near the bottom of the card.

For some reason I kept the card for “I’m a Believer” but I also remember buying some Mama’s and Papa’s 45s as well as The Association. My packrat ways must have been started then as I felt the need to keep this card for The Monkees but there you go lol.

Below you’ll find a few of the music flyers I kept from department stores.

They are fun to look at and when I do it doesn’t seem quite possible that they were from so long ago – could it possible be over 35 years ago?!! Maybe you’ll spot some favorite songs as well.

Until next time be well and relax, it’s Friday!!!

 

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More, More, More (of the Monkees) … How Do You Like It, How Do You Like It

Then I saw your announcement … now I’m a believer!

With the online announcement yesterday of the impending release (December 15, 2017 through Monkees.com) of the 3 CD Super Deluxe version of The Monkees second album called “More of the Monkees”, I thought this might be a good time to take a stroll down memory lane.

My memory lane.

You see, the “More of the Monkees” album holds a special place in my musical memory as it’s the first album that I remember ever really loving. Though I actually called it the “She” album for years as that was my favorite Monkees song and first track on the record.

Anyway, I remember playing this album to death as a child. And when I say child I mean child; 6 to 9 months old lol – no kidding! I fell early into my Monkees/record/music habit!

Actually to be totally truthful it was my oldest brothers copy of “More of the Monkees” that I played constantly and which he says I “scratched”, I say loved, to death.

That album is one of the many Monkees related memories my oldest brother and I share along with constantly fighting over replacing that very record.

Which leads me to another early memory. When I was three years old and my father, who rarely took me or my siblings shopping, took a few of us to an Ayr-Way store.

Anyone remember Ayr-Way? For those who aren’t familiar (or aren’t from the Midwest), Ayr-Way was a discount store that I believe was owned by L.S. Ayres and was very much a precursor to Target stores.

I don’t remember much about that shopping trip only that I wanted a copy of a record. Guess which one? Wait for it!

Yep you got it, I distinctly remember torturing my father in an Ayr-Way store in 1969 at the tender age of three until he bought me a copy of “More of the Monkees”. Stereo copy in fact.

I obviously eagle-eyed a copy of it in the record section – even then I could smell a record at ten paces lol – and I suppose I threw a bit of a fit asking him to buy it for me.

Well my father caved in and as soon as I got home my older brother pilfered the record from my greedy little hands saying I ruined his copy (true) so he should get this nice brand new one.

Well of course I wasn’t going to let the album go without a fight so for a few years we fought about this and the many other records (mostly Monkees of course) of his I played  or scratched, or loved, or whatever.

So over the years, after not being able to buy any Monkees records, as they went out of print in the early 1970s, I still exhibit somewhat of a Pavlovian response whenever I see a copy of any Monkees record for sale, especially “More of the Monkees”!

My knee jerk reaction is to reach for the wallet. And as you can see I’ve bought my fair share of copies of this album (see photos) and will soon be adding the Super Deluxe CD set as well!

I can’t wait to hear what’s in store on the new and definitive version of this life long musical friend and will report back with my impressions of the Super Deluxe “More of the Monkees” set here when I get it next month.

So, until then, here’s to another round of “More of the Monkees” and check out some of my favorite versions that I own – so far:

(Oh and by the way, check out those groovy JCPenney clothes The Monkees are wearing on the cover of “More of the Monkees”. I swear my oldest brother had one of those shirts lol!)

From the above photo, I have:

  • a U.S. mono copy still in the shrink wrap
  • a rare stereo copy from 1970 with the redesigned Colgems logo on the back and an RE after the COS-102 designating a reissue
  • a 2006 Deluxe 2 CD version of “More of the Monkees” put out by Rhino Records with tons of bonus tracks, soon to be superseded by the Super Deluxe version coming out in December
  • a 1994 Rhino single CD release featuring a few choice bonus tracks
  • a 2011 Rhino reissue without bonus tracks but featuring the stereo mastering from the 2006 Deluxe set
  • a green vinyl copy from the 2016 Monkees Classic Album Collection 10 Lp box set (featuring all colored vinyl)

From below I have:

  • My prized “More of the Monkees” vinyl – a jukebox 33 and 1/3 EP (extended play) copy featuring six songs from the album, a nice cardboard mini sleeve and jukebox strips
  • a mono UK pressing of the album
  • the hype sticker and card that came with the 1994 Rhino CD of the album

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