This Week in Vinyl: The Tuesday Hat Trick

I was supposed to take the trash to the transfer station today. Transfer station. That’s silly. I would call it the dump but apparently when you pay obscenely high property taxes the Dump becomes the Transfer Station, and people get cranky if you disparage the place where you bring your trash. Some antics indeed.

At any rate, I was having lunch with my dad today and after that the plan was to rush home grab the trash and then drop it off on the way to pick up The Dude. That was the plan anyway. But lunch went a little long and rather than rush around in the driving rain, I stopped in to one of the few local record shops in the area, as one does. I had a hunch I was going to find something, but I didn’t know what. It just seemed like that kind of day.

And did I ever. There were some honorable mentions that almost made the cut. I found a few copies of Welcome to Sky Valley the 1994 release from Kyuss, and of course Rated R from Queens. I’ve had my eye on The Foo Fighters Greatest Hits. It was there but not really high on my list. Royal Blood’s new record Oblivion was out there, and a close call too. But still, no. Keep looking. Further down the aisle, Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. Now that album going to be on my list of most influential records. Without question It takes a Nation is going to find its way home, but since it is not particularly hard to find, I pressed on.

Pun intended.

Lots of great options but I hadn’t had the moment yet. I could feel it in the air, but I wasn’t there yet. And then, as I rounded the corner, my attention was drawn to a tab sticking up ever so slightly above the rest: The Black Angels. Yes. A thousand times YES. My heart pounding in my ears, I pulled back the tab two find two records I had been looking for for ages. Directions To See A Ghost and Passover. Oh man. Decisions. Their debut release Passover hooked me into The Black Angels when it came out in 2008. Directions, their second album, is one of my favorites from their catalog, featuring You on the Run, Science Killer and Snake in the Grass. This time I actually read the fine print on the label and found it was pressed on clear/smoke vinyl. Done. Debating whether to pick up both records, I put a pin in Passover and kept looking.

I made it about four feet. Gary Clark Jr. Live. Yeah, ok vinyl cosmos, you win. I have Blak and Blu, which aside from a few notable exceptions is pretty meh. There are indeed some great tracks on that album but when Clark departs the blues and ventures into a blues-ish hip-hop sound, I have to say, I lose interest pretty fast. This album, however, is all blues. Opening with Catfish Blues, Travis County, and Next Door Neighbor Blues, this live performance is a powerhouse of all his work I love. And that’s just side A. I hadn’t seen this record anywhere else, and that made it the number two for the day.

I will say, I’m still conflicted about leaving Passover behind. All three of them were in excess of $30 each and I was trying to be reasonable. Trying. Also this happened…

Because the vinyl collecting gods were on my side today, while I was mulling over the countless options, my phone buzzed in my back pocket. Just delivered two days early: Vince Guaraldi’s 1963 In Person, a live recording with his quintet. The very minute I discovered Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus, I decided that I was going get a hold of every non-Peanuts related Vince Guaraldi recording I could find. It should go without saying that I love those records as well. There are so many hidden gems intertwined between the classics. I am, however, convinced that to know the man as a musician and an artist, I needed to know all of his work, hear what he was playing, and to some degree what he was thinking before we all associated his name with Charlie Brown. This has been an endlessly rewarding pursuit and with this addition I have just a couple to go.

All in all, with the exception of (or perhaps because of) my missed date with the Transfer Station, I’d call that an above average Tuesday, folks. Above average, indeed.

Carry on.

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