Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Let's Twist Again

I have a huge record collection, begun at the humble age of six with my first album "Grease." Since then it has grown to about 500 records. When I was DJing regularly (pre-ipod) I became pretty addicted to record shopping. I have slowed down considerably in my pursuit of rare vinyl finds, but every once in a while I get the urge to sift through loads of cheap records to unearth treasures from the past. Many times I end up buying stuff just because the record album cover is so awesome it's impossible to pass up.

Fortunately for me there is a used vinyl shop that looks like it has been in its location for a minimum of 50 years, where I can peruse dozens of records a mere two blocks from my house in Park Slope. Today I was walking by and noticed a Best of the Beach Boys album in one of the dollar bins outside, and suddenly found myself immersed in full-blown vinyl obsession. I scored big today. The haul included Artie Shaw, Harry Belafonte (singing Day-O!), an early Bill Cosby comedy album, a 50s compliation which includes 'The Madison' and 'The Chicken' plus the following:

•The 5th Dimension: Love's Lines, Angles, and Rhymes featuring an amazing picture of the band in black and white vertically striped outfits.

• A Dionne Warwick album which contains a bunch of Burt Bacharach songs wiith the cover featuring a very sultry Dionne in an amazingly bright multi-colored dress. (So sad that she was reduced to hosting Solid Gold and then schilling for that wierd psychic phone service. What happened, Dionne?)

• The Jacksons " Going Places" --the album cover features all the Jackson brothers in their late teens/early 20s (pre-MJ's Off the Wall album) wearing tuxedoes, top hats and aviator helmets (all with a tremendous amount of dust on them) looking at a map and getting directions from a bunch of old white farmers in overalls and plaid shirt at a gas station. Why are they wearing such weird outfits? Is this a comment on racism? I can't tell, but strange and hilarious either way.

And the absolute best of the bunch:

• Chubby Checker Twistin' Round the World which features Let's Twist (a Paloma) in Spanish, Let's Twist Again in German (Der Twist Beginnt), Twist with Me in German (Twist Mit Mir), Twistin Round the World (Allouette) and All You Twisters in French, and the bizarre inclusion of a rock version of Hava Nagela. I have no idea what kind of marketing strategy Chubby's people were going for with this album, but I am so very happy they did.

Also, I have been voraciously reading. A partial list of books I have just blown through: The Other Hollywood by Legs McNeil, a fascinating but somewhat depressing history of the porn industry, Joan Didion's A Book of Comon Prayer which was gripping and weird, as well as rereading some favorites: JD Salinger's short stories (awesome because they usually abruptly end with someone killing themselves out of nowhere), The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway, which I haven't read since high school, and Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell.

Sometimes it's worth revisiting the classics.

10 Comments:

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did you eat anything? talk about food!

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Blogger Rachael Mason said...

I ate a turkey burger and some pizza yesterday Justin. Happy now?

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