Can I Use Cash and Credit?

Don’t you hate it when you have a wad of cash in your pocket, yet you don’t have enough to buy your music haul. What do you do? Instead of putting a cd or album back, or maybe even multiple items, you can use your credit card! Yes, that is always the answer when one cannot afford their full load with cash.

Just make sure you pay it off the next month, interest is a disgusting little bug.


Recently, when I sat and watched the needle decipher those vinyl groves, I had a since of cash, credit, and interest. These words that usually cause high anxiety in my life, were actually quite enjoyable. This album was Seven Year Ache, by Rosanne Cash.

Rosanne in herself has an interesting history and achieved high commercial success with this album. This was her second album after her self named debut. This album climbed the charts to number one and produced three number one singles on the country charts. And then there is that whole thing about being Johnny Cash’s daughter.

None of that matters.

This album creates a concoction of rock, blues, and country, in other words, Rockabilly. I would consider it one of the most modern recordings of this genre, although it came out in 1981. I knew that Rosanne had inducted the queen of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson, and cited her as a tremendous influence on her music, but it became very obvious once I listened to this album. This is in no way a copy, but a legendary influence. Music gives birth to more music.

The album opens with “Rainin’.” A great opener, this song has both electric and acoustic guitar. It sounds both country and rock. This is an uptempo song, but it has a down side. The song’s content is about how it’s “rainin’ in her soul” because he left her. Not to mention, Rosanne’s voice is extremely, in my opinion, bluesy and brings another twist upon this song, well the whole album to be exact.


Wombleton Records

Next is the album’s namesake, and number one single, “Seven Year Ache.” This song possess both country and rock components, with a steady, in my opinion, “sock hop” beat. Rosanne penned this song and it is the only one that has the lyrics printed on the album sleeve. Lyrically, this song is both intriguing and universal. We all find ourselves in a slump or “ache,” where no matter where you are or who you are around matters, all while keeping a smile upon our face. My favorite lyric: “Don’t you know heartaches are heroes when their pockets are full?”

The rest of side A keeps the country, blues, and rock feel. She follows with another number one single “Blue Moon With Heartache.” This song is a mid tempo ballad that Rosanne wrote herself. Next is “What Kinda Girl?” This song just sets the record straight for any man interesting in Ms. Cash, in a fast, two stepping fashion. Lastly, this side provides “You Don’t Have to Go Very Far.” This song contains, both lyrically and musically, classic country roots. This could highly be attributed to it being co-written by Merle Haggard.

Side B opens with another number one single, “My Baby Thinks He’s a Train.” This song is distinctively country, not quite classic, but coming off a 70’s wave. It expresses how she is with such a high paced man that it drives her insane and that she is “dragged around like an old caboose.” This song is cleverly written, with Emmylou Harris doing background vocals.

Rosanne follows with “Only Human,” a mid tempo ballad asking why she is treated like she is not human. Vince Gill provides backing vocals. One of my personal favorites, “Where Will the Words Come From” follows. This song is a ballad that expresses her need to move on, yet she doesn’t know how to tell him she doesn’t love him or need him anymore. The words always seem to escape her. Harris also provides backing vocals for this track.

“Hometown Blues,” written by Tom Petty, really shows a modern Rockabilly set. It’s upbeat, but very blue considering it’s content.  She even vocally “growls” during this song. A distinctive technic used by all the greats.

The album concludes with something I have never heard, a country ballad, that has classic pop standard attributes. ” I Can’t Resist” makes great use of a horn and string section. I often judge an album off it’s first and last song, and this proves my technique works. Rosanne’s bluesy tone is tempting, while expressing her own temptation. So this song has components of country, rock, blues, and pop standard. This is the true hidden gem of the album.

After listening to this record I have become quite a fan of Rosanne Cash, mainly because amazonof her vocals. Her voice seems to express emotion like I haven’t heard. Her songs are not musically climatic, yet her delivery is just as potent. Her voice seems to possess a similar tone between songs, but you can always tell the songs mood, whether it is lonely, confused, or sassy. I believe there may be an echo of her father in there.

So I first give Rosanne cash. For she is from this legendary lineage, and I payed cash for her album. It was worth every penny.

Second, I give Rosanne credit. She didn’t need her father to prove she was musical. She is completely independent of his long black shadow. She also wrote two of the number one songs on the album. The credit of success of this album is hers in more then one way.

Lastly, I give Rosanne interest, which can often be scary in my collection. Every Rosanne album I find will be bought. Thankfully her discography is small. She also deserves the interest, for her voice is completely intriguing and technically indescribable.

So I guess I shouldn’t be so anxious about cash, credit, and interest. Sometimes you just can’t resist, bills keep rainin’ and you fall into a seven year ache over one purchase, but, at least this time, it is completely worth it.



An acoustic version of “Seven Year Ache.”

Private Collection: Chris Phelps

One of our newest features on the blog is Private Collection. Featuring interviews with vinyl enthusiasts about their collections. For our first interview, I am pleased to introduce Chris Phelps, a fantastic photographer from Texas with an impressive client list (He’s probably shot your favorite band!) with the likes of Fueled by Ramen to Alternative Press, who just happens to be an avid vinyl collector. Thanks for talking with us, Chris!


What is your name & occupation?

My name is Chris Phelps and I am a photographer.

When did you start collecting vinyl?

I started borrowing my parents records when I was in high school and started my own collection when I was 15 or 16. I’ve been collecting ever since–almost 12 years now.

How many records to you own?

Somewhere around 800 records including 45s.

photo 1
Why do you prefer vinyl?

A lot of people talk about the sound being better, richer, warmer, etc., and depending on the record I agree with that. I don’t think new records pressed to vinyl sound as good as some of the older stuff. I think back in the day when they were making records they were mastering them specifically for vinyl rather than a digital to analog conversion.

For me, it’s all about the experience. Especially as an image maker in the music industry I love seeing the large format artwork. There is a certain reverence towards music that comes from the ritual of pulling a specific record from your collection, removing it from a dust cover and sleeve, and then putting it on the turntable, only to have to flip it halfway through. You have to really love the music to go to that much trouble. All the while you have this great big piece of artwork that is physically in your hands. It’s a pretty awesome experience.

There is a certain reverence towards music that comes from the ritual of pulling a specific record from your collection, removing it from a dust cover and sleeve, and then putting it on the turntable, only to have to flip it halfway through…

I certainly don’t get the same experience checking out a new artist on Spotify, but there is a place for both in this world. They’re two different formats each with their own inherent pros and cons. Obviously you cant take a stack of LPs with you on a long road trip, or when you’re out for a bike ride or a run.

ProvidedWhat is your favorite album in your collection?

Thats a tough one… It took me 10 years to find my first original
mono copy of Pet Sounds, which is my favorite record of all time. I hear something different in it every time I listen to it. I actually own about 5 or 6 different pressings of it because they each have their own sound and character.

I’ve got some rare early Ray Charles and Sam Cooke records that I also cherish as well as my entire Johnny Cash collection. I’ve got almost everything Johnny Cash put out from his first 45 at Sun Records through the early 70s. I’ve still got a few holes to fill but I’ve definitely got more Johnny Cash records than any other single artist or group.

As far as recent stuff… my favorite record this year is
Phosphorescent – Muchacho. I’ve always been a fan of his, but he
really nailed it with this record. That and his “To Willie” record,
which is comprised of Willie Nelson covers and is an homage to
Willie’s “To Lefty” 3

What is number one on your Want list?

There’s a limited edition pressing of The Blood Brothers – “…Burn, Piano Island, Burn” LP that they put out which is limited to 200 copies and I missed out on it when it first came out back in 2003. It’s a 2xLP with hand screen printed artwork on the opposite sides of each record. It’s something I’d love to get one day and get framed.

They were my favorite band when I first started collecting vinyl and they were actually one of the first bands I ever photographed. I spent the day photographing them on 6 rolls of black and white film for my final project in my Photo I class, it was sort of a “day in the life” documentary type project. Needless to say, they are near and dear to my heart and I would love to have that record some day. It goes for around $100 on ebay and I haven’t gotten around to forking up the cash for it yet.

Where is your favorite place to shop for vinyl?

I have the pleasure of traveling a lot for work so I always look for record shops in whatever town I happen to be in. Some of my favorites include: Amoeba Records in Hollywood, Other Music in NYC, Love Garden Sounds in Lawrence, Kansas, Doc’s in Ft. Worth, TX, Good Records in Dallas, TX, all the shops in Austin, TX are pretty great too depending
on what you’re looking for… Waterloo, Antones, End of an Ear, Breakaway, etc. There’s a record fair underneath the Brooklyn Bridge I stumbled across one time which was completely amazing and I’ve always wanted to go back.

Follow Chris Phelps on Twitter, Tumblr, & Flickr

Albums I wish were on vinyl…

Every now and then I hear an album I wish was on vinyl. Here is a quick list of my top five.

1. Lauren Mann & the Fairly Odd Folks “Over Land & Sea”

I downloaded this pretty little album off of Noisetrade last week and have enjoyed it every since. The album album art is fantastic with hand-painted illustrations and a poster…I was mesmerized after only seeing a PDF of the CD booklet. It would be amazing to translate to a 2xLP deluxe edition or box set.

Order the deluxe CD edition here.

2. Diane Birch “Speak A Little Louder”

Last week my sister sent me a Spotify link to listen to Dian Birch’s new album…this one would be perfect for vinyl!! With her soulful funky retro sound, this album was made to spin at 33rpm, but sadly it has yet to be pressed.

3. I Can Make a Mess (like nobody’s business) “The World We Know”

I first heard I Can Make A Mess on tour with Copeland for their Farewell tour in 2010, and I loved them and bought their CD. However, this beautiful album by the one-man-band-wonder Ace Enders would be perfect to listen to on vinyl with its “the whole album is one song” feel. Experience the first half of it below…

I won’t despair because their newest album is available on colored vinyl.

4. Midlake “Bamnan and Slivercork”

Bamnan and Slivercork is the only full-length album by Midlake yet to be pressed to vinyl. And it’s a lo-fi noise pop classic. Need I say more?

5. Eisley “Combinations”

Combinations is the only Eisley album yet to be pressed to vinyl. It also has my all-time favorite song by the band on it “I Could Be There for You.”

Here’s to hoping that these gems make it on vinyl someday!!

Presenting…new Midlake

Check out Midlake’s new music video that premiered yesterday on Stereogum…click below.


ANTIPHON is Midlake’s first music video since their new musical direction after the exit of Tim Smith. Personally, I absolutely love the psychedelic styling. The video absolutely fits the feel of the song and hints to the vibe felt at a live show. In a genre where the attitude is important, they are gold with a perfect combination of “disinterested shoe gazers” and “zoned-out psychedelic jam band.” As always, Midlake does it with finesse that leaves you wondering if they just stepped out of a time machine from the 70s.

*Also, less than two weeks until ANTIPHON the album releases on November 5 (available on VINYL)! I’ll be waiting by my mailbox if anyone needs me.

Rating: 4/5

Since We are In the Spirit….

As much as I love being original, I think I am going to copy my good friend and fellow vinyl collector, Mary, and post my favorite record covers. It’s going to be hard to limit it to five, but I am going to try my best.

1.  Diana Ross Diana Ross 

This album came out in 1970 and was Ross’ first solo album. Ross was coming off the photo 1accomplishment of the most successful female group, The Supremes. Now if anybody has seen just a picture of this legendary group they know they had extensive style including beaded gowns, feathers, sequined anything and big hair. This album cover takes a whole new approach for Ms. Ross. She is featured just sitting in cut off shorts and a tie dye shirt. I would even go as far as to say she looks homeless. This was the defining point in her career in becoming her own superstar (And yes my copy is signed by Ms. Ross, she kindly signs things for fans at the end of her show).

2. Fleetwood Mac Rumours

photo 5This album cover is full of questions and mysteries. It made it’s debut in 1975. Does it have hidden meanings or is it simply an artistic endeavor? Stevie Nicks is dressed in her “Rhiannon” set she wore on stage. Mick Fleetwood said that when she would perform this song it was like watching an exorcism. Then, I love Fleetwood’s old style British attire. It channels his heritage and where the band originally began. Then there are those strategically placed sphere’s hanging from his waistband….

3. Johnny Cash American VI: Ain’t No Grave

This album was released in 2010, nearly 7 years after Cash’s death. It’s not often you find photo 2a singer that can be known by a four letter word, but everybody knows who Cash is. The cover photo is of Cash as a young boy, so he is ultimately unrecognizable, but the bold lettered “CASH” gives it away. A great homage to a once in a lifetime legend.

4. Billy Joel Glass Houses

photo 4This album was released in 1980. I have always been intrigued by this cover. It’s not often you find one with such a direct message. Joel is standing in front of a glass house about to throw a stone through its windows. It gives me the message that as a human, you must eventually just break the glass house you are in and do what you want. The photography is also spectacular, with the angle, use of blue, and Joel’s shadow in the window.

5. Marvin Gaye Live At the London Pallidium

I think about what it would have been like to see Gaye in concert and I can’t imagine it photo 3being anything but amazing. This cover shows the passion in Gaye’s vocals and his stance shows his talent for performing. Ironically, Gaye did not like performing live, especially after the death of his singing partner, Tammi Terrell. I also like the use of what I call fire colors for the wording.

After analyzing my album collection for just a few of my favorites I realized that, just like music, they don’t come like they used to. In the days before photoshop album covers were real, you saw the artist as they were. Now do not get me wrong, there is some really great album art out there today, but I think the days of classic covers has come and gone. They are simple, yet complex. They are creative, yet they always seem to have a certain beauty about them.

And just a little disclaimer, every album I featured is just as good on the inside, if not better.

Again, I wish I was born just a few years before I was.

Admiring and Spinning,


Country, Soul, and Folk…..Oh Yea.

Google defines country music as a form of popular music originating in the rural southern US. It is traditionally a mixture of ballads and dance tunes played characteristically on fiddle, guitar, steel guitar, drums, and keyboard.

May I also add its contents include whiskey, women, cheating, drinking, and the occasional loss of a dog.

Google defines soul music as a kind of music incorporating elements of rhythm and blues and gospel music, popularized by African-Americans. Characterized by an emphasis on vocals and an impassioned improvisatory delivery.

May I also add that it often gives you those dancing feet and you may occasionally utter a positive “mmm” or “get it girl.”

Lastly, since this is not a test study sheet, Google defines folk music as music that originates in traditional popular culture or that is written in such a style.

May I also add it usually has a heavy guitar influence and imagery.

Now add them all together.

Country+Soul+Folk= Justin Townes Earle

My first encounter with Earle was through Wanda Jackson. He produced her latest studio album, Unfinished Business.  He duets with Jackson on “Am I Even a Memory.” That became my favorite song off the album, and it spurred my interest in Earle. This album was produced to pristine detail.

Justin Townes Earle is the son of famed country musician Steve Earle. He has released 1 etownEP and 5 albums. I recently found his 4 album Harlem City Blues at Guestroom Records in OKC. I wasn’t exactly expecting what I heard. The album touches a wide array of subjects including suicide, breakups, loneliness, the need to leave, and coming back.

The album opens with its title’s name sake, “Harlem City Blues.” This song envokes every genre I discussed previously. The music is distinctly country, the tempo is folksy, and Earle’s voice contains the soul. This song makes me think it is touching suicide, for he states “dirty water is going to cover me over and I’m not gonna make a sound.” Although dark in content, this song possess a positive sense of spirituality.

The album then goes into “One More Night in Brooklyn.” He talks about leaving town with his woman. I love the beat to this one. It’s almost “islandly.” This is an addictive tune. You then have a hoe down with “Move Over Mama.” Next is the song”Workin for the MTA.” This song especially evokes the essence of folk music, it’s about hard work in what I believe would either be mines or the building of train tracks. It has a purpose and mission. I see a man walking lonely through a desolate area dragging a sledge hammer when I listen to this song. It’s a great slow down moment for the album.

The last song on Side A is “Wanderin.” This is one of my top two favorites off the album. For this song’s face value, it talks about wandering over areas and personal situations, but deeper then that it’s about reflecting on life and spirituality. It is a modern day “Poor Wayfaring Stranger.” You have to wonder to find home.

The pheonixMy second favorite on this album is “Christchurch Woman.” The song talks about waiting for a woman. He talks of how he is waiting for a “Christchurch woman in the rain, and the rain keeps comin, but it ain’t enough to cover the pain.” You can feel pain in Earle’s voice as he is wanting that certain someone, yet even he admits he’ll probably get tired of her later in the song. This song could be comforting to those who are waiting. Waiting gets easier with each passing day, and you might even realize it’s not the right thing after all.

The closing song, besides a choir reprise of “Harlem City Blues,” is Rogers Park. The songs opens up with a beautiful piano arrangement and it carries throughout. It is like Earle is walking through a small town park, reminiscing on his life and what could and can be. This shows the genius of Earle’s songwriting. My favorite lyric: “There ain’t no hope in leaving them. There ain’t no prayer for the poor and all that’s lost in stealing. She can’t hold me anymore.” and a choral line of “Punching holes in the dark.” Let the interpretations begin….

In the end, this record is not of any genre. The country musical influence is dominant, thebloodshot records story telling of folk is there, and Earle’s voice is extremely soulful. I find this album to be remarkable. Earle is multitalented, being able to produce, perform, and write, a musical triple threat.

Although, I’m not ready to let that ol’ dirty water run over me, I am ready for my Christchurch woman in the rain, and more importantly, I can’t wait to purchase another Justin Townes Earle album.  You have to prioritize in life.

Forever Spinning,