Elvis is More Than a Set of Coasters

To be completely honest, I did not realize that today was Elvis’ birthday. Oddly, I was reading about his involvement with Buddy Holly at the time I found out. I then figured that he deserves a post since he is the King of Rock and Roll.

This isn’t going to be over one album. Actually, I don’t have many of Elvis’ trailblazing downloadalbums. I have a couple of reissues and a lot of his later recordings, nevertheless, I’ve always been a fan. Recently I have begun to do research on the origins of Rock and Roll and the history of Rockabilly and Elvis is at the forefront.  This has made me realize a different depth of what it means to be a trailblazer or simply a popular artist.

When what we call Rock and Roll today came on to the scene in the 1950’s they didn’t have a name for it.  It contained bits of R&B, hillbilly music, gospel, country music, and some crazy new guitar riffs. It was a melting pot of every genre spiced with innovation. There were many who helped move this music in, but Elvis has risen as the icon of that movement. Without the Rockabilly movement music would sound drastically different today.

download (1)I now see a larger picture.  Elvis may be dead, and he may have quit recording Rockabilly later in his career, but all this is alive today. His style is still heard in the likes of many artists today. His aggressive stage presence and “movements” are still being imitated. His songs have been covered by almost every artist under the sun. His career demands respect.

Unfortuantly, I now feel that Elvis’ legacy has been trivialized through various forms of memorabilia and marketing schemes.  I can walk into almost any music store (or Wal-Mart) and at least find a set of playing cards with his likeness or a set of coasters with his album covers. I can adorn my fridge with every image he ever posed for and I can decorate a full Christmas tree with different figures depicting his likeness. I have even seen Elvis themed underwear.

So for this post I would like us to remember what the King of Rock and Roll was, a ElvisPresleyAlohafromHawaiitrailblazer in its most prominent form, an innovator, and someone who pushed the envelope. When I listen to Elvis’ voice I hear someone who wasn’t scared of the mainstream and what they deemed acceptable or normal, but I hear someone who wanted to move music a little further and create a new canvas of music for artists to paint on.  He asked what if and then he did.

—–

 

Okie Fun Fact: Elvis’ number one record, “Heartbreak Hotel,” was co-written by an Oklahoman from Comanche, Mae Boren Axton.

 

Wish List: 5 Albums I Wouldn’t Mind Getting as Gifts

As every spoon collector longs to go to a new state, every vinyl collector has a wish list. Here are a few of the records I wouldn’t mind adding to my collection

ElvisPCover1. Elvis Presley’s First Album: Elvis is easily defined as one of the most defining artist of the 20th century. He pioneered the Rock and Roll movement and was a legendary performer. There’s a lot of repressings of this album, but I’m searching for the first, which will one day cost me a pretty penny.

MI0000358472

2: Johnny Cash and His Hot Blue Guitar: Cash’s persona and artistry is one that intrigues me. He is a genius song write and storyteller. Although he was often troubled, he influenced the music industry all around.

Meet_the_supremes_1962

3. The Supremes, Meet The Supremes, 1st Issue: There are two versions of this album: one where the three original Supremes are sitting on stools in three separate pictures and one with a group photo.  I want the one with the stools. It’s very rare and also has many repressings, but I just know one day I am going to find it on eBay for that right price.

ebab839e95dc820f9eb982cb2b9cb1fec099ba444. Dusty Springfield, Dusty in Memphis: I just recently discovered Springfield and I find her voice intoxicating. I can’t put my finger on it, but I love it. I have read that this is one of her most heralded recordings. I have my local record shop on it (Trolley Stop Record Shop is one of the best in the OKC metro).

Elephant-Album-Cover-the-white-stripes-1019841_600_6005. The White Stripes, Elephant: This is my only modern want at the moment. I see it all the time at the local record store, but I always have a ton of other records in my hand and can’t afford its high price tag. Nonetheless, one of these days I will attain this album and bask in the greatness of Jack and Meg White.

These are just a few of the albums I am currently searching for. It’s quite an eclectic collection of titles, ranging from rockabilly, country, soul, pop, and alternative. If you have any leads let me know and I’ll pass it on to my mother.

Awaiting,

Gabe

TOP 5 Christmas Wishes: For Her

At a loss for what to buy the lady in your life who fancies listening to her music on an analog format? Forget Spotify Premium gift cards, check out my wishlist of nostalgic goodies for ideas on what to buy the special lady in your life:

TOPFIVE_forher

 1. Grado RS2i Reference Series headphones (Amazon)- Audiophile-quality headphones for your audiophile girlfriend, that is all.

2. Fujifilm X100S Digital Camera (Adorama)- Is your girl crazy about photography? This digital camera has the retro look of a Leica at a fraction of the price. Plus, my photographer friends LOVE their X100s’s!

3. Vinyl Record inspired earrings (Etsy)- If she loves earrings and loves vinyl, you can’t lose with buying her these earrings.

4. Analog Nights Screen Print (Aimee Wilder)- This hand-screened, limited-edition print print is perfect for the girl who loves art and music.

5. Midlake Antiphon T-shirt (Big Cartel)- Is there one band that she totally love, has bought their albums on vinyl (twice) and traveled out-of-state to see them live? Buy her a tee from her favorite band’s merchandise stash…

View my unabridged wish list here. Girls, what do you have on your list? Let me know: comment below!

How To: Go Record Shopping

Going record shopping never gets old. It is always an exciting experience for both newbies and seasoned vinyl collectors. However, with any type of shopping, it can get chaotic without a plan. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way…

#1 Have an end goal in mind

When I first started collecting vinyl, I bought a lot of records (new and vintage) without much of a plan for my collection. It’s good to have a goal for what you are growing your record collection toward. Money and finances must be taken into account, as some goals are pricier than others. For example, just buying album art you fancy from the $1 bin is a lot less of a financial commitment than searching for the complete catalog of Abba in “mint condish”. If that’s your jam, go for it!

Also, figure out if it is important to you that you buy vintage copies or new/reissued albums. Some people don’t mind a Beatles digitally remastered album pressed onto an analog format, but others are purists who only listen vintage vinyl and modern artists who record analogue onto vinyl. If it is sound quality you want, go analog all the way. (Tell us what you think, take our poll below!)

#2 Have a routine

DSC_0413 copy

Whenever you go record shopping, it’s good to have a ritual of sorts. That way you can go in and out quickly. This helps when you need to hit three or four stores before they close at 7pm (when you just got off at 5). For example, a good practice is to first go through “New Arrivals” then have a few artists whom you always check for. Sometimes there are some gems in the $1 bin, but beware those records may be scratched and the jackets usually leave much to be desired.

#3 Know when to walk away

When choosing vinyl, it’s good to know what’s most important to you: condition, issue, sealed/opened, or price. Knowing the answer to what’s most important to you for the items in your collection will help you know when to walk away.

If you are looking for a particularly rare album, be sure to check Ebay to get to know what the price range will be. A lot of times, independent record stores will have them for cheaper AND you don’t have to pay shipping! And sometimes it may be cheaper online. it’s a good idea to check out

#4 Know what you have and want

If you read our past post, and you’ve already cataloged your collection, then you can check your current inventory before you dig in the crates, just in case you forget what you already own. You will also need to have a list (mental or digital or physical) of what albums you would like to own before dropping a ton of cash on a record haul. These lessons have helped me have a lot less buyer’s remorse because I can stop myself from buying an album that I’ll regret later.

In other news, anyone want to buy a record shop?

Happy Record Shopping!

Dream Vintage Setup

As you sit down to enjoy your newest find from your local record or thrift store, do you ever wonder how it would sound on an authentic vintage rig? I sure do. I would love to rock a combination turntable, cassette, and 8-track cabinet or a streamlined space-aged chrome table. In fact, I digitally hoard ideas for the music-room-I-hope-someday-to-have on Pinterest (among other things…).

Image

What about you? Are you happy with your Crosley reissue from Urban Outfitters or do you dream of the warm sound of your favorite record played through a tube amp stereo? Afterall, they don’t make things like they used to…