Records and Chess Party from Pre-Christmas

Dalton came over for another records and chess party in the basement just prior to Christmas.

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This time, he brought a bin full of records for what we like to call, mystery tunes. This is an age old game between us where we will select certain cuts to either try and stump the other, introduce a new band, or just play something we know the other will really like. Nothing beats Mystery Tunes.

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The new receiver was working good and soon the records were stacked up. The area is a mess. I was really digging the records. The ambiance of the area is not the greatest, the basement with the salmon colored wall. Ugh.

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At any rate. It was a blast.

Dalton played me 2 tracks from the band Triumph that blew my mind. I had always scoffed at Triumph, but I had to eat my words. The 2 he played me were awesome. Drums right in your face, high vocals like Geddy Lee and a three man power sound. I am was determined right afterwards to go back to Half Price Books where I saw 2 Triumph records.

We listened to my Van Halen and I played “Flirtin’ With Disaster” as a mystery cut. I also played “I’m Shakin” by The Blasters. Love that one.

Dalton broke out “Pink Floyd – Animals”. The Triumph tracks and a host of others. It was fun to handle the records and see what condition they were in and listen for pops and scratches. I am actually very impressed with everything I have purchased from Half Price Books. Nothing except the triple “Wings – Wings Over America” has had any skips. I figured a record for a buck was going to be pretty rough, but I can’t complain.

Anyway, Dalton and I had a chance to exchange Christmas gifts.

I presented him with a poster size print of the concert tickets of his that I had scanned for him. I found a collage program and put all hundred or so tix in one picture. A lot of history there.

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Dalton brought a bag that was clearly filled with records for me. I reached in and pulled out this.

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“David Bowie – Scary Monsters”

OMG! I was like FOR REAL?!?! Bowie! I made the noise we make for awe and astonishment and stared at for a moment in disbelief. Bowie! I remember buying this one new and not quite understanding it, but loving it. This has the sequel song to “Space Oddity”, the amazing track “Ashes To Ashes” which I used to see on MTV all the time. I went out and bought it for that song and wasn’t prepared at that time for the rest of it, but it grew on me. David has so many strange styles that you have to be prepared for anything.

I was in awe.

But there was more. I reached in and pulled out the next one.

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“David Bowie – Pinups”

No way! I was again stunned. I kept looking at Dalton like, for real? This is for me?!

“Pinups” was a record that I had checked out from the library back in theRoselle days. I played it for David in the room we shared. It was an album of cover tunes that I dug. He covered The Who, Floyd, and The Kinks. I remember thinking it was an odd thing to put out, it was probably the first all covers album I had ever seen, but I loved it.

Then came this one.

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“David Bowie – Live at The Tower Theater”

This was the one that first got me into Bowie that I had bought one year when my mom turned me loose for my birthday in a record store.  A-MAZE-ING. This one has it all, old stuff, new stuff. If you have no Bowie and need a good place to start, this is it. Ziggy Stardust was done and this David had emerged from the fire. Classic.

I’ll forego the part where I stared at each one for several moments and made the noise and looked at Dalton in disbelief. It happened for each of these, and yes, there was more.

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“David Bowie – Station To Station”

This one I had gotten in the middle of my Bowie collecting years. I love immensely the track “Station To Station”, “TVC15” and of course “Golden Years”, but at the time couldn’t stomach tracks like “Wild Is The Wind” and “Word On A Wing”. This one, though iconic, was low on my play list. Eventually I did learn to appreciate them. Some things you appreciate more after time. I was looking for rockin’ Bowie and wasn’t prepared for some of this. As I got more and more Bowie though I began to embrace some of the slower ones. “Wild Is The Wind” would probably make my greatest hits mix tape these days.

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“David Bowie – Low”

This album blew my mind. I can’t remember when I got it, but I remember that it was the true Bowie fan in me that bought it, because the songs aren’t even listed on the album cover. The back is just blank orange. One side was short quirky songs and the other was moody electronic laced landscapes. Weird and eerie, but I immediately liked them. This is actually one of the three Berlin Trilogy albums. I actually bought and read this year a book (on my Kindle) about this album. Very good if you are interested.

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Bowie and Brian Eno (largely responsible for the techno aspect) were a good team in terms of output, but didn’t really work together, adding to the oddly disjointed and slightly off sound, which totally works. I played the Eno influenced side most often. This was not the Bowie you played at parties, but the one you played at night when you were going to sleep, or writing, or sulking.

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“Daid Bowie – Young Americans”

This one was in rough shape. You can see the electrical tape holing it all together, but if you think I cared, wrong. This one I got in the days when I was going back and buying Bowie to fill in the holes in my collection. It was in a way very much like “Station To Station” in that there was a mix of slower song in with the radio cuts that everyone knows. This one had “Young Americans” and “Fame” which are without a doubt some of David’s best work. The other songs are soul inspired, with horns and strings (Luther Vandross is listed as singing backup and vocal arrangements) and I must admit were not my bag in the begginning again. I did, just like “Station To Station” come to appreciate them. It was just that I was searching for more “The Jean Genie” and this is not it. However, it is very good for afternoons and dinners. Kind of like a fine wine.

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“Davd Bowie – Diamond Dogs”

I purchased this used in the UW Milwaukee days. I came home to my rented room and put this on. I thought I knew most of these songs and I did, however I knew them from the “David – Live At The Tower Theater” album. These versions were much darker and moodier. I was blown away in fact. I had put off buying this one since A, I was not a huge fan of the “Diamond Dogs” song (gasp, I know) and B, I thought I had heard this all before. I was so wrong. I remember sitting in my big stuffed chair with no legs that I had dragged home and listening to these song as if I was hearing them for the first time. The dark and bleak future apocalypse of the sound was great and scary and I can recall shivering after the last repeating “bra bra bra…” of the “Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family” faded out. This album went from a “I guess I should buy it” to a favorite LP.

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“David Bowie – Aladdin Sane”

This one I purchased at a Peaches record store that was connected to a mall in Indiana when I was staying with my father. Remember Peaches?

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When I played this one for the first time I didn’t know quite what to think. It was another mixture of piano heavy, radio friendly, excentric tunes that were all over the board. “Watch That Man” and “Time” and  “Aladdin Sane” were already favorites of mine from the live albums, but the standout track for me… “Panic In Detroit”. This song, as well as being great has always given me the creeps in the images he portrays and the feel I get from the song. So vauge and strange and scary. This album was probably the one that turned me from disliking the slow stuff, like “Wild Is The Wind” to appreciating it. This was the one I always tried to turn people on to Bowie with. Maybe not the best choice, but I always wanted to show his range to newcomers.

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“David Bowie – Hunky Dory”

My guess is that if I hadn’t gotten this album virtually last in my recollecting the older stuff I might not have liked it. It is another mish mash sort of album that has the ultimate Bowie radio song “Changes” but the rest is quiet, sing songy and quaint tracks that are saturday afternoonish and light. I was in a place where I could appreciate the understated brilliance of it all. “Queen Bitch” and “Life On Mars” are my favorites.

That was a lot of Bowie.

There were 3 more still in the bag though. Not Bowie, but classics nonetheless.

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“Jethro Tull – Benefit”

This is one of my favorite Jethro Tull albums, their third I believe, but the first I bought after getting my schooling on Jethro Tull from “Jethro Tull – Live Bursting Out”. That was the one I bought from Meijer’s Super Store.

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“Jethro Tull – Aqualung”

What can you say about this album. It is classic and aside from the actual song “Aqualung” which radio burnt me out on, the entire album is top notch. I bought this one new in Ann Arbor and loved it.

Last but not least was this gem.

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“Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon”

It was hard to imagine that I could get any more surprised than I was after the Bowie and Tull… but this one blew me away. I had this when I lived in Roselle. I love every song on here. It is sort of a sesert island disc. It’s the Sinatra of the rock and roll world. You almost have to own this at least once in your life.

Now thanks to Dalton I have owned it twice.

Thanks my friend.

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