Normally I try to post things in order as they happened, but this one is too good to wait. I bought a batch of records at the Eastside Half Price Books (more on the rest later, but this one IS the story.
“Jethro Tull – Benefit”
The orange post-it covers the (or at least one of) former owners name and address and phone number. I bought this one for $3.99 to replace the $1 version I bought last year that doesn’t skip, but is pretty rough. I figured I could make a clock out of the other one.
The address was from Eau Claire, so this album has stayed in Wisconsin at any rate. I momentarily thought about trying to contact the former owner, but decided that might be too weird. Unlike the couple of albums I have gotten with radio station stamps on them this was a personal address. So, I leaned the record up in front of the stereo, staged for a listen. If this one was cleaner, then I’d swap the stickerless cover with the best sounding vinyl.
In the morning before work I put on Side 1. As I readied myself for work and made lunch I listened and was quite pleased with the quality of it. It was definitely cleaner than my previous copy. Off to work I went.
When I got home I threw down my work bag, let out the dogs and then flipped the Jethro Tull album and put the needle down.
I headed for the other room but stopped halfway there. The sound that was coming from the speakers didn’t match what was in my head. The first song on Side 2 was supposed to be “To Cry You A Song”, but what I was hearing was not Ian Anderson’s voice. I second guessed myself for a second. Did I switch albums and not remember. I did buy some others the day I got the Tull, maybe I had changed albums. This was not Jethro Tull. I walked back to the record player and spinning there was definitely the Tull album. Were 2 records stuck together somehow I wondered? I think I would have noticed that it was heavier if that was the case. I stopped it and lifted it up and read the label. Yep, Jethro Tull, Side 2, and the song list was there. I put it back on the record player and started it up again.
Nope, not Jethro Tull.
It was some 70’s style vocalist singing some not unpleasant, but pretty tame stuff. I dug out the phone, started SoundHound and waited. Paul Williams. What the?!…
Remember this guy?
So… my “Jethro Tull – Benefit” album had Side 1 of Benefit and Side 1 of “Paul Williams – Someday Man”. Wow. What happened there?
I looked up the Paul Williams album to confirm and then SoundHounded all the tracks on that side of the vinyl. My songs match.
Still, this is bizarre.
I spent an hour or so Googling Jethro Tull Paul Williams pressing error and found nothing. Apparently there WAS a pressing error, only not the one I have. I followed the link to this message board, which I subsequently signed up for. I posted a question on a 3 year old thread to see if anyone had ever heard of something like this.
Welcome to my rabbit hole.
Then to add to the seriously questionable depths to which I will go… I Googled the former owners name. The first hit was someone who is working locally in the field of radio. Could this possibly be the right owner? I crafted a e-mail with enough info for this person to confirm the album I was asking about and tried to not sound crazy. I mean who cares about this stuff but me? If this was theirs at one time though and they knew about the Side 1 Side 2 weirdness they would probably remember that, right? I didn’t leave my web link for fear they would think I was just well crafted spam and asked them to Google TheAuralRetentive if they were interested or curious to see the blog of the crazy man who e-mailed them out of the blue.
That was the end of my explorations.
I don’t know if this record is one of thousands like it, rare and priceless, or completely worthless. I mean it isn’t something I can really display, it LOOKS normal. I can’t get rid of it though. I’ll put it in a plastic bag and store it until I can tell the story again to some unlucky friend.
Did I tell you about my crazy Jethro Tull album?…
wait until you hear this!