Saturday, April 27, 2019

The 10 LPs every collector should own... Part 1

Doesn't matter who you are, the impact of your website or your radio show - if you create a definitive list of the ten LPs that every record enthusiast must own, you'll do nothing but create havoc for yourself; indeed, you're probably wrong, and frankly, you should have avoided the topic altogether. Instead, your focus should have been an article about the ten records that mean the most to you as a critic, or the ten most collectible...  something that is measurable and inarguable.

If I were to choose for you, most of the readers at AM would know exactly what to expect. The choices wouldn't all be AM 10s, but they would nonetheless be relatively predictable. Instead, AM would like to offer up the 10 LPs that you, as an individual, with your tastes and opinions, should have in your collection. It's not magic or ESP. Here's Part 1:

No. 10: The White Album. It's not The Beatles best LP, though it may be to you; indeed it is more a compilation of solo tracks, not unlike Deja Vu. While a stellar LP nonetheless, The White Album is also the most important collectible LP. It's a rare group of individuals who knows of or truly understands the significance of the "butcher cover" (The Beatles, Yesterday and Today, Capitol, 1966) or can track down an "Unpeeled" Velvet Underground and Nico, but The White Album, officially The Beatles, is No. 10 on the list because everyone's copy is a thing of value. The unique numbering on both the U.K. and American releases has never been duplicated. And it doesn't matter if you had it as a kid and drew all over it, or it has a coffee cup ring - its value remains. Indeed, that copy you've had all these years is a personal thing; keep it, cherish it, draw on it some more, if you like. Then go out and splurge on a nice copy with the posters and the photos and a low number. It's a solid investment.

No. 9: (I suppose The White Album should be number 9, number 9, number 9; instead:) Many of our readers had their informative years in the 60s and 70s. With that in mind, No. 9 in our countdown is an LP by your favorite artist, which may very well be something you already own. If not, get yourself a mint condition copy of your favorite LP by your favorite artist. Both Crosby, Stills and Nash and Deja Vu, for instance, are classic LPs in iconic sleeves. The eponymous first LP has that iconic Henry Diltz photo of the trio sitting on a porch, and the latter has what may be the most handsome cover ever made, with its leather-like marbling and paste on photo - but these are just examples. For me, that LP is a mint condition mono Pet Sounds from The Beach Boys. Get yourself that first blue Weezer or NIN; doesn't matter - it needs only matter to you.

No. 8: In your collection, you should have a record that was a part of your childhood; an LP that your parents listened to or an older sibling - something that you can hear in your head when you were growing up. Having come from a family in the industry, this one's a hard choice for me. I'd either choose Jackie Gleason's Music for Lovers Only or Bobby Vinton's Greatest Hits. I can see in my mind both of them leaning against our console Magnavox stereo. Just looking at the cover should conjure up some kind of youthful imagery.

No. 7: A Frank Sinatra LP. I suggest either The Wee Small Hours of the Morning or Come Fly With Me. Choose either for its iconic cover painting which oozes 50s cool. Wee Small Hours is the more critically acclaimed LP here and is arguably the first concept album, while the songs are a bit melancholy. Come Fly With Me is far more accessible and full of hits. Either way, these are LP covers worthy of a frame, and tracks from the most iconic name in recorded music.

No. 6: Along the same lines, every collector should own a Sun Records LP. While AM's focus is often L.A. in the 60s, no collection can be without something by Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee or Carl Perkins. Aside from the way-cool Sun label, there's a gritty garage feel to each LP. My faves are Greatest! by Johnny Cash or Carl Perkins' Dance Album of Carl Perkins. Like Sinatra, these are way cool with a bad boy bent.

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