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Goodwill Tunes

I’m gonna level with you out there. Times are tight for ol’ Pueblo, Colorado. In fact, despite the uptick of the economy over the past year and a half or so, all over this great nation,  land of milk and honey,  hardworking Americans everywhere are continuing to tighten their belts, or in some cases selling the belt altogether for leather scrap and tightening a rope around their waists not unlike a modern-day hobo.

But in the desolate landscape that is modern American entertainment, we still need to be satiated musically. But alas, if I can’t afford the $120 dollars plus it takes to buy the Pixies Minotaur CD box set (seriously), or shell out $100 per ticket to see Ed Sheeran warble into a microphone at Red Rocks, how am I supposed to have a good time? Where do I go?

The answer, I’ve found, is the same place that I get my underwear; thrift stores!

They’re everywhere! Filled to the brim full of castaways of yesteryear and remnants of the past, ripe for the picking. Here are five of the records I found.

Graham Nash – “Songs for Beginners” (Atlantic Records) Right off the heels of a turbulent 60s, this is the solo debut from Graham Nash, one of the four high profile releases from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The songs shift from uplifting  and slightly jammy Americana numbers to more somber singer songwriter fare, bursting with musical contributions from Neil Young, Jerry Garcia, David Crosby and other people. Mumford & Sons wouldn’t exist without an album like this.

FUN FACT! Lyrical influence for many of the songs came allegedly from the breakup between Graham Nash and his then girlfriend folk artist Joni Mitchell.

Herp Albert presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66  – “’66”(A&M Records) – Have you ever needed music for a party that has a killer recognizable vintage vibe, but also has that Bossa Nova swing to it? Well, Sergio Mendes has had you covered for the last 50 years. This record was made for the swanky cocktail parties your grandparents used to host, and the jams stand up well, even now.

FUN FACT! Longtime Denver based emcee and producer J-Live samples “Berimbau” off of ’66 for his latin rhythm inspired jam “Don’t Play.”

Shelley Berman – “Inside Shelley Berman” (Verve Records) This was a pleasant surprise! Nothing beats the feel of a live stand up comedy show, and this one is perfect to crank up on a rainy night around the house. Shelley Berman is a product of a bygone era in entertainment, slightly off the wall and racy for its’ time (1959) , but now seems downright wholesome and still remains pretty damn funny.

FUN FACT! This comedy album won the 1959 Grammy for Best Spoken Word Performance.

Clusterfux/Up Yours split 12” – “On Capitol Hill with Punks and Swill” (Queen City Punx) – Every now and again, the thrift gods will shine upon thee. Hidden between endless LP’s of the My Fair Lady soundtrack and Herp Albert’s “Whipped Cream and Other Delights” was this record, beaten to heck but still playable. It consists of longtime Denver thrash/crust anarcho-punkers Clusterfux, backed with Up Yours, a streetpunk act that sound like pretty much every streetpunk band in existence. This album is angry and lo-fi, and it’s definitely not for everyone (squares), but I guess that’s kind of the point.

FUN FACT!  The record label Queen City Punx was the self release vehicle for Clusterfux and other Denver based hardcore punk acts.

Lee Morgan – “The Sidewinder” (Blue Note Records) – I could tell from the cover this was gonna be something I had to get. Lee Morgan was an American Jazz trumpeter, known for his signature and influential style of hard bop. This album delivers just that, giving five tracks of  smooth and bouncy  tunes, almost just as much rhythm and blues based as it is jazz, with elements of blues making their way into the mix as well. Major snaps to this one.

FUN FACT! The title track to “The Sidewinder” album has been used for a Chrysler car ad, as well as a theme song in several TV shows.

So there it is. Turns out you don’t need tons of money to have a great music collection; just the time and moxie to find it. These five albums would’ve cost over $50 on iTunes. At the Goodwill? $5.37.

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