The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Guest blog - Part 1

Jim D. left a great 6-page long comment that I couldn't leave under a bushel. Here's Part 1 - I've been trying to talk Jim into a collaborative blog for some time now...

Part 1

The first record store I ever went to, having previously only seen them in department or drug stores, was an unnamed San Fernando valley place where I went in by myself, age 7 with enough money to buy a 45! I picked “Imagine” by John Lennon since I knew he was in the Beatles. But for the vas bulk of my childhood, having no elder siblings, I only saw records in department stores and drug stores. I also remember seeing “cutout” 45s near the checkout counter at the occasional quick mart in my travels across this great land of ours, but I was unsuccessful in getting my parents to pony up the 4 bits for a 45! Just as well, those records, if I had bought them, would have probably warped or melted in the heat of the car. In LA my family used to shop at Gemco and one or two records might have been bought there.

By my pre-teen years I would get the occasional record at Millers department store, or an Eckerds drug store or the old reliable K-Mart. I remember buying Steppenwolf “R.I.P” at Miller’s as a cutout for $1-2! This was when full list was an impressive $5. Eckerd Drugs would also have cutouts [though this word did not enter my vocabulary for another decade or so] but I remember buying Three Dog Night’s “Naturally” at full list! Smitten with their cover of “The Loco Motion” I also wanted the Grand Funk album from whence it came, “Shinin’ On” – the one with the 3-D cover also made it like flypaper to me! In the end I settled for the 45 and one play of the dismal Led Zep rip-off b-side, “Destitute & Losing” gave me the steel to resist that 3-D album cover forevermore. In retrospect, I credit Todd Rundgren for his able production in almost suckering me into buying a Grand Funk album!

In the ensuing years my album stash grew along very modestly with a fruitcake tin of used 45s [usually sans sleeves] that I bought when accompanying my mom to garage sales during summer vacation. Used records entered my life fairly early from garage sales and it would be some years before I discovered that whole record stores sold used merchandise! I remember that even seeing a 45 picture sleeve was vastly exotic to my pre-teen eyes! K-Mart, where by now any record purchases were made, almost never featured picture sleeves on their 45s in the mid-70s. This probably was because record store rackjobbers got the limited sleeves as a perk where general retail stores got by on generic white or label sleeves. Am I right Ron? (Yes - Ed.)

I can remember also seeing by this time, albums on a POP rack at the checkout of local quick mart stores like Shop & Go. These would largely be K-Tel releases but when you are a kid, these have enormous bang for buck appeal. I remember wanting one such K-Tel release in 1974 – “Dynamite”.

It’s contents:

The Night Chicago Died - Paper Lace
Takin' Care of Business - Bachman-Turner Overdrive
This Flight Tonight - Nazareth
Be Thankful for What You Got - William DeVaughn
I Shot the Sheriff - Eric Clapton
Hollywood Swinging - Kool & the Gang
Stuck in the Middle With You - Stealers Wheel
I'm a Train - Albert Hammond

Rock Your Baby - George McCrae
Honky Cat - Elton John
Seasons in the Sun - Terry Jacks
Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo - Rick Derringer
Meet Me on the Corner Down at Joe's Cafe - Peter Noone
Save the Last Dance for Me - The DeFranco Family
Rings - Lobo
The Lord's Prayer - Sister Janet Mead
Love's Theme - Love Unlimited
Show and Tell - Al Wilson
On and On - Gladys Knight
Let's Put It All Together - The Stylistics

Wow! A pretty dismal compilation! Why in heaven’s name did I want this? Probably because it was there at the checkout whenever we would buy a gallon of milk. And it was a record. Anything good here? The William DeVaughan number scores high points with me. I loved the Kool & The Gang number then AND now (I’m with ya! – Ed.)
Heck, I re-bought the 45 a few years ago making this the one track still in my collection 34 years later! Always one of my favorites by them. The Al Wilson isn’t a bad r&b pop number either. The Elton John number was middling EJ. BTO wasn’t too bad... I’m grasping at straws here! What did I hate at the time? Eric Clapton’s Bob Marley cover was my first exposure to reggae and honestly, it never got much better to my ears! I absolutely HATED this song with my 11 year old ears. The same sentiment to Monsieur Jacks! I only found out a few years ago that “Seasons In The Sun” was a Brel cover!! I guess Scott Walker picked much better material! The Stealers Wheel track always struck me as hideously smarmy at the time and I recall finding the double entendre repulsive even as a child. The DeFranco Family were faux Osmonds – please!! Since I was a heathen atheist, Sister Janet Mead didn’t win any stars with me either! Rick Derringer was far too over-amped for my delicate sensibilities. At least the groove-crammed pressing sounded just fine on my portable mono record player.


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