The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How Did I Get The Way That I Am?


1-30-08 So, how did I get the way that I am?

My father was who first took me to record stores in the early / mid 60’s. My brother was who showed me that record collection could be fun and cool. I likely followed my brother’s lead by picking up a Schwann Record Catalog at Wallach’s Music City. Through hearing the Bee Gees and Cream on the radio, I bought LP’s on the Atco label; the inner sleeves of these LP’s had numerous little color pictures of other Atco albums – I wrote down (on a yellow legal pad) a numerical list of the titles found on the Atco inner sleeves, and used the Schwann Record Catalogs to ‘fill in the blanks’. I often sat on the floor in the living room, right in front of a color television – and did my childhood ‘research’. After figuring out all the Atco LP’s in the 33-000 series (as many as were possible), I moved on to other labels: Elektra 74000 & 75000, Deram 18000 (US), Sire SES 97000 etc.

Around 1969 or 1970 – I began writing to record companies that put their addresses on their LP’s – notably the Decca Record Company (London, England) and Island Records (London, England). Both of these companies informed me that they did not sell directly to consumers and that I would have to contact an exporter / mail-order company. Perhaps this laid the groundwork for my future employment in import / export?

With all these hand-written record catalogues – I started to want to try to find the LP’s that I had never seen before. In some cases, I could see a tiny picture of the LP cover – other times, it was merely a single line in the Schwann Record Catalog. Atco Records had some interesting (to me) titles – such as “Tom Sankey Sings Songs From The Golden Screw” and “The Best of Chickenman” – records I eventually found. I puzzled over what record came between the first album by The Doors (EKS 74007) and “Cosmic Sounds of the Zodiac” (EKS 74009) – turns out it is “Sea Drift” by The Dusk ‘Till Dawn Orchestra (EKS 74008). I don’t remember which albums on Deram intrigued me – as I somewhat easily found most all of them in used / cut-out bins, usually for under $1. And the first incarnation of Sire Records yielded some stimulating results – Twink “Think Pink” and The Deviants “Ptoof!”, for instance. I was never much interested in Sire, after they were no longer distributed by London Records.

So, I have spent a long time buying music that wasn’t being written about – anywhere that I could ever find! I learned how to scan LP covers for musicians or producers that I liked; I was able to detect patterns – even if it was only the names of the people who designed all of the record covers. Not really the most social way of collecting music – it’s not like I had any friends to whom I could say, “What obscure ways do you have of discovering new music? I look for producers, cool record cover designers and missing numbers on major label record catalogs!”. Of course, I had record collector friends when I was younger – but they weren’t maniacs, like I felt that I was. I eventually met some maniacs – and we got on like a house on fire. Were they people crazier than I was? I don’t think so. And I don’t think I’m crazy, either – I just have a really good memory for “Artist / Title / Label / Number / Sequence”. Memory! Dr. Memory!

Ever look for a record because you knew it was a missing number in a sequence?

1 Comments:

Anonymous Progczar said...

No, Ron, I have not personally gotten to the stage of seeking catalougue #'s persay, but I do collect certain labels, artists, genres, et cetera, as much as I can.

By the way, you might dig this...

Elektra Master Discography
(& subsidiaries)

http://www.atsf.co.uk/elektra/index.html

Enjoy.. you got me thinkin'!

Cesar

5:43 PM  

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