Lightning strikes again, and all turns yellow…

Once again there’s the feeling of déjà vu… I keep close to 50 saved search thingys on ebay and they say persistence is a fool’s best asset. For a while now this has almost made me show signs of being in the early stages of developing an OCD. I’ll check them when waking up in the middle of the night due to my daughter yelling or crying in my ear, first thing in the morning and then a couple of times during the day when there is nothing else to do. I’m not sure why i do this though. The chances that one morning there will be a The Nation’s Nightmare or something like that with a BIN of $50 are pretty slim. But i do it for the same reason people play the lottery or bet on horses i guess. And i regularly do both of those so… Anyways, now and then something happens that kind of makes it all feel worth while. And this morning was one of those times.

I don’t particularly like the cover to MTV’s High Priority and this is not the first time i’ve mentioned that. And things haven’t changed, it still feels sloppy, unpolished and unfinished to me. So all this considered it was basically at gunpoint that i decided to eventually get a copy. Then i believe it was Kevin Kinney from the WCCC who broke the news that there was also an “alternative” cover with a slight difference in coloring. I then got lucky at the end of 2013 when i found one of those yellow copies at a bargain price on ebay. I didn’t keep that cover for very long though as i sent it to Richard Forrest as a thank you for some nice mock-ups of The Nation’s Nightmare, Night Beat and some other things that he made for me. Time went on and i didn’t give this cover as much as a split second of my thoughts until it appeared again on ebay last summer. This time it was without a BIN and despite my thoughts and feelings about this cover i still thought i would buy it, if nothing else just to complete the set.

As i recall interest seemed low with not that many watchers and no real bidding was going on until the end. But oh my, when things started to happen there was a small explosion and it ended up selling for $444(!). I couldn’t believe my eyes and felt like the biggest moron on the planet who had just given away what was now apparently a pretty damn desirable album! Call it what you want but in my opinion words like crazy, ludicrous, ridiculous or insane comes to mind…

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As i’ve said before i really don’t want to take any kind of credit for things when it comes to all this. Frank Edwards had posted about his copy long before i did and Richard Forrest also mentions the yellow variant on his list on Rateyourmusic. However there has been quite a few hits on the post i did about it so i don’t know… maybe i helped raise awareness a little bit. And if so that was pretty stupid in the end since i would never ever cough up close to $500 for this record. But it’s safe to say that in one way or another fellow collectors are now aware of this alternative cover. It’s even gotten to the point where sellers on discogs mention that it’s a “red version” in the description as you can see below. I guess they are fed up with what they feel are crazy and irrelevant questions about what color the stupid shading on the logo is. And i don’t blame them, but it’s pretty funny. It was also pretty funny to see what happened right after this copy was sold as a lot of sellers thought what they held in their hands was pure gold and you could see red versions listed for hundreds of dollars for a while…

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Time to cut to the chase…. as is common practice i was checking my saved searches this morning and among many blue dots there was one next to the one for “mtv high priority lp”. Certainly not the first time this has happened and naturally it didn’t get me all super excited but once i saw what was there my fingers started fiddling all over the phone and i couldn’t click things fast enough… I think it’s a least a bit remarkable that this is now the second one of these i have gotten for a BIN of just $10. However, in all my haste i didn’t pay attention to the shipping cost which was three times the cost of the record, but oh well… you can’t win them all. I don’t know if i should be happy though, and i definitely don’t feel like i just won some kind of lottery. This is still a train wreck of an album cover to me. But at least i didn’t have to pay hundreds of dollar for a piece of crap. And i am a little bit surprised it was still there for the taking, i would assume i am not the only one who has kept an eye out for it. But i ain’t complaining.

Maybe someday someone will come along who will want to trade this “gem” for a nice book, who knows…

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Andy Warhol’s Jazz Album Covers Vol.2

This feels a little bit like déjà vu… Even though it’s another one of my christmas gifts for myself it’s something i just want to get out of the way and move on to other things. I basically could have just copy/pasted my previous post but let’s see what we got here. This is the second volume of DOXY’s boxes of Warhol’s jazz album covers and as with the first one there’s really only one reason that i got this and that’s Kenny Burrell’s Blue Lights. Well, i also kind of wanted it just to have both boxes so maybe it was more like two reasons. As i wrote in my previous post i wasn’t aware of the quality of the covers when i ordered this, i would most likely have ordered it anyway for the above reason but i would not have been so eager and payed a little more than $100 for it. But oh well, what’s done is done.

Besides Blue Lights this volume contains copies of Both Feet in the Groove, The Congregation and The Story Of Moondog and once again the circumstances are the same in that i already had reissues of all of these and in the case of Both Feet in the Groove an original copy. All references to Blue Note and things like that are of course removed and when it comes to Blue Lights they decided to make a double album kind of thing and thus the text “Volume” has been removed from the front cover. As far as i can tell they also added a track called I Never Knew that i don’t think is on either the original Vol. 1 or 2. All other covers might have underwent similar small design changes but i haven’t looked at them close enough to give any more examples. As with the first box this one is of course also a limited and numbered edition of 500 copies and my copy is number 340. I guess they might have fooled some people with this “limited” thing but crap is rarely limited and even more seldom numbered… I won’t bore anyone with any more thoughts and comments about the condition of the records, but things are exactly as they were the first time around. In short these boxes are really only for the closest mourners.

So there it is. I’ve now put both of these away and most likely will never look at them again…. If nothing else i will have played a nice joke on my daughter when she finds these after i’m gone and thinks they must be worth a fortune!

Cooler things to come later in the week!

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Andy Warhol’s Jazz Album Covers Vol.1

This did not come out of santa’s big ol’ bag of toys, but the second volume did. But as always, first things first. I was looking at my purchase history at discogs and i actually got this more than a year and a half ago. And i got it for one reason and one reason only, and that reason was Trombone by Three. If i had to pick my absolute favourite cover of them all it would be a tight race between Trombone by Three and The Nation’s Nightmare, but i think the latter would come up on top. Naturally an original copy of this is both crazy rare and CRAAAAZY expensive, the last recorded sale i could find is from june of last year and clocking in at almost $900, so that ain’t going to happen any time soon. Sadly the copy that’s in the box is just slightly better than what the result of gluing a printed image to the cardboard of an LP mailer would be, but more on that later…

Just a short background, and this will be short because for once i’m not interested enough to do a proper and thorough investigation kind of thing. Why? Well, bascially because the records are crap. The actual box is quite nice but the content is disappointing, to say the least. Anyways, both of these boxes were released at the end of 2011 on a label from Italy called Doxy Records and each volume comes in an edition of 500 numbered copies, my copy is number 230. But how was all this even possible? Well, as said i don’t really feel like going to the bottom of it all but it must have something to do with a european loophole when it comes to the copyright terms and the rules about public domain. One of my favourite bands of all time is The Beatles and i remember reading some articles (like this one in Rolling Stone Magazine) a while ago about Love Me Do entering the public domain at the start of 2013, there was also some fuzz about a couple of small labels releasing reissues of the song. As i understand it the copyright term enjoyed by sound recordings in the european union used to be 50 years but has now been changed to 70 years. It’s probably still 50 years in some counties since these things can take quite some time to implement in the different countries. But anyways, that would somewhat explain the recordings since all the albums in the boxes are +50 years old. But the artwork? This i don’t understand and hopefully someone from the WCCC or someone else can explain it better in a comment or something. Andy Warhol has not been dead for 70 years, did he sign away his copyright to the labels he did the work for, and if so, does that copyright then follow the music in some strange way? I don’t know how these things work, and frankly i don’t care THAT much either.

Anyways, what’s inside the box besides the reason i got it are copies of Monk, Count Basie and Kenny Burrell – Vol. 2. Granted, original copies of all of these are very hard to find but i’m pretty sure i already had reissues of them all when i got the box. As i recall it i payed about $35 for the box which at the time i thought was a pretty good deal for what was basically a reissue of Trombone by Three, and as far as i know the only ever reissue using Warhol’s cover design. The box was brand new and sealed when i got it and for some reason i kept it that way until just recently. I was looking for something to get myself for christmas and the second volume holds a copy of Blue Lights which is another cover that’s both rare and expensive. I wheeled and dealed with a couple of sellers at discogs but then eventually found an even cheaper copy on Amazon, so i decided to go with that one. Anyways, after i had ordered that one i emailed a little bit with Richard Forrest and Guy Minnebach about the Blue Lights album and the different versions and so on. I was also told by Guy that the records were basically crap. I rarely doubt these friends of mine but still thought – how bad could it be? And i’m not usually picky about these things. Well, i’ve now broken the seal and checked them out. And it’s pretty bad. All covers have a really cheap feel to them, pale and boring prints without any gloss whatsoever. Some details have also been removed like the “16 RPM” on Trombone by Three and the “Blue Note 1543” on Kenny Burrell Vol. 2 which has resulted in a weird looking eye. When it comes to the records i haven’t played any of them so i can’t say for sure what they sound like. But it’s probably a pretty safe bet that the master is just CD files that have been cut to vinyl. There is one positive thing about this though, and that’s the box itself. It’s nice and glossy and basically has the design of the never released Progressive Piano on the cover. According to Guy Minnebach this was basically the only reason to get them and after seeing what’s inside i can’t do anything but agree with him. Unfortunately my order for the second volume was already placed, payed and shipped by the time i knew this so that was a bit of a bummer. But oh well, at least i now have both the boxes and a crap looking version of Blue Lights, too bad it cost me more than twice what this first box did. But more on that in a later post…

This almost turned into some kind of product review, but so be it. I think this is the first time i’ve been truly disappointed with anything i’ve gotten for my collection. If you are not in a situation like i was desperately craving a copy of one or more of the really hard to find covers i would not recommend anyone getting these boxes. And if so, make sure you get a good deal. There are usally a couple of copies on ebay but at those prices, forget about it. There are also copies of both on discogs but for god’s sake, haggle, haggle and haggle before placing an order. Oh, and some “shady” sellers also sell these separately now. For example a copy of Trombone by Three was sold on ebay for $50 not that long ago, a terrible deal. And to be honest i have also been this kind of moron buyer. The first copy of Count Basie that i bought was from one of these boxes, i blame ignorance at the time and in retrospect this is NOT a deal to be proud of. But lucky me, at least i now have two of those! In all probability this will also be the closest i will ever get to a copy of Trombone by Three, so maybe it’s not so bad after all…

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The Rolling Stones – Emotional Tattoo (Reissue)

This is the first of about four things that i decided to get for myself for christmas. I was going through some old posts and if you exclude The Joke / Chase The Dragon that i didn’t really find per se i haven’t gotten a record for almost six months, so it was about time. However, this particular record isn’t something to get all super excited about. As i’ve been forced to a couple of times in the past i’ve once again had to settle for something other than the original. But anyways, what better way to start the year than with some Rolling Stones…

This is hardly news to anyone that’s even slightly into all this but this is a later reissue of the very rare and highly sought after original bootleg on orange or black vinyl from 1983. To the best of my knowledge this hit the scene at the beginning of 2014. At the time the members of the WCCC seemed a bit perplexed not knowing what to make of it really, who, where, when and why? My first thoughts and feelings were those of, in lack of a better word, a scam of sorts or at least the work of a shyster. And those initial thoughts are still there, but obviously i gave in to temptation and caved in… As said the original has always made the boys with deep pockets come out to play and sometimes selling for more than $1000. When this reissue first appeared it was selling for upwards of $250 which given my thoughts about it naturally made me look the other way. As copies then stopped appearing on ebay i basically forgot about it until just a couple of months ago when Richard Forrest’s post about his copies made it come up for a bit of discussion in the WCCC and i was informed by Guy Minnebach that copies were now available for $40 or so, and there are still a number of copies in that region on discogs.

I know little about it other than the fact that it’s a german reissue and that it’s a limited and numbered edition of 350 copies. It’s available on green or black vinyl and i’ve put some time into trying to figure out if there are 350 copies of each color or if that number is for the total edition. This basically means contacting different sellers and asking if they know, which of course they don’t. My copy is number 217 and i decided to go with the colored green vinyl and it’s also still sealed. However, the seller has opened it a little bit to have a peak inside. This is most likely to see what color vinyl is inside which is strange because it also has an ugly green sticker on the plastic which to any non-genious would indicate this is a green version. Whatever the case it doesn’t lead me any closer to a guess about the total number of these, i’m leaning towards 350 copies in total but i don’t know… and it doesn’t really matter anyways. There are also a few small differences between this one and the original issue. I’ve never had my hands on the original so i can’t say anything about the general quality but Frank Edwards notes in his post that the cardboard is of much lesser quality, and i’ll take his word for it. But that aside, let start with the front. The cover image is much brighter, crisper and packs more of a punch than the original and it also has Warhol’s signature below the portrait. On to the back where there’s really only one big change – everyones favourite alien E.T has sadly been replaced by all ten of the portraits in the Mick Jagger series of screen prints.

And while on the topic of these prints, i think this series was done in 1975(?). I don’t know if this is true or not but on this page at The National Gallery of Australia it basically says that Warhol felt he wasn’t payed enough for his work on the cover to the highly successful Sticky Fingers album and thus decided to find other ways to cash in on his celebrity friendship with Mick Jagger. But from the funny letter sent by Jagger to Warhol discussing that cover i was under the impression that Warhol basically set his own salary for that work, so i don’t know… I quite like these portraits though and now and then you’ll see a set of all ten promotional cards made to advertise the upcoming portfolio of the silk screens, there’s one of these at Swedish auction site Bukowskis now for example as well as two seperate cards on Auctionet, here and here. Unfortunately prices for the full set are usually out of my comfort zone though…

It seems that Warhol + Jagger is somewhat of a favourite combination for covers to bootleg recordings of The Rolling Stones. Apart from what is now two editions of this album there’s also the very rare Mick Jagger in Japan that Frank Edwards dug up from god knows where a little over a year ago. This record has a different portrait on the cover and though not really a Rolling Stones bootleg i’ll still put them in the same pile for this. But that’s not all, just recently yet another record with a Mick Jagger portrait cover turned up on ebay. This one is called Lonely at the Top and uses the same portrait as the one for Emotional Tattoo. I think this one is also from Germany, on a label or whatever called CAT Records and limited and numbered to 55 copies. It’s been on ebay lately with outrageous starting bids but looking at popsike it seems it should be possible to find a copy for a lot less with a bit of patience.

So, that’s that. Even though the original release from 1983 in my opinion has more of a genuine or legit feel to it this will do nicely and i feel no shame in putting this down as the first addition to my collection of record covers of the year. Perhaps not a thrilling addition but i still quite like it. More things to come!

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Arthur Fiedler – Latin Rhythms by the Boston Pops

Drumroll, please. This is a pretty big deal, at least for me. Ever since the start of my collection this has been among the top five covers that i’ve always hoped to be able to get a hold of one day. And now it’s finally placed next to the Ratfab single on the shelf!

Arthur Fiedler – Latin Rhythms by the Boston Pops (RCA Victor – ERA 25)

This was waaaay out of my comfort zone when i started collecting, at times selling for well over $1000 which was quite annoying back then because it’s always been one of my absolute favourite covers. And oddly enough most of the copies i’ve seen on ebay have been in pretty good condition, so the chance of finding a beat up copy with my kind of price tag has never really appeared. Like a couple of other rare covers it also follows the pattern of not showing up on ebay for a long period of time and then finally turning up and of course being sold for a lot of money. And after that a couple of more copies will show up in the following weeks or months which will also have a small crowd fighting over them. And when the dust finally settles it will be a no show on ebay for another six months or so…

I’ve also been a little hung up on getting it for a price around the $100 mark. This is mainly due to the fact that i unknowingly had a bidding war with Richard Forrest sometime in february/march in 2013. I don’t remember exactly what that one sold for but it was around $100 for a very nice looking copy. At that time i also think it was the best price i had ever seen this sell for so i was pretty mad. I also remember cussing at everybody nearby (including my at that time 1,5 year old daughter) because i was busy changing a diaper and completely forgot about the important auction that was about to end…

Lately i’ve been close to adding this to my list of covers i will never be able to find. But then the wheel started to roll again this spring with copies appearing on ebay about once a month in march, april and may. Still hung up on my $100 price i of course lost all of these auctions but then another copy showed up in july during my summer vacation. My fellow members in the WCCC had also talked some sense into me and convinced me that anything under $200 would be a pretty good deal. So i decided that this time i wasn’t going to let it slip.

Unfortunately i’ve developed a kind of mental disorder which involves me liking the feeling of having the leading bid all the time. This of course often results in that i push the bid up early in the auction, then getting overbid at my maximum bid and thus finally getting depressed over the fact that i still have to see the listing in my watch list for the remainder of the auction. I’m trying to change this behaviour though… might start trying out some different ebay sniper software.

Anyways, this auction ended at three o’clock at night and everything was all set. I went to bed a little earlier than usual, set the alarm at 2:45 and woke up, had a look and saw that i was still in the lead. The next thing i remember is looking at the time and it’s around seven in the morning, complete failure once again! So, i anxiously checked ebay expecting to once again have gotten this dream shattered and being forced to wait another six months before i would even get the chance to be disappointed once again. But instead i was greeted with a wonderful green color and a message that i was in fact the winner at $168! I’m more than OK with the price at the end, the only thing that bugged me a little bit was that the packagde got stuck in customs which cost me an extra $40 or so, this is only the second time this has happened to me, but oh well…

I don’t know anything about the design of the cover really. Fellow collector Guy Minnebach has shared images of drawings of similar sprite heads playing violin that were sold at Christies a while ago. I’ve also seen another piece in color with these “violin heads” at The Warhol. I’ve just had a quick look and the heads in these two pieces are different from one another so i guess Warhol enjoyed drawing these heads for a while. At The Warhol the year of the design is put down as 1948 and the album was released a couple of years later in 1952. As far as i know this is also the forth record cover Warhol did the design for. I’m sure Guy will be able to fill in the blanks regarding the history of these drawings and it would be interesting to find out more about it.

I’m pretty thrilled about the condition also. I’m not at all into the whole “Mint, M-, VG+” grading kind of thing. By my standards this is in spectacular condition, without a doubt one of the best ones in my collection. And considering how rare this is, for example Richard Forrest has it at number seven in the list i challenged him to put together, i’m quite excited to have such a nice looking copy. If you have to look for flaws the first thing would be the small writing in the top left corner on the back together with the stamp of some previous owners name, also on the back. The second and final “issue” would be that the colors on the front are a little faded, something that seems quite common with this cover based on many of the images that i’ve seen. But when compared to Frank Edwards fantastic looking copy you can certainly tell a difference, the colors in his copy are much brighter. I have no plans to start complaing about the condition of my copy due to this though.

Up until now the Ratfab single has been the crown jewel of my record cover collection but i think that this will enter as a new number one. At least for a while, i actually have another record on the wall right now that i never thought i’d get my hands on either. But all in due time… To sum it up it’s fun to finally be able to add at least a little bit of that “oomph” to my collection that i have mentioned earlier that i felt it was missing.

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Artie Shaw – Any Old Time 7″ EP

I have a soft spot for EP’s and singles. It’s neat little format, almost like a CD but still leaves room for some cool artwork and has somewhat of the same feel as an LP. There are some, not a lot, but some EP’s with Warhol covers. Richard Forrest has put together a great list here. Unfortunately most of these are quite rare. And some, like Waltzes by Johann Strauss Jr and maybe also Latin Rhythms by The Boston Pops are more like crazy rare. And of couse, also crazy expensive. I’ve seen a few copies of the Both Feet in the Groove and I’m Still Swinging EP’s here and there, some even at a Swedish internet shop but these were in pretty bad shape so i decided to leave them be.

So, apart from the Ratfab single and the different William Tell records i think this is my first Warhol EP. That’s not mentioning some of the mock-ups i got from Richard Forrest though.

Artie Shaw – Any Old Time (RCA Victor – EPA-5013)

This has been on the shelf for quite some time. I think i got it sometime last summer or autumn but i’m not really sure. And i also can’t remember what i payed for it but i think it was somewhere around $20-25. I hadn’t really been looking for it at the time and just happened to stumble upon it pretty much by accident. I haven’t been following this record since then either but there is one copy on ebay right now for a BIN price of $30, so it would seem i neither made a great deal nor got ripped off.

Once again though i am puzzled to see that, as with the William Tell record, apparently there are (at least) three different variations of this record also. There is of course the LP and then this EP with the catalogue number EPA-5013, but looking at Frank Edwards blog i was surprised to see his 7″ had a completely different catalogue number – RPX 1308. Would love to hear my fellow WCCC members thoughts on this. It would seem though that i still have one more of these to find.

The condition is very good, close to great i would say. One thing that i noticed though was that the quality of the actual photo on the front cover is noticeable worse on the EP than on the LP. The coloring of the “Artie Shaw” on the front is also a little bit different, red on the LP and pink on the EP. The front cover isn’t that interesting though, it’s what on the back the counts. The design on the back is bascically the same. The only difference is that on the LP the chain of clocks runs in a straight line along the right hand side, and on the EP the chain is chopped of in the middle and positioned more in the center. They also switched the order slightly, on the EP the bottom three clocks from the LP is on the top and vice versa.

Thought i had posted the LP already but turns out i hadn’t, but i’ll save that for a later post…

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Johnny Griffin ‎– The Congregation

Time for some records again after the latest few book posts. And next in line is another reissue, i don’t think i’ve ever seen an original copy of this album on either ebay or any other site. And if and when one eventually does show up it’s unlikely i will be the lucky winner of that auction. It’s a great looking cover though, reissue or not.

 Johnny Griffin ‎– The Congregation (Blue Note – BN 1580)

I think i found this on musicstack for somewhere around $15-20 and i also rememeber that this was another early addition to my collection. I think it’s a reissue on Blue Note released in 2003, it’s sealed and in mint condition. But to what good? I’m sure these count to thirteen a dozen…

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