I've been an obsessed hard rock & heavy metal fan and collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.
Weird Thrift-Store Record Finds
I collect CDs, not LPs, but whenever I'm in a thrift shop scrounging for new additions to my music collection, I can't help but flip through the boxes of moldy, beat-up records just to see what kind of strange, forgotten stuff has turned up. Below is a gallery of the discoveries I've made on my past few visits. Gaze in horror at these musical monstrosities of days gone by! Who knows, maybe similar horrors are lurking in your parents' or grandparents' record collections!
"Magic Organ" Heh Heh Heh. . .
Yeah, I know, I'm totally immature. Don't bother pointing it out. According to the record-collectors' bible Discogs, this "Electronic Jazz" release from 1976 is recommended for fans of Billy Joel's "An Innocent Man" (?) and Willie Nelson's "Always On My Mind" (!). I fail to see the connection between those three, but if you're a curious fan of Billy or Willie and you wanna check this one out for yourself, used copies of this album can be had through the Discogs marketplace, starting at just fifty cents. Go nuts.
J-Pop: The Early Years?
Look at these poor kids. Could they look any more uncomfortable? You can practically hear them saying, "Hello, record buyer. Yes, this is totally how all modern Japanese children dress. This album contains all of our favorite songs, too. Seriously." Shoot, I bet this picture wasn't even taken in Japan. These kids were probably from a modeling agency in L.A., and as soon as the photographer was finished, they put their street clothes back on and went back to listening to the Beatles, just like every other kid in the 1960s.
Sadly, I was unable to find any tracks from this record on YouTube, but with titles like "Goldfish Man" and "Sun Parasol," I just know it's gotta rock like a ton of bricks!
Pop rocker Leo Sayer had a number of hits on both sides of the Atlantic during the 1970s, though I must confess that the only reason I remember him was because he was a guest on "The Muppet Show" once when I was a kid. I think the cover to 1976's Endless Flight was meant to represent joy and freedom, but Leo's bug-eyed facial expression as he tumbles through empty sky makes me think of Hans Gruber falling off of Nakatomi Plaza at the end of "Die Hard."
Jo Ann Castle: Never Get Between a Woman and Her Tiger
Honky-tonk pianist Jo Ann Castle was well known for her frequent appearances on the Lawrence Welk Show in the 1960s, and released nearly two dozen albums as a solo artist. I'm not sure what tigers and ragtime music have to do with one another, but maybe Jo Ann was trying to change up her image by adding a little bit of sexiness and danger (she dressed like June Cleaver on the covers of some of her previous records). There was no such thing as Photoshop in 1967 when this album was released, so I'm gonna assume that the tiger Jo Ann is seen snuggling with here was taxidermied.
Jo Ann Castle "When My Baby Smiles At Me"
Art Mooney: The Greatest Minstrel Show on Record
When flipping through records from days gone by, it's inevitable that you will come across album covers that may have been perfectly acceptable at the time of their release, but wouldn't fly in this modern age. The above album is a prime example. Yikes! Art Mooney was a big band leader of some renown during the 1940s and '50s, best known for hits like "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover" and the holiday perennial "Nuttin' For Christmas," but strangely, his Wikipedia page makes no mention of this oh-so-tasteful release, which claims that it's "The Greatest Minstrel Show on Record." I couldn't find any tracks from it on YouTube, so I guess we'll just have to take their word for it.
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The Dukes of Dixieland
This "Dukes of Dixieland" cover is another fine example of imagery that hasn't aged well. Back in the day, if a bunch of guys in uniforms came marching down your street waving a rebel flag, it meant there was a Dixieland band coming to town, and it was time to party. Sadly, nowadays it would probably mean something a bit more sinister that would end with counter-protests, riot police, and tear gas.
Side note: the Dukes of Dixieland's lengthy recording history includes a number of important "firsts" - they were the first jazz band to record in stereo (1957) and the first jazz artists to record onto CD (1984). The Dukes were an ongoing entity well into the 21st century, in spite of constant personnel changes and legal squabbles between members over the "Dukes of Dixieland" name. Their most recent studio album, Riverboat Dixieland, was released in 2006!
Loss Prevention Measures
In days gone by, many record collectors would label their precious LPs with their names and addresses in case they got lost, or borrowed, or (heaven forbid) stolen. It's always funny when you find those address labels still firmly affixed to the record covers years later. I wonder... if I bought this record, went to the address on this label, and knocked on the door, would the owner would still be there? If so, would he be grateful to get his record back, or would he call the cops on me?
Attention Kenneth of Hawthorne, New Jersey! We have located your copy of Al Hirt's Honey In The Horn! Contact us if you are interested in arranging for its return!
I had to laugh when I came across Bobby Vinton's Party Music in the Goodwill store record bin, because he's familiar to me. My parents were fans of his schmaltzy, polka-flavored pop croonings when I was growing up in the '70s, and they owned several of his records. If memory serves, Bobby even had his own TV variety show at one time. I'm not sure if my Mom and Dad had a copy of Party Music, but believe me, even as a pre-teen I knew that Bobby Vinton didn't throw the kind of parties I wanted to be invited to.
Bobby Vinton "Whose Girl Are You"
What in the Blue Hell?
Unintentionally creepy Christian music albums are practically a genre unto themselves. The ones aimed at children are usually the weirdest, and this 1984 album is no exception. This is a compilation of "hits" featuring "Psalty the Singing Songbook," (shouldn't that be "Psinging Psongbook?") a terrifying, "Barney" style costumed character who leads a group of freshly-scrubbed kids through old timey favorites like "Joy, Joy, Joy," "Arky Arky," and "Clap De Hands." This is the kind of stuff that Ned Flanders would play on a constant loop for his kids. When I looked on YouTube for some Psalty Psamples, I learned that he also appeared in a live-action video series, where he looks even scarier than the cartoon-drawn version seen on this album cover. Click the video below if you're brave enough to experience the horror. Psorry, Psalty - your psongs psuck.
Can You Handle the Psalty?
OK, I Think That's Enough
I think I've assaulted your eyes and ears with enough audio and visual badness for one installment, but you never know what will turn up next in the thrift store record bins, so watch this space and beware, more atrocities could be on their way soon!
© 2019 Keith Abt
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on July 08, 2019:
OMG! All you have to do is post "weird thrift store finds," and I can't wait to read it.
First, I actually have seen/remember some of these. What does that say about my childhood. ;)
The organ? Okay, my dad was a musician and was totally into organ music. I don't think we had this one. But we had a whole lot of these types of LPs around.
The Leo Sayer album was all that when I was in high school. So was Bobby Vinton. We lived in a Polish neighborhood at the time and his music was everywhere.
Speaking of The Lawrence Welk Show, it was a must-watch at our house. So I totally know about Joanne Castle. Even now, I can name most of the show's regular crew and what they did on the show. Yeah, that's how much we watched it.
Okay, now I totally want to wander over to the Goodwill to see what I can come up with. Will share if I go and find any worthy of thrift store weirdness. Thanks for sharing your treasures!