Weird Thrift Store Record Finds
Vintage Vinyl Horrors
It seems unbelievable in the 21st century, but the humble vinyl LP is in the midst of a major resurgence. According to Billboard, new LPs accounted for 14 percent of physical-media music sales in 2017. Meanwhile, sales of compact discs, which were once the industry standard, continued to fall from grace. Best Buy stores stopped selling CDs entirely in Summer 2018, and it looks like it's only a matter of time before other big-box retailers like Wal-Mart and Target follow their lead.
I don't collect vinyl but whenever I'm in my local Goodwill store looking for new additions to my CD collection (you can have my CDs when you pry'em from my cold dead fingers!), I can't resist flipping through the boxes of beat-up, moldy old records to see what kind of weird stuff from days gone by has turned up. The pictures below were compiled from my last couple of scrounging excursions. Come along with me and gaze in horror at the vinyl atrocities that follow!
That's gonna leave a stain.
Herb Alpert's Whipped Cream & Other Delights (1965) was one of the biggest selling albums of the Sixties, and its famed album cover has become an iconic image. The racy (for the time period) photo of a beautiful gal covered in whipped cream has been parodied countless times over the years, by artists like Soul Asylum, pop-punkers Jabberwocky, and the disco combo Sweet Cream.
Befitting his Italian-American heritage, the cover of comedian Pat Cooper's 1966 album Spaghetti Sauce and Other Delights shows him sitting in a pile of pasta, striking the same seductive pose as Herb Alpert's girl, clutching a handful of breadsticks. That must've been an awkward photo session. I'm glad I wasn't the guy who had to clean up the mess when it was over!
Pat Cooper in Concert
"How Much More Pink Could It Be? None. None More Pink."
The 1959 album Dixie Downbeat from French jazz musician J.P. Sasson and his backing band, The Muskrats, is about as pink as an album cover can possibly get. Record store browsers of the day must have needed sunglasses to look directly at this image of a slab of watermelon resting on a pink chair against an all pink background. What does it mean? I have no idea but I bet audiences of the '50s assumed that it was dirty and demanded it be banned.
J.P. Sasson and the Muskrats - "Dixie Downbeat" (1959)
Generic Brand Chipmunks?
When Ross Bagdasarian's "Chipmunks" scored a surprise novelty hit in 1958 with "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)," other fly-by-night record labels quickly tried to cash in with their own manufactured "singing" groups of fictional cartoon animals. The Grasshoppers (Archie, Dennis, and Rickey) obviously never became as famous as Ross' rodents, but at least they honored their inspiration by covering "The Chipmunk Song" on this album. According to the record-collectors' site Discogs, the Grasshoppers jumped on the Beatles bandwagon a few years later and released an album where they covered "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "A Hard Day's Night!"
The Grasshoppers - "On Top Of Old Smokey"
Billed as "A Fun-Filled Party Program From the Golden Age of Burlesque" on the back cover, this 1963 jazz album promises "A rollicking show for all who enjoy the gentle art of the strip-tease." I wonder how many husbands received black eyes from their wives after they brought this record home from the store.
"Bald" Bill Hagan and His Trocaderons released another album of bawdy standards, Music For A Strip Tease Party, four years after this LP, and then faded into obscurity. Bill and the boys may not have been very prolific, but at least they were consistent.
"Bald Bill" Hagan and His Trocaderons - "Bump & Grind"
Romantic interlude. .. or fiery doom?
Discogs says this 1967 release by prolific jazz musician "Doc" Bagby is an "Easy Listening" album, but the cover, which looks like the poster to a tragic post-apocalypse sci-fi flick, seems to be telling a different story. Is this a depiction of a happy couple frolicking in the sunshine of their love, or a pair of panicked survivors desperately trying to find shelter before the fiery ball above their heads goes supernova? I guess only Doc Bagby knows for sure.
Doc Bagby Hammond Organ Trio - "Stand By Me"
Rock On, Spiro!
This has got to be the weirdest LP I've come across in a long while. Spiro T. Agnew Speaks Out is a collection of speeches by the former U.S. Vice President who served under Richard Nixon, until he resigned in disgrace in 1973 due to accusations of tax evasion and corruption. This 1970 release features tracks with titles like "Challenge to the Hippies," "A Word to America's Detractors" and "Some Examples of the Vice-President's Wit." I wonder if this album ever came anywhere close to the Billboard charts?
Fun fact: the post-punk/hardcore band Cows released an album in 1990 called Effete and Impudent Snobs, named after a track on this record. I wonder if they found their copy of Spiro's LP in a thrift store, too.
Spiro Agnew's "Challenge to the Hippies"
Plus a bonus CD....
I know, this article is supposed to be about vinyl LPs, but I when I stumbled across this CD in my travels I couldn't resist adding it to this gallery. Are there any words in the English language more terrifying than DAVID HASSELHOFF SINGS ... anything? Good Lord. If there's a Hell, I am pretty sure that this would be its soundtrack album.
The Hoff sings "Rhinestone Cowboy!"
That'll do for now...
I think I've assaulted your eyes and ears enough for one day, but beware... you never know when I might be back with another gallery of grotesque and forgotten records from the Goodwill vinyl bin. Till next time, happy thrifting!
© 2019 Keith Abt