The Beatles/White Album (mono on white with vinyl on the side)

beatles white      Unofficially called the “white album” primarily because of it’s entirely white cover, holds many of the trademark tunes noted in many different directions for many varied reasons. Let’s review. It’s the only two record set the Beatles have ever released. It’s the album where Ringo’s first composition “Don’t Pass Me By” appears. It’s the place where Eric Clapton plays lead guitar on George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. The ever-present standard “Birthday” cut makes its way to us all at least for one day a year. “Helter Skelter”, Charles Manson’s favorite song latches onto a dark time when he and his partners in death scrawled that very title on the walls of the victims homes in blood along with a mad plan to boot. “Revolution 9″ is a Pandora’s box of troublesome sounds and tid bits, and the unfortunate sound of Yoko Ono’s voice somewhere she’s never belonged. This was a wild venture for the “Beatles” and a most interesting one as well. A battery of excellent songs (some with a twist) showing another side (actually four of them) to the greatest band in history in mono with the original poster and photos of all four band mates.

The Beatles/Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (in magestic mono)

beatles pepper sgt    The grandmaster recording has once again come to us. This time in a lovely mono version complete with all of its original goods tucked away inside for us to remember. The picture punch outs are all in order waiting to be popped out and placed wherever Beatle heads want them to be (or you could just keep them intact if you wish). This highly overproduced masterpiece fully endowed with George Martin’s hand overshadowing the album in its entirety to this day remains one of the greatest musical achievements of all time. The songs have been intertwined with “The Yellow Submarine” movie and will stand as one of the tales of Blue Meanie and Apple Bonker history. Not to mention the FABulous foursome (referred to by Mick Jagger as “The four-headed monster”, coming to the rescue of Pepperland with their well intended, sometimes bumbling, but never not entertaining shenanigans leading them to victory. Song after song shall always be remembered as monolithic pieces in legendary music history. Aside from the title track in all its imaginary extended verbage, “A Little Help from my Friends”, a Ringo international anthem, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, and Of course “A Day in the Life”, a two piece collaboration with a most elusive idea buried within itself and references to those in high command of the motherland and their misunderstandings is an embroidered classic. The mono only adds to the nostalgia, then you can add your own as well.

The Beatles/Magical Mystery Tour (vinyl edition with all the original trimmings)

beatles mysteryHave you ever actually given thought to how weird this album really is? Not so much the music, but its surrounding implications and its deeply rooted mysticism? If you are a big Beatle fan then perhaps so, but if you know its basic songs and the like then you are most likely exonerated from its lore. This holds keys to the Paul is dead thing, being that Paul was the walrus in this fiasco of a masked ball on the cover, later professed on the White album that “the walrus was Paul” by John Lennon on “Glass Onion”. The implication led to the death of the Walrus in “Alice in Wonderland” and the later rumored death of Paul McCartney. Another strange (perhaps not too strange) occurrence is a short little instrumental entitled “Flying” makes an appearance in an unusual fashion since the Beatles have never has instrumentals before, save for the ones in their movies, but those were passages of time within the film. Ironically, all of this talk of Paul pulling down the curtain and joining the choir invisible has almost overlooked the epitaph of John Lennon after his death, and the “Strawberry Fields Forever” in Central Park theme remembering him. Not withstanding this album is the real thing otherwise, including the original 24 page full color picture book for all of you aficionados out there who still want to take the tour as well as hearing the great music bellowing out of your speakers in mono. I remember seeing this film at midnight in some little theater and remembering it was unlike any other Beatle film right down to the wheelbarrow full of spaghetti being shelled out with a shovel. This certainly is a mystery. No fools on the hill here, though your mother should know that all you need is love.

Hemlock Grove/The Monster is Within (season one)

hemlock     So as  writer, I immediately began to speculate as to who the would be predator was and what the story line should be. I wrote in my own head as I followed along. Frighteningly, I was accurate. However, to second guess such a tale of sheer terror could also be construed as criminal since the writing is passionate and sincere. It’s elements simply remain terrifying throughout. The characters portray their inner counterparts with deadly accuracy, even sometimes with even deadlier results. It’s been a long time since an original idea such as “Hemlock Grove” perpetrated the screen with such vibrant intensity and the forever guessing  game of guilt and death. Around every corner lurks a new question to fathom and fail to reveal until the release of another piece of the serpents rainbow shines on this strange little town. The thing is, it almost looks like everyone knows something is wrong, but can’t…won’t say. At least out loud. This new reinvention of the old conceptions of monsters is refreshing. The captivating attitudes of the characters gives you no quarter as you muddle your way beyond the realm of madness spewed about by would be snoopers looking for what should never be found, and the destiny that awaits them. Yet, the howls are real. The blood is real. And the sense of impending doom is even more real than we’d venture to believe.

Ringo Starr/ICON (the coolest beatle)

ringo     Hits are it. And when it comes to them, Ringo knows how to sing them, write them, and play them. The years have been good to Ringo. His performances are fun, cheery, and the audiences love him to Beatle bits. There is almost a continuous roar of audience participation and super recognition of his solo songs and an overwhelming roar of the ones from his fab four days. He’s a good hearted guy who digs peace, loves to smile, and the crowd adores him. He has always been the focal point in the Beatle movies, holding the most personable acting abilities with his one liner commentaries to whomever may have confronted him and his less than understood antics. He was the sad boy, the comedian, the downtrodden, and the cleverest all in one. He has had a host of hits that everyone knows all the words to (just watch some of his live concerts), a great rapport with people in the music biz, and an incredible attitude to boot. His “All Starr Band” has brought back many a fallen musician from the brink and given them a chance to resurface with a clear mind and heart. This disc is all his. It’s all about the solo Beatle. Take a listen to the hit single without an album to call home “Back Off Boogaloo”, the bouncy “No NO Song” and the ever lively “Yellow Submarine” as only Ringo could sing it ( a smashing live version that is). All in all the evidence points to Ringo as the coolest Beatle…

Bobby Darin/ICON (bobby was one cool swingin’ cat)

bobby  Bobby never missed a beat. His cavalier style and good humor together with his almost effortless vocals sent any song flying high into the galaxies. His onstage presence gave way to making him quite a natural doing live performances. In his short lived career he penned many a hit including “Mack the Knife” (live cut in this disc), “Goodbye Charlie”, and “Call Me Irresponsible”. Bobby donned the nice guy persona early on and though he suffered a great deal physically, he maintained a wondrous aura of entertaining qualities including a hand at acting. Having sustained serious heart surgery doctors were unable to repair it. He died young, loved, and remembered by all of us who adored his manner and voice. He was one cool swingin’ cat.

Cream/Best of Cream (vinyl edition)

cream   The era of Cream (or The Cream as they’ve been referred to in the day) had been more than just a landmark band with strange lyrics and abysmal thoughts within those words. It was apparent that Jack Bruce, the primary songwriter, singer, and bass master had a most interesting outlook cast just a little bit deeper than the average composer. “SWLABR” kept many in the dark for a long time with his hidden acronym “She was like a Bright Rainbow”. And though these tid bits of information seem inconsequential, they only add to the mystique of Cream and their impact upon the music world. Eric Clapton reportedly admitted that through the entire time Cream was together, he knew none of the lyrics to the songs he was playing, concentrating more on his guitar leads than anything else, which I suppose is a good thing. The hits were and are forever a force to be remembered, bringing on collaborations with George Harrison on “Badge” and even some old blues numbers like Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful” and “Born Under a Bad Sign” by Booker T. Jones, which are always a favorite thing for lead guitarists. In fact, Cream had mentioned several times that their live shows differed greatly from their recorded material, delving into a profound jam session which was what they always fell into live, and to the audiences approval. This collection skims over the best of Cream. Heavy vinyl cream.