Thursday, September 16, 2010

Vinyl find: The Knickerbockers, "Lies" b/w "The Coming Generation" 45 rpm

A few weeks ago I stopped by Jerry's Records in Squirrel Hill, as I like to do once or twice a month just to see what's new and peruse the endless racks of vinyl albums to see if anything catches my eyes or ears. On this particular Saturday, though, there were some younger folks on the sidewalk outside the entrance selling old DVDs, VHS, cassettes, video games, etc. I learned later that these were Jerry's kids/grandkids helping him to sell off some of the surplus stuff he's got laying around that massive attic-cum-warehouse of his. I also spotted a sign saying that they are giving away boxes of LPs and 45s for no charge, as long as you take the whole box sight unseen (maximum of 3 per person, per visit). That seemed pretty good to me! Granted, I had no idea if I would end up with a box of junk and nowhere to put it, but I had also somewhat recently purchased a standalone sliding-door shelving unit at the Used Furniture Warehouse that is perfect as both a record player table and record shelf, and I was itching to fill it with more vinyl goodies. My friend and I loaded up my girlfriend's trunk with a box of 45s and 2 boxes of LPs and went on our merry way.

When I opened my two boxes later, I found the 45 box to be stacked to the brim with 7" singles, no organization or protection whatsoever. It was just a pile of about 1000 records. Yikes! Over the last couple of weeks I have been sorting through them, cherry-picking the good stuff and sampling the sounds of some of the unknowns to see if it's keepable. I also bought a few cardboard boxes and a lot of record sleeves to keep these in decent condition. I ended up finding plenty of good stuff in the 45 box. The LP box . . . let's say it was hit/miss but mostly miss. For instance, it somehow contained a lot of Christmas albums, including 6 (!) separate copies of this one. It did have a mint condition copy of Bill Cosby's second comedy album, though, which was pretty sweet.

Anyway, over the next . . . indeterminate number of units of time, I'd like to mention a few of the hidden gems I found in this heaping pile of records. I'll probably go back there again and grab more boxes, too, so stay tuned for a bunch more in the future. And check it out yourself, too, if you find yourself in the area.

I'll start with The Knickerbockers, a pop/rock band from New Jersey in the mid-1960s. Their song "Lies" was their only truly popular hit, reaching the Billboard Top 20 in 1966. Like the rest of their songs, it sounds exactly like other popular musical trends at the time, namely the jangly surf rock of the Beach Boys and the young boy/girl-in-love drama of really early Beatles. It was featured in the retrospective psychedelic compilation Nuggets, which first came out in 1972. I happened to have found this compilation at the Carnegie library a while back and remember hearing this song and finding it super catchy, listening to it a few times in a row. Check out the video below to hear for yourself.

The B-side on this 45 is the slower and sweeter "The Coming Generation". Enjoy the songs!

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