Pure Pop Radio’s Countdown to Record Store Day 2015: Friday. Tomorrow’s the Day.

record-store-day-2015-smallAll this week, I’ve been musing about the effect that vinyl records have had on me since childhood. I’ve written about some prized finds, my mission to complete my collection of the Warner Brothers Loss Leaders series, turntables I’ve known and loved and lost and gained, and now, the day before the big event that is Record Store Day 2015, I’ve saved the best for last.

everly-brothers-78At least, that’s how I see it. Come with me on a journey: My parents had lived through the 78 rpm album days; I remember discovering some discs, packaged as fat, heavy albums, on a shelf in the closet across from the laundry room in our house. I picked up one of the albums, thumbed through it, and decided it was too heavy to deal with! Later on, while working in radio in Delaware, my wife and I spent many weekends going to antique shops, where consoles incorporating radios and turntables could be had for relative cheap. I found an Everly Brothers 78 at a yard sale, I think, and paid around five dollars for it. It was all scratched up, but it was mine, a pretty nice collectible. You could hear the thick needle crash against the surface gashes as it played. But, still. Look what it was; it was the Everly Brothers trying to sing “Wake Up Little Susie” from the grooves of a disc that was succumbing to the weight of a strong tide of mishandling through the years. But, still.

At a junk shop or somewhere similar, we found a lovely turntable that played only 78s. It was housed in a beautifully-constructed all-wood case rising above four thick yet spindly legs, carved in a fluid pattern by a visionary craftsman who was clearly inspired to do good work, even great work. The legs reminded me of my father, who built a blonde wood television case with all sorts of patterned cuts and raised effects on the sliding doors. My father was very proud of his work; the cabinet had pride of place in our den for many years.

And so it was with the case that housed the 78 turntable. The person, or persons, who built the case clearly were taking their time and worked from inspiration, not perspiration. The artists whose voices and playing sprung from the discs had the same idea–their mission was to create their art and pass it on to the masses, a decent proportion of which might enjoy what they’d done.

records-bobby-darin-45When I was a boy, 78s had run their course; my generation would have nothing to do with them. For my friends and I and all of the other pint-sized, striped t-shirted boys and proper girls wearing cute dresses, for whom music and records were king, 45s, presenting a- and b-sides, around four-and-a-half minutes long total, and LPs by our favorite artists were our currency. We played them over and over and over again at home, brought them to parties with our portable turntables with tinny sound and brightly-decorated outsides, brought them to school to play our favorite songs during Show and Tell, and just generally annoyed our parents with music they didn’t understand because they didn’t want to–because that was how the gap between parents and their children stayed rigid and in force.

Our currency was vinyl and those of us for whom vinyl was a way of life–more important than school, church or state, or breakfast, lunch and dinner combined–made early determinations of how we would spend our allowances and birthday gifts–always gift certificates, thank you very much–and rearranged the furniture in our rooms, picked out by our mothers, so that there was room to store our growing collections. First there was one, then two, then 10, then more 45s and a couple of albums here and there, and then a flood of them when we joined the Columbia Record Club and quit the club and then joined it again, and then 10 or more used 45s picked up at a yard sale for a nickel or a dime apiece, and then, well, and then we were off to the races, us kids who were collectors and didn’t really know it. Yet.

records-the-beatles-lpThe seeds were planted. We talked about the latest records we got for birthday gifts or at holidays or just because when we accompanied our parents to the department store and, ooh, look there, it’s the new Beatles album! We had a lot of relatives–more than we knew we had, to be honest, and we trained all of them to buy us records for gifts–not shirts or socks or pants or hats or combs or shoes or shiny new pencils for school. “Can you get me the new Elton John album?” It was a lot of that–planting more seeds…making sure the relatives and the parents knew where we stood.

We lived through the 8-track years, a shaky period of music delivery for kids back in our day; my aunt bought me the Beatles’ Let It Be album for a holiday present and I hated everything about it, because it wasn’t a record. What was that thing? It made a loud noise–a kind of click! when it got to the end of a program, and sometimes a song was too long and had to be faded out and faded up after the click! brought you to the next program. Ruined the flow, man. Ruined the flow!

duane-readeThose of us who were well under vinyl’s spell spent every last penny we had on records that were from our favorite artists, from artists we heard about from friends, from cousins, from anywhere, really. I worked for my father at his law practice on lower Broadway in Manhattan when I was a kid and spent every penny he gave me at the end of each week on records in a long bin at the front of the Duane Reade drug store across the street from his office. “If you spend your money on records every week, you won’t have any left and you’ll have to wait until next week to get more.” More records? Yes, that was fine with me.

After a while, and after the seasons changed and winter became spring and spring became summer and other obsessions took root, like comic books and stamps and tropical fish and CB radio and picture taking with my Polaroid Swinger camera and then, later on, video games and video tapes and video discs and laser discs and on and on and on, records still ruled the roost. Records were still the number one obsession. Nothing could compete with the hunt. And the hunt only took on more prominence in my life when I got my drivers license and began to map out routes to used record stores, both prominent and underground in nature, which is when I got turned on to the Warner Brothers Loss Leaders series and vowed to never rest until every release in that series was procured.

records-hundredsWhen I started college, I had hundreds of albums, which I lugged to school and lugged home before vacations and holidays and then lugged them back to school again. After graduation, I had many hundreds more, which I lugged to Delaware. The many hundreds more became many hundreds more than that, and then there were thousands and it never stopped.

Owing to the passing years and shrinking storage space and the emergence of new formats and just the ides of March, May, July and October, and then some, the thousands became many hundreds and the many hundreds became a few hundreds and the number of 45s and LPs hit their new water level. But now, with the resurgence of vinyl and a newly-christened, growing interest in spinning vinyl more prominently again, and the emergence of Record Store Day as a way to celebrate the joy of listening to and collecting 45s and LPs, the future is once again so bright I may well have to wear…well, you know.

records-record-store-dayWhich brings us back to the tomorrow of it all–Record Store Day 2015 and all of the joy that it brings, from special releases to the camaraderie amongst music fans and vinyl collectors and music fans who are vinyl collectors, who all gather in their local, independent record stores and confab with each other, touting records by artists the other guy may not have heard, spouting the phrase “Did you hear–” at least a few times during a quick conversation that often leads to a pile of records in hand on its way to the register and a conversation with the shop’s owner that begins with “Did you have fun today?” and moves on to “Did you find everything you were looking for?” and moves on further to “I see you’ve got this great album by the Kinks; have you heard anything by–” and it’s back to the stacks for you, young man or young woman, for another round of musical discovery.

Mine is a life defined by music and vinyl records and sharing my good fortune with others–the good fortune that allows me to discover great music and write about it and play it on the radio in an effort to spread the word in the only way I know how–through the joy of the act of having my life changed by a single song or a single artist or an actual single, a 45 rpm record, or its long playing cousin, the album, and then turning to someone and saying “Oh man, your life is about to be changed by this thing.” It really is as easy as that. And it really is as important as that.

Daily Planet ace photographer Janet Haber and Pure Pop Radio's Alan Haber

Daily Planet ace photographer Janet Haber and Pure Pop Radio’s Alan Haber

Record Store Day is a day to celebrate our joy. It is a way to share our joy. It is a day to just jump into it all and swirl around in it, like jumping in a huge pile of leaves in the colder fall months as a bonfire lights the night sky a couple of feet away from you. It’s like the leaves shoot up in the air and fall down on top of you and all around you, and it’s a lot like how music does that–how music makes the air around you come alive and changes your life, and it’s easy, really as easy as that. When music makes you happy, you’re happy–just look at the two crazy kids to the right!

Tomorrow, on Record Store Day 2015, remember your journey to this point and go into that shop and shake lots of hands and talk to a lot of people and smile, smile, smile, and pick up some new records and some old ones and take them home and place them carefully on your turntable and let the music become you.

For us music hounds, the best is yet to come.

– Alan Haber

Trax on Wax, Your Vinyl Destination in Catonsville, MarylandTrax on Wax, in Catonsville, Maryland, is the official record store of Pure Pop Radio. When in the Baltimore area, we recommend that you make Trax on Wax your number one vinyl destination. Visit Trax on Wax’s website by clicking here.

peanuts-cruiserThe Peanuts Crosley Cruiser is the official turntable of Pure Pop Radio.

Click here to download our app for listening on the go with Android and iOS devices!

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Timmy Sean Records a Lovely Version of “God Only Knows” for the latest Song of the Week

timmy-sean-song-of-the-weekIt’s not often that we find ourselves unable to come up with a way to frame a particular song or performance, but that’s where we are today, right here and now, as the light shines down from above on a lovely interpretation of Brian Wilson’s immortal song, “God Only Knows”; we know better than to say something when someone else has already figured it out, so the floor is yours, Timmy Sean, as this week’s Song of the Week plays…

“Well, there’s not many people that really deserve the title of ‘legend,’ but Brian Wilson is without a doubt one of those few. I had the supreme pleasure of meeting Brian (truly one of my musical heroes in every sense of the word) this past weekend, and I thought what better way to celebrate than by recording one of his songs. What else can be said about this song that hasn’t been said before. ‘God Only Knows’ is quite possibly the most prolific piece of pop music of all time, one of a select few songs that I believe will be known hundreds of years in the future.

timmy-sean-brian-wilson“I almost feel it to be sacrilege to reinterpret a classic like this, but without even planning to release it for a Song of the Week, I found myself starting to lay down a bunch of ideas for a slightly different arrangement than Brian’s, including some Brian May-inspired guitar work…realizing after the fact that Brian May was just recently involved in an ‘all star’ version of the song himself…well…at least my version of it doesn’t feature One Direction. ;-) Before I knew it I had a completed tune, so here’s one for Brian. It was really great meeting you, man!”

Timmy’s wonderful version of “God Only Knows” brings us to week 16 of the Songs of the Week project. What will Timmy bring next week? Be here and find out!

Add Timmy Sean’s version of “God Only Knows” to your collection by clicking here. To get all of Timmy’s music, click here.

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Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Pure Pop Radio’s Countdown to Record Store Day 2015: Thursday

record-store-day-2015-small

With just two days to go before Record Store Day 2015 commences at your local, independent record store, it’s time to get down to it and, well, confess: Turntables? I’ve had a few.

This week, I’ve been looking back to some of the reasons why I fell in love with records, and how that love has fueled my ongoing obsession with the 12-inch vinyl wonders of the world. Today, I find myself waxing nostalgic about some of the turntables I’ve had in my life. Turntables that have been pushed to their limits. Turntables that were able to play records at 78 rpm, which came in handy when listening to Moby Grape’s “Just Like Gene Autry: A Foxtrot,” a track on the group’s 1968 Wow album that played at 78 rpm. Turntables on which you could set the speed between the actual speed settings so you would be able to rock Beatles records back and forth to uncover clues to Paul McCartney’s death. Turntables like that.

garrard-40b-turntable

The Garrard 40B

The Garrard 40B was an entry level, three-speed turntable that seemed, for a time, at least, to be the go-to model for kids in my Long Island neighborhood. It seemed as though every kid had one. We played our 45s and our LPs on this gateway to the world of music that we were constantly discovering. It took a licking and kept on ticking. It was a reliable performer that did the trick time and again. It was what we had for a time, and we loved it.

turntable-zenith

Not the Symphonic model described below

Then there was an all-in-one model by Symphonic (not the one depicted above, but sort-of similar) that had built-in speakers on either side of the turntable, which folded out to the front. Maneuvering the speed lever between settings, you could rock a record back and forth, slowly but surely, when trying to discover the various audio clues that proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Paul McCartney was dead. This was a handy (not official) feature, allowing my friends and I to go deep inside The Beatles, aka the White Album. Backwards clues? No problem. Not surprisingly, I fried one of these units doing the rocking thing. Thankfully, my father was tolerant and understanding when it came to me asking–begging–him to buy me another one. Good times.

turntable-stanton

The Stanton STR8-20

turntable-ion

The ION ITTUSB

Today,  I can use any of three turntables to play my records. The Stanton STR8-20 is the top model in my main rack; the ION ITTUSB allows me to record needle drops on my main computer. But the Peanuts Crosley Cruiser, purchased on Record Store Day 2014, is the official turntable of Pure Pop Radio. I mean, just look at it:

peanuts-cruiser-large

The Peanuts Crosley Cruiser

Today, as was the case yesterday and the yesterday before, there is no activity finer than bringing the needle down on a great record, getting the volume just right (pumping for the driving stuff and not-so-pumping for softer sounds), and plopping down on the couch–comfort is key–for an immersive listening experience. Holding the cover–taking in the majesty of the art, reading the credits (“Oh look, it’s Robben Ford on guitar!”), and checking out the inner sleeve–is beyond important. And singing along? Well, naturally.

Tomorrow, I bring this week of vinyl memories to a soft landing, just in time for Record Store Day 2015 to greet your Saturday. What joy!

– Alan Haber

Trax on Wax, Your Vinyl Destination in Catonsville, MarylandTrax on Wax, in Catonsville, Maryland, is the official record store of Pure Pop Radio. When in the Baltimore area, we recommend that you make Trax on Wax your number one vinyl destination. Visit Trax on Wax’s website by clicking here.

peanuts-cruiserThe Peanuts Crosley Cruiser is the official turntable of Pure Pop Radio.

Click here to download our app for listening on the go with Android and iOS devices!

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

It’s New Music Thursday! More New Songs and Artists Added to the Pure Pop Radio Playlist!

it's-newWelcome to another round of new songs and artists that have been added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. We know you’re going to love what we’ve got in store!

Here are the latest additions:

Tthe-lunar-laugh-apollohe Lunar Laugh | Apollo Last Wednesday, we added this album’s title song to our playlist. Of “Apollo,” we said it’s a “lovely slice of pure, melodic pop…” We say the same thing about the rest of the songs that Connor Anderson and Jared Lekites have written for this melodic masterpiece. Not only will you love the originals, but you’ll hug tightly the cover of Mike Nesmith’s “Some of Shelly’s Blues,” which Jared has been performing live since 2008. We’re playing nearly every song: “Man Against Man,” “Winsome,” “Apollo,” “On the Road,” “When I’m Alone,” “Bottom of the World,” “The Way I Roll,” and “Some of Shelly’s Blues.” Pretty spectacular, folks.

kenny-herbertKenny Herbert | “My Favourite Everything” With a vibe that harkens back to to the sound of the fabulous fifties and early sixties, Pure Pop Radio favorite Kenny Herbert delivers another in a series of standout tracks stacked high with catchy melodies and joy. Glorious background vocals and a groovy guitar solo are but two highlights in the soundfield of this great number. Cheers, Kenny–you’ve waxed another winner.

pseudonymPseudonym | Revolving Door So here is this week’s find: a fine and fit-as-a-fiddle outfit featuring Paul Desjarlais “and other real or imaginary people,” according to Paul, who ought to know, we guess. In any case, it’s pretty great stuff, these songs, full of great melodies and playing and vocals. The whole shooting match, in fact. We’re playing “Long Goodbyes,” “Better,” “Fill Up the Sky,” “Elevator,” “Caught on Fire,” “Idora Ave,” a cover of the great Paul Simon song, “The Only Living Boy in New York,” and “Want You More.” Speaking of “more,” that’s what we want.

gail-georgeGail George | The Barrio Sessions with Early Times This intimate, relaxed album from 2014 features the lovely songs and vocals of Gail George, who recorded in New York’s East Harlem. We love the soft-sounding vibe of three entries: “Nobody’s Friend,” “Walk Away,” and “You Are There,” which we are now playing in rotation.

dana-countryman-thrill-meDana Countryman | “Thrill Me (2015 Remix)” This sparkling remix of a great song from Dana’s smash 2013 album, The Incredible, Fantastic Retro Pop World of Dana Countryman, features the artist playing piano, bass, guitars, drums, percussion, and horns; dig, too, the groovy electric guitar work from Klaatu’s Dee Long, and luscious vocals all around. Mastered by Rick Fisher at RFI Mastering in Seattle, this is, well, masterful.

adam-walsh-pancho-and-leftyAdam Walsh and Colm Gavin | “Pancho and Lefty” Here’s a fine, tuneful cover of Townes Van Zandt’s classic song from the always-wonderful Adam Walsh and fellow musician Colm Gavin. We love the melodic guitar work, and the vocals are pretty terrific, too. Now playing in rotation.

That’s it for today–short and sweet and lovely all around. We’ll be back soon with more new songs and artists added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. Until then, click on one of the listen links below and take in the sounds of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe!

Click here to download our app for listening on the go with Android and iOS devices!

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Pure Pop Radio’s Countdown to Record Store Day 2015: Wednesday

record-store-day-2015

For day three of Pure Pop Radio’s exclusive countdown to Record Store Day 2015, I thought it would be fun to revisit the freedom I experienced in my late teens, driving around Long Island, visiting various secondhand record stores and snagging treasures beyond my wildest dreams.

warner-bros-inner-sleeve

(Click on the image to enlarge)

Right from the start of my record collecting days, I was a completist, or at least I tried very hard to be! I had seen the advertisements for Warner Brothers’ Loss Leaders, a series of one- and two-record sets (and even one three-record set) that compiled tracks from the company’s releases and rarities from both new and established WB artists (the releases were plugged on the company’s records’ inner sleeves). The artwork for the sleeves was colorful and exciting to look at, and the liner notes were full of great information and (sometimes) more than a smidge of attitude. Plus, the cost for the two-disc goodies was a measly two bucks (until the end of the series). How could you go wrong?

warner-bros-schlagerswarner-brothers-1969-songbookI drove my car everywhere I could in the hopes of getting as many, or all, of the available Loss Leaders as possible. Classics such as the first Leader, The 1969 Warner Reprise Songbook, and 1970’s soft-sounding compilation Schlagers!, which featured Trini Lopez, Frank Sinatra and the San Sebastian Strings, as well as Randy Newman, Petula Clark and Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, were must-haves. Until I left Long Island after graduating college in 1977 and moved to Delaware to start my radio career, I motored up and down the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway and other highways and byways in search of as many Leaders as I could find, all available for as little as 50 cents apiece.

warner-bros-looney-tunesThe Loss Leaders weren’t difficult to find, but it did take a lot of driving and wearing out of shoe leather to collect them. What I consider the treasure of the entire series didn’t become the crown of my collection until I moved to Brooklyn, New York in the 1980s. Walking toward Manhattan Beach one sunny day, my wife and I found a little record store that proved to be a goldmine of treasures. There, I found the only three-record set in the Leaders series, Looney Tunes Merrie Melodies, a box that featured on its cover a takeoff on the Warner Brothers cartoon logo, with Elmer Fudd center stage, and presented artists such as James Taylor, Harpers Bizarre (“If We Ever Needed the Lord Before”) and Van Dyke Parks (“On the Rolling Sea When Jesus Speaks to Me”). Showing off the Leaders’ fun and edgy attitude, one of the faux commercials in the set concludes with the tag line, “Warner Brothers Records: The shiny black chips you eat with your ears.”

Today, with a few holes still in my Leaders collection, I continue my pursuit of owning every entry in the series. And now, here in 2015, I am very, very close!

Read a quite detailed fun and informative history of the Warner Brothers Loss Leaders series by clicking here. Another detailed series history, played out in a survey of every release, two at a time, can be experienced by clicking here. More fun you can not have!

All record collectors can relate to the feeling you get when you’re this close to putting your hands on a particular platter to complete part of your collection. It’s quite exhilarating (even after all these years!)!

– Alan Haber

Trax on Wax, Your Vinyl Destination in Catonsville, MarylandTrax on Wax, in Catonsville, Maryland, is the official record store of Pure Pop Radio. When in the Baltimore area, we recommend that you make Trax on Wax your number one vinyl destination. Visit Trax on Wax’s website by clicking here.

peanuts-cruiserThe Peanuts Crosley Cruiser is the official turntable of Pure Pop Radio.

Click here to download our app for listening on the go with Android and iOS devices!

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Pure Pop Radio’s Countdown to Record Store Day 2015: Tuesday

record-store-day-2015-smallDay two of our exclusive countdown to Record Store Day 2015 continues with another look at past vinyl finds snagged through the years for my ever-growing collection.

suzy-and-the-red-stripes-box-smallToday I offer an eclectic bunch of platters–a group of treasured releases that, many, many years later, still hold a place in my vinyl heart, starting with a snazzy looking, special box set for Suzy and the Red Stripes’ “Seaside Woman,” released by A&M records in 1977. Suzy and crew were, of course, Wings. The yellow vinyl 45 in the box sported a hypno label and came with 10 “saucy” postcards and a red-striped badge. The box, too, was adorned with red stripes. I purchased the box at a Beatlefest in the early 1980s in excellent condition. It’s still one of my most-prized Paul McCartney-related possessions.

wings-spin-it-onwings-marySpeaking of Wings, here are two more nifty collectors items that have pride of place in my collection. The first is the rare picture sleeve for “Spin It On” b/w “Getting Closer.” The sleeve, with its showstopping, commanding and dazzling font effect makes the visual pop. Next is the picture sleeve for Wings’ “Mary Had a Little Lamb” b/w “Little Woman Love” (Apple 1851). This sleeve may actually not be as rare as I once thought it was, but I love it and I’m glad it’s in my collection.

Joe-Piscopo-v1In 1982, Saturday Night Live cast member Joe Piscopo recorded a great, funny medley of rock songs (listen below) as they might have been sung by Frank Sinatra. Saturday Night Live fans will remember Piscopo’s hysterical Sinatra impersonations as a highlight during his time with the show. Piscopo was promoting his medley at various record stores in Manhattan. One day, he appeared at Crazy Eddie’s on 57th Street, so I walked from work and found Joe behind one of the sales counters, with nary a fan waiting to speak to him. I shook his hand, told him I was a big fan, and got him to autograph my 12-inch record. This was just one of my brushes with stardom–remind me to tell you about the rest some day!

Eric-StewartIn 1986, my wife and I made the first of six trips to London and various towns in England and Scotland. One of my main concerns, other than making sure to visit every last Beatles-related landmark I could find, was, of course, shopping for records. We walked everywhere, and every time we saw a record store, we stopped in. My memory tells me it was in Kentish Town, in northwest London, that we spied a small record shop down a side street. I was on the hunt for Eric “10cc” Stewart’s 1982 solo album, Frooty Rooties, released on the Phonogram label. I had been looking for it since it was released, to no avail. We walked into this particular shop and I asked the clerk if he had a copy. “I think we have that one, yes,” he said, and in mere seconds pulled it out of the stacks and handed it to me. I thought I had discovered buried treasure! And it was a promo copy. Score!

buddah-recordsHere’s a weird one: In 1970, Buddah Records released a two-record set to promote its releases. Titled N.E.C. Convention Memphis/February 15-18 1970 – Rock and Roll with Buddah and adorned with the Buddah logo on the front and the song titles and artists on the back, the record, to the best of my recollection, was not released commercially (I remember it being advertised in a print publication, possibly Rolling Stone). I think it cost two dollars. The content varied wildly: Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” and the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Younger Generation” appeared alongside the Tokens’ version of “Don’t Worry Baby” and the Edwin Hawkins Singers’ “Oh Happy Day.” I’ve tried to find details on this release, but all roads lead to dead ends. Any details would be greatly appreciated. Was this created with an ear toward beating Warner Bros., with their Loss Leaders program, at their own game? A great curiosity, for sure.

Tomorrow, I’ll take a look at the aforementioned Loss Leaders program, and how getting my drivers license helped fuel my mad hunt for all available entries in the series.

– Alan Haber

Trax on Wax, Your Vinyl Destination in Catonsville, MarylandTrax on Wax, in Catonsville, Maryland, is the official record store of Pure Pop Radio. When in the Baltimore area, we recommend that you make Trax on Wax your number one vinyl destination. Visit Trax on Wax’s website by clicking here.

peanuts-cruiserThe Peanuts Crosley Cruiser is the official turntable of Pure Pop Radio.

(Photos of Joe Piscopo’s record, and Eric Stewart’s Frootie Rooties, were taken by ace Daily Planet photographer, Janet Haber; 45 scans by Alan Haber)

Click here to download our app for listening on the go with Android and iOS devices!

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Ringo’s New Album, Postcards from Paradise, Is In the Spotlight on Tonight’s Things We Said Today

the-beatles-things-we-said-todayRingo Starr’s new album, Postcards from Paradise, is under the microscope during tonight’s edition of the Beatles roundtable, Things We Said Today. The conversation begins at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio.

ringo-starr-postcardsRegular roundtable members Ken Michaels, Steve Marinucci, Al Sussman, and Allan Kozinn are joined tonight by Beatlefan writer Tom Frangione for this look at Ringo’s 18th, just-released studio album. During the show, the crew gives their general, and specific, impressions of Postcards from Paradise. You’ll hear an excerpt from Ken’s interview with Ringo, during which the drummer talks about his songwriting process. Plus, a whole lot more–the kind of discussion that can only occur when five Beatles experts get together.

Tune in tonight at 9 pm ET for Things We Said Today, airing on Pure Pop Radio. Don’t miss it!

Things We Said Today is a weekly survey of all things Beatles that is hosted by a quartet of Beatles experts–today’s Fab Four, if you will. Ken Michaels, host of Every Little Thing, is joined by Beatlefan Executive Editor Al Sussman, Steve Marinucci (Beatles Examiner), and Allan Kozinn, longtime music critic. Other well-known Beatles experts sometimes sit in with the core group. Things We Said Today airs every Tuesday night at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio.

Click here to download our app for listening on the go with Android and iOS devices!

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Pure Pop Radio’s Countdown to Record Store Day 2015: Monday

record-store-day-2015This coming Saturday, people of all ages, whether they be short or tall, wearing glasses or contacts, dressed in blue jeans or suits and ties, driving their cars or riding in buses, college age or of a certain age, wearing long hair or short or in-between, partial to loud dress shirts or rock ‘n’ roll tees, rockers or jazzers or popsters, will be converging on independent record stores across America and various locations abroad.

It’s almost time for the vinyl fans’ annual pilgrimage to Mecca–the local or faraway or somewhere in-between record store that caters to them in a way that online shops can not; places where you are greeted with a smile by the owner or a knowledgeable staff member who can answer questions about a particular release almost faster than you can ask them; places where the new mixes with the old and all releases, regardless of genre or age, play nice with each other.

springsteen-record-store-day-2014record-store-day-ramonesMost people likely have their eyes on the prizes pressed by both independent and major record companies–special releases and items created for Record Store Day that bring out-of-print releases back to life, gather previously-unreleased tracks (such as last RSD’s Bruce Springsteen album), or simply celebrate the occasion with style (this year’s Ramones Crosley Cruiser turntable, the sequel to last year’s Peanuts model).

Record Store Day is a fun day–a day to meet other music fans, swap stories about favorite platters, soak up the vinyl atmosphere, and spend lots of money; one in which everything goes and favored releases go out the door at record speed.

Anticipating Record Store Day 2015, I’ve been in a vinyl state of mind that has gotten me in the mood to visit past vinyl purchases and think about where and why I bought them. If it’s true that every picture tells a story, record albums speak volumes. And I’ve spun a few albums in my time.

Freddy-McCoy-albumfreddie-mccoy-autographOne I probably haven’t spun since the late sixties is an album by jazz vibraphonist Freddie McCoy, who spent time with my father, a trumpet player, in the 440th band at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where I was born. Flipping through albums on a random shelf, I found a copy of McCoy’s 1968 Prestige records release, Soul Yogi, which contains covers of Brian Wilson’s “Pet Sounds” and the Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus.” Signed on the cover in pen by McCoy with a dedication to my father, the album, which I forgot I had, has brought back some wonderful memories. I’m thrilled that I found it. Check out McCoy’s inscription above right.

Our-Best-to-YouAnother album, a Columbia Special Products release from 1967 called Our Best to You, was a favorite record I got from a Columbia promo man who lived across the street from a friend of mine when I was growing up. Hits by the Cryan’ Shames and the Byrds stack up against Moby Grape’s “8:05″ and Aretha Franklin’s “Sweet Bitter Love” for a fun spin. I somehow lost or misplaced my original copy; I was able to acquire another last year from the great record store, Trax on Wax (see below). This was an important record for me, because it came near to the start of my vinyl and music obsession. I about wore my copy out.

captain-kangarooThe first vinyl album I owned was a soundtrack recording by the cast of the kids television show Captain Kangaroo, which ran for more than 30 years on CBS television. I distinctly remember it being delivered to my house on a day when I was home sick from school. It was the greatest present I’d ever been given; unfortunately, I don’t have it any more, and I don’t remember which specific title it was.

soupy-sales-sez-do-the-mouseBut I do remember the second album I owned: Soupy Sales Sez Do the Mouse *and Other Teen Hits. I knew the words to every track on that record. I drove my parents crazy, running around the house singing “The Mouse” and “Pachalafaka.” “They whisper it all over Turkey,” I’d warble, trying to sound like Soupy. Crazy days! I don’t have the original album my father bought for me, but I do have another copy I bought a couple of decades later. Another prized possession that brings back great memories.

mighty-groundhogsOne more memory for today: A 1972 album by the Mighty Groundhogs, released on United Artists Records, featuring full comic strip art drawn by none other than super artist Neal Adams. I don’t remember how I heard about this record–I probably just found it in a used record shop and bought it because of the cover and package art. Pretty sweet, then and now.

These are just some of the vinyl memories I’ve been thinking about the past few days, leading up to the week-long countdown to Record Store Day 2015. We’ll be at the official record store for Pure Pop Radio, Catonsville, Maryland’s Trax on Wax, on Record Store Day, celebrating with fellow vinyl and music fans. We can’t wait.

Tomorrow: More vinyl memories as we continue counting down to Record Store Day 2015. See you then!

– Alan Haber

Trax on Wax, Your Vinyl Destination in Catonsville, MarylandTrax on Wax, in Catonsville, Maryland, is the official record store of Pure Pop Radio. When in the Baltimore area, we recommend that you make Trax on Wax your number one vinyl destination. Visit Trax on Wax’s website by clicking here.

peanuts-cruiserThe Peanuts Crosley Cruiser is the official turntable of Pure Pop Radio.

(All album photos, except for American Beauty, were taken by ace Daily Planet photographer, Janet Haber)

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Ringo Starr Talks to Ken Michaels on Tonight’s Every Little Thing

Ken Michaels' Every Little Thing...For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab! Airs Every Monday at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!

Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing…For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab! Airs Every Monday at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!

Famed sticksman Ringo Starr, the man who provided the Beatles’ backbeat and influenced drummers across the decades, talks to Ken Michaels in an exclusive interview, part one of which is the centerpiece of tonight’s edition of everybody’s favorite Beatles radio show, Every Little Thing. Be in front of your Internet radios at 9 pm tonight so you don’t miss a second.

Ken kicks off the show with his usual, stellar varied set of Beatles and solo Beatles songs. This time around, you’re treated to George Harrison’s “Cloud 9,” the Beatles’ “Things We Said Today,” a live version of “Bluebird” from Wings, “India, India” from John Lennon, and “Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette)” from tonight’s Starr attraction.

Then, Ken spins a 1968 two-fer, pairing a couple of Beatles classics: the fast version of “Revolution” with “Savoy Truffle. The cherry on top? “Only Our Hearts,” from Paul McCartney’s Kisses on the Bottom.

Finally, Ringo speaks with Ken in part one of a fantastic interview. During this segment, you’ll be treated to three songs from Ringo’s new album, Postcards from Paradise, and a Beatles classic, “Octopus’s Garden.” This is a treat you won’t want to miss. Part two of Ken’s interview with Ringo will air next week.

Don’t miss tonight’s fab edition of Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing, airing at 9 pm ET. It’s a very special show that you won’t want to miss! And tune in tomorrow night at 9 pm ET for this week’s edition of Things We Said Today, when the topic at hand will be Ringo’s new album!

Every Little Thing is the premiere, syndicated program playing Beatles group and solo recordings. Hosted by longtime radio personality Ken Michaels, the show airs every Monday night at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio.

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Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

The Kid Gets Heavy: Timmy Sean Rocks the House With “Way Too Long”

timmy-sean-song-of-the-weekFor this week’s Song of the Week, Timmy Sean blows the roof off the house with a wild rock ‘n’ roll ride, a powerful, double-tempo number called “Way Too Long.” As you might expect, “Way Too Long” is way cool.

A crunchy guitar riff kicks this song into high gear. Timmy’s drumsticks practically pierce the skins as he pummels them into submission. An insistent, in-your-face vocal and the usual pop sheen take you back in time to 1970s FM radio for a Bachman-Turner-Overdrive-meets-Led Zeppelin-hangs-out-with-Jimi Hendrix dose of heaviosity. Powerful barely describes this tumultuous experience, a terrific, stereophonic assault on your rock ‘n’ roll senses. Whew! What a great ride!

Timmy says: “Here’s a song that dates back to 2009, if I’m not mistaken. After LUZER split, I decided to go back to my roots as a teenager learning Jimi Hendrix and SRV covers and put together a little blues band called The Timmy Sean Trio (blatantly ripping off The John Mayer Trio). Joined by Philly musicians Chris LeFevre on bass and Andy Meyer on drums, we played about a half dozen shows around the Northeast performing a mix of originals and blues rock covers. It was some of the most fun and effortless music-making I’ve ever done to this day.

“As much as I love writing pop tunes, there’s still the inner guitar nerd in me that would love to play riff rock and blues all day long. Anyway, this is one of three originals we had in the TST set list, along with a bluesed-up version of Week 7’s ‘Gimme Everything’ and one I’ll be releasing as another Song of the Week later this year entitled ‘Nothing But the Good Times.’

“This one features myself on drums, bass, piano, guitar, percussion, and vocals, and has a special guest appearance by my Sir Video and Timmy Sean and the Celebrities bandmate Frankie Pedano on funky clav and a killer organ solo at the end of the tune…”

Get on the wild ride that is “Way Too Long” by clicking here. To get all of Timmy’s music, click here. The next Timmy Sean  Song of the Week is right around the corner. See you then!

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Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes