Tag Archives: bruce springsteen

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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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

I Love that Song! #11: “Where the Bands Are,” by Bruce Springsteen

bruce-springsteen-18-tracksIf power pop fans ever needed a reason to believe in Bruce Springsteen, if only for three minutes and 46 seconds, “Where the Bands Are” is that reason–a balls-to-the-wall power pop number stacked high with electric guitars; punctuating, popping bass; four-and-a-half-to-the-floor drumming, and a catchy chorus with an indelible hook. The split second it kicks off with a single, call-to-arms snare shot and the full band comes right in, you are drawn into another world.

And you already know that world. It’s a world where music consumes you, where you can let it all hang out and show your girl how great it all can be–where you just live for the moment, and the moment is alive.

“Yeah, tonight I wanna break my chains/Somebody break my heart/Somebody shake my brains,” the boy sings. “Downtown there’s something that I wanna hear/There’s a sound, little girl, keeps ringing in my ear,” and that is the sound of the beat, the guitars turned up so loud that the paint is peeling off the walls, the sweat pouring into imagined buckets all around you. It’s the sound of the beat, of the fire inside of you when you’re taking it all in even before you get there. It’s the sound of impassioned singing into microphones–the sound of a power pop rodeo where the crowd is being roped in to feel the heat rising from the stage.

It is the quintessential mind over matter trick that heightened sensitivity plays on you when you’re knee-deep in the thick of it. It is the best you can do–the only thing you can do–when two worlds come together as one. “Tonight I wanna feel the beat of the crowd/And when I tell you that I love you/I wanna have to shout it out loud/Shout it out loud” is the cry in the night. Your arm is holding your partner tight as the singer is bringing the both of you into his world.

You know the score. You know why you’re in that club or that bar. You know why you’re dressed to the nines and impressing your partner as the music plays and the electricity is pulsing through you. You know why you’re there. “I wanna be where the bands are,” you shout. “I wanna be where the bands are…” And here comes the power pop version of a Greek chorus: “Where the bands are…” and you answer: “I wanna be where the bands are.”

Springsteen is remembering what moved him in the first place when, in his early days, he wanted to be right there in the center of the action with his girl by his side while those beautiful notes were flying freely throughout the space, drawing him in and getting him to sing along with the chorus that he will never, ever be able to get out of his head. “I wanna be where the bands are,” he sings out loud, shouting, reaching for the stage and wishing he were on it.

Recorded in 1979, “Where the Bands Are,” a song that, like many Springsteen numbers, had floated around in collector’s circles for years before seeing legitimate release on the Boss’s Tracks collection in 1998, is an anthem quite unlike the other anthems he had recorded. It is an anthem drawn purposefully for the boys and girls of the live music nation, the people who gather together to celebrate the feelings that move them.

“Where the Bands Are” is a song that moves in straight-ahead, upbeat fashion. It reveres the hook all the way through. It invites the constant head bob whether or not you can hold to the beat. The drums take charge. The saxophone punctuates. The guitars rock and roll with the best of them. It’s impossible to forget the melody, even if you’ve only heard it once. It gets in there and becomes part of your DNA. Really, you’d be powerless to stop it.

“I wanna be where the bands are,” Bruce proclaims just before the song comes to an end. It’s a tremendous song and a tremendous power pop record and it speaks to the heart of the matter–that the music that speaks to you can move you like nothing else and give you a reason, a reason to believe in the power of the song, in the power of power pop. – Alan Haber

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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