Brian Bringelson’s Needle Meets Vinyl Hits the Pop Spot Right Out of the Gate

needle meets vinylLast night’s premiere episode of Brian Bringelson’s Needle Meets Vinyl hit the pop and rock spots with a great mix of classic and lesser-known songs from a variety of fabulous artists.

Here’s what Brian played:

The Kinks | “Victoria” from The Kink Kronikles
Buffalo Springfield | “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing” from Greatest Hits
The Beatles | “Talkin’ Bout You” from On Air: Live at the BBC Volume 2
The Beach Boys | “Wake the World” from Friends
The James Gang | “Funk #49” from Rides Again
Fleetwood Mac | “I Know I’m Not Wrong” from Tusk
Derek and the Dominos | “Keep On Growing” from Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
Bob Dylan | “New Pony” from Street Legal
Oasis | “Hey Now” from (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
Amy Winehouse | “Love Is a Losing Game” from Back to Black
Aretha Franklin | “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)” from The Best Of
Paul McCartney | “Not Such a Bad Boy” from Give My Regards to Broad Street
Harry Nilsson | “Best Move” from Flash Harry
Randy Newman | “Baltimore” from Little Criminals
Billy Preston | “Do What You Want To” from That’s the Way God Planned It
Barbara Lynn | “Suffering City” from Here Is Barbara Lynn
Bonnie Raitt | “Runaway” from Sweet Forgiveness
Joan Baez | “The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down” from Blessed Are
Nina Simone | “I Loves You Porgy” from Little Girl Blue
Harry Nilsson | “Marry Me a Little” from Nilsson Sessions 1967-1975

Brian returns next Wednesday, October 28, with a special program devoted to the scariest holiday in existence…Halloween! Don’t miss it! The ghostly fun begins at 8 pm ET (5 pm PT) right here on Pure Pop Radio.

Needle Meets Vinyl is the weekly show during which all songs are played from vinyl records. The music spans the decades during which popular music has flourished. Curated and presented by Brian Bringelson, a member of the band Anchor and Bear and a solo artist under the name Paul Starling, the show airs every Wednesday night at 8 pm ET (5 pm PT). An encore performance runs on Sunday afternoons at 1 pm ET (10 am PT). Needle Meets Vinyl has its own Facebook page; click here to be magically transported, and please hit the “like” button. Thanks!

Listen to Brian invite you to listen!


purepoplogoAlan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the original 24-hour Internet radio station playing the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today. From the Beatles to the Spongetones, the Nines, Kurt Baker, the Connection and the New Trocaderos, we play the hits and a whole lot more. Tune in by clicking on one of the listen links below.

Listen to Pure Pop Radio on the go using your Android and iOS devices! Download Our Mobile App.

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

Brian Bringelson’s Needle Meets Vinyl Premieres Tonight at 8 pm ET (5 pm PT)

needle meets vinylIt’s finally here! Brian Bringelson’s terrific, all-vinyl radio show, Needle Meets Vinyl, premieres tonight at 8 pm ET (5 pm PT) on Pure Pop Radio. We couldn’t be more excited to debut this outstanding program, chock full of classic tracks, both familiar and un-.

Now, we know you have many specialty shows and radio stations and other media folks calling for your attention, so we appreciate you tuning in tonight. Your ears will be rewarded with great songs from the Kinks, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Harry Nilsson, Billy Preston, Barbara Lynn, Bonnie Raitt, Fleetwood Mac and Buffalo Springfield. And then there’s Brian’s easygoing, knowledgeable deejay patter, which will captivate you and put a big smile on your face.

gary gebler trax on waxTake our word for it: This is a great show that fits perfectly within the Pure Pop Radio universe. But if you need more convincing, listen to none other than Gary Gebler, owner of Baltimore, Maryland’s premiere vinyl shop, Trax on Wax, who has become an instant fan of Needle Meets Vinyl.

Gary says: “As soon as the needle drops on the record and you hear that warm crackle, you know this is something special. Nothing takes you back to this special place like hearing your favorite songs by the Beatles, the Smiths, Dylan and the Stones to name a few on glorious vinyl. Needle Meets Vinylis one bad-ass program and gets two thumbs up from Trax on Wax.”

brian bringelson

Brian is a member of the glorious pop band, Anchor and Bear, and releases solo records under the name Paul Starling (his latest, The Wild Wolf, is currently playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio). Brian has a golden ear that’s tuned into the great and melodic music of today and yesterday. And don’t forget that, for vinyl aficionados everywhere, this is the place to be every Wednesday night because every song heard on Needle Meets Vinyl is played from records. Sweet!

kinks victoria picture sleeveNeedle Meets Vinyl makes its Pure Pop Radio debut tonight at 8 pm ET with a typically engaging and tuneful show that runs the gamut from straight-ahead pop (The Kinks’ “Victoria”) to classic, melodic rock (the James Gang’s “Funk #49”) and the classic standard show numbers of yesteryear (Harry Nilsson’s sublime rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Marry Me a Little,” from Sondheim’s homonymous Off-Broadway revue). In between, Brian spins tunes from the likes of Bob Dylan, the James Gang, Barbara Lynn, Joan Baez and, of course, the Beach Boys and the Beatles, and relates cool facts and figures about them.

needle meets vinylEach Wednesday night, Brian will bring you a new, wonderfully-realized and impeccably curated show that brings together the sounds of the run of decades in which popular music has flourished. We are proud to be adding Needle Meets Vinyl to Pure Pop Radio’s slate of specialty shows. We think you’re going to enjoy yourself each and every Wednesday night.

Set your alarm clocks for tonight, Wednesday, October 21, at 8 pm ET (5 pm PT). Don’t miss the premiere of Brian Bringelson’s Needle Meets Vinyl, right here on Pure Pop Radio!

Needle Meets Vinyl is the weekly show during which all songs are played from vinyl records. The music spans the decades during which popular music has flourished. Curated and presented by Brian Bringelson, a member of the band Anchor and Bear and a solo artist under the name Paul Starling, the show airs every Wednesday night at 8 pm ET (5 pm PT). An encore performance runs on Sunday afternoons at 1 pm ET (10 am PT).

purepoplogoAlan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the original 24-hour Internet radio station playing the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today. From the Beatles to the Spongetones, the Nines, Kurt Baker, the Connection and the New Trocaderos, we play the hits and a whole lot more. Tune in by clicking on one of the listen links below.

Listen to Pure Pop Radio on the go using your Android and iOS devices! Download Our Mobile App.

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

Brian Bringelson’s Needle Meets Vinyl Show Debuts This Wednesday Night on Pure Pop Radio

Wneedle meets vinyle are delighted to be bringing you musician Brian Bringelson’s wonderful show, Needle Meets Vinyl, starting this Wednesday, October 21, at 8 pm ET (5 pm PT), exclusively on Pure Pop Radio.

gary gebler trax on wax

Gary Gebler, Trax on Wax

None other than Gary Gebler, owner of Baltimore, Maryland’s premiere vinyl shop, Trax on Wax, has become an instant fan of Needle Meets Vinyl.

Gary says: “As soon as the needle drops on the record and you hear that warm crackle, you know this is something special. Nothing takes you back to this special place like hearing your favorite songs by the Beatles, the Smiths, Dylan and the Stones to name a few on glorious vinyl. Needle Meets Vinyl is one bad-ass program and gets two thumbs up from Trax on Wax.”

brian bringelson

Your Host, Brian Bringelson

A member of the glorious pop band, Anchor and Bear, who releases solo records under the name Paul Starling (his latest, The Wild Wolf, is currently playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio), Brian Bringelson has a golden ear that’s tuned into the great and melodic music of today and yesterday. He’s also got an inviting, easygoing deejay style, which we know you’re going to fall in love with. And, for vinyl aficionados everywhere, this is going to be your weekly meeting place: Every song heard on Needle Meets Vinyl is played from records. Nice, right?

kinks victoria picture sleeveNeedle Meets Vinyl makes its Pure Pop Radio debut this Wednesday night with a typically engaging and tuneful show that runs the gamut from straight-ahead pop (The Kinks’ “Victoria”) to classic, melodic rock (the James Gang’s “Funk #49”) and the classic standard show numbers of yesteryear (Harry Nilsson’s sublime rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Marry Me a Little,” from Sondheim’s homonymous Off-Broadway revue). In between, Brian spins tunes from the likes of Bob Dylan, the James Gang, Barbara Lynn, Joan Baez and, of course, the Beach Boys and the Beatles, and relates cool facts and figures about them.

needle meets vinylEach Wednesday night, Brian will bring you a new, wonderfully-realized and impeccably curated show that brings together the sounds of the run of decades in which popular music has flourished. We are proud to be adding Needle Meets Vinyl to Pure Pop Radio’s slate of specialty shows. We think you’re going to enjoy yourself each and every Wednesday night.

Set your alarm clocks for this Wednesday, October 21, at 8 pm ET (5 pm PT). Don’t miss the premiere of Brian Bringelson’s Needle Meets Vinyl.

Needle Meets Vinyl is the weekly show during which all songs are played from vinyl records. The music spans the decades during which popular music has flourished. Curated and presented by Brian Bringelson, a member of the band Anchor and Bear and a solo artist under the name Paul Starling, the show airs every Wednesday night at 8 pm ET (5 pm PT). An encore performance runs on Sunday afternoons at 1 pm ET (10 am PT).

purepoplogoAlan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the original 24-hour Internet radio station playing the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today. From the Beatles to the Spongetones, the Nines, Kurt Baker, the Connection and the New Trocaderos, we play the hits and a whole lot more. Tune in by clicking on one of the listen links below.

Listen to Pure Pop Radio on the go using your Android and iOS devices! Download Our Mobile App.

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

Record Store Day 2015: Crazy, Man. Crazy Good.

frederick-street-catonsville-maryland

Frederick Road in Catonsville, Maryland

by Alan Haber

It’s after lunch on this sunny Saturday, sometime after the regular crowd shuffles in to the various quick- and long-stop eateries along Frederick Road in Catonsville, Maryland. A woman, probably in her late thirties, maybe her early forties, walks carefully around the tight corners and through the narrow walkways separating the fully-stocked shelves and displays populating Objects Found, a neighborhood antique store within which shiny, happy jewelry pieces and Elvis Presley collectibles sit happily side by side in nooks and crannies and behind glass doors in crowded cases.

patsy-cline-crazy-45-label-sized-for-web-storyThe woman, looking here and over there, but not too far afield, is hearing the songs played through the store’s audio system, and they are coming one after the other and, what with her looking for just the right item or items to bring home, wrapped in tissue paper and put in bags at the counter, it is hard to distinguish one song from the other, but as if by some magical means, one song catches the woman’s ear and burrows into it. “Crazy,” the woman sings, “I’m crazy for feeling so lonely.” Whether she knows it or not, the woman is singing something approaching a duet with Patsy Cline; the woman matches Patsy word for word, perhaps not exactly in meter or in key, but she is right on the button with her.

“I’m crazy, crazy for feeling so blue…” All the while, as the melody flows through her, her face never betrays the feeling; she knows the song, has lived with that song for at least a time; maybe she heard it when she was growing up or discovered it at a friend’s house. Maybe she heard it on the radio, on some country station or oldies outlet. It doesn’t matter; she knows that song, and the act of singing it as she is shopping for something to cherish, however large or small, means that she cherishes the song, too. And then, as “Crazy” fades into another song that perhaps doesn’t strike a chord with her, the woman stops singing and moves forward through the store; a ring or a doll that looks vaguely Victorian is calling out to her, the way that music, the way that particular songs call out to people and burrow in and, really, what can you do about that other than sing along?

spot's-watering-holeThere was a lot of singing along, mostly, probably, silently, and tapping of feet at the famed Catonsville depot for vinyl records old and new and newer still on this Saturday in April, round about mid-month, just after tax day–a beautiful day, with the temperature rolling around the 80-degree mark; a day when even Fido could cool off with a tasty drink; shirt-sleeve weather delighting passersby and record geeks and music fans and folks who love the oldies or the latest hits or some kind of thing in between; people both young and older; people whose high-end sound systems can blow the roof off of their houses and their neighbors’ houses, and people with entry-level, all-in-one turntable systems; people for whom only the finest vinyl pressings will do and those who aren’t quite so fussy.

happy-birthday-golden-recordAll of these people are gathered at Trax on Wax in Catonsville, Maryland at about 11:30 in the morning, gathered together as one like-minded group, even if they don’t know it, snapping up the special Record Store Day releases and thumbing through the stacks that house upwards of somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 albums, give or take. Even a stack of old Golden Record 45s and other single delights shines brightly with one entitled Happy Birthday on top; the record inside of the brightly colored sleeve, depicting a kids’ party complete with lit candles on a festive cake, has part one of “Happy Birthday” on the a-side and part two on the b-side. The record, which advertises on the back of the sleeve other Golden Records–“3 Little Golden Records on a 45 RPM EP – 6 Songs and Famous Littles on Both 78 RPM and 45 RPM”–features the song stylings of the Sandpipers and Mitch Miller and his Orchestra and is from about 1960, when it could be had for a measly 29 cents. The Famous Littles were priced slightly higher in Canada–35 cents, to be exact. “Ask for the Fabulous Golden LP records, only $1.98 ea.” You could get a lot for so little back in the day.

But these Golden treasures, stacked on the floor in the back of the store, were only the tip of a very large iceberg; rock, pop, jazz, specialty, soul, comedy and just about anything you could want ruled the day and lined the shelves. Special Record Store Day releases were displayed on the walls to the left of Trax’s entrance.

trax-on-wax-full-of-customersAmidst the Record Store day chatter, you could probably hear people saying, “Hey, there’s the Sly and the Family Stone live album recorded at the Fillmore and never released until now!”, “Man, I love the White Stripes!”, or “Those Kinks EPs look rather tasty!” And “Do you have–” Well, that was probably the number one question asked of Trax on Wax owner Gary Gebler and his manager Jeff Ball and the other knowledgeable, passionate-about-music-just-like-you folks working that day. It was a day all about family; it was a day all about people who like the feeling they get when they are around other music and vinyl fans, people who grew up with the sounds of music and carried those deeply-set feelings through adulthood and people who just discovered the joy of holding a record album in their hands, of looking at people-sized artwork and included posters and stickers and full credits that tell you who played what and twiddled the knobs in the studio.

david-harris-and-gary-at-trax-on-wax-from-2014-sized-for-website-story

(Left to right) Vinyl collector and music fan David Harris with Trax on Wax owner Gary Gebler

It was a day about the extended family of vinyl hounds and casual music fans converging on the little store that does in Catonsville, and, really, it was a day of getting together and turning each other on to some band or singer or spoken word artist who really rings the magic bell time and time again. It was a day of joy for  David Harris, a collector of records played on fine audio equipment who knows what’s what, who is like a moth drawn to a flame when color pressings are in his sights; a man who lives and breathes music and for whom vinyl is a way of life–a man who talks about his favorite records and vinyl finds and lights up with such strength that he could probably power a city like Las Vegas, if such a thing were possible.

For David Harris, vinyl is king, as he explains in the following interview:

gwen-mister

Longtime music fan Gwen Mister shows off the special 180 gram mono edition of the Doors’ Strange Days album at Trax on Wax

The first 45 that Gwen Mister owned was “Shop Around” by the Miracles (actually, by the Miracles featuring Bill “Smokey” Robinson, as the credits read on the Tamla single label). Gwen was at Trax on Wax looking for Record Store Day releases such as the 180 gram mono pressing of the Doors’ Strange Days album, which she found and proudly shows off in the picture at left.

shop-around-tamla-45-resizedIn a perfect world, if you looked in the dictionary under “dedicated music fan,” you would probably find a photo of Miss Mister. A retired accountant, who used to study the violin and loves Diana Ross, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Motown, Grace Slick, Bonnie Raitt and, perhaps most especially, John Lennon, Miss Mister is a gracious and dedicated music fan, as is obvious by listening to the following interview:

In a perfect world, and this world of vinyl hounds and fans of Diana Ross and fans of just plain good music is about as perfect as it gets, every day would be Record Store Day–that is, a day to visit local, independent record stores to visit with the staff, talk to the owner, greet the day with a new vinyl find and pledge to come back again soon now, you hear?

gary-gebler-and-alan

(Left to right) Trax on Wax Owner Gary Gebler tells Alan Haber that Record Store Day 2015 was a great day

For Gary Gebler of Trax on Wax, Record Store Day 2015 was as perfect a day as he has had the pleasure to experience. Listen to Gary wax poetic:

frederick-road-2-small

Frederick Road, Catonsville, Maryland

On April 18, 2015, a sunny day, a beautiful day along Frederick Road in Catonsville, Maryland, at the center, the hub of vinyl experience for vinyl hounds and music fans who know what’s what and what’s up and what to look for in a sea of treasures, Record Store Day shone. It was a crazy day, a great day, a day that will stand among other days that came before and will come after. This day, this quite sunny and spectacular day, will be remembered by the people who were there. These people will play their records and think back to this day, and next year, around the same time, they will hope for sunny skies still, but really, really, it’s all a state of mind; every day is a sunny day when the music is playing and the beat, ultimately, will go on.

*     *     *     *     *

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: 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

The Musician’s Opinion #2: The Legal Matters’ Chris Richards, Andy Reed and Keith Klingensmith: Favorite Songs

legal-matters-largeFor the second edition of The Musician’s Opinion, we asked the Legal Matters’ Andy Reed, Chris Richards and Keith Klingensmith to talk about some of their favorite songs. Their choices may well surprise you. You will certainly be delighted. (The Legal Matters’ self-titled, debut album took a top spot in Pure Pop Radio’s Favorite Records of 2014. Read the entry here.)

andy-reedAndy Reed:

brendan-benson“Tiny Spark,” by Brendan Benson | I was very lucky during the beginning of my musical career. My first official album was recorded and produced by Brendan Benson in his home studio in Detroit. I had been a huge fan of Brendan’s first record, One Mississippi. I was a sponge during those sessions, as I realized I was in the presence of a true genius. Then the moment came about half way through the record. Brendan turned on his tape machine and played me a track he had been working on. The song was “Tiny Spark.” I was blown away instantly. The song had everything I loved about music wrapped up in three minutes. When we finished recording and mixing, Brendan gave us our CD. He also gave us a CD of what would later be released as his album Lapalco. This was the first album I had ever made and my CD never made it into the car CD player on the way home.

harry-nilsson“One,” by Harry Nilsson | Nilsson will always be my favorite vocalist of all time. He could sing just about anything and transform his voice to fit the tune perfectly. There is a lot of beauty in the lyrics and the melody of this tune. If you are going to write a sad song, this is a great one to take notes on.

chris-bell“I Am the Cosmos,” by Chris Bell | I am a huge Big Star fan but I may be an even bigger Chris Bell fan. The song itself is gut-wrenching in the best sort of way. The vocal performance is even more so. You can hear and feel Chris’ pain. It also sums up what I love about Big Star. The guitar tones are huge and warm. The production is flawless.

xo“Waltz #2 (XO),” by Elliott Smith | I caught on to Elliott Smith late in the game. The first record I bought was XO; it was referred to me by a friend. I was instantly drawn in. I will still say that Elliott is the closest we would get if Lennon and McCartney were one guy. He had Lennon’s desperation and McCartney’s melodic sense and musicianship. This became my favorite track early on and still is to this day. The imagery of the lyric is very trademark Elliott. This haunting track still gives me chills when I listen.

chris-richardsChris Richards:

sloan“The Good in Everyone,” by Sloan | Picking a favorite Sloan album would be hard enough…but a favorite track? Please. That being said, for this exercise I shall choose “The Good In Everyone,” the leadoff track from the brilliant 1996 release, One Chord to Another. After spending big Geffen money on their first two records, Sloan found themselves looking to flip the script in a sense and record their third record minus big label funds (their first two records had 100K budgets; this masterpiece was recorded for 10K). This song is really Sloan at their core–it has an enormous hook elevated by harmonies that will resonate in your memory for what should be a lifetime. And if you really want to feel the power of this song, watch the video–it’s a majestic piece that reenacts a scene from the movie Easy Rider in its intro. This is a band that couldn’t be stopped.

nick-lowe“Marie Provost,” by Nick Lowe | Nick Lowe was more important to the secondary British Invasion than sales would indicate. His imprint on what was coming out of the UK in the late ’70s through the 1980s was undeniable; consider the countless records he produced by such artists as Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, and the Damned. Nick Lowe’s records were charming, witty and rocked, despite the overt poppy overtones. “Marie Provost” perfectly molds all that is Nick in one song. You get incredibly funny lyrics based on a very true and tragic story of a Canadian silent film actress who died alone in her apartment amongst countless liquor bottles, a $10 promissory note to Joan Crawford, and a barking dog that  may or may not have tried to take matters into its own paws, as far as food goes.

kinks-village-green“Big Sky,” by the Kinks | I suppose I could’ve selected any track off the Kinks’ exemplary 1968 release, The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society. This is truly a mind-blowing record as a whole, but when you take a track out of the original mix,  you see how these little English classics can live on their own. “Big Sky” may be the perfect Ray Davies composition, in my opinion, as it has the key elements that make a great Kinks song, such as the immediate, yet simple melodic hook married to an introspective lyric. This song is delivered as a heavier rock piece, a style that the very proper Kinks were clearly moving away from.

the-who-magic-bus“Pictures of Lily,” by the Who | At one point I hope the world realizes the brilliance of Pete Townshend as a holistic composer; his ability to wax poetic on an array of simplistic, yet direct subjects and write complex, truly diabolic songs about introspective demons made him the genius that we have today. “Pictures of Lily” will always be a favorite of mine. I especially love the key change in the second half of each chorus that takes you to the breakdown, at which point Keith Moon brings you to the best part of the song: the ba-da- da-dum-dum–“Pictures of Lily!” This is followed by an amazing French horn “solo” by John. Lyrically and in two minutes and 35 seconds, Pete tells a full story of an individual with insomnia who is given a picture of a pin-up girl (the eponymous Lily) from his father. The individual falls in love with the pin-up girl, which leads to sleep and the realization that the girl has been dead since 1929.

keith-klingensmithKeith Klingensmith:

pet-sounds“Please Let Me Wonder,” by the Beach Boys | I’m firmly in the Pet-Sounds-is-the-greatest-record-ever-made club, but side two of The Beach Boys Today contains every bit of that same magic. “Please Let Me Wonder” starts the side off with a perfect dose of Brian Wilson longing. I’m a harmony guy and as heartbreaking as this song is, the Beach Boys’ harmonies are mixed so loud they could almost be considered the second lead voice. I wish every song was mixed this way! I could happily spend the rest of my life listening to Beach Boys vocals-only mixes; you need to do yourself a favor and check out the “Please Let Me Wonder” vocals-only outtakes, if you haven’t already.

the-byrds-lady-friend“Lady Friend,” by the Byrds | There are times when I think this amazing David Crosby song is my fave song of all time. If I could ever manage to make a favorite songs list, this would be near the top for sure. Everything I still love about pop music is entirely contained in this song–an inspired melody, giant harmonies, driving guitars and horns. Some top-notch girl lyrics can never hurt, either. There’s mystery to this song. I can never fully get to the bottom of why all these pieces are able to combine in a way that destroys me every single time. If I ever had to play a single song to define myself musically, I’d be comfortable playing this one.

the-undertones“Teenage Kicks,” by the Undertones | That sound! The sound of this record kills me. This song sends electricity directly from the speakers to my nervous system. Something about that opening riff is pure magic. Feargal Sharkey never sounded better or more alive, and the solo just ruins me every time. I didn’t hear the Undertones’ first record until the Ryko re-release in the mid-’90s, but it’s been in regular revisit rotation ever since.

del-amitri“Keepers,” by Del Amitri | Somehow, Del Amitri’s self-titled, first LP gets ignored and belittled by every Del fan that came after this record. No single LP made more of an impression on me than this one; I seriously love every single note contained within. “Keepers” has always been a fave song on the record. It’s an absolute epic with multiple peaks, told from the point of view of a man who only appears to only be interested in owning females. But like all great pop music, this song is wrapped up in gorgeous paper so that the lyrics take a few listens to sink in. Always an appreciated bonus. Go find this record!

(Read the first entry in the Musician’s Opinion series by clicking 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

I Love that Song! #2: “Picture Book” by the Kinks

The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society

The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society

The act of looking back to simpler, happier times, to times fondly remembered, to snapshots taken by one’s mind and brought to the fore by photographs arranged as artifacts of a life gone by is the subject at hand in Ray Davies’ “Picture Book,” a bouncy, wistful song that appears on the Kinks’ November 1968 album, The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society.

Wistful, perhaps, because the happy, peppy tune belies the almost tossed-off intent of the lyrics. In the song, an older person, thumbing through a picture book, is spying snapshots of his life, of his mama, his papa, of him in his birthday suit, on vacation, as a baby–days when happiness prevailed. He’s reliving  “those days when” he was “happy, a long time ago.”

This person is gazing at photos in a “picture book of people with each other, to prove they love each other…” Implying that they weren’t sure? Or they weren’t in love in the present? Are the people in the pictures unsure of their bond? And what of being “happy, a long time ago”? Is he not happy now? One can certainly look back with fondness on the past, on that day at the beach or that time when junior hit his first home run in his little league baseball game, and attach an associated moment onto the memory that saddens it–weighs it down just enough to elicit a tenuous sigh.

Drums strong and definite in the mix, the joyous song glides along with a smile on its face. Kicking off with a strong drum bounce and followed by an ascending acoustic guitar line (softening the sounds) and harmony lead vocals, “Picture Book” asks the listener to think of himself getting old, sitting “by the fireside a-pondering on” and looking at snapshots of days gone by. And after the various particular visions are thumbed through and the second-to-last chorus comes along, the song’s entire notion almost gets tossed aside with a well-placed a-scooby-dooby-doo.

Further obscuring “Picture Book”‘s suppressed subtext, the song was used as the soundtrack for an HP Digital Photography commercial (during which a guy fiddles with photo printouts as they turn into frames that he pulls over his head), giving a whole new meaning to the lyrics which, in this clever presentation, was buy an HP digital product. Get that out of your head, will you?

Dual meanings have been a staple of pop songs for the longest time. Mixing minor chord melodies with happy, poppy choruses is a tried and true method of getting a point, or points, across. But here, in “Picture Book,” one of the greatest of the early-to-mid-period Kinks songs, the point offered is happy memories stalled in the past can sometimes be looked back on when maybe being not so happy in the present. And in the future? Well, there must be a Ray Davies song that encapsulates that bit of looking ahead.

Alan Haber | March 3, 2014

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