Flipping through dollar bins is a time-honored tradition, especially at Toronto’s own Sonic Boom. Our friend Eric is sifting through the $1 records one-by-one, and learning lessons along the way. The rules are that he has to listen to the entire record, and not to do any research about artists before listening to avoid any contextual bias.
Vikki Carr – One Hell of a Woman (1974)
COVER: Grinning Vikki Carr stands on the beach, not really invoking the title One Hell of a Woman (I guess her dress is fairly low cut, but whatevs.) But, on the flipside, that’s when it gets wEiRd. For instance, “This album is dedicated to a fat, chubby Mexican girl who died this year, and what emerged is: ONE HELL OF A WOMAN.” Also, in a long and ditzy thank you section, she acknowledges Cheech (of Chong fame) for letting her use his beach house.
THOUGHTS: String heavy boring ass pop music with a dash of first wave feminism to be saucy. It’s as if it was recorded in an alternative reality wherein LSD was never created and the most interesting thing that happened at Woodstock was a fistfight at a 4H meeting. She should have gave Chong some input.
WHAT I LEARNED: For a record with “hell” in the title and such deep cleve on the cover, I was expecting something a bit more raucous or at least bawdy.
BEST TRACK: “Sleeping Between Two People”
Once you realize that this song is not about a three way it makes zero sense. Unless it is about a three way.
AFTER GOOGLING: As with many of these dollar artists I’m finding Vikki Carr was quite the popular lady of her day. According to her website: “Dean Martin called her ‘the best girl singer in the business.’” Her record is not so much a rarity as it is a no-one-gives-a-shit-about-anymore-ity.
Uriah Heep – The Magician’s Birthday (1972)
COVER: Everything about it is appealing. Surreal alien landscape, evil looking demon, cool dude calling him out with a baton, a naked chick. And obviously the back cover is a fold out continuation of the front with a space cat.
THOUGHTS: A perfect soundtrack for “walking with the wizard,” if you get my drift... ;) Ya know, something to light the ol’ peace pipe to. A real BONG show. SMOKE WEED 420 24/7.
WHAT I LEARNED: If there’s one thing missing in modern music, it’s source material built on fantasy fiction.
BEST TRACK: “The Magician’s Birthday”
A ten-minute mini prog-rock opera about a magician’s birthday being crashed by an evil entity who wields a sword of hate. Either this is super appealing to you or you hate the taste of Doritos.
AFTER GOOGLING IT: I’m going to get all these printed in black light material and sell them at fairs.
Rod Stewart – Atlantic Crossing (1975)
COVER: Rod is a world trotting celestial supergiant with a tight shiny butt, literally crossing the Atlantic in one step. Also for some reason that I’m too ignorant to understand, he’s letting loose a glowing gold vial full of stars that make a cruise ship. I hope to god that future generations find this sleeve and assume Rod was worshipped as a god.
THOUGHTS: Rod Stewart is cool as shit. There I said it. Here’s why:
1) The record is divided into two sides: Fast side and slow side.
2) His songs are mostly about drinking and screwing or lack thereof in his life.
3) He covers “Drift Away.”
WHAT I LEARNED: All those years my brothers and I teased our parents for buying Rod Stewart’s greatest hits from Columbia House (because of this cover) we were just being dumb little fucking ignorant pricks.
BEST TRACK: “Alright for an Hour”
The best way I can describe this song is that it scratches your back.
AFTER GOOGLING IT: In the 1970s, English musicians made SO much money they had to flee to the UK to evade heavy taxes, thus Rod crossed the Atlantic. So I am definitely pirating the Rod Stewart discography for ironic, political and enjoyment reasons.