Posts Tagged ‘Billy Strange’

Saturday Single No. 500

Saturday, June 11th, 2016

Ah, that’s a nice round number, 500 is. And I thought of finding a special tale to go with it, but all we’re going to do here today is talk about a box of records, which is appropriate enough.

Actually, we’ll start with ten boxes of records, the ten that the Texas Gal and I hauled down to Minneapolis about a week ago. I’d spent some hours sorting, as I noted some weeks earlier, and was running out of room in which to work. So we decided that I’d box up the records I’d already pulled off the shelves for sale and head down to Cheapo in Minneapolis.

The records in those ten boxes generally included work from artists starting with Abba and ending with Chuck Jackson. I kept about a third of them, including lots of Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin and Jackson Browne as well as stuff by more obscure artists and groups. I also sorted a couple of crates of box sets, ranging from Fillmore: The Last Days to Cocktail Piano Time, one of seven Reader’s Digest collections I inherited from my dad; I kept all seven.

I should note that even though my first batch of sorted albums covered the main stacks from A to J, I keep the Beatles, Bob Dylan and The Band on a separate shelf. And to paraphrase the Bard of Hibbing, they ain’t goin’ nowhere.

Anyway, a little more than a week ago, we made our way into south Minneapolis, to the new Cheapo location. Tony, the record buyer, said he remembered me from my more slender days when I was in the old location two or three times a week, and he said he’d try to get back to us with a total sales figure in a day or two.

We weren’t sure what to expect. I knew Tony and Cheapo would be fair; I’d done enough business there over the years to trust him and the company. I also knew that there were quite a few things in those ten liquor boxes that would be nice finds for a digger: Some Jimi Hendrix albums bought new and played only once. The same with Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds, Cream, Creedence, Fleetwood Mac, the Grateful Dead and Earth, Wind & Fire. There were about 650 records altogether in those ten boxes,and I was estimating we’d get maybe $300, not quite fifty cents per LP.

The Texas Gal wasn’t so sure. “I was thinking,” she told me, “that you tend to over-value your collection, so I was expecting maybe $150 overall.”

By the time we got back to St. Cloud, Tony had called, asking me to give him a call. I did, and he told me that he’d mail us a check for $405. Thrilled, I posted the news on Facebook. One of those who saw the post was my sister, and she called me a couple of days ago and asked if we were going to make another trip to Cheapo anytime soon. Yeah, I told her, as soon as I get another ten boxes ready to go; the records heading out are in bins on the floor waiting to be boxed.

She said she was coming to St. Cloud to see our mom the next day and wondered if she could drop off a box of records for me to include in the next batch we sell. “You’re welcome to anything in the box, of course,” she added. “There’s some easy listening stuff, lots of Ferrante & Teicher.”

“Oh, good!” I said

There was a moment of bemused bafflement and a chuckle. “Anyway,” she went on, “just use what you can and sell the rest.”

She dropped off the box the next day while we were at a doctor’s appointment, and I happily went through it. Some of the records I recognized as LPs she’d owned before she got married and moved away from Kilian Boulevard in 1972: A record titled Gaité Parisienne with music by Offenbach and Gounod, a recording of “The 1812 Overture” by the London Symphony, and albums by Judy Collins, Barbra Streisand, the Lettermen and Ray Conniff.

And there was a lot of stuff that I can trace back to my brother-in-law’s tastes during the late 1960s and early 1970s: the aforementioned Ferrante & Teicher albums (seven of them), and albums by Paul Mauriat, Tony Mottola, Tommy (Snuff) Garrett, the Ventures, Billy Strange, Roger Williams, Andy Williams, Frankie Carle and the pairing of Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry.

(I’ve written several times about my sister’s album collection as it existed in early 1972, and there are a fair number of albums I recall from that time that did not end up in the box left at our doorstep. She held on – understandably – to albums by Glenn Yarbrough, Leo Kottke and Cat Stevens, among others. And, also understandably, she kept her copy of Traditional Jewish Memories. And that’s fine. I have all of those in one form or another, and I understand how we sort the cherished and loved from the simply liked.)

I’ll keep some of the records my sister left here – Gaité Parisienne, the Streisand, the Conniff, “The 1812 Overture” and a few others. The rest will go to Cheapo, but before they do, I’m going to rip a lot of them to mp3s, including several of the Ferrante & Teicher albums and a lot of the other easy listening. That project started yesterday, when I pulled the 1967 compilation The Best Of Billy Strange from the box.

It was in very good shape for being nearly fifty years old, and it was a lot of fun. Maybe my favorite track was the final one, Strange’s take on the Ventures’ “Walk Don’t Run.” It was included on his 1964 album The James Bond Theme, and along with some nifty surf guitar runs, it includes a few fitting Bondian flourishes. And for all that, it’s today’s Saturday Single.

‘In From The Cold . . .’

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Another cold snap has found us, and I came in about an hour ago from shoveling three inches of fluffy snow off the sidewalks. My fingers have warmed up, and I plan on staying inside until late this afternoon when I’ll combine a stop at the library with a stop to pick up the Texas Gal after work.

In what may seem like an entirely unrelated subject, I’ve kept for years a mental list of movies I need to see. One of them has been Raging Bull, Martin Scorsese’s award-winning adaptation of boxer Jake LaMotta’s memoir. I’ve tried several times to watch it, and I can’t get into it. I sent the DVD back to Netflix yesterday for maybe the third time. The same holds true for Mean Streets, another highly regarded Scorsese film; I start watching it and can’t get into it. Maybe it’s Scorsese, although I’ve seen and enjoyed a few of his other films, notably Taxi Driver and The Last Waltz. (The Aviator was just okay.) So it’s likely me.

But I added a film to my list this morning as I was wandering through the mp3s, looking for something suitable for a frigid Minnesota morning. Back in the mid-1960s, when I was in my James Bond phase, I went beyond Ian Fleming’s books and the movies based on them and read other spy novels and watched other movies. I’ve mentioned here before Len Deighton’s novel The Ipcress File and the movie based on it. I read a lot of Deighton’s other work, and I read, among others, many of John le Carré’s spy novels.

And when I looked for mp3s with “cold” in their titles this morning, the search function on the RealPlayer reminded me that I’ve never read the 1963 novel that seems to have been le Carré’s first true spy novel , The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. Nor have I seen the 1965 film, starring Richard Burton, based on the book. (In that long-ago post about my Bondmania, I said I saw the film, but after some thought, I do not think I did.) So the movie goes on my list (and I add the book to my long list of books I want to read).

And I’ll likely take a look at a couple more Scorsese films soon, maybe Cape Fear or Gangs of New York. (I’d welcome suggestions.)

In the meantime, here’s something related to the cold. Here’s Billy Strange’s version of the theme from The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. It’s from Strange’s 1965 album, The Secret Agent File.