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The family way.

I didn’t do last week’s writeup of the Internet Archive’s latest Unlocked Recordings vinyl rips because, at the time, there wasn’t that much distinctive — a lot of classical and a bunch of world music, for the most part.

The Archive has lately coughed up a pop artifact that my pop-geek readers might find interesting, though. It’s an example of one of the Beatles doing a little job-work outside the Fab Four:

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I don’t know the full story of how Paul McCartney ended up writing the score for the 1966 British movie The Family Way, which featured father-and-daughter team John and Hayley Mills, as well as future U.S. Top Ten monologuist Murray Head. I imagine all kinds of projects crossed his transom — since everyone wanted to work with a Beatle, after all — and he decided film work might be interesting.

I suspected that the writing process consisted of Paul tiddling tunes on a piano and George Martin padding them out for orchestra.

Wiki goes even further, suggesting that McCartney contributed only a few scraps of ideas, which were then expanded and rearranged by Martin into a short album’s worth of music.

(The standard Wiki disclaimer applies — could be true, could be not — though I have no trouble believing this version of events. Of course, the album cover gives McCartney huge play and Martin very little, but that’s to be expected.)

McCartney does not appear on the record, although the classical-music geeks in my readership (you’re out there, right?) might recognize one member of the George Martin Orchestra.

According to Wiki, violinist Neville Marriner — later to become a renowned conductor — played on the sessions. Marriner, like Martin and McCartney, later got a “Sir” appended to his name.

How’s the music? Pretty unremarkable instrumental movie music, IMHO. There are no Great Lost McCartney Melodies to be found — nothing a pop nerd could use to sound smugly superior in conversation. (“‘Silly Love Songs’? Meh. Have you ever heard Untitled Cue #5 from ‘A Family Way’? McCartney at his finest.”)

And from the sound of it, any ear-grabby moments are more likely to have been George Martin’s work than McCartney’s anyway.

If the music had been composed by Paul Jones and arranged by George Smith, there would be pretty much no reason to take an interest in it.

But it wasn’t: It’s the Second and Fifth Beatles at work. And so, it drew my attention. And perhaps it will draw 20-odd minutes of yours.

(Edit: The soundtrack to The Family Way turns up on precisely one survey from the invaluable ARSA database of local radio airplay charts. It was a “spotlight album” on Top 40 station KFXM 590 in San Bernardino, Calif., for the week of July 14, 1967. The station was playing some phenomenal music that week, none of it from The Family Way; one wonders what drove them, besides sheer Beatle speculation, to choose the record as a spotlight album.)

Five For The Record: 1973 Topps.

A recurring feature in which I take something I enjoy but have not thought deeply about, and force myself to state five reasons why I like it.

(FWIW: The only card from the set that I personally own is the one pictured. To avoid infringing on someone else’s rights, I have not posted images here, but each link will open up the relevant image in a new tab. Thanks to The Trading Card Database for doing the Lord’s work.)

Topps’ annual set of baseball cards from my birth year is frequently dissed as one of the company’s worst — as if baseball cards had been bitten by the samIMG_8661e bug that made America’s clothing, cars and interior design ugly and/or flawed around the same time.

The base design, shown at right, was pleasant and uncluttered by Seventies standards, and some people find the little silhouette icons of ballplayers quite charming. (I’m neutral, myself.)

But the ’73 set is notorious for lots and lots of examples of poorly chosen art. They fall into different categories:

  • Unattractive close-ups. Reggie Jackson, caught in mid-throw, looks like Fred Sanford.
  • Jumbled shots from too far away. ’73 Topps is notorious for featuring multi-player shots, taken from a distance, that aren’t tightly focused on the featured player. Examples include Tito Fuentes, Dave Nelson, Boots Day, Tommie Agee, the famous Luis Alvarado used-car-lot card, and the “Joe Rudi” card that features three players who aren’t Joe Rudi.
  • Airbrushing stupidity. Topps’ laughably bad ’70s airbrush work could fill a book, and maybe even has. It is by no means limited to the ’73 set, but its presence doesn’t do ’73 any favors. A few of many examples include John Ellis and Rich McKinney. (There’s also the George Scott card, which appears on close examination to be cut and pasted onto a different background. Why?)
  • Poor attention to detail. Topps’ airbrush crew gave Bill North an appropriate Oakland A’s cap, but didn’t bother cleaning up his Chicago Cubs jersey. Same deal with Gary Gentry, who seems peeved about having to wear an Atlanta Braves cap with his pinstriped Mets jersey, and Don Money, who is much more cheerful about wearing a Brewers cap and a striped Phillies jersey in a ballpark that is visibly Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.
  • Curious cropping. Wouldn’t this shot of Gene Michael have looked better as a vertical? And couldn’t the photo of Willie Montanez have been better presented? And Glenn Beckert … wouldn’t this Glenn Beckert shot have been wonderful if it were just a little more centered? And … and … Frank Duffy? (moans)
  • Miscellaneous badness. Fred Norman’s card is like a black hole of failure. It captures one of the consistently worst teams of the decade, wearing the worst uniform of the decade, playing in an empty stadium. Plus it doesn’t give you any great idea of what Fred Norman looks like.

But enough grousing. This is Five For The Record, where I present five things I like about something.

And so, here we have five cards where the much-maligned 1973 Topps set got it right:

1. Paul Casanova. The ’73 set is light on action shots, and lighter still on decent action shots. This one isn’t amazing but it’s at least a real live game-action photo, well-framed. And that deep blue-and-white Atlanta Braves uniform looks particularly sweet against the kelly-green background of a ballpark.

Flip over to the back, and Casanova’s biographical note offers a curious tidbit: “Paul once played for the Indianapolis Clowns.”

I’d like to think at least a couple curious kids in 1973 thought, “That’s a weird name. The Indianapolis Clowns? What’s the story there?” … and then they did a little research and got schooled about the existence of the Negro Leagues.

(My secondhand understanding is that Topps has never been tremendous about mentioning or acknowledging the Negro Leagues. This seven-word biographical nugget isn’t any great shakes, but at least it’s a start; they could easily have opted for crap like “Hit 19 HRs at Geneva in 1964.”)

2. Young Catfish Hunter. One of Topps’ better ideas in 1973 (I don’t know if they ever did it again) was to pry loose childhood photos from six or eight star players and do a run of “Boyhood Photos of the Stars” cards. They’re all charming — gaptoothed Bobby Murcer, young Jim Palmer in an inner tube — but I’ll pick North Carolina farmboy Jim Hunter above the rest. I wonder how many main-set Topps cards have ever featured dogs?

3. Jim Wynn. The Toy Cannon had a dog of a year in ’71 — he got stabbed in an offseason domestic dispute and hit just .204 – but he bounced back to .273 with 24 homers in ’72. This pic captures Wynn relaxed and once again ready to make pitchers cry. He looks like he’s warming up, swinging around a bat with a donut on it, wondering aloud if he’s going to hit three homers today, or go easy and just hit two homers and a double.

Extra points for the biographical nugget: “Jim likes jazz music!” That’s a pretty broad category. Wonder if he dug Sidney Bechet, Bitches Brew, or something in between?

4. Jack McKeon and staffManager cards are another departure from the norm that I always enjoy, even if the pics can get a little boring (since there’s not much “action” you can show a manager doing, after all).

What makes this card work for me is the expression on McKeon’s face. It’s hard to describe … but McKeon has the smart-but-worried expression you’d see on one of those definitively ’70s movie actors playing a wiseguy in a position of limited authority. He looks like somebody a director would call if he couldn’t get Elliott Gould or Walter Matthau. He looks like the trash is piled up, the cab drivers are on strike, somebody just hijacked a subway train, and he’s not getting paid enough.

Cards that show people who never played in the big leagues are also a minor fascination of mine, and you get one here courtesy of Royals third-base coach Harry Dunlop, who coached 21 years in The Show but never made it there as a player. (Edit: McKeon didn’t play in the big leagues either, so I guess this card has two guys who never made it. I bet these manager-and-coach cards are the only places you ever see that happen.)

5. Tom Matchick. By the time kids picked this card out of their packs in the spring of 1973, utility infielder Matchick’s big-league career was already over. He’d scraped into three games with Earl Weaver’s Orioles in September and October of ’72; he continued to play AAA ball through 1976 but never got another callup.

The glory of this card is cumulative.

Start by looking at the back, at the long list of places Matchick has played: Brunswick, Lakeland, Winnipeg, Knoxville, Elmira, and so forth.

Notice, also, the biographical nugget that tells you that Matchick used to be a clothing salesman. Imagine him in the off-season, home from Elmira or Winnipeg, standing in the sort of downtown storefront downtowns don’t have nowadays, guiding somebody toward a rack of garish, overbroad ties.

Then flip the card over and look at Matchick’s posture and facial expression. He looks more than what youth coaches call “baseball-ready.” He looks ready as hell — a study in hawklike determination. Hit him anything, from as close range as you want to get, and he will field it.

This is the poise and determination of a utility player, a man who knows he has to shine any time he plays if he wants to stay in The Show. And, over and above that, this is the poise and determination of a man for whom every ground ball could mean a ticket back to selling shirts in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

Penguins, pirates, and charity.

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Who would think the bearded, piratical, bourbon-toting reprobate shown above would have a socially responsible side?

Well, he does; and if you have a couple stray dollars to support it, he’d appreciate your consideration.

He has — oh, hell, let’s just switch to first person — I have long wanted to do a “polar plunge”-type event involving immersion in cold, wintry water. I even signed up for one in Pennsylvania, some years ago, only to be stranded at home by a significant snowstorm the night before.

(The event was in the Poconos and my little car wasn’t going to make it over the rabbit trails up there with a fresh foot-plus of snow. Discretion was the better part of valor. The full story can be read here.)

Some colleagues of mine in New Hampshire are doing a “penguin plunge” into the Atlantic Ocean in early February to benefit the Special Olympics there. I quite liked the idea, but I thought 90-odd minutes to Hampton Beach was a long way to drive for a few minutes of action.

Then I found out the Special Olympics runs these plunge events all over the place in the early months of the year — including several closer to my home.

And thus, dear reader, I signed up today for the 2020 Passion Plunge, taking place Feb. 8 on Lake Cochituate in Natick, Mass.

It’s pronounced ka-CHIT-chew-it, and in current traffic it’s 24 minutes from my house, almost all of it on state highways. So another weather-related miss — while not impossible — should hopefully be less likely.

(In the worst of winter weather I am called in to work, and I can’t control that. But in the worst of winter weather I would hope the Passion Plunge — a most piquant name, eh, reader? — would be postponed a week.)

I’m about halfway to the fundraising minimum of $100, and would like to get there.

I’m never comfortable using this space for financial requests (which is why I basically never do), and I know this is a lousy time of year to ask for donations, since everyone’s spent out from the holidays.

Still, if you have a couple bucks to spare, my donation page is here, and any gift is appreciated. Again, the beneficiary is Special Olympics of Massachusetts, which as far as I know is a worthy cause.

Thanks for any consideration, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

The rips just keep on comin’.

The unseen but kindly souls who run the Internet Archive’s Unlocked Recordings section just keep resurfacing old vinyl. They’re doing the Lord’s work, truly.

I’m getting to think this might become an every-Sunday-night thing around here … though I’m leery of committing to any recurring features because mine always tend not to recur after a while.

Anyway, here’s a look at some of the latest oddments the Archive has coughed up. If you like what you hear, feel free to download.

Calypso Soul: The Guitar of Tom Tedesco: Tommy Tedesco was a fixture in the Guitar Player magazines I devoured in the late ’80s and early ’90s.

He’d been a mainstay of the Hollywood session scene for something like 30 years at that point, cutting tracks with everyone from Sarah Vaughan to Frank Zappa. Every month he wrote a column in which he’d review the guitar part from a recording session and talk about what he did to make it successful.

He came across as the genial, sometimes blunt Italian-uncle type, modest about his own (considerable) gifts, and his column was always worth checking out.

Unfortunately, this 1966 smooth-Latin instrumental LP doesn’t do much to convey either Tedesco’s personal warmth or musical talent. He plays what sounds like gut-string acoustic guitar throughout, and he stays in his lane; it’s not much of a blowing session. At this juncture, it’s mainly of interest to those who enjoy effortless easy-listening music, and/or people like me who remember Tedesco’s name and might be interested to hear something that had his name on it.

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The French Touch, L’Orchestre de Franck Pourcel: Somebody at the Internet Archive apparently just reached the “Miscellaneous P” bin, because a couple of albums by French orchestra leader Franck Pourcel have recently made an appearance.

What did Monsieur Pourcel do that was fantastic? Well, according to Wiki, he was the conductor at the legendary Eurovision international song contest for a couple of years. He co-wrote Little Peggy March’s “I Will Follow Him,” which was a big hit in those slow beige years after Chuck Berry but before the Beatles.

And, he cut a whole bunch of orchestral-pop records, some of which earned gold records in nations other than the U.S. I’m guessing wildly that this one is probably as good as any of the others; among other things, it includes a stiff-legged take on “Penny Lane,” for those who found the original just too wild and swingin’.

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Where Soul Lives, Baby Ray: If the thread on this page is to be believed, Ray Eddlemon was something of a rambler — and also a murderer who died in state prison in Nevada.

He was also white, which is not readily graspable from listening to Where Soul Lives, a steaming 1967 slab o’ soul that’s well worth checking out.

It’s cut from the same cloth as other soul LPs of the period, which is to say it’s longer on energy than originality or distinction. That’s hardly a fatal flaw in pop music, though, especially when the songs blow past in two minutes each.

Pick hits include “Harpoon Man,” which will make you frug until curfew comes … the triplet-laden ballad “Just Because,” which is sort of a distant cousin to “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” and reminds you how glorious that kind of ballad is … and the closing cover of Chuck Berry’s “Promised Land,” which ends with Baby Ray joyously ad-libbing about arriving in the golden land of swimming pools and movie stars.

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Missa Ave Regina Caelorum, Guillaume Du Fay, and Missa Caput, Johannes Ockeghem: Du Fay was apparently considered among the top composers of the mid-15th century, while Ockeghem was among the most influential of those who immediately followed. (The two men met, also.)

If you want to decide which one you prefer, the Internet Archive now allows you to compare their two settings of Mass in the comfort of your own basement. (For maximum ease of comparison, both recordings feature the same performers.)

I like the Du Fay so far; I haven’t had a chance to listen to the Ockeghem, but I will make the time.

If you really want to take matters to absurd lengths, the Archive has also recently posted a recording of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and various vocalists performing Joseph Haydn’s Missa St. Nicolai, a comparatively modern piece … which is to say, written in 1772. Play that one as well and decide which Missa you like best. Or play all three at once in different browsers while eating half a bottle of Flintstones Chewable Vitamins. You can do that if you want too — thanks to the Internet Archive.

Folk Music of Afghanistan, Vol. 1: Repetitive, inexpensively recorded (check out how the emphatic voice on “Pashtu Ghazal” pushes the needles just short of red) and mesmeric. Are there people still in Afghanistan who still play this music, or have they fled or been killed? Check out the almost soulful vocal on “Song From Nangarhar,” too. And the Coltrane-ish reed and drum duet on “Sorna and Dhol.” I take back what I said a week or two ago: Maybe the 2020s are the decade I jump headlong into world folk music, cocking a snook at mass popular culture as I sit on a big solitary mountain of prehistoric reed solos.

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A breath of cold air.

Teenage Kurt is standing behind me again, as he sometimes does. His long hair is sweaty from winter track practice. He’s gnawing insouciantly on a microwave burrito. And once again, he’s not happy with me.

“Aw, what the hell!” he’s saying, around a mouthful of processed beans and cheese. “You’re writing about Neil Peart?”

Teenage Kurt didn’t much care for Rush.

He respected their abundant musical talent, and he liked it well enough when they deployed some radio-friendly hooks. “Tom Sawyer” was on one of the mix tapes he made off the radio, and “Freewill” may have been as well. He also owned one or two Rush albums he’d taken a flyer on from the dollar bin of the record store where he spent all his free cash.

But for the most part he found Rush far too cold, too clinical, too lacking in groove or evident passion.

If Toronto, as Peter Ustinov quipped, is “New York run by the Swiss,” then Toronto’s favo(u)rite power trio might have been Cream weaned in Geneva or Lausanne — that is, with a big dose of precision standing in for the raw power.

At one point Teenage Kurt was talking with a classmate at Penfield High about Rush. He said: “They write songs with names like ‘Red Sector A.’ That about sums it up.” And indeed, at the time, it did.

Teenage Kurt’s opinion was very much in the minority in Rochester in the Eighties and Nineties.

Rush were among the brightest stars in the rock world. Certainly, you couldn’t listen to the local classic-rock/hard-rock station, WCMF 96.5, for very long without getting a dose of Rush.

(Teenage Kurt suspected Rush was especially popular in Rochester because it was just across the lake from Toronto, more or less, and shared a certain chill, snowy, reserved atmosphere. He later came to realize that Rush was huge everywhere, selling out arenas in warm places like L.A. and Tampa Bay and Phoenix. But Rochester, so gray and cold, still seems like a great place to listen to Rush.)

Just how beloved were Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart in that place and time?

A few years ago, a whim led me to revisit the senior quotes in my senior-year Penfield High yearbook (Class of ’91). I observed at the time that Rush had been selected for more senior quotes than any other person or source.

I skimmed the book again today to verify that, and if it’s not true, it’s very close. It’s possible on further review that Rush actually tied with the Bible.

Yup, it was Rush and Jesus Christ ruling the subdivisions back in ’91.

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Obligatory caveat, since someone else is bound to mention it: Neil Peart didn’t write the lyrics to this one. He wrote all the other songs quoted here, though.

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I don’t correspond with my classmates, so I don’t know if their views of Rush have changed.

Mine has, a little bit.

I still tend to lean toward the numbnuts side of rock n’ roll — the Nuggets side; the “Surfin’ Bird” side; the side of the teenage garage band on Bandcamp that sounds like they recorded their four-song EP through a wet woolen sock. And I can only hear so many alternating bars of 13/8 and 15/8 time before I want to put on a record with Al Jackson Jr. on it.

That said, I respect Rush more now. While I don’t play them very often, I think I have a little more understanding of what they were trying to do. The MC5-style gut-punch was never one of their weapons, but they used their power in other ways that reward a close listen.

Neil Peart impresses me more as an adult than he did as a kid, too. The number of people who can express themselves so powerfully and elegantly through musical chops and words is pretty slim. He might have been a touch dry compared to whatever lyricists Teenage Kurt liked (Steven Tyler, maybe?), but he’s aged a lot better.

(He wasn’t too smart or high-flown to be epigrammatic, either, as witnessed by the number of my classmates who chose his words to represent them for eternity.)

Neil Peart is gone now. And, with a glance over my shoulder, so too is Teenage Kurt. He was opinionated, he was cocksure … and, while there’s no arguing with taste, it sure seems like he might have been wrong.

Back home in Rochester?

Well, the news of Neil Peart’s death started crossing social media shortly after 4 p.m. today. After some lag time, this snippet from WCMF’s playlist indicates Rochester’s Classic Rock was on the case.

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One can almost imagine a ripple of recognition running out across the suburbs, through all the engineers, auto mechanics, payroll clerks and schoolteachers who grew up in Rochester with Rush as a companion.

And, just maybe, a few perceptive teenagers put their burritos down and felt it as well.

0101 hours.

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I have achieved a minor personal goal following up on the release of Watts, my latest Bandcamp album (this one recorded in partnership with my old friend Mark):

We got on the radio. Probably at a time when no one was listening, but still, we got on the radio.

For the sheer hell of it I submitted a few of our songs to WBCA-FM, Boston Community Radio, a low-powered station serving (you guessed it) the city of Boston.

The station invites area musicians to submit their stuff, and it plays music mixes of different genres every night, featuring performers from the Boston area. These performers are mostly unknowns, but not entirely — names like the Pixies and Johnny Hodges show up on the playlists from time to time.

And at 1:01 a.m. today, at the start of a playlist of punk, metal and experimental tunes, Kurt Blumenau and Mark Knapp showed up as well, alongside such artistes as Deathamphetamine, Ice Nine Kills and RAW BLOW.

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WBCA opted to play “Holiday Festival of Revenge,” which is an interesting choice in the immediate post-holiday period, but I’ll take it.

 

As best I can recall, this is the first time in probably 25 years that any music featuring me has been played on terrestrial radio. And I think it’s the first time ever that the person who made the playlist didn’t have a personal connection to me.

(An old friend who DJ’d at St. Bonaventure University’s radio station used to play songs by my high school band, and I slipped one in myself during one of the two shows I DJ’d at Boston University’s radio station. This was all between 1992 and ’95. A long time ago.)

I think this is kinda cool, in its modest way. The bar between us and radio play was about as low as it could get, but we still climbed over it. And maybe somewhere in a car or a dorm room or someplace, somebody actually heard our song. Sure, why not?

At the time of its release, I also emailed a link to Watts to a couple of local college stations, thinking I might luck into finding some kid who either (a) delights in playing the flakiest music he can find at 1 a.m.; or (b) got talked into doing a local music show and is now digging for any and all local music he can find to fill his two hours. (It’s usually a “he” in both of these situations, I think.)

I haven’t heard back, and I don’t expect to. College kids are lousy correspondents, even if they’re interested, which they probably aren’t. And, knowing how student-run organizations work, I might well have been emailing an address the music director set up in spring semester 2016 that hasn’t been checked since.

If nothing happens with that, no matter. I’ve been on the radio.

Now back to the nine-to-five…

Mo’ rips.

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The nice thing about Sundays is that the people who post the Unlocked Recordings LP rips at the Internet Archive take a day off and give me some time to catch up with their latest.

And their latest includes …

Natural Soul, by Nat Adderley: Soul-jazz outing by Cannon’s brother, originally released in 1963 as Little Big Horn, then re-released a couple years later after Nat’s first record label went under. Jazz stalwarts including Jim Hall, Kenny Burrell, Bob Cranshaw and Mickey Roker lend support.

This one is … how best to describe it? “Unsurprising” comes to mind. The tunes are pretty basic. They swing along nicely enough in a rootsy soulful mode without catching fire or doing anything memorable. Nice background music while you start your taxes or neaten the area around your computer or something like that.

Pick hit: Either the uptempo “Broadway Lady” or “Loneliness,” which is one of those ’60s-style blue smears of rain-slicked 2 a.m. atmosphere. (The latter would have been better with a bridge. Still, I suppose at 2 a.m. in the rain, you don’t really go anywhere different.)

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The Clown Died in Marvin Gardens, by the Beacon Street Union: I wrote a Five For The Record post many years ago about the title track to this 1968 “Bosstown Sound” LP, so it was a pleasure to find the rest of it online.

I perceive this as a good time capsule of what a typical second-rank American band was up to in ’68. Baroque “serious” tunes with harpsichords share space with punchier rockers, like a pleasant but not jawdropping version of “Blue Suede Shoes.”

The songs kinda run out on Side Two. There’s a reasonably entertaining novelty number; a much less entertaining serious-novelty recitative; and, to top it all off, a 17-minute take on the garage-band standard “Baby Please Don’t Go.” (It’s not in the pure “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” style — you get a solo, you get a solo, you get another solo. Instead it’s sort of open and drifty and Doorsy.)

I like it because it’s Bostonian, and it’s obscure, and the cover’s great, and the music is good enough often enough, and because I think it’s representative of the other stuff you’d find in a typical American teen’s record collection in 1968 next to all the Beatles and Stones and Monkees.

I couldn’t honestly call it a classic, but I do wonder what another year or two of experience and a good producer might have done for these guys.

Pick hit: The title track, still.

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Tibetan Folk and Minstrel Music: 1967, Lyrichord Records. Vocal and instrumental selections from the “Lhasa Sound.” (OK, I just made that up.) A bargain at 26 tunes.

I quite enjoy some of this, particularly the multiple-voice overlap on “For Repairing Water-Channels in the Barley Fields” and the vocal showcases on “Riding Song.” In a certain mood, I could see myself putting it on again, more than once, just as I periodically take out Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka.

Of course, I always step carefully around records like these. This could well be holy music for all I know, and I’m just some affluent honky clown in a suburban basement looking for new sounds. I do not claim to understand one-fiftieth of the cultural depth that might exist in this music. I just like how it sounds, and how it cleans the palate after too much music with guitars and drums playing in 4/4 time.

Pick hits: “In Praise of a Pigeon” features some of the most forthright shawm playing of this or any other year, as does “Polo Music.”

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20th Century American Organ Music, Robert NoehrenIf you’ve been reading recently, you know of my fetish for pipe-organ music. If you’ve been reading a long time, you might remember that an LP by Robert Noehren — both a player and designer of pipe organs — is already in my collection. Put the two together, and you know I’m gonna check out this album.

Truth be told, I’m still checking it out. Unlike your average pop single, I don’t feel like I can hear this once, digest it and spit out a judgment. Or maybe it’s beyond my judgment, on another plane. Either way, this one gets saved for some mythical point in time when I can do nothing but chew on it. (Maybe during the week of vacation I’ll have to burn next December?)

Pick hits: Leo Sowerby’s “Comes Autumn Time” is very pleasant, while Gerald Near’s “Passacaglia” and Noehren’s own “Fantasia: Hommage to Hindemith” cover a lot of ground while remaining relatively accessible.

Ross Lee Finney’s ” ‘So Long As The Mind Keeps Silent’ ” deserves honorable mention, too. It opens the album with a great eye-opening dissonant shriek, as if to say: “You were expecting Bach, perhaps? Sorry. The label says ’20th Century American Organ Music.’ You got on the wrong carousel. Hang on.”

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Supersonic Guitars, Billy Mure: According to Wiki, session guitarist Billy Mure played on a bunch of big pre-Beatles hits not known for their flashy guitar parts — songs like “Diana,” “Tell Laura I Love Her,” “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” “White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation” and “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?,” to name a few.

In his spare time, he hot-wired standards and basic, riffy “originals” with multi-guitar arrangements that featured stereotypical gimmicks of the day — like the gong that introduces “Hindustan” and the Oriental riff that begins “Limehouse Blues.”

To somebody who grew up listening to next-generation guitar records like Jeff Beck’s Blow by Blow and Wired, this is pure cheese, and I don’t see myself coming back to it. Ventures fans might enjoy it (I think — I’m not into the Ventures either.)

Still, there’s just enough ringing tube-driven guitar tone to make it listenable to a six-string buff.

Pick hit: “Tiger Guitars” is the trashiest and least cheesy thing on the record; you might be able to drag-race somebody off the traffic light with this playing.

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