Archive for the ‘Duane Reade’ Category

Elvis Presley

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Listen: Suspicious Minds / Elvis Presley ElvisSuspiciousMinds.mp3

I have friends who live in total disbelief that Elvis didn’t affect my entire musical life the way he did theirs, that I’m completely mad and missing so much for having not appreciated him as the originator. Okay. Well I never really got it.

I once saw quite a good documentary that covered his pre-Army or ‘whatever service he was drafted into’ life – and for an evening kinda caught the bug. But to be honest, it didn’t spill into pulling some singles out of the shelf the next day. And I do see now that I have quite a chunk. Any late 50′s – early 60′s picture sleeves, and he had many, were hard to pass up at lawn sales through the years.

Like the next guy, I do find here and there, the occasional Elvis track actually became a favorite, but only in hindsight. ‘Suspicious Minds’ is one.

A few times this very calender year I found the music piped into our local Duane Reade had me leaving the store remembering some great record that even oldies radio doesn’t play much these days, well I don’t think they do that is – I hardly listen. Happened when I heard Sly & The Family Stone’s ‘If You Want Me To Stay’ and now this one.

Even more fun were the out of place handful of charcters singing along. Several in fact, and they didn’t look like locals. Seriously, these were definitely not New Yorkers, but being summer I’m guessing they migrated in for a vacation. A flock of older guys in string ties, pilled black rather worn looking western shirts and noticably pointed cowboy boots buying six packs of canned Miller beers are not common in my neighborhood. These are honestly not meant to be dismissive, cheeky comments. Maybe it was a band, I like to think not as I do love anyone to whom Elvis was King. Their loyalty is to be awed – and courage to not change their look even more brave. It was a most exotic five minutes.

‘Suspicious Minds’ sounded so good tonight that I couldn’t get home fast enough hoping I had a copy. I’m pleased to say I do, and that it’s in glorious mono.

Sly & The Family Stone

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

SlyStay, Sly & The Family Stone, Epic

Listen: If You Want Me To Stay / Sly & The Family Stone [audio:]

Time for some trainspotting, courtesy Duane Reade. I stopped by to pick up a prescription, and what’s playing over the sound system but ‘If You Want Me To Stay’. Used to be this one was heard everywhere, all the time. That repeated exposure eroded over the years, now it’s a big treat on the occasional occasion, like tonight. It just stood out against all the other overplayed oldies, the intentional lo-fi recording giving it alien character. It was a nice change.

As it was eventually confirmed, Sly Stone scrapped the first version of FRESH, from which this came. He decided to re-record the whole thing: sometimes the instrumental track, others the vocal takes and even others, both; making all the songs noticeably different to the astute fan, but probably not even turning a head amongst the casual listeners.

Listen: If You Want Me To Stay (Scrapped Version) / Sly & The Family Stone [audio:]

Proof of the fairly secret first recording came way back, via the album’s first single, ‘If You Want Me To Stay’, as the initial 7″ stock were pressed using that wrong master. It’s visually impossible to tell it from the much more common official version, by the label that is (read on). I didn’t even realize I had a copy of anything particularly rare for years.

At the time, I was working for a one stop record distributor, the whole front half of the warehouse dedicated to 7″ singles. Both store buyers and jukebox operators populated the place constantly, it was a most fantastic hubbub of activity, every last person focused on records. Having grabbed a copy as soon as they arrived from the plant, it was clearly in hindsight that I discovered owning a first pressing. Even at the time, I just assumed it was an intentionally different version for the single. Actually, not until a month or so after getting it did I even notice the version on Top 40 radio sounding different than mine. Then I realized everyone’s copy had a different version from mine. I was baffled for ages.

The only way to tell, as every last detail of the label copy is identical on both pressings, being created for the official version – is to scour the run off groove. Official pressings read: ZZS 158443, whereas the mistake copies read: ZZS 158431.

Happy hunting.