Monday, June 13, 2011

Now, Hear Adventures in Vinyl Whenever YOU Want

Adventures in Vinyl, the only show dedicated to the lost art of the K-tel record compilation, can be heard on the Vinyl Voyage Saturday mornings at 11 am (CT) and Sunday afternoons at 4 pm (CT).  However, for many people, those times just might not work out so well.

So, if you would like to hear it at a different time, let us know.  Want to hear it at 1 pm Wednesday?  No problem.  3 am?  Again, no problem.  Today, we introduce the "Personal Playlist" here at the Vinyl Voyage. 

Let us know when you would like to hear Adventures in Vinyl and we will play it at that time---just for you.  Want to hear an earlier episode?  Let us know. 

That is the beauty of internet radio.  It can readily be personalized.

Send us a message at to request a personal time for Adventures in Vinyl.  We will email you back with a confirmation.  Or, simply use the "Shout Out" form at the bottom of our page.  It's that easy.  (Note:  be sure to let us know the time zone you will be listening in so that we can make sure we get it to you at the right time)

How's that for service?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Thanks, Dave Aklinski

It was the last day of school.  I was planning on heading down to the Chicago Blues Fest with some co-workers, but I had to clean my desk and haul some books down to the "rebind" room.  That took longer than I had anticipated.  Plus, the weather didn't look so great.  So, I decided to skip that trip and just head home.

On the way, I stopped off at my local record store, Rainbow Records in Barrington, to treat myself to a little vinyl.  There are always albums that I want, but inevitably, when I get to the record store, I never seem to be able to remember any of them.  Been looking for some Cure, but vinyl Cure is a little difficult to find.  Saw Sting's debut album, but I have that on cd and decided against it

Browsing through the Rs, I came across Tattoo You, the 1981 release from the Rolling Stones.  Back when the album was released, I checked it out at the library and made a copy on cassette.  That cassette has long since vanished. 

So there it was:  my vinyl choice of the day:  The Rolling Stones.

There were two copies of Tattoo You.  After inspecting the vinyl, I chose the better.  After all, this album is 30 years old.  This copy was almost pristine: no noticeable scratches or smudges.  The only thing is that the previous owner's name was written not only on the cover, but also on the sleeve and on the record label itself:

Dave Aklinski

He was the owner of the record.  A proud owner, I must say.  Why else would he have written his name over all parts of the album?

Over the course of the last several months as I have rediscovered my love for vinyl, that is one thing that I have noticed about many of the used albums I have come across:  people liked to put their names on them.  To mark their territory, so to speak.  As if to say, "Hey, this is mine."  Of course, people shared albums all of the time and placing one's name on the album assured that the album would be returned  There are still some albums that I know I had in my collection that are now noticeably absent.  I never placed my name on any of my albums.  And look where that's gotten me, wondering whatever happened to Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, among others.

Writing names on albums was more than just marking territory though.  It was more than just saying, "This album belongs to me." It was as if that name becomes a declaration of  faith in the artist and what that artist represents.  We all develop very personal relationships with music and it is music that marks very specific moments in our lives.  Years later a song can trigger a memory.  A feeling.  A moment that may have been lost and suddenly returned as if it were yesterday by a few chords from a guitar riff.  That is power and we come to feel that we own the music itself on that record.  Once it is made by the artists it becomes ours.  We're attached to it as if it were made just for us.  Which is why we sometimes feel slighted when we feel that an artist has "sold out."  When I first heard Robert Plant's voice selling Cadillac I almost fell off my seat.  Are you kidding me?  Led Zeppelin and Cadillac? 

That's not all music, of course.  I can't imagine a time down the road when I worry that Lady Gaga has sold out.  Or having some Britney Spears' song sparking a memory. 

Music is such a personal thing.  Dave Aklinski was not just declaring that Tattoo You was his.  It was a little more than that.  I assume that there must have been several Stones albums in his collection.  He was a Stones fan and that mark on the cover was a declaration of "fandome," if that is even a word.  If not, it should be.    Someone who puts their name on an album no doubt has had some very vigorous discussions about that band--perhaps defending them against some naysayers or discussing the virtues of one album over another.  That's what it means to be a fan.

So I paid $3.21 for Dave Arlinksi's Tattoo You album.  You can't get a better deal than that.  I played it for my two boys when I got home and we danced in the basement to "Start Me Up."  And I was reminded of the time back in 1981 when I watched a Stones concert on pay-per-view with some friends.  I can still see Mick Jagger running around the stage in tight yellow pants and an orange tank top.  Yep, that's the power of music.

Thanks, Dave Aklinski, for taking such good care of that album. 

And if anyone knows a Dave Aklinski in the Chicago area who at one time owned this Tattoo You album, tell him that I now have it.

And I am taking good care of it.


You can hear selections from Tattoo You and other Rolling Stones' albums on The Vinyl Voyage, where all music is played on vinyl---just as music should be.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fantastic, a K-Tel Classic from 1973

In 1973, Vicki Lawrence had a hit with "The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia." Of course, who knew that a decade later she would be starring in Mama's Family.  Most people know her from her stint on the Carol Burnett Show.

It was also a big year for Elton John:  "Rocket Man" and "Crocodile Rock" were quite popular.  Gary Glitter had "Rock and Roll Part Two."  Tony Orlando was tying yellow ribbons on oak trees.  Donny Osmond was singing something about the "Twelfth of Never,"  whatever that means.

K-Tel's 1973 compilation Fantastic had these hits and many more.  As the commercial states:  "22 Original Hits! 22 Original Stars!"

This is a very interesting album.  It has some great hits and many misses---typical K-Tel actually.  I was 5 years old when this album came out.  I remember listening to some of the songs--Elton John and Tony Orlando in particular.   As I listened to it again recently, I realized there were many songs that I simply do not remember.  Blue Mink?  New York City?  Gunhill Road?  Whatever happened to these bands?

More than any other K-Tel album I own, this album suffers from short versions of the songs.  K-Tel managed to fit a lot of music onto their vinyl.  This was often accomplished by making the gaps between the songs shorter and the grooves not as wide.  K-Tel albums were not known for their fidelity.  Many of the songs on this album fade early or are edited shorter.  Some of the songs are less than two minutes long. 

But that's okay.  They still manage to give us almost 45 minutes of music on a single album.  And the thing that Fantastic demonstrates about K-Tel is the eclectic variety that often appeared among the tracks.  Nothing like going from Maureen McGovern with "The Morning After" to Rod Stewart's "Twisting the Night Away."  K-Tel was the early version of the iPod "shuffle."

Join us in the month of June for a nostalgic trip to 1973, complete with music and movie trivia and much more. Fantastic will be featured on Adventures in Vinyl:  the only show dedicated to the lost art of the K-Tel record compilation.  We'll play the entire album---and we'll even flip it over for you.

Adventures in Vinyl can be heard Saturday mornings at 11 am (central)  and on Sunday afternoons at 4:00 pm (central).  And, as always, this program is completely commercial free.