Sunday, September 22, 2013


Blue Groove Soundz
5852 N Washington Boulevard
Arlington Virginia 22205
(703) 270-9075
So here's a post-script to my original write-up.  
As mentioned I bought a bunch of LPs right before Christmas and was frustrated to discover a bunch of them had skips.  Of the ten LPs I bought, literally five were flawed.  Anyhow, I
took them back and because I was in a rush, didn't have time to find replacements.   The store clerk was nice enough to gave me a gift certificate for the value of the returns.  

So some eight months later I finally got around to going back and the first thing I did was see if they would honor my gift certificate. Eight months is a pretty long time so I was skeptical they would accept it.  Anyhow, I had the original sales receipt and the certificate and the store clerk agreed to honor it.  Kudos to store.

Other comments:
- They now have a designated parking space for customers on the side of the building (1 space).
- The store is as small as ever, but has way more stuff packed into it than the last time I was there.
- They are rearranging the layout, moving the check out desk to the side of the store, though it won't make much difference given the limited overall space.
- Prices are still very high - common garage sale LPs are listed at $8 - $9 and higher (if I could charge similar prices on my inventory I could retire).
- They mix old and reissues together, so look closely when you pick something up. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013


As part of BadCatRecords  website I listen to lots of obscure bands and here's a list of songs that have stuck with me over the past year.   They're not in any particularly order, but all ten managed to worm their way into my head where they spent way too much time taking up what little valuable space I had left at this point in my life.
What You Will   (Steve Woodard) - 2:23
ON album full of prime country-rock tunes, this one came as a major surprise.  While it slotted perfectly in he group's country-rock leanings,     this one was wrapped up in a much heavier rock arrangement, including an intriguing set of "kiss-off" lyrics, a great melody, nice harmony vocals, and one of the album's best guitar solos.   This is one of the tunes I would have tapped as the single.

Along Too Long To Be Lonely   (Mike Collings - Roger White) - 3:45
Another track off the "Friends By Feather" LP, this one was a  heavy pop tune with more hooks than most entire albums contain, 'Along Too Long To Be Lonely' definitely had top-40 slapped across it.   Imagine the kind of song Mark Lindsay and the Raiders always wanted to write and you'd have a feel for how good this one was.  It sounds even better when cranked up to maximum volume on the stereo.   Geez, I simply can't shake the double timed chorus out of my head. 

Fleetwood Mac
Future Games   (Bob Welch) - 
I always liked the weird, slightly ominous Southern California vibe Bob Welch brought to the band - kind of a rustic precursor to the Buckingham-Nicks era sound.   Regardless, 'Future Games' was one of the most commercial things Welch ever wrote.  While it took a minute to kick into gear, once it got some traction, the song revealed a beguiling melody, some tasty Kirwan lead guitar, and wonderful harmony vocals between Welch and McVie.    Could have been a hit for the band with a bit of support.   Welch certainly thought so, re-recording the track for his 1979 solo album.

Turn Turtle    (Ollie Halsall - Mike Patto) -
One of those English bands that deserved a far better fate than they were given ...  With Mike Patto sounding like he was about to explode, sexual frustration has seldom been wrapped in such a catchy tune ...   Always loved OllieHalsall's rollicking keyboards and the bouncy female backing vocals "la lal la la la ..." were mesmerizing - turn turtle, play dead ... 

Poor Little Heartbreaker   (Ollie Halsall - Mike Patto) -
I've always found it hard to believe 'Poor Little Heartbreaker' was relegated to a 'B' side.   Kicked along by Halsall's screaming Byrds-styled guitar, this was a killer rocker with a slightly West Coast psych-ish feel.   The liner notes describe it as "Definitely a late Timebox track, Halsall having switched to electric guitar/this early "punk" track closest to Boxer sound."    Not sure I agree with the punk description - yeah it had that angry edge, but the sound was simply too sophisticated to be considered punkish.  

Johnny Jenkins
Walk on Guilded Splinters   (Dr. John Creaux) - 5:23
Dr. John's version was the one I grew up with and as much as I love it, this version may be even better.  Kicked along by Jenkins sandpaper voice and Duane Allman on dobro (Jenkins and Pete Carr on guitar), this song simply oozed backwoods soul.  The irony is that as good as Jenkins performance was, in recent years the song's rhythm track has fueled the song's rediscover.  Powered by Allman Brothers Butch Trucks on drums and Jai Johnny Johnston on percussion, the song's been sampled by scores of songs including Beck's 'Loser', Blackalicious' 'A to G', Oasis 'Go Let it Out', and a bunch of others.   None of the samples come close to the original performance.  Capricorn tapped the song as a single, but didn't seem to have a clue how to market it.   I've only seen promo copies of the 45.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Vienna Music Exchange - Vienna, Virginia

Basic Information: 
Name: Vienna Music Exchange
Location: 131 Church St NW, #4, Vienna, VA.

Location: Grade B+:  I stumbled across this place while riding my bike along the WO&D bike path.   The store is actually a couple of blocks off the bike path (we were looking for an ice cream store); and is buried in an older residential structure that's been converted into a commercial building.   There's plenty of free street parking and the building has a small parking lot for customers.

Staff: Grade B:  One person (guess it was the owner - Manical Mike Pritchard  ?).   Nice enough.   Asked me if I was looking for anything in particular and suggested a couple of piles of stuff I might want to look through.  Spent considerable time talking to the other customer in the store and clearly knew lots about heavy metal and local bands - 'course the store tagline is "BEST SELECTION OF METAL IN THE DC/NORTHERN VIRGINIA AREA"

Inventory: Grade B   So I'm guessing the store has about 5,000 LPs;  a smaller inventory of CDs, some tee-shirts and music related material.   I overheard the owner say he has a ton more stuff at home and if you're looking for specifics he'd be willing to check his home stash.

Pricing: Grade B:   Kind of hard for me to be fair here since I'm not a big heavy metal guy.   The inventory I'm familiar with (pop, rock, soul) was a touch on the high side.   Lots of fairly common yard sale genre albums in the $7 - $9 range with prices going up from there.  Again, the heavy metal stuff may be more aptly priced.   I'm just not smart enough to know.

Facility: Grade C:  If you are claustrophobic, this place could pose an issue to your health.  As mentioned, it's located in an old home that's been modified into a commercial space with a half dozen small businesses tucked into the structure.   The store itself is up a flight of stairs in what was probably one of the original bedrooms.   I'm guessing it's about 8 feet by 8 feet with record bins and assorted merchandise taking up 80% of the space.  Getting three folks in the room would be tight.  Getting more than that would pose a significant logistical challenge.   There is a certain degree of organization to the material, but I couldn't quite figure it all out.  I found an online photo of the place, though be forewarned, it's even tighter than the photo would have you think.   Pop and rock is in one area; soul and R&B; blues-rock/country-rock; heavy metal, and even jazz (!) are all in their own little spaces. Most of it seems to be filed alphabetically, though there are  occasional surprises.   This is clearly a part-time job for the owner so the store has limited hours:  12 - 5 Thursday through Sundays.   I'd suggest calling to make sure they're open.

Damages:  Since I was riding a bike, I didn't want to haul a ton of records around with me.  I ended up buying 5  LPs (mostly rock), including an album by the French band Ocean and an Aretha Franklin LP (the latter was probably the one bargain I found).   Total cost was under $50.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


When:  August 17, 2013
Where: State Theatre, Falls Church, Virginia

Mary Ann Redmond has to be one of the first concerts I ever saw with my wife.  I remember going to see her in the mid-'90s at City Blues, a small club in Washington DC, with some of her friends.  Never heard of her; no idea what to expect and when this small, perky, blond haired woman got on the diminutive stage, I wasn't expecting a great deal.   Shame on me ...  For the life of me, I don't know how Redmond packs such an amazing voice into that small body.   Anyhow, I've been a fan ever since.  Over the ensuing years I've seen her play a couple of dozen times ranging from a restaurant in a local mall, small outdoor concerts, to the usual Washington area clubs.   I've seen her play for crowds consisting of a couple of dozen folks, to audiences  consisting of thousands.  And one thing's remained consistent - I have yet to see a show that wasn't top notch.

She's a pretty big deal in the National Capital Region (over the years she's won something like two dozen Wammies (Washington, D.C.'s version of a Grammy)).   Unfortunately that recognition hasn't travelled much beyond her local fame which is a shame since she has an amazing voice, a broad repertoire, a beguiling stage presence, and a top-notch backing band - I'm always amazed someone hasn't swept in and grabbed her rhythm section - drummer Deren Blessman and bassist Mike Tony Echols. 

Lots of Redmond fans adore her softer material, but I'll tell you they're missing the boat.   Redmond is at her best when she goes for AOR blues (Greg and Duane Allman would be proud to hear her cover of 'Whipping Post') hardcore soul (Ann Peebles 'I Can't Stand the Rain'), commercial pop (Patty Griffin's 'Time Will Do the Talking'), or rocks out  (know how Aretha appropriated 'RESPECT' from Otis Redding?  Well Redmond basically does the same thing with John Hiatt's 'Cry Love' - there's a section where she latches on to one of the high notes and literally holds it full-tilt for 30 seconds).  Even better - her cover of
'Crossroads' is simply killer.