Tag Archives: The Guess Who

The ghosts of vinyl past and digital presents

In the old days I would frequent record shops and select albums by their covers. This worked out more often then you would think. I judged them by the cover, front and back.

Things I miss about albums are their smell and their design elements. The smell of new records as well as, and more importantly, the smell of old. Just like books, records have an attractive smell, and the old ones smell the best. Like books you are smelling the slow decomposition of the paper and cardboard, which I am assured has a chemical relationship to vanilla. And, in the case of records, petroleum, I am sure.

Do you know why they call them albums? Because in even earlier days records were thick slabs which played at 78 RPM. The records were nearly as large as later LPs (standing for “long playing” compared to 78s) but each side played only about 3 minutes. These records were often sold in an “album” collection of records, like a photo album; a book of records, a book of sounds. I have seen these things in an antique store with my own eyes.

With later LPs came not just longer plays but better packaging. Inserts, liner notes, creative packaging. The Canadian band The Guess Who released an album in 1973, their tenth, Artificial Paradise. The packaging resembled a sweepstakes mailer, with inserts. The San Francisco punk band Flipper released an album in 1984 (Gone Fishin’) which could be cut apart to make a tour van, and a double live album in 1986 (Public Flipper Limited) which spread out to make a board game.

But the sad truth is I hate flipping over records. And I like the superior search ability and space saving of digital books and records.

So, here are my suggestions from bandcamp, the digital equivalent of ordering records and demos by mail-order from the pages of MaximumRock’n’Roll. Except you can listen to them before sending money.  Continue reading

Sometimes I think of Canada and their doughnuts

You know, I have never eaten at a Canadian restaurant. So I have never tasted Canadian food, having never traversed the 250 miles to the border. But I have grown, over time, to suspect that Canadian food is mostly doughnuts. And that hardly seems worth the drive.

I do get the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) here and it is mostly hockey games and doughnut advertisements.

And yes, I understand they also have fries with gravy on them. And doughnuts. But they are proud Canadian doughnuts, no doubt. They don’t call them doughnuts though. They call them “The circle of life.”

And they did name a city “Moose Jaw*” so I have to give them that. Do you have any idea what the per capita consumption of doughnuts is in Moose Jaw?

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* I only know this because I have
a lot of albums by the Guess Who.
This only impresses Canadians.
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I do love The Guess Who. And here is a webpage where you can download a live recording from 1974.  Very nice!