Appropriation And Bastardization


The ideas of appropriation and bastardization often weigh on my mind, as I do listen to a ton of music from outside my culture. It also is in part because my dad always made sure I knew the origins of songs and beats. To me, there seems to be this very fine line be appropriation and bastardization in music. The difference being that I view appropriation as an outside mainly using a culture to make money or headlines and bastardization is a step further, like in case of black face. There’s obviously no direct line in the sand for you to cross from one to another and I’m certainly not an expert on the matter.

The thought of appropriation often poses questions I struggle with. What would I do if I had a music career? Likely a sound more influenced by hip hop that Greek folk songs. Is that okay? How do you balance your influences and how you present yourself on stage? The combination of yes people and more money can corrupt people into creating an image to be trendy, so would that happen to me? If I were a musician, I could see myself getting the same criticism as Iggy Azalea does because I love my Timberland boots, use the word y’all as it’s more gender neutral and would be a supporter of legalized recreational marijuana (its stupid it’s not, especially with health benefits and alcohol being legal). I’m more obsessed with the idea of cultures and learning about each one than simply obsessing over one particular one. Sub cultures and underground scenes especially. How do you appreciate a culture and love it so much and not steal and bastardize it? Do you stay keep a distance and what’s the appropriate distance? Does that hurt or help this nation’s racism issue?

I don’t know if I’ll have answers in this post, but I want to touch the history, some current examples and give credit where it’s due. There will be a lot of text up front as we get through this sort of essay on the matter (just like college, ripping from Wikipedia), but I’ll be sharing links at the end and a few photos throughout. I’ll also break it up in sections according to the culture / time period being appropriated just to make it a little more readable. There’s a ton I’m going to leave out as well, but please do some research yourself or ask me in the comments! I’d love to hear from you and talk more.

The Start

In music, appropriation is the use of borrowed elements (aspects or techniques) in the creation of a new piece, and is an example of cultural appropriation (the adoption of elements of one culture by members of a different cultural group).

Since at least the Renaissance, musicians, composers, music publishers have been part of a wide-ranging and continuous process of cultural appropriation that developed in the wake of the European colonization of America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. By the time Bach and Händel were writing their great instrumental works during the late Baroque, the rhythms and timings of these dances had already been appropriated, formalized and incorporated into the structure of elite European ‘art’ music. This trend continued in 18th and 19th century with folk-dance crazes.

One well-known example of cultural appropriation into the European classical music genre arose from the 18th century fad known as “Orientalism”, in which music, architecture, costume and visual arts from “Oriental” cultures became highly fashionable. One of the most enduring artifacts of this fad is the third movement of Mozart’s popular Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K. 331, known as the Rondo alla turca (“rondo in the Turkish style”).

Late 1800s and Early 1900s

Beginning around the turn of the 20th century, the invention of sound recording and motion pictures enabled American mass-entertainment culture to begin to develop into a major global economic and cultural force.

Simultaneous with this process, two emerging streams of non-Western music—African-American music and Latin music—were discovered by American and European audiences, and they were rapidly appropriated by the mainstream music industry. Over the next hundred years these two broad genres were to have a massive transformative effect on the structure of popular music and the direction of the music industry.

In the 1890s working-class dancers, composers and musicians in the La Boca area of Buenos Aires in Argentina invented a daring and sensual new dance style which was dubbed the tango. It took Argentina by storm and after reaching New York during World War I it became an international sensation.

More or less simultaneous with the tango craze, a novel African-American style known as ragtime emerged in the United States. Ragtime introduced African-derived syncopated (“ragged”) rhythms into Western music and enjoyed a tremendous international vogue over the next twenty years, as well as exerted a huge influence on the subsequent development of jazz. Ragtime and then early jazz transformed American popular music—the work of songwriters like George Gershwin was crucially shaped by their appropriation of influences from African-American music—and these genres also strongly influenced many European classical composers.

Early America Appropriates Hawaiian Music That Appropriates Croatian Music

Alongside the emergence of jazz, beginning around 1915, Hawaiian music reached the mainstream pop market in the United States. The Hawaiian style (or, more often, Western imitations of it) became a major music fad, retaining a significant audience following from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Hawaiian music was itself a complex mixture of European, native Hawaiian and other Polynesian influences. This is well demonstrated by the work of one of the founders of the genre, Queen Lili’uokalani (1838–1917), the last Queen of Hawaii (pictured below) before the monarchy was overthrown. A musician and composer, she is credited as the composer of the unofficial Hawaiian anthem “Aloha ‘Oe”. She indeed wrote the lyrics and arranged the music but in fact she appropriated the tune from a Croatian folk song called “Sidi Mara na kamen studencu”.

Lili'uokalani

Latin Music: Samba, Rumba and Jazz Have a Ménage à Trois

In the 1930s, the “Latin invasion” that had begun with the tango took off again when American jazz, dance music, and popular song were revolutionized by the “discovery” of other music forms of the Caribbean, Central and South America, a process that was triggered by a significant influx of migrants to the United States from Cuba, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands in the 1940s.

The blending of Latin rhythms and instrumental jazz was pioneered by established American musicians like Duke Ellington. Latin beats rapidly became an essential part of the rhythmical vocabulary of American popular music, providing composers and musicians with a vastly enhanced repertoire of beats and meters. During the 1930s and 1940s, newly appropriated Latin music genres created a series of music movements and dance crazes, including the merengue, the samba, and the rumba.

In 1944 The Andrews Sisters appropriated the song “Rum and Coca-Cola”, which had originally been recorded by Trinidadian musician Lord Invader in the 1930s. The Andrews Sisters’ version sparked a new fad for this infectious new style, calypso. The craze reached its apex of popularity in the mid-1950s with the release of the hugely successful Harry Belafonte single “Banana Boat Song”.

In the late 1950s, repeating the impact of the tango, a seductive new music style called bossa nova emerged from Brazil and it soon swept the world, exerting a huge effect over the course of Western pop and jazz over the next decade and beyond. Nothing better illustrates the lasting impact of this hugely popular genre than the archetypical bossa song, “The Girl From Ipanema”, written in 1962.

The Lion Doesn’t Sleep: Solomon Linda

One of the more controversial examples of cultural appropriation, the pop song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, came during the 1950s. “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” was actually an unacknowledged rewrite of the song “Mbube” by Solomon Linda.

A copy of Linda’s recording reached the American musicologist Alan Lomax; he passed it on to his friend Pete Seeger, who fell in love with it, and it was Seeger who was mainly responsible for popularizing the song in the West. Seeger recorded a version of the song with his noted folk group The Weavers in 1952, retitling it “Wimoweh” (an inaccurate transliteration of the song’s original Zulu refrain, “uyimbube”). They scored a US Top 20 hit with their studio version, and had further success with a live version, which led to it being covered by The Kingston Trio in 1959.

The Weavers’ Carnegie Hall version of “Wimoweh” became a favourite song of The Tokens—they used it as their audition piece when they were offered a contract with RCA Records—and this led to them recording it as their first RCA single. However, it was at this point that the lyrics were re-written by the band’s producers (who took full credit for the song) and it would be several decades more before the full story of the appropriation of Solomon Linda’s work became widely known. Sadly, by then Linda had long since died in poverty. Solomon Linda is shown below.

Solomon-linda

Civil Rights Helped By Appropriation?

Around the time folk was becoming popular, many performers and fans also came to acknowledge African-American music—especially blues and gospel—as a vital element of folk, ultimately contributing to the breakdown of entrenched industry prejudices that had for decades divided the record market into separate ‘pop’ (white) and ‘race’ (black) markets. This connection led to the folk music movement playing an important part in the accelerating civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s. On stage, many African American ‘folk’ performers were able for the first time to perform side-by-side and as equal attractions with white performers, as evidenced by the multiracial lineups at American folk scene’s peak annual peak event, the Newport Folk Festival.

Free Love Means Global Appropriation (But Especially Indian)

Western pop musicians first began to explore the music of other cultures in the mid-sixties, when they began to mix Western electric pop with influences taken from the traditional music of India and other North African / Middle Eastern / Asian countries. The interest in “ethnic” music by groups like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, combined with their worldwide popularity, encouraged other performers and a growing number of record buyers to seek out recordings of non-Western music.

An example of the Rolling Stones’ influence by ethnic music comes in 1968. Guitarist Brian Jones recorded the Master Musicians of Jajouka in the village of Jajouka in northern Morocco. Although there was some criticism of the electronic treatments Jones applied to the recordings in post-production, the LP was one of the first recordings released in the pop market that showcased traditional Moroccan music.

In early 1965, during a tour of America, David Crosby of The Byrds introduced George Harrison to the sitar and the traditional classical music of India. George was captivated by the sound of the instrument; he soon developed a profound interested in Indian music, culture and spirituality, and sparked a trend by taking sitar lessons from Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar. In October 1965 Harrison made pop history when he played a sitar on the Beatles’ recording of the John Lennon song “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”.

beatles_sitar

Other musicians were attempting similar fusions at the time. Brian Wilson, for example, used a koto on one of the songs on The Beach Boys’ classic Pet Sounds LP, but arguably no other single recording had the instant and worldwide impact of “Norwegian Wood”. Another early use of the sitar in pop was on The Rolling Stones’ hit single “Paint It, Black”, released in May 1966.

Jamaica’s Influence

Another world/pop crossover style that emerged in the 1960s was Jamaican ska. It gained a considerable following in the United Kingdom, especially in the mod and skinhead subcultures, thanks to artists such as Prince Buster and Desmond Dekker. An example of a song influenced by Jamaican ska you probably know would be the ska-influenced “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” by the Beatles. At the same time, Desmond Dekker became the first Jamaican musician to score a number 1 hit in the UK with the 1968 reggae song “Israelites”.

Reggae was a distinctive local style that evolved in Jamaica, although its development had been strongly influenced by earlier American soul and R&B. Reggae became widely popular in the UK mostly thanks to Jamaican-born singer-songwriter Bob Marley, who was one of the genre’s main founders and one of its most prolific and consistent songwriters. Reggae’s popularity in Britain was greatly assisted by the fact that a large number of black immigrants from the Caribbean had settled in England since the end of World War II.

In 1972, Johnny Nash scored a major international hit with the reggae-styled “I Can See Clearly Now” (with The Wailers as his backup band). His follow-up single “Stir It Up” was penned by Bob Marley. The style gained wider popularity that year with the cult success of the Jamaican movie The Harder They Come, which starred reggae musician Jimmy Cliff, who also wrote and performed much of the soundtrack album.

Hardertheycome

Internationally, the most successful appropriators of reggae for mainstream pop audiences were the British band The Police, who scored a string of hit singles and hit LPs in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with pop songs played in a reggae style, such as “Walking on the Moon”.

South American Music Is “Discovered”

Another important landmark in the growth of the world music genre, and one which is often overlooked, came in 1970 with the popular Simon & Garfunkel single “El Cóndor Pasa”, taken from their multi-platinum selling Bridge Over Troubled Water LP. Like Harrison’s use of sitar, Paul Simon’s use of Andean folk instruments (including the pan flute) was a pop music “first”. His evocative English-language adaptation of a traditional 18th-century Peruvian folk melody by Jorge Michelberg gave many listeners their first taste of the flavor of Peruvian folk music.

Paul Simon Strikes Again

In 1986, Paul Simon re-emerged as a catalytic figure when he revisited the world music / pop fusion concept he had first used on “El Cóndor Pasa” in 1970. His influential, multi-million-selling Graceland album bore the unmistakable stamp of Simon’s recent discovery of South African township music, and he recorded the album with leading South African session musicians and the vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. These musicians performed on the subsequent concert tours, as did two other special guests, exiled South African music legends Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela. Simon received some criticism for his decision to record in South Africa (which was being economically boycotted by most Western nations for its Apartheid policies).

Hip Hop Sparks More Debate

Hip hop music began as an underground urban phenomenon in the 1970s, achieved mass popular success by the late 1980s and early 1990s, and by the end of the century it had become dominant over rock as the largest selling style of pop music and the primary musical export of the United States.

The importance of musical appropriation to hip hop culture has often been controversial, with many legal challenges to uncredited samples, and heavy criticism for instances where paid samples simply copied the sound of the original song (for example, Puff Daddy’s sampling of a hit by The Police); however, many hip hop musicians and others have argued that sampling in hip hop is no different from the often uncredited appropriation white classical and rock musicians made of earlier black music styles such as jazz and blues, and that the DJ’s creativity, as well as that of the rapper, allows the song to depart significantly from the original sources.

Samples in hip hop are typically only brief snippets of the original, though they often utilize the most recognizable riff or hook of the song. Many hip hop songs sample other forms of African American music, as well. Hank Shocklee of the influential hip hop group Public Enemy has publicly debated the practice with funk bandleader George Clinton, who sued Public Enemy for sampling one of his songs without permission.

As of the 2000s, sampling has become a common form of appropriation in pop music, which has drawn increased influence from hip hop. For example, Barbadian dancehall/pop singer Rihanna’s 2006 hit “SOS” drew directly from the song “Tainted Love” by 1980s English synthpop band Soft Cell. Although both were successful on the Western pop charts, the two acts may have been seen to reflect very different cultures before the appropriation.

At this point, you’d think we would have moved past appropriation as music has become this melting pot, especially with the help of the internet. Access to music is easier than ever but that’s another subject. It seems that appropriation has become more apparent in our pop stars these days. I’m going to focus on some links about our leading pop ladies so you can get more than one opinion.

8 Most Cringe Worthy Acts of 2014: Some of these artists will pop up again, but I did like this list for including a man, although I don’t believe it’s the best example. I thought I had read somewhere that Pharrell actually had a tiny, tiny amount of Native American heritage but I could be wrong on that “fact”. The headdress is also an unfortunate common incident among young, white Hollywood so to single him out is a bit unfair. It’s also a really relevant list, being from just last year.

Bust.com Breaks Down Appropriation In Pop Music: This is fantastically and passionately written. It made me uncomfortable at times, but at times, talks on race can be. You gotta get your big girl pants on and read through, listening to the words as you read. The body part does leave me with some mixed feelings.

Obviously, big back sides have been glorified on black women and I don’t think we should glorify one body forever now but as a white girl that’s all booty, I do love kind of love that we can openly admit to loving a good rump. I’ve always been bottom heavy and used to get teased about it so having role models that embrace their curves, no matter their skin color has helped me get over and self conscious issues. Also, I get to sing about myself with Kanye lyrics so who wouldn’t feel better about themselves after that?

She got a ass that’ll swallow up a g-string
And up top, unh…
Two bee stings

I do think the promoting of overly unrealistic and uniform body types is unhealthy though so I guess I come at it from a more general body image acceptance side.

Katy Perry: Top Offender: Here’s things you’ll never see me do: corn rows (I did as a kid, sorry!), don any sort of tint to my skin, or anything Katy Perry does. Her tunes are catchy, sure, but she just trend hops with her videos ripping off a culture each time. A friend is getting married in Jamaica next year and I do keep threatening to crash her wedding dressed as a typical white tourist with vacation rows. Yes, she’s compared me to Riff Raff. She also prematurely made fun of me for the sunburn I’d get.

BigThink.com: Quicker read than this post, but I think everything is at this point. Definitely dig the focus on male artists as these links are mostly focused on female artists.

The Daily Dot: I appreciate that this one gives examples of white artists successfully not crossing the line. Sometimes, I do agree with the Iggy criticism and sometimes I don’t. I know I wouldn’t rock a culture’s traditional wear unless requested by a gracious host or required in a holy area, but sometimes I feel like she comes from a true place and is just a bit misguided. I think they want to brand her as a rapper, but she skirts the genres in a fast flow pop sound. It also seems like the focus on her appearance is more than other white rappers or hip hop artists because she’s female and it is a pretty male dominated genre.

That’s it everyone! I do hope y’all stuck through the post and enjoyed learning more about the history of music. I know it was a doozy but I feel it’s important to try and open the discussion and work with one another. If you have anything to add, let me know in the comments!

Weekly Record Store Wrap Up (2/16 – 2/22)


Where do I even start with this weekly record store wrap up? I guess we’ll go in order!

RRRecords

The roomie hit up RRREcords on Wednesday and Thursday without me, as I was working and he was on a mission to surprise me. He even babysat the downstairs neighbor’s kids to get some extra cash to go. He grabbed a ton of neat surprises, including:

  • Jackie Wilson and Linda Hopkins
  • Patti Page
  • Various artist disc with UB40, Afrodiziak, Gasper Lawal, Ray Lema and more
  • Faith Evans
  • Da Brat (with Missy freakin’ Elliott!)
  • Fun Lovin’ Criminals
  • Busta Rhymes
  • Destiny’s Child

And really, a lot more but since we went to three different stores this week, I’m trying to restrain myself a bit on these lists!

Garnick's2/20

Garnick’s:

We had a trip planned to Maine for the weekend so I had Friday off. More on that Maine trip in the monthly wrap up! We stopped at the Owl Diner for breakfast and then hit up Garnick’s before heading out. Robert has so many albums put aside and it was tricky limiting ourselves to save up for the next stop! We scooped:

  • Yma Sumac
  • Big Pig
  • Daddy Freddy
  • Donovan (not the one you’re thinking of)
  • An album of T.S. Eliot reading poetry

And of course a few more, but again, holding myself back!

After leaving Garnick’s it was a quick trip up the highway to Portsmouth. We’ve separately spent so much time there so it was nice to make a day trip together.

BullMoose3Dollar

Bull Moose Portsmouth:

We both picked out quite a bit of vinyl and came together to make our purchase. I thumbed through the $3.00 albums, finding Rick James and Donna Summer and clearance (we’ll get to more on that later), leaving Mr. Richard to go through the new releases, focusing on hip hop and reggae / world music. I am really happy with what we picked out, but definitely need to get up there more often to buy even more!

BullMooseVinylWall

I picked out some clearance items, like this Run D.M.C. Christmas single but when I showed the roomie, he was like “meh”. Little did I know he had picked out four surprise singles and had been saving his own Christmas money! He surprised me yesterday when we got home, sneaky and patient. Something I am not since I usually buy and give immediately. One top of the Run D.M.C. single, he bought me:

  • Karen O (Yep, from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs!)
  • The Black Keys (with RZA!)
  • Thievery Corporation (wait until you see the album art on this)
  • Together we limited ourselves to:
  • Fences feat. Macklemore
  • A single that has The Naked and Famous doing a White Sea song and on the B Side, a Naked and Famous song done by White Sea
  • Chuck English with Ab-Soul and Mac Miller
  • Skatalites

Before I wrap up this unusually long weekly post, here’s a teaser of some of the Maine photos coming up!

MaineCoast

A Mid-Week, Random, Snow-pocolypse Update


SnowHell2015

Have you seen the news reports about Boston lately? The whole state, really. According to NECN, my little ol’ town of Lowell is holding it down record wise for snow right now. Oh, and there’s more on the way. To get a glimpse of how insane it is, check out this Buzzfeed link HERE. The above picture is of some of the relief my street finally got today. They started early and are still going strong. It’s been bitterly cold and windy on top of the mountains of unprecedented snowfall. So, what’s me in a cat onesie trying to stay warm and the snow have to do with this blog?

CatSuitMe

 Well, as you may have noticed, I’ve found this groove. Posts go off every five hours and Mr. Richard does a review everyday, with a day off every four or five days. This system goes pretty well with my 40 hour work week (+ like, 15 hours commuting) usually. I’ve been stuck working from home a lot and when I do get into the office, my commute takes about three times as long. When I’m home, he can’t get on the computer to write reviews and when I’m gone, I lose valuable daylight to take pictures and post.

Dawsoncuddles

You would think we’d be able to find a balance and catch up since we’ve both been pretty snowbound, but we’ve both fallen into the winter slump. Does that happen to you? Maybe the roomie and I are both part plant as we tend to thrive more in the summer months. It doesn’t help that the cats just want to snuggle all day and are so damn cute! When we can, we’re trying to use any spare time and decent conditions to get out of the house so look for a fun wrap up at the end of this month.

BeastModeShovel

I hope if you’re living in the north east of North America right now, you’re safe, warm and your backs haven’t gone out. I have shoveling arm from heaving the snow back and over our trash cans in the driveway but hopefully spring is on it’s way soon! I’m not a fan of needing to ice my elbow after being out in feet of snow…

I do plan on getting back on track before this weekend, I even have tomorrow completely off! Thanks for staying tuned everyone, much love.

Weekly Record Store Wrap Up (2/8 – 2/15)


Did everyone enjoy their Valentine’s Day? We ended up needing to cancel our reservations in the city because of more damn snow but we did make it a full week of roomie gifts.

First up, Mr. Richard hit up RRRecords for my gifts. He scooped up two discs from DMX, RuPaul and one from Nate Dogg. I’ve never been to the store as they’re often closed when I think to go there, but the roommate is obsessed with the store. He already has some set aside to pick up that he won’t tell me about! He says they’re “too good and wants to surprise me”.

I ended up getting the albums on Wednesday night since I scooped up a gift for Mr. Richard and had to spill the beans. The aftermath of his illness has left some schedule and control issues so we did need to plan for his Friday night gift. I scored some last minutes to Green Porno (AKA Isabella Rossellini). A little animal sex was perfect for Valentine’s Day! I’ll be writing more about in the monthly wrap up in a few weeks so be on the look out!

Yesterday, we hit up Garnick’s for a quick fix yesterday and to visit with Robert, who was in Florida last week. We picked up some really, really random albums, like a Care Bears picture book and disc and more. I was even gifted a Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers single too! For about a 20 minute trip in, it was well worth it.

This update was a bit brief, but as many of you know, I gotta get outside and shovel some more! This winter in New England has been insane!! If you’re here with me, I hope you’re safe and warm!

Are You In The Mood For Love This Valentine’s Day?


I’m more in the mood for bacon and a Netflix marathon right now, but I figured a few of you out there are snuggled up with your romantic partner, possibly eating chocolate covered strawberries and sipping champagne and need some tunes for your love fest.

In no particular order, check out these love songs that have stood the test of time:

You’re My Best Friend by Queen

You Make Loving Fun by Fleetwood Mac

In Your Eyes by Pater Gabriel

Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel

Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones

Something by The Beatles

Baby Love by The Supremes

This Guy’s in Love with You by Herb Alpert

I Just Called to Say I Love You by Stevie Wonder

I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston

The Power of Love by Huey Lewis & the News

Love Hangover by Diana Ross

Can’t Help Falling in Love by UB40

Let’s Stay Together by Al Green

Love Will Keep Us Together by Captain and Tennille

Crazy in Love by Beyoncé and Jay-Z

It Must Have Been Love by Roxette

Love Takes Time by Mariah Carey

I Can’t Stop Loving You by Ray Charles

My Girl by The Temptations

Weekly Record Store Wrap Up (2/2 – 2/7)


You know what severely hampers record store shopping? SNOW! It has just been dumped down on the Boston area the last two weeks, first with two feet, then another foot and then smaller storms throughout the last week.

I did have a wake and funeral to attend this week. I don’t want to make this a total downer, but a woman who was like a second grandmother to me passed away at 92. She’s one of the strongest people I’ve ever been fortunate enough to have in my life and I hope I have 1% of her goodwill in my bones. She was a music lover too so I’ll be thinking of her while I’m in the stacks.

Thankfully, Garnick’s is just up the street and the guys seem to be open rain, snow or shine (except the Jewish holidays!) so they’re always there to pick you up when you need it. Our music guy, Bobby, was in Florida this week so we didn’t stick around too long, but did take a few minutes to chat turntables, watch silly Russian YouTube videos and go through the stacks.

GarnicksJazz

We picked up only on 7″ disc, Stan Kenton but we grabbed a bunch of 12″ discs too:

Prince (a 12″ we didn’t have for next month’s Price posts!)

Greyhound

The Selecter

Soul Jams

Jazz Samba (an LP with Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd)

A double LP of great Jazz musicians including Chet Baker, Cannonball Adderley, Less McCann, Shorty Rogers and Bud Shank

I also want to give a shout out to WorldHypeTV for the repost of Barrington Levy! Check it out HERE!

A Peek Inside The Music Room


I should warn you before we begin, this is a peek into the music room while it’s still in progress. I’m a bit disappointed to say that it’s been in progress for much too long, there are crates to paint, albums to put away and pictures to be hung up. Oh, and the bed needs to be made. The cats just tend to like it messy as they sleep in the blanket piles and tuck themselves in. I just said I would give y’all a little insight to how we keep the records so I wanted to do that, but you better bet that I’ll be posting a follow up to this post when everything is cleaned up!

BedAndLPs

The room is a bit hard to photograph as it’s a strange shape, more of a lowercase “b” shape than a square. When you walk in, to your right in what would be the bottom of the “b” is my LP storage and our daybed. All of our guests get a kick out of spending the night in the record room for sure!

LPs

Most of the crates are purple as the bed frame is and the remaining crates are gray and yellow. You can see in the above photo that I’m adding another tier to the LP storage and those crates still need to be painted.

LPs2

These LP crates wrap and hug the corner in the room. My idea is to stagger them in an almost pyramid shape and hang our duplicate albums on display above. My mom found these fantastic album frames that will keep them protected from dust and I won’t need to worry about damaging them with a nail hole or anything like that. I don’t really want to put too many trinkets up on the tops of the crates since it’s great exercise for the cats to walk up and down them.

SinglesA-L

To your left, down the long side of the room are all my singles. Closest to the doorway are the As and we make our way down to the Zs as we get closer to the window. The above picture shows A – L, all of which have not been cataloged yet. In front are the LPs that need to be put away once those crates are painted!

Mural

Between the shelving for all of the 45s, is our Yellow Submarine stick on mural I got through work (an online retailer of home décor). It can be taken down and moved around at any time, but for now it’s plunging between the two shelving units. The above photo was taken looking back out of the room from the back window and you can see, this end is pretty cozy. I don’t want to make the already narrow space any tighter so I staggered the different sections a bit. It also keeps the albums away from being directly on the baseboard heat.

SinglesL-Z

Lastly, this shelf is what I’ve been working on getting cataloged. Working backwards in the alphabet, the bottom right corner would be the Zs and the bottom two and a half shelves have all been cataloged so far. The large gap is for the Ps, which I’m currently working on so they’re in our living room. I definitely don’t intend to have anything laying down like you see, but as I sort everything, it just needed to happen.

The very bottom shelf is full of books. It would be great to use this area for actual singles, but they would be way to close to the heat and likely warp. This bookcase came without a back so it’s very exposed but it fit the 45s so perfectly, I couldn’t help but use it when my mom slapped a fresh coat of paint on it and brought it over.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the peek into my somewhat messy record room! Next month, everything should be all cleaned up and photo shoot ready so I’ll certainly post a follow up as soon as I can. I need to figure out where the outlets are and get some better lighting in there too for next time. Maybe Dawson and Daria will even join us for the shoot!

Weekly Record Store Wrap Up (1/26 – 2/1)


Considering we received well over two feet of snow this week and I guess we’re now expecting another foot, making it out to any record store this week was a feat. I didn’t even make it into work for two days because of the weather! I’m still shoveling out from the storm mid-week and now preparing for another. That’s the New England life though!

Knowing we’re likely going to be snowed in again tonight, I went a little nuts at Garnick’s yesterday. Last time we went, two of the guys stayed home because of a storm so we all had to catch up this week. Mostly it was complaining about the plow guys and shoveling. The roomie and I picked up some albums we had set aside and found some gems in the stacks too. The albums are kind of all over the place when it comes to the type of music but you know by now that we’re pretty eclectic!

So what did we grab this week? For 12″ albums we grabbed:

Dirty Vegas

Ray, Goodman & Brown

Bumblebeez 81

The Strangemen

The Bravery

Michigan & Smiley

Johnny, Clegg and Savuka

Sidney Bechet

Katie Webster

t.A.T.u

Slick Rick

Count Basie

Grateful Dead

As for 45s, we picked up:

Banquets

311

The Sandpipers with Mitch Miller and Orchestra

Prince

David Bowie

Look forward to these posts and more coming up soon! A lot of the singles we grabbed are on colored vinyl so I think I’m going to have a special post about how colored vinyl is made and what colors I have. I think I have the full rainbow now!


Be sure to follow on social media too!

My Dad’s Albums on Facebook

@MyDadsAlbums on Twitter

@MyDadsAlbums on Instagram

End Of The Month Wrap Up: January 2015


Happy start to the New Year! I hope everyone got great starts on any resolutions or you’re all just having a great start to the year! January brought me a lot of fun events and only about two feet of snow.

To kick the month off, we had to celebrate Mr. Richard’s birthday. Can you believe we’re both approaching 30? I feel bad, as his birthday is two weeks after Christmas and just saying a gift is for both isn’t fun. He deserves a special day too!

AeronautBreweryBYOV

As a result, I went a little bigger than usual since I could. I surprised him with a B.Y.O.V event at a brewery. That’s right, Bring Your Own Vinyl at a brewery! Aeronaut Brewery was gracious enough to host the event and some friends of mine from work came, as well as a few of the roomie’s friends. It was a really fun night and if you’re in the Boston area (it’s actually in Somerville) definitely stop in for a glass or growler to bring home. I’d recommend their saison and Mr. Richard would tell you to grab a milk stout!

MrRichardsGift

On top of a night on the town, I surprised him with some new albums. I knew he wanted Barrington Levy but I tossed in some old school guilty pleasures to make him feel young too. The Ying Yang Twins, Rihanna, Sean Paul, Redman and N.W.A. are all now in the collection and some have even been posted on the blog already so be sure to poke around.

We also checked out the Ladies of Boston Rock show at Brighton Music Hall this month. If you’re new to the blog, please be sure to check out the pictures in the original post HERE. I also want to give another shout out to the ladies rocking the Safer is S.E.X.Y. booth. You can learn a little more and get to their links through a new type of update post HERE since I forgot to mention them in the Ladies post. If you’re not familiar with their organization or similar ones, please check them out. Their work in the sexual education field is really monumental.

Speaking of those new type of update posts, I’ve been revamping the blog a little bit. At the start of the blog, I was more personal, then pulled back and now I’m ready to get back into it again. Mostly, I wasn’t sure how to actually work a blog and manage space. I was uploading image files that are way too big and it wasted a lot of space for nothing much. One of those updates is my new Weekly Record Store Updates. The roomie and I go so often, I figured it would be a bit of fun to share with you what we pick up and some of the stories that come out of the trip!

Are you following on social media? You should be! You don’t want to miss a thing. Instagram has fun pictures of the collection, peeks at upcoming posts and more while Twitter and Facebook will be a way to connect with everyone more (if you start following!)

My Dad’s Albums on Facebook

@MyDadsAlbums on Twitter

@MyDadsAlbums on Instagram

So, what’s on the agenda for February? It’s Black History month and while I certainly try not to discriminate at any point, I would like to use Mondays in February to highlight specific artists, their impact on society/culture and their influence on me. I also want to visit a local jazz club in Boston for some wine, cheese and good music so be on the look out for everything!

Let’s Get All Sexy And Talk…Storage


Did you know it’s been over two years since I’ve discussed vinyl storage? It’s unbelievable how far my own care of the collection has grown in addition to finally having the full collection in my possession now. Don’t believe me? Check out that original post HERE. Since so much has changed, I want to revisit some of the same storage tips and provide images of what you should and shouldn’t be doing to keep your collection in excellent condition. I’ll be providing a digital tour of the actual record room next week so be sure to check back.

NoRecordStorage2

First, let’s go over some basic no-no’s in storing your vinyl collection:

  • Don’t stack your vinyl
  • Don’t jam your vinyl all into one crate
  • Don’t expose your vinyl to harsh conditions

As you can tell from these first two photos, the vinyl is stacked all on top of each other. Not only are you unorganized and it’s harder to find what you want when you go to listen to it, it can warp the vinyl. You don’t want your favorite jam skipping or worse, becoming completely unplayable. Which leads me to jamming your vinyl into one crate. I like to leave room to not only finger through the stack and easily pull something out, but also enough room that I could add one more album without needing to arrange the shelves again. You should have sturdy dividers, because if you’re storing on an angle, even a slight one, the first album is going to bear all the weight of the other albums.

NoRecordStorage

You also shouldn’t expose your albums to the elements; extremely cold and damp areas or hot and sunny spots. Damp areas mean mold and ugh, it’s just the worst. With heat, you get warping and the sun fades the covers. Owning records to make them last can be tricky, but just find a spot in your home (not the basement), out of direct sun and use shelving to keep them away from direct heat sources. You’ll see we have a baseboard heater in the record room so I just avoid using the bottom shelf of the open unit and keep the shades drawn most days unless taking pictures or looking for something during the day.

Now, let’s get a little more positive and talk about some dos for your collection. The below picture is also a better way to keep your storage, as it’s upright and shows the different sizes stored separate from each other.

  • Do invest in sleeves for your vinyl to protect it from scratches
  • Do keep your vinyl upright
  • Do keep your vinyl in an area you’re comfortable in temperature and humidity wise
  • Do keep your sizes separate; 7″, 10″ 12″ don’t mix well together
  • Do check out even more tips HERE and HERE

GoodStorage

I’ll be honest, some of sleeves have been victims to the cats. It disappoints me but it’s a lesson learned. We’ve trained the cats now to use actual scratching posts and I’m comfortable having the full collection here with me. I sometimes break my own “rules”, like not having dividers on long shelves but I know I won’t ever be selling the collection as it’s such a part of me that I’m okay with being a little bit naughty here and there. That’s life I suppose!

Hope you all found this useful and look forward to the tour of the music room next week. I’m really excited to put the finishing touches in this next week and show it off! Have a great rest of your week and be sure to check out the social media pages for more pictures and updates!!!