I really love to hear an amazing record that I’ve never, ever heard before. But where the hell is a shy guy like me going to find cool but rarely heard music? At the record shop? It’s not easy for me. I’m not the kind of guy to ask a record clerk a question. Ever. It’s a self-esteem thing. I imagine that if I ask for help the clerk will react in one of three ways:
1. A loud guffaw right in my face. (This happened once, when I wasn’t yet aware that the composer’s name was pronounced “Vahg-ner.” Other clerks in the area were immediately notified of my ignorance.)
2. The clerk will decide either that:
a. I am not cool enough to appreciate whatever it is I have asked for, or
b. whatever I have asked for is so incredibly lame, I should leave the premises immediately and never darken its door again. (I can’t prove this happens, but I am certain it does.)
3. The clerk will inform me that the item in question never existed, you stupid fool.
So I never ask.
And therefore it is with great joy that I share with you my favorite newly discovered mp3 blogs, where musical archeologists even more dedicatedly obsessed than I search the world for incredible audio documents, which they then post for all the world to hear.
1. PCL Link Dump | http://easydreamer.blogspot.com | These bloggers present a hip collection of pop-cultural links of merit as well as their very own audio compilations for download — e.g., a great collection of 1960s radio commercials (Tom Jones! The Velvet Underground! Ravi Shankar!) or the long-out-of-print An Evening With Wild Man Fischer.
2. WFMU’s Beware of the Blog | http://blog.wfmu.org | New Jersey’s amazing freeform radio station’s blog, where all manner of unusual audio can be accessed. Nothing will prepare you for its variety and quality, from a recording of postal workers in Ghana whistling while rhythmically cancelling stamps, to a 1970 recording of Ed Wood associate Criswell predicting the future, where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives!
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3. Funky 16 Corners | http://funky16corners.blogspot.com | This is the most chair-sittin’-butt-shakin’ way I’ve found to learn about ’60s and ’70s funk. Larry Grogan generously shares his unique and eminently danceable finds — such as Lou Rawls’ snaky take on Donovan’s “Season of the Witch,” and an insanely souled-up “Like a Rolling Stone” by Phil Flowers & the Flower Shop. How does it feel, indeed.
4. Spread the Good Word | http://reverendfrost.blogspot.com | Curated by one Reverend Frost, this blog explores the roots of rock with a religious ferver that would make Lux & Ivy proud, with stellar examples of primitive country, gospel and raw early rock & roll. This is where I finally heard the electric gospel of Sister Rosetta Tharp (outside of her who-the-hell-was-that moment in the movie Amelie).
5. Music You (Possibly) Won’t Hear Anyplace Else | http://musicyouwont.blogspot.com | Exploring the world of pre-rock vinyl is Lee Hartsfeld’s calling. During the last three months, he has posted dozens if not hundreds of Halloween, Thanksgiving & Christmas records in categories like kiddie, exotica, unhip, corporate and celebrity. During non-holiday times, the site examines the roots of country, the roots of Elvis, plus a whole lot of Merv Griffin.
Reverend Dan is the host of Music for Nimrods, heard late-late Friday night, early-early Saturday morning (3-6 a.m.) on KXLU 88.9 FM.