Do Do Doo Lookin’ Out My Back Door or Credence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory


Swamp rock practitioners, steeped in soul and a heavy dose of blues, Credence Clearwater Revival were one of the brightest lights of the post-psychedelic era. They balanced great song writing with a penchant for picking stunning covers and in only four years put out seven studio albums that captured a wide range of emotional upheaval that ultimately captured the mood of their time.

Cosmo’s Factory itself is probably the best of their albums, with a virtual ton of FM classics including “Travelin’ Band” “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” “Run Through The Jungle” “Who’ll Stop The Rain” and the 11 minute cover of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.”

Of course, it’s well documented that upheaval was also something the band faced within. In fact, the very reason I had never previously purchased CCR was in fact because John Fogerty told me not to. Well, not directly, but he sure had a hate on for all things CCR in the 80’s and made it clear that we shouldn’t. Being an impressionable teenager, I listened. Anyway, I’ve given up on figuring out the politics of this band and have finally decided to take the plunge.

And… what a plunge! Cosmo’s Factory has no less than 129 editions to date. So let’s take a peek at a few purchasing highlights and try to narrow the choices down.

The original 1970 vinyl pressing sold over 500,000 copies in its first six months of release. Needless to say you can find a copy pretty easily, how well it plays will be the real question. It can range from a couple bucks, to… well, again if it’s near mint, you can get a fair price.

Everything in the next decade was simple reissues until 1980. Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab did a complete remaster that year using their half speed recording process. Again, due to age you might find copies while crate digging but the costs will vary wildly. Near mint ‘vinyl and cover’ will set you back anywhere between $75 dollars and up. I even managed to find a reseller offering up an unopened copy for near $200 US.


By 1984, the CD pounced on the market and in 1986 Digital Compact Classics did a complete remaster for a 24k Gold edition. These CD’s still sell for about $50 in the resale market.

It would be sixteen years before anything big happened again for vinyl lovers.

In 2002, Fantasy Records licensed Analogue Productions to do a remaster of Cosmo’s Factory. Doing strictly reissues from the original analog tapes, Analogue Productions is quite well known for quality work. Their 180 gram version of Cosmo’s Factory still sells for over $90 with some resellers asking for as much as $150. This is where things get interesting. The same two people responsible for this remaster, Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman, were brought back to do the recent 2014 200 gram vinyl remaster. Furthermore, these two are also responsible for the quality of the 2015 180 gram vinyl Newbury Comics edition that was limited to 1000 copies in red translucent wax. Going through the audiophile sites I’ve seen a couple comments praising their work with one person declaring the recent remasters are superior to the original pressing. The 200 gram vinyl is widely available at record retailers and will set you back about $40 and Newbury still has copies of their 180 gram available for only $20 US.


So of course it is a great record, and my copy sounds awesome, but now I have an overwhelming urge to get more.

Oh wait, that’s normal. I always have an overwhelming urge to get more.


Whre To Buy S!#t vol 3 (Blog rendition) – Newbury Comics

What do Wolverine, autographed CD covers and exclusive vinyl have in common?


Newbury Comics

If you’re hunting for the perfect gift for the geek in your life and you don’t want to leave your comfy chair, this is the place to start. The home page of Newbury’s website opens to three major products: comics with limited edition (variant) covers, autographed CD booklets and limited edition coloured vinyl from an eclectic variety of artists.

For the comic lover, Newbury sells exclusive variant editions of the latest comics, with new products available every week. Arriving from every major comic company, some of the most recent material has covers created specifically for Newbury customers. For instance, the new Marvel comic X-Men ’92 with exclusive Newbury cover, is now available. On the left is the Newbury edition and on the right is the one you see at your local comic retailer.

x-men92 1 x92original

If you have an autograph seeking fan of say… Metric or Karen O, then Newbury can set you up with that. A quick click on their Autographed CD cover link reveals a large assortment of artists that have signed their work, ranging from Paul Anka to Spoon with many choices in-between.

However, the real treasure for me is the gift I keep playing on my turntable. A while back, in my quest to find cool vinyl, I found an offer for Nirvana’s Bleach in limited edition 180 gram maroon/black vinyl; I leapt at the chance to own it. Since then, I’ve found myself getting awesome variant wax releases on a fairly regular basis. This recent addiction has gone from Christmas gifts (Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Charlie Brown Christmas), to alt-rock (The Strokes – Room On Fire, Black Keys – Rubber Factory), classic-rock (The Velvet Underground – Velvet Underground & Nico, Lou Reed – Transformer ) musicals (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), jazz (Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue) and my personal holy-grail album: Big Star – #1 Record.


axis2 lr2

For a couple of years now, Newbury has been offering music fans a chance to get “limited edition” vinyl. The prices are competitive with regular vinyl editions that sit on the shelves of most record stores and the shipping costs are quite reasonable. To date, I’ve never had problems with any of the vinyl shipped to me. As for sound quality, I’ve played Big Star’s #1 Record gold coloured variant against the recent 180 gram edition and I’ve found both items sounding great… in fact, I’d lean more towards the gold variant as it “seemed” to have more presence in the guitar and vocals.


At Newbury, new items seem to hit the market every week (the Violent Femmes eponymous debut this week) and the choices, as mentioned earlier, are pretty eclectic; ranging from the Coltrane to The Clash and points in-between. Check them out, you might find yourself signing up to the old mailing list and buying something from time to time. Just don’t be too disappointed if it gets sold out before you get your shot. It’s happened, a couple of times, to me and caused a slight bit of teeth grinding and cursing. But then again, that’s all part of the fun of getting something unique.


A Wish Come True…. or Violent Femmes – Eponymous


One month and sixteen days ago I wrote a little piece on the Violent Femmes eponymous debut lamenting the fact that nothing new in vinyl had been re-released since Rhino did the job back in 2003. Well, that changed today folks…. YAY!

Newbury is offering it in exclusive green marble vinyl.


It looks pretty damn sweet. Anyway, here is a link to the original review and another to Newbury if you want this prize as badly as I.



With hand claps and horns announcing that the Lords Of Austin have returned… or Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

spoon ga1

There was a point a few years ago when I was pretty well convinced that the only American ‘rock’ band left that really mattered was Spoon. Starting with 2001’s Girls Can Tell, Spoon put together a string of four back to back records on Merge, with each new brilliant album being slightly better than the last. Their sound wasn’t based on 60’s surf, 70’s classic, 80’s synth, or 90’s alt-rock… it was, just a groove that made your head nod and forced you to pay attention. You see, Britt Daniel and Co. are more subtle than to give you an obvious influence and instead channel elements of opposing song writing giants to play off of. You get a bit of Costello, a smidgen of the Clash, a hint of the “wall of sound” with a touch of Bowie and then mix in a heaping of original creepy grooves and the result is Spoon.

2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is the fourth and finest of the Merge years taking on all the elements of their previous work and then adding a kind of studio wizardry that arrives from the production of Jon Brion. Britt Daniel can be as depressing as all hell, but the vibe is so intoxicating that you feel compelled to be entertained by the misery. He sings “I want to forget how conviction fits, but can I get out from under it” on “The Underdog” but despite the hostility of the lyrical delivery it plays against type with hand claps and horns “for the Lords of Austin have returned.” (Yes that is a Lord of the Rings reference!)

So, with all this enthusiasm, you know I have to add this to my vinyl collection. Of course the choices are limited to only two. The first is a still widely available regular black vinyl that comes with a download card.

The second, released by Newbury Comics in 2014, is a very limited run of 500 in 180 gram red translucent vinyl that also includes a download card. As you can see, it is gorgeous.


While you can get the standard black for about $20.00, you can expect to pay at least $50.00 on the reseller market for the Newbury edition. Just hoping I can find a copy on a trip to the U.S. so I don’t have to pay a ton in shipping costs.

Black Gold For The Masses or Lou Reed – Transformer


Commercial success and critical acclaim together or apart are not really the true measure of an artist’s work. History and public acceptance can ‘transform’ the perspective and create a re-evaluation, or revisionist history towards how the art is viewed. No other work quite typifies this more than Lou Reed and his second solo effort Transformer.

With the Velvet Underground, Reed became a beacon to the outsider experience and while album sales were low, critics and musicians had found a kind of anti-hero on whom to heap praise. Once the Velvets broke up, Reed continued his stories and of counter-culture misfits but to a more commercialized effect on Transformer. Produced by David Bowie and his guitarist Mick Ronson, Transformer would be heavily influenced by Bowie’s ‘glam’ movement and blur the same androgynous lines. However, Reed would use his own brand of wry observation and deadpan delivery to create characters that lived with and amongst his crowd as opposed to embodying the characters space as Bowie did with Ziggy and Aladdin.

Oddly, it was “Walk On The Wild Side” a song that spoke of transsexuality, oral sex and drug use that propelled the album to heights neither seen by the Velvet Underground or Reed himself in previous efforts. It wouldn’t be until the 1990’s that “Perfect Day” would become an underground hit.

On its release in 1972, Transformer was given mixed reviews by critics who claimed it was overly “art-y” and overly sexual. History of course has shed new light and Transformer has made just about every magazines ‘Best All-Time’ list.

Despite, or maybe due to its recognition, finding vinyl editions of Transformer is pretty easy, but figuring out what works best for you might get a little more difficult. You can find used copies pretty much anywhere. I’m sure a lot of people bought Transformer to get similar material to “Walk On The Wild Side” only to find that it wasn’t like that. As for new, eight official vinyl editions have come out since 2004 with four in just the last three years. On RSD 2012 a straight re-issue was put out in record stores, and is still the most common new copy you will find. In 2013 – 2014 unofficial green and blue versions were released in the UK. Finally, a few weeks ago Newbury Comics put out a Limited Edition half black and half gold version. There were 1200 copies printed and each was gold stamp numbered.

Due to the sheer amount of what is available, you can get most copies of Transformer for less than $30.00 (including the unofficial UK copies). Only the Newbury edition is commanding high prices on the resale market, and that’s pretty damn silly, because you can still get a copy from Newbury for less than $30.00. The split colour looks awesome and indeed sounds great.


You can get it here. Anyway, with his recent induction into the “Rock Hall” you can expect some renewed interest and copies of Transformer may begin to disappear. You might want to give that some thought if you’ve been sitting on the fence.


So many choices… or The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Axis: Bold As Love


The thing about Hendrix is that new fans are born every day. When I was at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame a few years back the Hendrix display was frequented by people of all ages, but especially those of the teenage persuasion. Like the Beatles, the star over Hendrix never dims.

However, when it comes to buying vinyl for Hendrix the choices are both vast and rather confusing. Axis: Bold as Love is a great case in point. Since its original 1967 release in the UK, there have been no less than 137 versions put out across multiple formats. Even its original release had variations from country to country whether it was mono vs. stereo or the cover art itself.

For some reason the French releases put out by Barclay’s all did different cover art for the official Hendrix releases. The French cover art is outstanding, but does add to a bit of confusion when you’re trying to find a definitive version. You need to do a bit of research if you are considering jumping into used copies as there are so many. Also, there have been a few colour vinyl releases of the Barclay cover version recently kicking around that are both unofficial and of questionable quality.


As for the original cover, there have been a few recent options that would allow you to buy new quality vinyl. Sony had Axis: Bold as Love re-mastered in 2010 for re-release across multiple formats, and in 2013 they re-mastered the original mono version of the album. This 2013 release has been the basis for both 180 gram and 200 gram audiophile vinyl that is widely available now, with the original gatefold cover that opens up and unfolds as a big picture.

Even cooler, Newbury Comics has re-released the mono 200 gram vinyl edition in a limited (2500 foil numbered) translucent orange vinyl. It’s both great looking and great sounding.


If you are looking to buy some Hendrix on vinyl this is a great way to start. Hit your local record store for the black 200 gram vinyl, or you can click here for Newbury Comics.

Oh Beautiful Desolation! or Elliott Smith – Eponymous


Some albums just seem timeless by their very nature, and such is the case with Elliott Smith and his eponymous record. What made Smith unique was his ability to be a singer/songwriter playing music in a way reminiscent of Nick Drake but with a sensibility that came from his own life and the darker era of the 1990’s. Call it grunge without a Fender Jaguar to scream emotions in your face. Instead he used light strumming on an acoustic guitar mixed with a thin voice that always seemed like it was on the cusp of breaking. He was heartbreaking and mesmerizing in the same breath. He was better off without the bombast of the era as is proven in his earlier band Heatmiser, which often times seemed like just another band trying to be the ‘flavour of the month,’ because, as hindsight has shown us, he was so much more.

So last night I’m sitting down at the computer to do some writing and I throw Elliott Smith onto Spotify… and I stop before “Needle In the Hay” is even half way finished. I shut down the computer and put the vinyl version on… everything opens up. Streaming just doesn’t capture the depth of low notes and emotional resonance; which is important with Smith or you miss out on the actual desolation being presented in the most beautiful of ways.


My advice, get a physical copy on CD or preferably vinyl, and let the music take you somewhere. The thing is you have quite a few choices. Since its original release in 1995 Kill Rock Stars in the US and Domino in the UK have released nine separate versions of this record. Early copies were on standard vinyl, but starting in starting in 2005 it has been released more in audiophile vinyl with two pressings in 180 Gram.


The first is standard black and is widely available at your local record retailers, while the second is a limited (1000) blue vinyl edition that can be ordered from Newbury Comics.

There is also an orange copy floating around out there but I couldn’t find a vinyl weight or release date for it.


Anyway, get a copy, listen, enjoy!

Where To Buy Sh.. Stuff #4 – Newbury Comics

A while back I wrote a piece about treating everyday like Record Store Day. Thing is, while I don’t really want to endorse one retail place over another, a good deal of the “new” collectible vinyl I have gotten my hands on has been through Newbury Comics. I get an e-mail, I check out the price, and then decide if it is something I REALLY want.


However, like RSD itself, it does come with its detractors. There are those people who would argue that having “special” “limited” “collector” or “variant” editions of records raises prices, causes delays in arrivals of new releases and is an overall cash grab. Generally speaking these limited run records do cost a couple bucks more than the common black vinyl editions. There is also the question of how many variants are needed for a single record. Between 2009 and 2014 there were no less than nine official re-releases of Bleach by Nirvana in 180 gram vinyl and in almost all the colours of a rainbow (blue, green, yellow, red, maroon, white and clear). Two of these colour choices came from Newbury itself and both quickly sold out.

nirvana colour

Still, for me the question is, does the vinyl sound good, and is it giving me a unique fan experience. I don’t go to e-bay resellers who charge way above market after the fact, but I do find it interesting what people will charge for what is essentially scalping records instead of tickets.  Of course my ego plays a part as I find it cool to see something I bought for $20.00 have a new asking price of $100.00 and that only 749 other people on the planet own a copy.

At other times, it gives me an opportunity to buy something I wanted to get, but in a different form. In fact, with music moving more towards a digital medium I think a bands best chance to make money from their “true fans” (those willing to spend money for their music) is to provide them with a variety of formats and “special” opportunities to receive their music in a unique way. The other thing is they do make awesome gifts for those hard to buy for people. I gave a copy of A Charlie Brown Christmas in red and white split vinyl to a very happy friend.


So you see this is where Newbury Comics comes into the picture. For a couple years now they have been offering music fans a chance to get “limited edition” vinyl. The prices are competitive with most record stores for the same records that sit on their shelves and the shipping cost is quite reasonable. To date I’ve never had problems with any of the vinyl shipped to me. As for sound quality, I’ve played Big Star’s #1 Record gold coloured variant against the recent 180 gram edition, and I found both items sounding great… in fact, I’d lean more towards the gold variant as it “seemed” to have a bit of a warmer tone.


Anyway, new items seem to hit the market every week, and the choices are pretty eclectic ranging from the Coltrane to Nirvana and points in-between. Check them out, you might find yourself signing up to the old mailing list and buying something from time to time. Just don’t be too disappointed if it gets sold out before you get your shot. It’s happened a couple times to me and caused a slight bit of teeth grinding and cursing. But then again, that’s all part of the fun of getting something worth having.


Some links to past vinyl releases I wrote about that came from Newbury.

Beyond Classic… Little Richard – Here’s Little Richard


Some music transcends genres in both its artistry and influence. It stands out as a pillar that helps construct everything that comes after. This may sound like hyperbole but when it comes to those artists in the 1950’s that built the foundations of what would be both today’s popular music and rock ‘n’ roll, most descriptions come off as mere euphemisms.

One can point at Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and a few others and pontificate for days about the significance of these artists. Yet they may never capture the real depth and importance.

Then you have Little Richard.

It just isn’t enough to say he laid down the foundation of rock ‘n’ roll, because he works on so many more levels. It’s rock, r&b, soul, funk,  and subsequently how pop music has sounded for the last 60 years.

When I listen to Richard I hear Motown and Stax a couple years before they even existed. I see Elton John’s glitter, James Brown dance and the Ramones screaming out a four count. Oh and let us not even get started on the all out performance.

This is why I say that this record is beyond classic.

Had Richard’s not left Rock ‘n’ Roll for religion immediately following this record, his reputation might very well have risen into the upper echelon of “Rock Gods”, instead of a guy standing around  schlepping fast food deals for Taco Bell.

Forget for a moment that Rolling Stone has this album ranked at #50 in it’s top 500 all-time, and that it made the list of 1001 Albums you must hear before you die. The only important thing is the music itself.

This album is early rock at its most powerful and a blue print to almost every sub-genre off rock since. Yes, it is that good.

Luckily, it is readily available across all formats right now with new re-mastered vinyl editions being released just back in December 2014.


You can pick up a 180 gram black vinyl edition at your better record retailers, or a limited edition opaque orange (only 500 copies made) copy here.

#1 in so many damn ways… Big Star – #1 Record

History is fluid and changes with interpretation and the times that follow. So, something that was once dismissed or missed can be re-examined and pulled into the light in a way that perhaps it wasn’t before. Such was, is and may forever be the story of how Big Star and their debut #1 Record are considered.


It is one of the planets greatest rock ‘n’ roll records, and still almost no one beyond critics and hipsters has truly given it the time of day. Sure Rolling Stone has it in their 500 Greatest Records of All-Time, but that doesn’t really result in the kind of record sales and recognition that should be afforded this band.

Obviously, the information is out there, in different formats and many stories told; so I’m just going to point out a few in hopes that you see an opportunity to get yourself some great music.

First, if you have access to Netflix than you can catch the Big Star biography Nothing Can Hurt Me. It is a great examination into the history of Big Star, and also offers an awesome soundtrack of alternate takes from Big Star and their principle songwriters Chris Bell and Alex Chilton.


Next there is a new biography on Alex Chilton named A Man Called Destruction. It is pretty eye opening and well worth the read.


Finally, the one album I was here to tell you about on this day, #1 Record. While it would be easy for me to sit here heaping praise, it is easier to just point out its influence. Matthew Sweet, Teenage Fanclub, The Posies, Lemonheads, Wilco and much of the 90’s alt rock pantheon were influenced by #1 Record.

Some of the songs you may recognize from are:

“In The Street” – It became the theme song to That 70’s Show.

“The Ballad of El Goodo” – Has been covered numerous times by acts such as Evan Dando, Mathew Sweet, Counting Crows, Zeus, Wellspring and Wilco.

“Thirteen” – Picked by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time, and I’ll just add, one of the most amazing songs ever.

Anyway, your opportunity is that as vinyl goes, there have been some recently released re-masters that are available. First a little company called 4 Men with Beards was given permission to re-release #1 Record on 180 gram black vinyl. I haven’t found an exact number printed, but it must be at least sizable enough to fill demand.

The second release is a little more exclusive, Newbury Comics with permission of Big Star’s record label Ardent have released 1000 copies of #1 Record on translucent gold vinyl. Trust me when I say, it is awesome!


In fact, that is kind of my point; #1 Record is one of the greatest albums one can have in their collection. If I printed my version of the top 10 records of all time it would be among them. More importantly, if I was to take off my critic hat and just list my favourite 10 records, again it would sit amongst the top. In fact, it just might be a contender for number one.