For the Record- Music I’ll Never Stop Listening To

Posted: April 18, 2009 in The Roper Files
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To call myself a bit of a music geek would be an understatement. I have at least six or seven large heavy wooden crates full of old out-dated vinyl records and several hundred CDs. All of this needs to be converted to MP3s; yeah, yeah… I know. I’ll get around to it one of these days.
The whole music industry has been grabbed by its ankles, turned upside down and shaken for spare change by the Internet and file-sharing. Bands no longer need the mainstream labels to promote themselves; they can sell MP3s or CDs off of MySpace, Facebook or their own site. The days of waiting for some cigar-chomping CEO to “discover” and produce you are long gone.
Whoops my age is showing but I am a bit sentimental about going to a record store and shopping for music. I miss the album artwork the stickers, posters and lyric sheets vinyl albums had tucked inside as a bonus surprise. And who would have ever thought ten years ago we would see the Virgin Megastores and Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard close their doors?
But just flipping through my albums there are a few gems I will never get tired of; this is the music that shaped me for better or for worse. Let’s take a little stroll through my record collection.
But I warn you: from this point on there’s no turning back.
You’re on a downward spiraling one-way bunny-hop to Hell:

Davie Allan & the Arrows…some of my favorite guitar players just never seem to get the breaks I feel they deserve. It’s usually not until after they DIE that their music gets used in film soundtracks by trendy directors scraping it for “street cred” or they get nominated for those Hall Of Fame-type awards. Davie Allan has been playing the same West Coast clubs since the 60’s. One of the first guitar players to make use of the fuzz box, he has made the sound his own and proudly wears the title “king of the fuzz guitar”
I got to meet him last February in Austin so yeah I’m a little prejudiced. Go to his website and look for my favorites: “ Live Run” and “Fuzz Fest” which he will autograph and buy the rest of his discs too.


Butthole Surfers…that other little ole band from Texas. Austin punks who specialize in noise with an occasional melody tossed in as a surprise. They’ve been at it since the early 80’s and have been sort of challenged in recent years by drug and alcohol problems and only recording and touring once in a while. So long in fact they recently did a “reunion” tour of ten cities. Wish they could get it together and act like a band again sometime soon. Recommended: “Hairway to Steven” is my personal favorite album although you can download their two-disc “doublelive” off of their website for free as well as the excellent show they did here in 2003 at the Ridglea Theater.

The Cramps… wrote a recent two-part obituary here recently for the late great Lux Interior: and also: Read these; no use repeating myself here.
Also look for “Smell Of Female”, “Stay Sick” or “A Date With Elvis” , my three favorites on CD or vinyl.

Dick Dale…another great guitarist who got a glimmer of the recognition he deserved when Quentin Tarantino used his 60’s instrumental hit “Miserlou” in his box office smash PULP FICTION .
Rhino Records has some great compilations; look for the one with the great 45 he cut with the late Stevie Ray Vaughn covering “Pipeline” and his CD “Tribal Thunder” is worth looking for as well.

Dead Kennedys (original line-up) … I saw these guys no less than three times in the early 80’s and it was always memorable each time. Look for the “Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables” LP w/the poster and lyric sheet; it’s worth whatever you have to pay for it, and any of the DVDs.

DEVO…first saw these guys in 1978 on Saturday Night Live ( Fred Willard was the guest) and it was love at first sight. As much fun to watch as they were to listen to, I’ve seen them live no less than a half-dozen times. Look for “Duty Now for the Future” , my personal favorite or better yet the Rhino DVD “The Complete Truth About De-evolution”

Iggy Pop …. Look for either the “Nude and Rude” compilation CD or his “Live at the Avenue B” DVD

King Crimson … these guys have been around in one form or another since 1969; buy all their CDs. They’re all great.  My favorites: “Red” and the live “B’boom” ; look for any of the three DVDs they have available as well.

Ramones …. Saw these guys at least a half dozen times; now most of them are dead. There are countless compilations on the Rhino label; any of them are a good place to start. Also “Loco Live” my personal favorite and look for the cool but pricey “Tales From the Ramones” box set which I will buy someday….

Residents… If you aren’t familiar with these guys look for either the “Icky Flix” DVD ( a good place to start) or better yet the “Reich and Roll” CD

Roxy Music … for the romantic in me. I NEVER get tired of their immortal first album and if you can find them look for the BBC broadcasts which I have foolishly purchased more than once under multiple titles: “Champaign And Novocaine” “Re-make, Re-Model” and the two-disc “First Kiss” which is probably the one to look for.

Sex Pistols … Never mind the bootlegs; look for the original studio LP and also the excellent documentary “The Filth and the Fury”

Link Wray … Saw him twice before his untimely passing on a few years ago. One of the most ripped-off recording artists ever; his material has been repackaged ad nauseum. Any of the Norton stuff is worth getting; my favorite LP is the 1979 “Live at the Paradiso” and the 1996 “Rumble Man” CD is an excellent live soundboard worth looking for.

Frank Zappa … Look for the Baby Snakes DVD or my two favorites: the “Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar” and “Guitar”

There’s more… I left out a lot of people: the prog-rock bands I listened to in the late 70’s: Yes, Genesis, ELP, … and I left out a lot of punk bands I probably should have listed. But all of these recordings made the list because I still to this day dig them out and listen to them. My heart gets going; a little life flows through my house like a river for a few minutes.
Don’t really listen to a lot of rock anymore. Wayne Kramer of the MC5 once said that performing rock and roll is becoming a lost art and there may be something to that. There’s only so many ways to smash a guitar after all.
Now I listen to more jazz than anything else. I love Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker and can spend an entire day lost in their CDs. It’s certainly been a buyers market at the used stores; I’ve been finding some really sweet deals lately.
But every once in a while I put on an old 45 and LP, turn my 120-watt Pioneer up really loud and for a few minutes my place rocks.
And that’s a good thing once in a while.


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