Saturday, 18 June 2016

My Top Ten Record Collection Songs

This week's post is dedicated to all regular readers of this blog, and to music bloggers everywhere. I thank you for your time and your patronage. And I want you to know: I share your pain.

I guess it looks as if you're reorganizing your records. What is this though? Chronological?


Not alphabetical...




No fucking way!

10. Kevin Devine - Guys With Record Collections

Geeky acoustic whimsy from this Devine New York singer songwriter's 2006 album Circle Gets The Square; it sets the tone quite nicely for this week's list...
So I'm starting up a Boys' Club
For guys with record collections
And the girls they hurt to get them...
Shame there's only a lo fi live version on youtube, the studio recording is much better.

9.  Rod Stewart & The Temptations - The Motown Song

Here's one that will sort the Men from the Musos. Originally by Larry John McNally - his version is slightly more cred, but a lot less of a guilty pleasure - Rod pops it up with the Temptations on backing vocals and manages to create the best record of his post-70s heyday. Being pretty creaky myself, I always think of this as a pretty recent entry in the newly knighted Sir Rodney's discography, although it's now 25 years old. According to iffypedia, however, it did at the time mark his 30th year in the music biz since he first auditioned (for Joe Meek - who wasn't particularly impressed!) back in 1961. 
Bring over your old Motown records
Put the speakers in the window and we'll go
On the roof and listen to the Miracles
Echo through the alley down below...
If anyone ever asks you what the early 90s looked liked: show them this video.

8. The National - Looking For Astronauts

If you're an avid record collector, Matt Berninger has some advice that will chill you to the bone...
Throw from your window your record collection
They all run together and never make sense, but that's how we like it, and that's all we want
Something to cry for and something to hunt
7. Marah - Why Independent Record Stores Fail

An amusing story told from the perspective of a guy who works in a record store, doting over the pretty city girl who's running her bony fingers through his 45s...
I ain't too good at saying things
But I could tape you certain songs...
A shame young men don't woo this way anymore. Not that it was ever a great success for me, but I enjoyed giving it a shot.

Ironically, this was released as a vinyl-only b-side for Record Store Day.

6. Todd Snider - Vinyl Records

Todd Snider has a very big record collection - and he takes it everywhere with him. Even on a plane. (Can someone please buy him an mp3 player?)
I got all of Booker T's, Tom T. Hall's
Bobby Bare, Belafonte and the New York Dolls
Billy Joe, Jimmy Croce, Kiss, Crosby Stills and Nash
John, June and Roseanne Cash
I got Forbert, Fromholtz, Stevie Ray
T-Birds, Yardbirds, Sam and Dave
And as some of y'all mighta guessed already
I got piles and piles and piles of...
Tom Petty
5. Corinne Bailey Rae - Put Your Records On

Good to see Ms. Bailey Rae back (at last) with her third album, released just a few weeks ago... and on my list. This is the record that got her noticed in the first place, 10 years ago, and it still sounds fresh and beautiful today.

Plus, she's from Leeds. So extra marks for that.

See also I Put Your Records On by The Pierces, just to prove that it's not just blokes who are obsessed with record collections.

4. Adam & The Ants - Stand & Deliver

What's the Dandy Highwayman doing here? Simple...
The devil take your stereo
And your record collection!
The way you look,
You'll qualify
For next year's old aged pension.
That's you told. Fan-diddly-qua-qua!

3. Eric Church - Record Year

In the holy trinity of contemporary country stars (wherein Blake Shelton is the sparkly eyed pretty boy beloved of the tabloids, Brad Paisley is the honourable family man and class clown, and Eric Church is the dangerous bad boy tamed by a good woman), Church is winning out for me at the moment. I'm sure that'll change as sure as one of the other two brings out a new record, but I'm so enamoured with Mr. Church's last one, Mr. Misunderstood, they're both gonna have to work extra hard to make me put that aside. It's only ten tracks long, but so many great albums know that less is more.
I guess I really oughta call and thank you
I rediscovered Red Headed Stranger
Got down with old James Brown
And found New Grass Revival
If you find your way back, I owe you a beer
For my record year
Record Year has to put up a fight - on most other albums it would be the standout track. Simply put, it's about a guy who gets dumped by a girl... and retreats to his record collection for comfort. What is it John Cusack said at the start of Hi Fidelity...?
What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?
2. Billy Bragg & The Blokes - Tears Of My Tracks

True blues from Billy (the only blue this Righteous Red ever gets) when he's forced to sell his vinyl...
I'm down but I'm not out
Lord, I'm hurting
Somebody owns all my albums now
They probably don't even wonder how
My name got written on the sleeves...
Imagine buying a load of second hand records only to find them all signed by Billy Bragg!

Although the story's a little bit different, this song always reminds me of this classic deleted scene from the aforementioned Hi Fidelity.

1. The Mystery Jets - Greatest Hits

In my Top Ten Divorce Songs a couple of weeks back, Number One with a bullet was Lloyd Cole's Half of Everything, about a couple dividing up their belongings after a break-up. This is the record collection version of that story... see how many great old albums you can identify in The Mystery Jets' finest hour...
You can take The Lexicon of Love away
But I'm keeping Remain in Light
You can take away It's A Shame About Ray
But I'm holding on to Country Life
Well you can keep No Need To Argue and I'll keep The Aeroplane Over The Sea
But hold on to The Boy With The Arab Strap
'Cause I'm holding on to Village Green

Which one makes you go fan-diddly-qua-qua?


  1. Good stuff Rol. Lissie has a song called Record Collector but as far as I can make out it is not about music

  2. According to Deacon Blue, when you get a girlfriend, record collections tend to go out the window...

    "And I'll show you all the photographs
    That I ever got took
    And I'll play you old 45's
    That now mean nothing to me..." (Deacon Blue – Real Gone Kid)

    Meanwhile, Todd Snider has a HUGE list of artists who make up the "dusty old pile of vinyl records sittin' on my floor"

    1. Good call on the Deacon Blue, but look a little closer (#6) and you might find Todd already represented. ;-)

    2. My apologies. I am old and easily confused.

    3. My apologies. I am old and easily confused.

  3. Not a huge Mystery Jets fan, but I totally agree that 'Greatest Hits' is by far their finest hour.

  4. It's also from their best album, the one where they went all Americana. The latest - where they go all Pink Floyd - isn't a patch on it.

  5. It has nothing to do with record collections directly, but I nominate Dry The Rain by The Beta Band, simply for the scene in the movie adaptation of High Fidelity where Rob says something along the lines of "I will now sell five copies of The Three E.P.s by the Beta Band" and puts this on in the shop. You know, this scene.

    1. You mean the scene that caused me to go out and buy The Three E.P.s by the Beta Band....only to discover the version they used in the film is massively edited to get more quickly to the hook? That scene? ;-)


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