Dominic's SSR Pick: August 18, 2022

Hey there Sorry Staters! How are you all? It’s been a while. The long, hot summer is almost over. Time has flown past it seems. So much has happened in the world at large and in all our lives, it’s hard to keep up. Of course, the big event here in the Sorry State universe was Scarecrow’s European Tour. I’ll leave Daniel, Jeff and Usman to catch you up on some of their tour highlights. They definitely have stories. We’re all very proud of how well Scarecrow were received and how the tour went in general. They’re so cool. It sure is nice having them back at Sorry State Towers. We missed ‘em.

Even with half the team touring, business kept going back home. Records, new and old, have been flowing through the store at quite a rate. If you follow our Instagram posts, you’ll have an idea and certainly if you have visited the store itself you would be left in no doubt. Through our hustle and blessings from the vinyl gods, all sorts of interesting and cool records have come our way. Collections, large and small, are constantly being worked on to make sure we can bring you not only the rare gems but also the staples that should reside in any decent collection. In addition, all the certified bangers, cool, expensive, and hard to find stuff, we also naturally get in a lot of common and cheap records as well. Our bargain bins are always full of good records for less than $5, so no matter your budget you should always be able to find something. Assuming you have a non-blinkered approach to music appreciation, that is.

Personally, I’ve had another summer come and go without much to report. No vacations or beach trips or much “fun” at all, really. I must say that I do get my fun quota from work, though. Listening to music, dealing with records and the interactions with folks at the store is fun. For the most part. Lol. Anyone who has worked retail, a record store and the service industry know what it’s like. Anytime you deal with the public there’s the x factor that will always keep things interesting. For us in record stores, the x factor is, what will be in the box of records that this person is bringing in? Will there be something cool? The randomness and unexpected are what keeps me willing to get on my knees and dig through boxes of dusty records in the hope of pulling out that something special. Never stop digging, as they say. I’ve found many a great record wedged in between a classical LP and a Chuck Mangione. It doesn’t happen all the time but enough to make me want to check the worst looking, musty smelling, hand blackening pile of records just in case.

The vinyl gods smiled on me recently when they sent in a guy who had a bunch of 45s to sell. They were all pop singles from the late 60s through early 70s, which although not bad songs are hard to sell for very much these days. The modern record buyer seems less interested in 45s, especially without a picture sleeve. Typically, we pass on buying records like that, but they were all clean copies, and I did spy a couple that I knew and wanted, so I made him an offer and he accepted. At pennies on the dollar, it was a good deal, and I snagged a couple that made me happy.

The two that interested me were by Ann Margret, the Swedish American actress and singer who for most rock fans is known for her starring role opposite Elvis in Viva Las Vegas from 1964. That was my introduction to her and in that film, she comes close to stealing the show from Elvis, which not many others can claim to have done. Over the years, I would investigate other soundtracks from movies she was in and check out singles and albums when I found them. Most don’t offer much musically for me, but there are several gems in her catalogue here and there. Notably, the songs she cut with Lee Hazlewood in 1968 that resulted in the album The Cowboy & The Lady released on Hazlewood’s own LHI label the following year. That album has accrued almost cult status in recent years due primarily to the huge interest in Lee Hazlewood and his productions. The album was cut in Nashville and meant as a genuine country record and although it can be argued that Ann Margaret’s vocal style doesn’t quite suit the genre, the songs are decent, and Hazlewood does a good job of trying to recreate the magic and atmosphere of the hits he scored with Nancy Sinatra during the previous two years. For whatever reason, the record buying public didn’t agree, and the planned second record never got recorded. Ann Margret returned to her film and TV career and Hazlewood moved to Sweden for further adventures.

Before the Cowboy & The Lady LP was released, two singles came out and these were the two that I snagged. Across the four sides, Hazlewood experimented with several styles of music, pop, country and psychedelic. It was that last style that produced the winner. The song called It’s A Nice World To Visit (But Not To live In) is a cool fuzz guitar garage psych tune that rightfully has been the song sought after. For a good while, the only way to hear it was from the original 45, but in recent years it has appeared on compilations and expanded album reissues. Light In The Attic, the Seattle based reissue label did a great job a few years back with their handling of the Lee Hazlewood catalogue. They put out his albums and compilations that rounded up all those stray singles. I probably don’t need to tell any of you how cool Lee Hazlewood is. His story is well documented elsewhere but certainly do yourself a favour and investigate if you are not familiar.

Anyway, after years of knowing about this tune, it was great to finally get a copy. It would have been cooler to have found it twenty years ago to include in DJ sets when interest in garage and psych tunes was peaking and I was out spinning more often, but I did get to include it on the Worldy radio show the other week. For those unfamiliar with this record, you can click here to check it out. The title of the tune alone sums up probably how a lot of us are feeling these days, right?

I’ll leave you with just that nugget this week. If it was old hat for you, my apologies, but hopefully it will send you down some rabbit holes of exploring. Side note: if you haven’t watched Viva Las Vegas or the Nancy Sinatra TV special, add both to your viewing queue. Both are fab prime technicolor 60s essentials. I think the music is cool but if nothing else the fashion and cars definitely are. Happy watching. Until next time.


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