MY FIRST PUBLISHED PIECE was with the Wyoming Valley West High School newspaper, where I was the nerd who got the gig of reviewing records. That was 1969 and, like most nerds with super cool record collections, I wrote condescending reviews of records that all my non-nerd classmates bought. I remember damning Glen Campbell and dismissing Cream’s farewell album, GOODBYE.
Then, everything changed. In 1970, I found Paul Williams’s book Outlaw Blues, a collection of his writings from Crawdaddy magazine. Williams didn’t write negative reviews—he wrote about the music and the records that he loved and how they affected him.
My response to his take on rock music was, “Wowie zowie, baby! I’m only writing about what I like from now on!” I have tried to emulate Paul ever since.
At Rather Rare Records, you will find articles about music and records that I dig, plus information on collecting records.
So, here at Rather Rare Records, you will find very little condescension or even sarcasm. You will find articles about the music and the records that I love and how they affect me. 2
Forty years later and I’m convinced that people want to read what I write about what I like about the music of the ’50s and ’60s, and so we find ourselves here at Rather Rare Records.
On February 10, 1942, RCA Victor presented Glenn Miller with the American record industry’s first known gold record. It was an in-house award for sales of 1,000,000 copies of “Chattanooga Choo Choo” on their Bluebird Records imprint. In this photo, the presenter of the award is W. Wallace Early with radio announcer Paul Douglas. The basic design of this award may have been the inspiration for the RIAA’s Gold Record Award in 1958. Curiously, RCA has never submitted this record to the RIAA for official certification!
What is Rather Rare Records?
While the name sounds like a place that sells old records, it’s not. Rather Rare Records is a collection of articles about music and the records where that music can be found and heard—and collected.
All the articles here are by me.
Most of my articles cover ’50s and ’60s rock & roll—you know, the music that was so great they didn’t have to invent a ridiculous term like “classic rock” to sell it.
You will also find articles for record collectors, including lengthy discographies and up-to-date price guides. Even if you haven’t a collectors bone in your body, you should be able to enjoy most of these pieces.
What about me?
It’s fairly common to have an “About” link on the navigational menu of most sites taking you to a page explaining the writer or business to the reader. There’s some info about me up there on the menu, but if you want to know a thing or two about me personally, click HERE.
If you want to know something about me professionally, at least with regards to records and collecting, click HERE.
If you need to know more, there’s a section for comments on every page and post on this site. Just go and pick one and ask whatever it is you want to know. But be wary: I have been caught embellishing a tale or two about myself in the past.
Who is this blog for?
Well, I actually don’t visualize some ideal reader, but most of my articles are written for people like this:
But beware—some articles are definitely geared towards collectors like this:
But really, just about anybody can read most of what’s on Rather Rare Records.
Where is the aging (ex)hippe?
You knew I had to find a place for this photo, as it’s all the “personal branding” I’ve got out there on the wonderfully wacky world wide web. I can admit that it is almost five years old, and since then I’ve lost my hair, my teeth, my knees, my short-term memory, and my once-svelte boyish waist.
In their place, Wholly Grommett in His infinite wisdom has replaced these losses by increasing my ability to cry during chick-flicks.
If you have suggestions or questions for me here at Rather Rare Records that you do not want to be posted publicly, this is the place to post them. Finally, if you have a collection of records or related collectables that you want to sell, please let me know as I might be interested in buying them!
My books for vinyl junkies
There are eight articles on this site explaining the various books I published for record collectors. These posts provide additional background information on me and my career. They are best read in the following order, which is roughly chronological:
The featured image at the top of the home page for this site (Rather Rare Records) was lifted from an ad for Rotary Connection’s debut album. The ad appeared in the March-April 1968 issue of Crawdaddy. At that time, I was a fairy clean-cut 16-year old, with “long” hair that covered my collar! By 1970, I looked vaguely like the head in this ad (without the receding hairline).
Even more information
If you want a more “intimate” look-see at me, click on over to Some Background. It’s a list of my a few of my favorite things, like favorite single (Elvis Presley’s Hound Dog / Don’t Be Cruel) and favorite album (Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds) that will give you a small sense of who I am.
For my political beliefs, try On Being a Mystical Liberal, where I confess to residing in the astral plane of progressivism.
FEATURED IMAGE: In the past, I have used both of these images as this site’s featured image at the top of the homepage. Both are taken from an advertisement for a new Rotary Connection album in 1968 (see above).