NYCD: The Blog

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


If you've been following Billy Joel's career and loving it, from the early days of "Piano Man" right on through every unfortunate drunken car crash, or if you're just a casual fan, or even someone who is curious, then what you saw last night at Madison Square Garden could have only been as good as or better than expected.

For the longest time, the two things I most feared hearing were, "Sal, this is Dr. Bloom and it doesn't look good," and "You had to be a BEEEG SHOT, DEEN CHOO!" Billy Joel, a once respected singer-songwriter with more hits than Dave Kingman, had become an icon of sleaze. A buffoon, whose pretentious forays into classical music and the gossip columns turned off even the most loyal fans. But I did, and still do, like many of his records, and once I heard that this run of shows would contain some deep catalogue songs, I had to go.

Billy Joel was a gentleman, who stuck to the music and kept his "colorful" (read: obnoxious) banter to a minimum. His voice sounded younger than ever. And his choice of material was...well...not as interesting as promised, but still quite good. Early rehearsal setlists included such oddities as the Beatleque "Laura," from The Nylon Curtain, "The Great Wall Of China," from River Of Dreams, and my two fave Joel songs, "Until the Night," from 52nd Street and "Summer, Highland Falls" from Turnstiles. I didn't get any of those. I did get "Vienna," "All For Leyna," "A Matter Of Trust" and a surprisingly good "Highway To Hell" sung by a roadie named Chainsaw.

Songs that I expected to yawn or cringe through -- "Movin' Out", "Captain Jack," and "You May Be Right" -- were performed with such enthusiasm that I forgot how much I hated them, and enjoyed myself with the other 20,000 people.

Of course, there was nothing I could do about "Big Shot," which Joel performed sporting a backwards baseball cap and throwing his hands in the air like a Beastie Boy. And, the sight of a very "happy" couple, standing up and proudly shouting every word of "We Didn't Start The Fire," while pointing violently at each other to the beat. It was almost enough to ruin, not only the show, but a night's sleep. Fortunately, those two moments did neither.

He also performed "The Entertainer," a song that tells the story of someone who knows how fickle his fans can be. I can't help but think those same lyrics, if written by Fountains Of Wayne or some other hip new band, would be considered funny and clever. But instead, the "hip and clever" roll their eyes in contempt at Billy Joel. I think I understand, but I always put the music first, especially if the person in question is a musician. Billy Joel at MSG was a treat. I think I wanna go again.

Quick, name a 90-year-old cocktail pianist who wrote one of the biggest hit singles of 1947 and is still active today.

OK, name another.

If you either have a very long memory or a complete set of the "Your Hit Parade" CDs from Time/Life, you still might not know that Irving Fields wrote some classic hits in the '40s like "Managua, Nicaragua" and "The Miami Beach Rhumba," before becoming one of the best-known and most in-demand cocktail pianists in New York and recording a slew of albums in the '50s, including the lounge/kitsch classic
Bagels And Bongos. Once piano players stopped being a necessity in the finer hotels and cocktail lounges in the '60s and '70s, Irving fell on hard times, but always managed to find steady work. Nowadays, at an age when most of his contemporaries are either dead or drooling into their Maypo, you can find him tickling the ivories six nights a week at an Italian restaurant on West 58th St., and loving every minute of it.

On Monday, normally his night off, Irving was booked into the Friars Club for two hours of piano wizardry and shmoozing with the crowd who had come to watch him work his magic, and he didn't disappoint. He played everything from Gershwin medleys to half-forgotten show tunes to a rhumba-ized version of "Hava Nagila," naturally called "Havana Nagila." You simply can't faze the man. Request any song written before 1950, and he'll play it. Ask if you can sing a standard off-key while he accompanies you, and he'll say yes -- usually. Sidle up to the piano between songs and ask about his career, you'll get a fascinating 10 minute soliloquy. He spent as much time walking from table to table and chatting up the Friars and Friar-ettes as he spent actually playing, but to me, especially in my inebriated state, that was part of the charm. The crowd, most of whom were getting their first toupees and facelifts before I was born, ate it up, too.

It's hard to believe that not so long ago, guys like Irving Fields were a fixture all over New York. Now, he's the last of a dying breed. The man may be in his 90s, but his fingers are ageless -- go check him out. And while you're at it, order a copy of "Bagels And Bongos," which has finally been reissued on CD. Irving rocks!

Thursday, February 23, 2006






Before we get to next week's new releases, don't forget that our store is closed! So if you want to buy stuff from us, check out our inventory on



BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - "HAMMERSMITH ODEON: LIVE '75." The concert that knocked our socks off when it was released as a DVD in the "Born To Run" deluxe edition is now available separately and on CD. Two CDs for a very low price, this concert is pretty much the defining moment of the E Street Band. Even Bruce says so. One listen and there's no turning back.

ELVIS COSTELLO & THE METROPOLE ORKEST - "MY FLAME BURNS BLUE." A surprisingly good release from the not-so-popular pseudo-classical/jazz side of Elvis Costello. Disc one features unique versions of Costello classics and some brand new material, which includes the title track, a rearrangement of the Ellington classic "Blood Count" with lyrics by Costello himself. Disc two, while not as exciting, is the full performance of Costello's opera "Il Sogno." This two CD set is priced as a single CD, so just don't pay any attention to disc two and enjoy the first disc!


Available for the first time in the US, the first solo albums from Yes members JON ANDERSON, CHRIS SQUIRE, and ALAN WHITE. Vocalist Anderson's two entries, "OLIAS OF SUNHILLOW" and "SONG OF SEVEN," feature his typical blend of pretention and whimsy. Alan White's "RAMSHACKLED" is the least reminiscent of the band, blending British R & B and jazz fusion. The most successful of the lot is the one that doesn't stray too far from the formula that put Yes on the map. Chris Squire's "FISH OUT OF WATER" is a surprisingly good record, featuring Bill Bruford on drums.

DAVE EDMUNDS - "GET IT." Long out of print, Dave's classic gets reissued from Wounded Bird. No bonus material, but this one is so good it doesn't need any.

RHETT MILLER - "THE BELIEVER." We've been talking about this one for weeks, and now it's time for you to hear for yourself. Strong songwriting and addictive melodies from the ex-member of the Old 97's.

Not a lot this week, but they're all solid. If you want to order any of them, or if there's anything coming out that we didn't mention but you want, EMAIL US at or call us at (212) 244-3460.

STEVE WYNN, rock and roll legend, super-nice-guy, and a fine Parcheesi player, has just released a brilliant new record, "Tick... Tick... Tick...," and we have the LIMITED EDITION BRITISH PRESSING on sale for $12.99! This is a much nicer package than the American version, and we only have a few, so get your orders in now.

Keep checking the blog to find out what's pissing us off this week, see one of our many lists featuring things we like to list, read something negative about our old neighborhood, and so much more. Tell all your friends and then they can hate you too!

Until next week, we leave you with this:

A sampling of what's been on our iPods, CD players, and computers this week:

STONED PT. 1 - Lewis Taylor
87 SOUTHBOUND - Wayne Hancock
CUEBALLIN' - Charlie Hunter Trio
METEOR SHOWER - Rhett Miller
GARAB - Rachid Taha
GIMME DAT DING - The Pipkins
SWAMBA REDUX - Charlie Hunter Trio
ACT OF THE APOSTLE - Belle & Sebastian
ROLY POLY - The Little Willies
PUMP UP THE DOORBELL - White Stripes vs. Eric B. & Rakim

Your friends,
George W. Vagina and Penis Cheney

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Where Did Our Love Go

When I was growing up, my friends would beat the living crud out of each other on a daily basis. It was mostly because of musical disagreements. I witnessed Ralphie Messina punching John Wiesner over and over because Wiesner liked Ritchie Blackmore better than Jimmy Page. You could say what you want about Ralphie's mother, but if you didn't care for Led Zeppelin, you got smacked in the nose with your lunchbox.

I didn't see this, but it was the talk of Avenue Y in Brooklyn for weeks. Paul Nunez threw a "D" battery at the speed of a Jim Palmer fastball right at the back of Mike Genco's head because Genco said he hated Geddy Lee's voice. It was found out later, that Genco had been dating Nunez' girlfriend Debbie, days before Nunez and Debbie broke up. That little adventure simply made Nunez say, "No way."

I don't condone violence, although watching Louie Zampino carrying a bucket of fish from Sheepshead Bay and then get each one of the baby snapper thrown at his face because he told Tommy Easley he hated the Grateful Dead, is a damn fine memory.

We just don't have that passion for music anymore. It's a shame.

Monday, February 20, 2006


I'd always thought it was a girl thing.

Any time I'd ask a female born between 1970-75 what her favorite music was, the reply was always, more or less, the same -- new wave music from the '80s that was popular on MTV. Whether it was the mopeyness of the Smiths, the fluffiness of Duran Duran, the gothiness of Siouxsie & The Banshees, or the gothy-mopey-fluffiness of Depeche Mode and the Cure, it all registered to me as "music I liked when I was 14." I figured, condescendingly, that 1985 was the last time these women were really on top of what was happening in pop music, and that they cared less about it with each passing year, to the point where the occasional Sarah McLachlan CD and a box full of tapes they bought in high school was all they really needed in their music collection. Gals, I surmised, just aren't as geeky or obsessed about music as we fellas are, so their tastes calcify and they don't really want to expand their horizons.

Boy, was I wrong.

During a lull at the office the other day, the NYCD crew got a case of "High Fidelity-itis." All work was suspended as we agonizingly tried to figure out our 20 favorite albums of all time. A half hour later, we were done, and my preconceptions about the music tastes of females and males were shot to heck.

Of Sal's Top 20, no less than 13 were albums that came out, and which he bought, between the ages of 9 and 13. Virtually every album on Rob's list was released and made its way into his collection before he was 15. And my list? One album out of 20 which was released, and which I purchased, in my high school days. Not to mention 10 that came out before I was born. After asking a few other guys for their alltime faves, and getting similar answers, it became clear that this was not a gender-based thing. Damn near everyone seems to favor the music they grew up with. Except for me, the freak.

I thought back to the music I listened to in my formative pubescent years. ABC, Wang Chung, Kajagoogoo, Adam & The Ants... records that I still enjoy to this day, as long as I don't have to listen to them more than once a year. But nothing that could make me one day say to my grandchildren, "See, you little whippersnappers? Now THIS is music, not like that garbage you kids listen to nowadays."

Now, I'm not a big fan of glam, but I can sort of understand Sal's argument that Mott The Hoople have made two of the greatest records of all time. And psychedelic music doesn't turn me on, but the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane are definitely important bands in the history of rock, so Rob has nothing to be ashamed of. But the conclusion I came to was inescapable:

When I was 14, my taste in music kinda sucked.

It seemed like I was always slow on the uptake. When the Ramones and the Clash were conquering the world, I was rocking out to a 2 LP mail-order compilation of Elvis' movie themes. When Talking Heads put out "Remain In Light" and Elvis Costello released "Get Happy!!!" where was I? Buying "McCartney II,", that's where. And when my musical taste finally dovetailed with what was happening on the radio and MTV, I STILL missed the boat. I passed on R.E.M.'s "Murmur" and Hüsker Dü's "Zen Arcade" in favor of the Robert Hazard mini-LP (remember those?) Julian Lennon's "Valotte." It wasn't until years later that I got wise to all the great music that was out there, and how little of it was in my record collection.

So to all you women out there whom I've maligned for your supposedly lame taste in music, I apologize. Now let's break out those Dexy's Midnight Runners records and DANCE!

(Printed in alphabetical order. You'll have to guess which picks belong to which NYCD-er, although you can be reasonably sure that if the artist wore a lot of makeup, it's Sal's; if they were tripping during the recording sessions, it's Rob's; and if it was recorded by someone wearing a jaunty fedora, it's Tony's.)

THE BAND - The Band
BEASTIE BOYS - Paul's Boutique
BEATLES - The Beatles (White Album)
BEATLES - A Hard Day's Night
BEATLES - Revolver (chosen by all three of us, so it MUST be great)
BLUE CHEER - Outside Inside
BLUES PROJECT - Projections
DAVID BOWIE - Hunky Dory
DAVID BOWIE - Station To Station
JAMES BROWN - Love Power Peace: Live In Paris 1971
CHARLATANS - Charlatans
THE CLASH - The Clash (U.S. version)
ELVIS COSTELLO - This Year's Model
COUNTRY JOE & THE FISH - Electric Music For Mind & Body
BOB DYLAN - Blood On The Tracks
BOB DYLAN - Bringing It All Back Home (chosen by two of us)
BOB DYLAN - Desire
BUDDY GRECO - I Like It Swinging***
JIMI HENDRIX - Axis: Bold As Love
DAN HICKS - Where's The Money
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE - After Bathing At Baxter's
LED ZEPPELIN - Houses Of The Holy
LED ZEPPELIN - Physical Graffiti
LOVE - Da Capo
LOVIN' SPOONFUL - Do You Believe In Magic
MOTT THE HOOPLE - All The Young Dudes
PINK FLOYD - Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
QUEEN - Queen II
R.E.M. - Lifes Rich Pageant
RAMONES - Ramones
ROLLING STONES - Between The Buttons
ROLLING STONES - Exile On Main St. (chosen by two of us)
TODD RUNDGREN - Something/Anything
FRANK SINATRA - A Swingin' Affair
FRANK SINATRA - Sings For Only The Lonely
SLY & THE FAMILY STONE - Greatest Hits*
SMALL FACES - Ogden's Nut Gone Flake
TALKING HEADS - Remain In Light
THE WHO - Sell Out
ZOMBIES - Odessey & Oracle (chosen by two of us)

* Some people may see greatest hits albums as "cheating," but Sly's hits album came out in 1970, when all these songs were still pretty new, so it's not like some sort of historical anthology. And it flows as organically as any of his "real" albums.

** Compilations can also be considered "cheating," but the original 2 LP "Nuggets" is such an entity unto itself, and such an important album in the history of rock in its own right, that it's the exception to the rule.

*** Screw all you naysayers. Buddy Greco's a top man.

Thursday, February 16, 2006



"I thought he was a knockwurst," said Cheney. In related news, Maureen Dowd hits Bush in back of head with frying pan. "I just wanted to hear 'DOINK!'," says Dowd.

Unfortunately, it was for her mailbox.

The "new" Cars will be touring without its two principals- Ric Ocasek, and the late Benjamin Orr. Rock Legend Todd Rundgren, who is quickly becoming the Dan Hedaya of rock, has signed on as lead singer. Rundgren has also signed on as bassist for Loverboy, keyboardist for Quarterflash, and bullpen catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies.


ARCTIC MONKEYS - "Whatever People Say I Am That" Hyped to death, this debut from the Arctic Monkeys gets a U.S release. Better than some, not as good as most, repeated listens made this a much better record than we originally thought. Still, hype like this should be reserved for astronauts and snowstorms.

BABYSHAMBLES - "DOWN IN ALBION." Not the long-rumored field recordings from Angola Prison, this is the debut album from former Libertine Pete Doherty's new band, finally out in the States for those who still care and didn't get the import when it came out several months ago.

BILLY BRAGG - REISSUES. His first three albums and live EPs get remastered and reissued by the great Yep Roc label, complete with bonus tracks. If you like lefties with a good heart who sing about mildly amusing subjects with a heavy Cockney accent, then Billy's your man. Available individually or in a box that includes two DVDs! Unfortunately, we haven't been told what's on the DVDs, but if you care, email us at and we'll try to get more details.

RAY DAVIES - "OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES." You've been hearing about it for months, we've been raving about it for weeks, and now's your chance to finally hear for yourselves what all the fuss is about. Better than anything he's done with the Kinks for the last 25 years.

DEREK TRUCKS BAND - "SONGLINES." First new recording in nearly four years from the honorary Allman Brother. Trucks' slide guitar playing is astonishing throughout, while his band serves up a little funk, a little jazz, and a lot of soul. A great record.

EELS - "LIVE AT TOWN HALL WITH STRINGS." Recorded at New York City's Town Hall on 6/25/05, a man we used to call A Man Called E performs unique takes of his unique originals, as well as some choice covers, such as the Left Banke's "Pretty Ballerina" and Prince's "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man." Also available on DVD with a slightly different track listing.

ELBOW - "LEADERS OF THE FREE WORLD." This is their fourth album, and you may order it if you like.

LEVON HELM - "MIDNIGHT RAMBLE VOLS. 1 & 2." Culled from his late-night sessions from his barn in Woodstock, NY, this is the rock legend with some very famous friends, such as Dr. John, Jimmy Vivino, Larry Campbell, Steven Bernstein, and the late Johnnie Johnson, running through a cornucopia of musical walnuts, including gospel standards, blues classics, rockabilly raveups, Band songs, and more. Available in two separate volumes, each including a DVD.

MOTT THE HOOPLE - "ALL THE YOUNG DUDES" & "MOTT" REISSUES. Two of Sal's favorite albums of all time finally get the upgrade they deserve. Classic records from the '70s, now featuring bonus tracks and new remastering. Tony is still waiting for reissues of two of his favorite albums, "More Bagels & Bongos" and "Pizza & Bongos" by Irving Fields.

SANTANA - "SANTANA III" (REISSUE). 35th anniversary Legacy Edition includes the original 1971 album plus 4 bonus tracks on one disc, and a complete show from the Fillmore West on Disc 2.

TEDDY THOMPSON - "SEPARATE WAYS." US release of Richard's son's sophomore effort. Guest appearances by his dad and a whole bunch of Wainwrights.

MERLE HAGGARD - REISSUES. Ten classic Haggard records now reissued on five twofer CDs, remastered and including unreleased material. Including "Someday We'll Look Back," "Mama Tried," "Sing Me Back Home," and "Swinging Doors & The Bottle Let Me Down."

RUDY VAN GELDER/BLUE NOTE RECORDS REISSUES. RVG remasters of Art Blakey's "Mosaic," Dexter Gordon's "A Swingin' Affair," Hank Mobley's "Dippin'," Lee Morgan's "Tom Cat," Horace Silver's "Silver's Serenade," and Jimmy Smith's "Softly As A Summer Breeze." Also from Blue Note this week... a brand new quintet recording from acclaimed pianist Andrew Hill, "Timelines."

GET YOUR ORDERS IN A.S.A.P.! Email us at or call us at (212) 244-3460 and ask for the King Of Postage.

CHECK OUT WHAT WE'RE SELLING ON AMAZON! There's a ton available at prices that are lower than ever!

SELL US YOUR CDs AND DVDs!!! We are always looking for more product, so clean off your shelves and bring your discs to us! And if you have too many to carry, we'll even make housecalls! We will pay cash, and we will look at everything you have, but just remember -- you're probably not the first person in New York who decided to get rid of that second Edie Brickell album. We pay accordingly.


In the words of the great Bob French -- if you like what you read, tell everybody. If you don't like what you read, don't tell nobody.

Your friends,
Marc Almond and Mr. Peanut

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


If "curling" has left you cold and confused. Try this. While waiting for my wife to come home from work, I threw on CNBC to watch the "C" events of the Winter Olympics. The particular event at the time was USA VS. Japan- CURLING. After 10 minutes of mind-numbing action, I turned down the sound and threw the iPod into my portable speakers and hit random. The first song to play was "Zorba The Greek" by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. The combo of these "athletes" sweeping their way to heaven and the frenetic sounds of the TJB was enough to send me reeling. I laughed so hard, I pulled something I didn't know I had.

I was having fun. I let the iPod run. The next random tune was a slow dirge-like version of The Beatles' "Yesterday" from jazz newcomer Chris Potter. This was even funnier. Watching C. Johnson, (that's what it said on the back of her jersey) slowly launch that soup tureen up the ice, while Potter's sax explored McCartney's melody was surreal.

I've decided to experiment with some other combinations. Much like the "Wizard Of Oz/Dark Side Of The Moon" phenomenon, I'm thinking "Speed Skating/Highway 61 Revisited." What about the Figure Skating Pairs? Wouldn't it be a treat to see the beauty of the choreography, skated to something other than the "Main Title Theme from The Name Of The Rose?" Think of Yevgeny Plushenko flailing his arms in presentation to "Itchykoo Park" by the Small Faces?" Triple lutz, perfect landing, Steve Marriott- "WE'LL GET HIIIIGH-IIII!"

It's not too late.

Friday, February 10, 2006


With the release of the highly-anticipated and incredibly wonderful Ray Davies solo CD "Other People's Lives" just weeks away, the head Kink has been in high profile lately. And justifiably so. The
Kinks may not have had as many hits as The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, and certainly not as much airplay on classic rock radio as The Who, but to many people, Ray Davies' is the songwriter of choice.

Many Kinks' fans, including us here at NYCD, dismissed just about all The Kinks' releases post "Give The People What They Want," The Kinks' last solid LP, from 1981. Gone was the nuance of such classics as "Nothing In The World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'bout That Girl," which was used to such great effect in the cult classic "Rushmore," and "I Need You," a song as simple as the more famous "You Really Got Me, " but even more primal and raw. The records seemed full of over-produced, stadium-rock anthems that just did not cut it. Where was "Waterloo Sunset" or "Oklahoma USA?"

Then one day, while discussing the new Ray release with a good friend of NYCD and die hard Kinks fan, we brought up this same discussion. Why have the Kinks sucked since 1981? Even the Rolling Stones managed to churn out a few classics in the same time frame.

One week later, he presented us with a homemade CD: THE KINKS - Latter Day Gems.

His explanation: "Ray Davies still writes amazing songs. The record companies keep picking the weakest tracks as the singles, no one is interested and the record disappears, leaving the amazing tracks unheard."

Here's his track listing for the CD. We'd probably heard them when they first came out and we gave perfunctory listens to the albums they came from. When surrounded by mediocre songs, they got lost in the shuffle, but on this disc, they all sounded like the classics they are.

1. Scattered
2. War Is Over
3. Good Day
4. Did Ya
5. Quiet Life
6. Animal
7. Heart Of Gold
8. The Million Pound Semi-Detached
9. My Diary
10. How Are You
11. Surviving
12. Hatred
13. Look Through Any Doorway
14. Long Distance
15. Expectation
16. Down All The Days

Here are the albums they came from:

Word Of Mouth (1984)
Think Visual (1986)
UK Jive (1991)
Phobia (1993)
To The Bone (1996)

All these albums have some amazing stuff alongside some real crap, but they're all worthwhile if you're a Kinks fan. They're NOT available on iTunes, so pick 'em up any way you can. Perhaps even order them from us!

Thursday, February 09, 2006


This week's newsletter will be brief, as next week's new releases are less than exciting. But more importantly, our physical and emotional is too fragile - as it usually is at this time, the morning after the biggest stupid night in music. So we'll get to some new releases as well as some upcoming items, right away. And check below for our Annual Grammy Rant!


LOS LOBOS - "WOLF TRACKS: THE VERY BEST OF." No one loves Los Lobos more than we do, but after a 2 CD best-of and a 4 CD box set, we don't find anything too exciting about the boast of it being the first ever single disc best-of. Still, if there are many of you out there who haven't heard enough Los Lobos, this could be the place for you to start.

SERGIO MENDES - "TIMELESS." Mendes has made himself a bit of a legend, thanks to Brasil 66 and their infectious hits such as "Mais Que Nada," "The Look Of Love," and "Day Tripper," to name a few. Now, as most has-beens are wont to do, he gets a lot of young non-talent to muck up his older hits by adding off-key melismatic warbling, hip-hop beats, and one too many "Yeah, boyee!"s in "Fool On The Hill," in a misguided attempt to appeal to the kids. If you want to appeal to kids, endorse a Playstation game and leave your classic catalog alone.

TALKING HEADS - DUALDISC REISSUES, PT. 2. The second batch, which features "Speaking In Tongues," "Little Creatures," and those two awful, might-as-well-be-Byrne-solo-records, "True Stories" and "Naked," all feature 5.1 Surround Sound on the DVD side, as well as video material and bonus tracks.

THE SUBWAYS - "YOUNG FOR ETERNITY." Hailed by NME as "the sexiest thing to sweep rock n' roll off its feet in years." In England, of course, "years" means "since last Thursday." This finally gets domestic release, and it really is a good rock n' roll record. But they ain't no Arctic Monkeys! Now dem's a fine band -- the best thing to come out of England since the Subways! Sure to be in $2 crates in record stores around the country in years, which in America means "next Thursday."

VARIOUS ARTISTS - "THE LOTTA LOVE CONCERT: A TRIBUTE TO NICOLETTE LARSON." An all-star tribute to the late great voice behind such hits as "Lotta Love" and "I'll Fly Away," not to mention a bunch of Neil Young records. Such superstars as Crosby, Stills & Nash, Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Carole King and Joe Walsh pay tribute on this wonderful live recording.

And there you have it! There are many other releases for next week that may interest you even if they didn't interest us, so by all means, if there's something you want, please write ( or call (212) 244-3460. We'll get you whatever you want!

In the next few weeks we've got some really strong releases coming your way, at long last. We'll start with three that could end up on our year-end best-of list:

RHETT MILLER's (ex-Old '97s) sophomore release, "THE BELIEVER," which picks up where his fine debut, "THE INSTIGATOR," leaves off, with some more excellent pop-rock/, not unlike a modern-day Byrds. Out 2/28. KEY TRACKS: "Meteor Shower" and "I'm With Her."

RAY DAVIES - "OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES." One of the greatest songwriters in rock history returns with his first ever solo album, and it's a real return to form. Everything you wanted the last ten Kinks records to be, and more. Out 2/28. KEY TRACKS: "All She Wrote," "Is There Life After Breakfast," "The Tourist."

And the surprise of the lot... VAN MORRISON - "PAY THE DEVIL." After cranking out mediocre records for over a decade, at a pace faster than white trash gets booked on "Maury", Van the Man returns to remind us why we call him "Van The Man." "Pay The Devil" is a country record, featuring standards like "Half As Much," "My Bucket Got A Hole In It," and "Your Cheatin' Heart," as well as 12 others not attributed to Hank Williams. The arrangements are perfect, not overproduced or drenched in cheesy strings and background vocals, and Van sounds like he's been wanting to make this record for years. Out 3/7. KEY TRACKS: "Half As Much," "Till I Gain Control Again."


BILLY BRAGG - 7 remastered reissues.
MERLE HAGGARD - 5 twofers featuring 10 classic albums, newly remastered.
... and the long awaited US remasters of MOTT THE HOOPLE's "ALL THE YOUNG DUDES" and "MOTT," both featuring bonus tracks!


AND REMEMBER... WE HAVE A NEW PHONE NUMBER (212-244-3460), and for those of you on the Upper West Side who have not noticed, THE STORE IS CLOSED!

Your friends,
Sly & The Ganse Mishpucha


We keep going back to the Grammy telecast each year, knowing full well that it will leave us flummoxed, repulsed, and disgusted with the industry we call music. One debacle after another leaves us gasping for air and desperate for talent. But it sure makes for fun blogging! Here's a recap of the evening in all its "glory."

NOT A BAD OPENING, BUT THEN... : We were pleasantly shocked at the sight of a leggy MADONNA cavorting with a digitized, animated GORILLAZ ("one of 26 animated performances," according to the clueless announcer) for a medley of "Feel Good Inc." and "Hung Up," two top 40 songs we don't mind hearing. And then, as fast as we could say "melisma," ALICIA KEYS and STEVIE WONDER spent a cringemaking eternity bantering about nothing, before a ham-fisted tribute to the great Coretta Scott King. The acapella version of Stevie's classic "Higher Ground" was made even more painful by Keys' off-key vamping on the word "No," over and over again. Our sentiments exactly! Thankfully, they then gave out the award for Best Female Pop Vocal to someone who actually deserved it, KELLY CLARKSON, who made the best damn pop song we heard all last year, "Since U Been Gone." We know there are still many of you out there who refuse to believe us, and who are chuckling to yourselves over this one. But hey, a pop song is supposed to have a hook and a melody, and should be performed well, and Ms. Clarkson did just that.

MARY J. BLIGE DUETS WITH U2: Right here, in our very newsletter, we've said negative things in the past about artists we now have respect for. Maybe they didn't deserve the praise heaped on them at first, but they later escaped from Suckdom, and we gave them credit for it. MARY J. BLIGE, on the other hand, is now in her 15th year as a professional recording artist, and she has yet to learn how to sing. We don't care that she was singing with U2 -- she couldn't carry a tune if it had a handle. We're guessing the only reason the Academy keeps inviting her back is an ongoing bet among its members -- sort of like a death pool -- to see if this is the year she'll sing one note on-key. We beg of you, whoever's reading: If there's a way to make her stop recording, we'll cover your bets.

DAVID BOWIE'S LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD ANNOUNCED BY... WHO?! How befitting that a rock n' roll legend, DAVID BOWIE, is paid tribute to by people who really understand his work -- LUDACRIS and MATT DILLON. Not to mention the induction speech, which was written, it seems, by ... Ludacris and Matt Dillon. "It's time for 'The Man Who Sold The World' to be honored for his 'Fame.' Ain't that 'Hunky Dory' for such a 'Space Oddity?' Now let's show some 'Modern Love' to 'The Laughing Gnome' who is a 'Heroes' to us all. So 'Let's Dance' with our 'China Girl' and commit 'Rock N' Roll Suicide' so we don't have to watch the stupid f***ing Grammys anymore."

TIME FOR A HIGHLIGHT! First highlight of the evening -- SIR PAUL McCARTNEY tearing the roof off the sucker with a blistering version of "Helter Skelter." He may be pushing 130 now, but he still knows how to rock. A true pro.

And how befitting to follow up such a rock n' roll legend with WILL.I.AM, JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT and STACY FERGUSON! Who thought this was a good idea?! And why?

THE HAND OF MARIAH: We decided to hit the mute button for MARIAH CAREY's performance -- we figured that watching her hand flutter around while she oversang was enough. Without the music, it looked like she was being attacked by a swarm of gnats, which we're sure would have been more fun than the song. It certainly looked like quite the extravaganza. With each curtain revealing another 25 people onstage, including the choir and the horn section and the preacher, all that was missing from this cacophonous mess was a Monty Python animated foot to stamp them all out of our misery. And again, we want to mention that f***ing hand, going up and down to represent, for all of us who had our TVs on mute, which notes she was singing. Hand above her head, high note. Hand around her bosom, low note. Hand fluttering around, oversinging or gnats, we weren't sure. Very helpful! Thanks, Mariah!

POP VOCAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: We weren't that upset that KELLY CLARKSON nabbed this one, since "Behind These Hazel Eyes" and "Since U Been Gone," played six times each, probably would have been one of the best albums of the year. But apart from those two stellar toons and couple of other pretty good ones, there's a lotta filler on that there CD. We were hoping PAUL McCARTNEY would win, not because we think his album is particularly good -- it isn't -- but to hear the confused and half-hearted applause that would have greeted the announcement.

And finally, the moment we'd been sincerely waiting for since the rumors had started:

THE SLY & THE FAMILY STONE REUNION! We've often said in our newsletter how much we love and respect SLY & THE FAMILY STONE. So when a reunion with the original band and Sly's first public appearance in close to 20 years was announced, we could hardly contain ourselves. The big question was, would Sly show up? And what kind of shape would he be in, after decades of rumors about his health and his use of illicit substances? The tribute began the way any tribute to a musical legend should begin -- with such "names" as VAN HUNT, MAROON 5, and the surprise duet of the evening with MOMS MABLEY and JOHNNY KNOXVILLE. Oh wait, it was FANTASIA and DEVIN LIMA. Never mind.... Who are these non-talents?! When the band finally kicked in -- a band that featured NILE RODGERS, JOE PERRY, and lots of other people not named Stone, the excitement began to build. And then Steven Tyler proclaimed, "OK, Sly, let's play it like we used to!" Funny, we didn't know Sly Stone was in AEROSMITH... but the next thing we knew, the stage was attacked by a Quetzalcoatl, and the potential for a spine-tingling reunion was over. Once the shock receded that the frightening figure in a blond mohawk and gold lam
é duster, mumbling some barely audible grunts and pathetically trying to find chords on his keyboard, was none other than what's left of SLY STONE, the sadness sunk in. Makes Dick Clark performing post-stroke on "New Year's Rockin' Eve" seem pretty respectable, doesn't it?

IN CLOSING: We are more qualified to sing a song on the Grammys with HERBIE HANCOCK than CHRISTINA AGUILERA is, because we know more about jazz than she does, and we're better singers. She just looks better in a blond wig. The sad thing is that all the label execs probably thought their duet was really good. Maybe they'll change their minds once they turn 30.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006




SPARKS - "HELLO YOUNG LOVERS." The followup to 2003's critically acclaimed "Lil Beethoven."

LEMMY - "DAMAGE CASE." 2 CD anthology covering the early years with the Rockin' Vickers and Hawkwind through his collaborations with the Damned, Girlschool, and Dave Grohl, with a couple of choice Motorhead cuts for good measure.

"UPTIGHT TONIGHT: THE ULTIMATE '60S GARAGE COLLECTION." 26 tracks, including lots of gems not on the 4 CD "Nuggets" box!

"SHE WILL HAVE HER WAY: THE SONGS OF TIM & NEIL FINN." 16 tracks penned by the brothers Finn and interpreted by Aussies including Natalie Imbruglia, Kasey Chambers and Missy Higgins, to name a few.

"MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY! CLASSIC SONGS OF THE'50S AND '60S." Am amazing 40 track anthology of some of the greatest pop hits of all time by Tony Bennett, Dinah Washington, Ava Gardner (!), Nina Simone, Patti Page, Johnny Mathis and many more, brilliantly compiled and sequenced by the good folks at Rhino. No US release date scheduled!

SOLOMON BURKE - "THAT'S HEAVY BABY: THE BEST OF THE MGM YEARS 1971-73." A 22 track compilation of the generally hard-to-find MGM years, featuring the legendary "3 Psalms Of Elton" suite.

CARL WAYNE - "SONGS FROM THE WOOD AND BEYOND: 1973-2003." Sharing vocals in the legendary British band The Move, Carl Wayne and Roy Wood remained friends long after the Move dissolved, and here's a compilation of some hidden gems, half of them previously unreleased, featuring both Carl and Roy!

STEVE MARRIOTT - "TIN SOLDIER: THE ANTHOLOGY." One of the greatest voices in rock n' roll (you know him from his work with the Small Faces and Humble Pie, as well as his solo work) gets boxed! 64 tracks dating as far back as pre-Small Faces solo singles, with a full disc highlighting the out-of-print Humble Pie records, right up to his last work with Peter Frampton before his death in 1991.

LITTLE WILLIE JOHN - "THE KING SESSIONS 1958-1960." 24 classic tracks, not including "Fever," but you probably have that on some various artists compilation anyway. What it does have is "Leave My Kitten Alone," "I'm Shakin'," "Spasms," "Talk To Me," "Sleep," and many more. Newly remastered by the good people at Ace!

NICK HARPER - "TREASURE ISLAND." Roy Harper's son releases another strong record.


RICHARD THOMPSON - "RT: THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF RICHARD THOMPSON." Unfortunately, the pre-order sale is over, but we do have THREE COPIES LEFT at the still-low import price of $84.99. You get five CDs of PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED MATERIAL, a 172 page color booklet, and a voucher for yet another disc if you're one of the first 5,000 people to mail it in.

EMAIL US! LET US KNOW WHAT YOU WANT! We have very few of all these titles, so it's a first-come, first-served kinda thing.!


Friday, February 03, 2006

I LOVE THE '90s... THE 1890s

With a few notable exceptions, just about everything worth reissuing has come out on CD at some point in the last 20 years. From '60s garage bands to forgotten Broadway shows, disco one-shots to old klezmer hits, a century of musical history is out there, waiting for someone geeky and/or obsessed enough to buy it. And in a lot of cases, I was that obsessed geek. Lester Lanin's big band doing a twist version of "Turkey In The Straw"? Got it. The Shadows Of Knight's promo flexidisc that was given away with bags of potato chips in 1966? FIled under "S". Sinatra doing Eric Carmen covers? Hell yeah! But until a couple of years ago, no matter how hard I searched, there was one thing I could never find, except for a stray track here and there -- records from the 1890s.

I know, I know -- what kind of market is there for CD reissues of records that nobody who's alive remembers firsthand, that sound distorted and scratchy at best and all but unlistenable at worst? How many people even know, or care, that records were being made back then? For a long time, I felt like I was the only one. And then... along came Archeophone. A label devoted to reissuing records from the early days of the industry, mostly pre-1920 and including not one but TWO collections of pre-1900 hits.

This stuff is not meant for casual, check-it-out-on-the-iPod-while-riding-on-the-subway listening. Believe me, I've tried it. But once your ears adjust to the limited fidelity and scads of surface noise, it's a pretty amazing experience to hear voices (and, in some cases, hear instruments) recorded before the turn of the last century. Is it just me, or is it incredibly cool to hear anything recorded in the 1800s, even if it's just "Testing, testing... is this thing on, Mr. Edison?" But this collection gives you more than just the novelty of voices speaking to you from the Grover Cleveland administration. At its best, you'll hear music that still has the power to move your mind, heart and feet.

There's a lot of discs on Archeophone I'd recommend to anyone with even a passing interest in this stuff, but the real 19th century shiznit can be found on the incredible two disc compilation "Lost Sounds: Blacks And The Birth Of The Recording Industry 1891-1922." Only about a quarter of the 54 tracks are from the 1800s, but most of them are choice. The gospel numbers, especially, are astonishing in that you can hear hints of how black music would evolve over the next hundred years.

Also included are a bunch of records by the very first black recording star, George W. Johnson (what, you don't remember "The Laughing Song" or "The Whistling Coon"? What's wrong with you?!). Even if his songs don't hold up that well, he has a strong, soulful voice, tinged with an Irish brogue. In fact, most of the African-American singers on "Lost Sounds" seem to affect an Irish accent. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it was cool to sound Irish back then.

So what are you waiting for? An "I Love The 1890s" special on VH-1? Check out for more info on their CDs, and then email us at to order them at the best prices around!

"Nobody Trusts Me With Postage"

Only the names have been changed.

Up until Christmas Eve, 2005, I was the co-owner of a wonderful establishment called "CDNY." I was trusted with thousands and thousands of dollars worth of stock, paying the bills, dealing with customers, and keeping my employees happy. Not to mention showing up each day to open up shop, on time.

Now that "CDNY" has become a mail order establishment, all of our CD and DVD sales need to be packed up, posted, and brought to the post office. My business partner Toby and I had decided that it was very important to bring along our long time friend and trusted employee Rod to the new surroundings. He'd be the man who would take care of our mail and our sales, while Toby & I continued to drum up business. In no time at all, Rod perfected the postage meter. "Number zero Jiffy Lites, one CD, $1.11," he'd proclaim proudly. "No no no! That Louis Armstrong box set is too heavy! You mail that first class, you might as well take 72 cents and flush it down the toilet. That's media mail," he'd shout for all to hear.

Rod quickly became the "King of 38th Street." Elevator operators, postal workers, the locksmith, the guy in the bodega right up the block, the girl who answers the phone at Cafe Metro were all "in his pocket" within a week. They knew he knew.... "the meter."

The other morning, while enjoying our morning coffee, I decided to pay some bills. After sealing my American Express and Omaha Steak bills, I pushed my seat back from my desk. "WHERE ARE YOU GOING?," Rod quickly inquired, coffee spewing from his nostrils. " meter my bills," I feebly answered. "You know you have to change the date." "Yes Rod, I did it this morning." Rod got up from his breakfast and walked over to the meter like a beat cop in 1920s Chicago. If he had a nightstick, he'd be twirling it. Once satisfied with the date change on the meter, he shot me a look that said, "I know you're my boss, but that doesn't mean you know postage." "I can do that for you, Saul." he said aloud. "I can do it...FREAK," I said to myself. "I got it." I said out loud.

This continued. I had a 3PM doctor's appointment and needed to leave early. There were still plenty of orders to process. I felt guilty. "Hey guys, just leave the orders and go home early. I'll come in at 7 AM tomorrow and take care of it." "That's ok. Rod'll do it." Toby, my business partner exclaimed, violently putting down his Lucy Liu biography. "Or you can do it" he said, steeling himself. "I guess. You know," he said, winking at Rod, "you don't have to worry yourself with postage. Ol' Rod here's got it down to a science. Don't you, Rod?" Rod beamed with pride, then glared at the meter. "I'd be even better if we had that new digital scale the post office is selling on their website." He got a faraway look in his eyes. "Burnished aluminum," he said, almost reverently.

All this time I thought I was the boss. But you can't be the boss when nobody trusts you with postage.

Thursday, February 02, 2006







And now... you've got THE NEWSLETTER!


Join the fun and tell your friends to check out our new blog at! In addition to the newsletter, you'll also find lots of late-night ramblings from Sal and Tony on such subjects as the current state of the music industry, why Sal's iPod is out to get him, fun with cumin, and much more. Make sure you bookmark it and check back often! It's fun, and sometimes it's not.


In case you haven't already heard... WE'VE MOVED! Our office is at 325 WEST 38 ST., between 8th & 9th Aves., Suite 505. We want you to come by and sell us your product (assuming your product is CDs, DVDs, or really comfortable boxer shorts), but PLEASE REMEMBER: We are not "open for business" like a store is. We're normally around from 9-5, Monday-Friday, so please call before you show up. Our NEW PHONE NUMBER: (212) 244-3460. If you can't show up during business hours and you've got a lot to sell, we can make special appointments.

Please CHECK OUT OUR AMAZON LISTINGS! Click or cut and paste the link below:

Some pointers: Amazon will not let us sort items by genre, artist, or alphabetically. They only give you a choice of "Featured Items" (which we have no control over) or the order in which we are listing them for sale. We're sorry for the inconvenience. Just think of it as going to a flea market and not knowing what cool stuff you're going to find as you scour the bins.

Finally, Amazon has given us two seller names -- nycd_online and eobrein102. We'd love to get rid of the second one, but they're not letting us. So please check both. Our prices are pretty damn good, so if you see something, jump on it quickly! It may not be around that much longer at that price.

Now, if you're still awake... it's NEXT WEEK'S NEW RELEASES!

BELLE & SEBASTIAN - "LIFE PURSUIT." We never liked these purveyors of the twee until their last album, "Dear Catastrophe Waitress," and frontman Stuart Murdoch promises that this release will continue where that fine record left off. This will also be available as a limited edition featuring a six song live DVD, in special hardcover book packaging, for a few bucks more.

THE CORRS - "HOME." The Irish Mandrell sisters return to their roots with an album of early Bing Crosby hits. Actually, that's not true. But they do return to their roots, and we're hoping that includes versions of "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ra" and "Watch It, Mither, Maggie's Burning The Bed Again."

DEAD BOY & THE ELEPHANT MAN - "WE ARE NIGHT SKY." Duo hailing from Louisiana, already creating a buzz thanks to the rave review in this month's Esquire magazine. Think Nirvana by way of Jack and Meg White.

THE GO-BETWEENS - "THAT STRIPED SUNLIGHT." If anybody still cares about these two Aussies, we can get you their new album, which is a live CD/DVD package from their hometown of Brisbane.

LOS LONELY BOYS - "LIVE AT BLUECAT BLUES." Prior to their huge success as Sony recording artists, the brothers heated up the clubs back in Dallas, and this is a document of one of those fanfaves from 2000.

SHANNON McNALLY - "NORTH AMERICAN GHOST MUSIC." Miss McNally follows up her very strong EMI release from last year with her first live record, recorded ... we don't know where, exactly. But we do like her.

MINUS 5 - "MINUS 5." Sort of a Traveling Wilburys for the very unfamous, Young Fresh Fellow Scott McCaughey returns with Peter Buck and friends for a new studio record that features guest appearances by John Wesley Harding, Morgan Fisher (can anyone tell us which classic rock band he was from?), and Wilco.

BETH ORTON - "COMFORT OF STRANGERS." The breathy Brit strips down her sound just a bit for a new studio record that leans more towards her folky roots. A limited edition is also available, featuring a bonus disc of B-sides.


RICHARD THOMPSON - "RT: THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF RICHARD THOMPSON." Five CDs, ALL of it unreleased, from this guitar master and musical legend. This box set includes a monster booklet with a detailed discography.

The Richard Thompson website is offering this box for £44.99, which is at least $80. But if you prepay for this by calling in your credit card info (212-244-3460), for the first week only, we will offer it at $64.99. This hits the streets on Tuesday, Feb. 7, and is available for pickup very soon after!

For more info on the box, check out this link!


KT TUNSTALL - "EYE TO THE TELESCOPE." Scottish singer songwriter's debut has been turning heads and wiggling ears since press copies went out weeks ago. Listen for yourself and hear what the big to-do is.

CHARLIE HUNTER TRIO - "COPPEROPOLIS." One of NYCD's fave guitarists, this new record features John Ellis on sax and Derek Phillips on drums, expanding their funk-jazz fusion by exploring more rock n' roll territory. We are excited about this, so please order some. And be excited when you order.



All with new 24-bit remastering courtesy of the legendary Rudy Van Gelder.

As always, get your orders in, the sooner the better! Call (212) 244-3460 or email, and please, as always, if you place an order, please come by to get it.


Young New York-based jazz guitarist DAVID ULLMAN has released his debut CD, "HIDDEN," and it is creating a stir in the jazz world. We are proud to be one of a few exclusive shops offering this CD, so get on board now.

Until next week, we leave you with this:

We are assuming that Punxatawney Phil has seen his shadow. Therefore, we will have six more weeks of unsettled, stupid, crappy, it's-impossible-to-dress-because-we-never-know-what-it's-going-to-be-like-outside-without-watching-NY1 weather that will inevitably kill us.

Your friends,
Pablo and Avi

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

"My iPod Hates Me"

Let's get right to this. I treat my iPod with respect and yet it's determined to play games with my mind. Here are examples. And please, if anyone else is suffering from this, stand and be counted. I need help.

1. 6000 songs in the iPod and yet twice a week it manages to play either the same song, or 2-3 songs by the same artist, even though I start fresh every morning and never take it off shuffle. This week I heard 3 songs off of the Staple Singers "Soul Folk In Action" after not hearing a single song from it ever before.

2. I loaded Loudon Wainwright's "More Love Songs" into the iPod, strictly because Richard Thompson plays guitar on the record. Twice in a week, and totally at random, it played the same song "Expatriate," an acoustic number that does NOT feature Richard Thompson.

3. I'm sure all of us have one or two or twenty two songs on our iPods that are guilty pleasures. One of mine is Toto's "Hold The Line." 6000 songs, and yet the iPod plays it once a week. I had to remove it. It made me hate the song, as well as reminding me that I had Toto in my iPod.

Is there some MAC freak out there with an answer? Or at least another freak like me?