Calling All Tunehead Sleuths: Can You Identify These 16 Mystery Album Covers from the Woolco Record Department at Argyle Mall, London, Ontario, Canada, June 1966?

WoolcoRecordDeptArgyleMallLondonJune1966The Woolco Record Department at Argyle Mall, East London, Ontario, Canada, June 1966, from the London Free Press’ Pictures From the Past series. (Click on Photo to Enlarge)

What a trip it was to see this photo of one of my old childhood record-hunting locales 40 years after it was snapped!

As a fan of history—especially cultural history from global to local—I always look forward to one of my favourite features in the London Free Press: Pictures From the Past, a weekly installment reprinting photos from the paper’s archives spanning decades.

PFTP ran a photo last June of particular interest to me of the Woolco Record Department at Argyle Mall in 1966. Having grown up in Huron Heights in the ‘60 and ‘70s, Argyle Mall was just a few minutes drive up Clarke Road. Regular trips there with both my parents and other family members means that everything about the place is burned into my memory from youth. Read the rest of this entry »

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15 Favourite LPs

VariousArtists Top 15 LPs 16 Covers16 covers?  You’ll have to read to find out why.

Originally published on OS on September 3, 2010 as part of an open call to writers on the site.

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This post was part of an Open Call here on OS for people to list and discuss 15 albums they have their greatest emotional attachments to.  Since I create associations between albums/songs with, well, just about everything, trying to pick 15 LPs that are memorable owing to specific parts of my life or events would be an insurmountable task.  Therefore, I zoomed through my collection, made a (long) short list and picked my 15 favouritesor what passes as such at this momentbut will briefly discuss each more in terms of memories, time and place, etc than as a critique. (The full long list appears at the bottom.)

My Favourite Album

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VA’s Best of 2014: Fave Music, Media and Re/Discoveries From The Century’s Inaugural Teen Year

variousartists best of 2014 graphicVA Best of 2014 A&M

(Top Photo montage/doctoring by VA — original photos taken at the downtown Bank St. location of Compact Music here in Ottawa and at Chez Various: Click on photo to see full size image.  Below: This and all other labels on the page doctored by VA from my personal vinyl bounty).

After a relatively-weak-year-for-albums 2013, 2014 should have been the antidote for me: seemingly almost every currently working artist that I listen to released a new album while many of my favourite legacy acts put out compilations, archive sets or deluxe reissues.

And in many ways, 2014 was an antidote. Read the rest of this entry »


VA-Tel presents 20 OUTTASIGHT XMAS SENSATIONS! (Xmas #8)

VA-Tel presents 20 Outtasight Xmas Sensations(Cover by VariousArtists; Pics grabbed from ye olde Internet)

20 Sensational Hits! 20 Sensational Stars!

Here’s some fun’n’hip shakin’ musical accompaniment for the annual Santafest.  This splendiferous list mostly avoids the obvious or overly solemn, and should get the gang groovin’ at your seasonal shindig while helping to mask the sound of partygoers vomiting in the bathroom after too many Baileys … or drive everyone swiftly out the door, depending on the circles you run in.  (A playlist of this terrific 20 can be found over on my YouTube channel, VATV). Read the rest of this entry »


178b. Enjoy Yourself: Ottawa Bluesfest 2013 (Pt. 2) with The Specials, The Waterboys, Animal Collective, Solange, and more, July 8-12

Waterboys Ticket Fri July 12 Day Pass
Oooh looky, there’s a curmudgeon onstage …

178b. Enjoy Yourself: Ottawa Bluesfest 2013 (Pt. 1) with The Specials, The Waterboys, Animal Collective, Solange, Balkan Beat Box, and more, July 8-12, LeBreton Flats, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

 Click here for Part One of my 2013 Bluesfest recap with The Black Keys, Sharon Van Etten and more or Saturday’s set from Belle & Sebastian

The Specials
Monday, July 8, 2013

Sunday was Bluesfest-free owing to the small matter of my visiting nephew — known here as Fast & Bulbous — and I going to see the surprisingly still fab Paul McCartney (that entry is eventually coming too, even with my re-focus back on the past).  Had “The Cute Beatle”™  not come to town on said night, Read the rest of this entry »


VariousArtists’ 13 Halloween Listening Recommendations

variousartists 13 halloween listening recommendations

 (Graphic and pumpkins by VA.  Stills grabbed from web and videos from YouTube)

 

Last week I laid out 13 possibly-Halloween-friendly viewing suggestions and this week I have an unlucky 13 playlist appropriate for the season of graves’n’goblins.  I’ve tried to avoid the more obvious selections with choices ranging from Halloween-specific to it’s-a-conceptual-stretch.  So, parade around in the costume of your choice, inhale bite sized chocolate bars, crank up the gramophone and groove (there’s also a link to the playlist at the bottom of the page) …

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185. In The Flesh: Blondie, July 10, 2014 (& their mid-70s birth)

Ottawa Bluesfest 2014 Blondie wristband variousartists

Blondie’s 40th and Ottawa Bluesfest’s 20th

185. In The Flesh: Blondie, Ottawa Bluesfest, LeBreton Flats, Ontario, Thursday July 10, 2014.  Approx. $50

I first encountered Blondie in the pages of NYC-based Rock Scene magazine in the summer of 1975.  It was a single page feature, appearing less than a year after the group’s formation and first shows at CBGBs.  Blondie had begun by opening for the also-nascent Ramones who had similarly been popping up in recent Rock Scene issues.  Indeed, most of the mid-70s NYC underground first came to my attention via RS.

Retrospectively, I now see what an odd, prescient publication it was on a few fronts.

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