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introduction to ratherrarerecords.com

My first piece for my first site, Neal Umphred Dot Com, was published in July 2013. I had such a backlog of material, that I was able to post more than one hundred articles in the first three months! Where did they all come from? Easy: I have been writing all my life, but while anything that allows me to put word to paper is an open invitation for me to try, the electronic medium intimidated me. Friends who read the few things I showed had been encouraging me to “blog” for years. Grommett only knows that I had… Continue Reading introduction to ratherrarerecords.com


meet the new boss (true tales from the men’s room)

IT WAS 1975, and I was out of my hippie wannabe stage. I was playing it straight; not out of choice, but necessity. (But that’s another story.) I was still as anti-authoritarian as all get-out—at least when it came to bosses who were really bullies with authority—taking crap from no one. Except, of course, from my girlfriend. In fact, my boss at the place where I worked was such an arsewhole that to this day I wish I had asked him to step outside and duke it out! But I didn’t. Being the wuss that I was, instead of having it out with him, I was… Continue Reading meet the new boss (true tales from the men’s room)


what do bob dylan and jennifer garner have in common?

What does the ancient, craggy musician Bob Dylan have in common with the ever-beautiful actress Jennifer Garner? Quite a lot, of course! They’re both human beings with millions of things in common, starting with DNA and working on up to spouses and exes and children and friends and enemies. But they have something else in common that’s more fun to read about here.     


what exactly was a “rock & roll album” in those days?

WHAT EXACTLY IS A ‘ROCK & ROLL ALBUM’? To answer that question, we need to answer another: What is rock & roll music? After sixty years, we still don’t have a definition that everyone agrees with! Arguments about its definition and its origin in the early ’50s—no wait, was it the late ’40s?—have been around since at least the mid ’60s! I am not going to resolve any disputes here. Suffice to say, that most of us believe we know it when we hear it. For the most part, we’re usually correct. Older fans (septuagenarian plus) who became teenagers in the… Continue Reading what exactly was a “rock & roll album” in those days?


“the wild angels” is now a quinquagenarian (happy 50th!)

FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY, one of the quintessential ’60s rock & roll soundtrack albums to one the ’60s quintessential biker exploitation moves was released. According to Wikipedia, THE WILD ANGELS movie saw its general release to American theaters on this day. The soundtrack album of the same name was released by Tower Records, an imprint of Capitol Records. So July 20, 2016, is the fiftieth anniversary of this classic movie and equally classic album! So Happy Birthday to everyone involved in the making of the movie and the making of the soundtrack music and album—especially Mike Curb and Davie Allan!!!… Continue Reading “the wild angels” is now a quinquagenarian (happy 50th!)


rock and rollin’ with fats domino at wikipedia

I AM WORKING ON AN ARTICLE here on Rather Rare Records that inspired this brief piece below. It’s titled “what was the first rock & roll LP album of the ’50s?” and at one point I turned to Wikipedia for information. Specifically, I was interested in determining the release date of Fats Domino’s first album, Rock And Rollin’ With Fats Domino. Hooboy, but I wasn’t prepared for what I found (although I should have been). But first, some background: recently, I published another article on my A Touch Of Gold website. It addressed the error-ridden Wikipedia entry for ELVIS’ GOLD RECORDS VOLUME 2, including the album’s sub-title… Continue Reading rock and rollin’ with fats domino at wikipedia

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what was the first “rock” double-album of the ’60s?

IT IS ACCEPTED CANON that on May 16, 1966, two major and seminal works of popular music were released to the public: the Beach Boys’ PET SOUNDS and Bob Dylan’s BLONDE ON BLONDE. And there was another reason to celebrate that date: Dylan’s was the first rock music double-album of all-new studio recordings! He beat the Mothers of Invention’s FREAK OUT for that honor by one month. 1 The paragraph above was the first thing that I wrote for this article a month ago. I intended to use those words to open this piece since I considered writing it, because they are,… Continue Reading what was the first “rock” double-album of the ’60s?

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understanding riaa gold and platinum record awards of the sixties

MOST INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET about gold and platinum records of the Sixties is crap! That is, most of the “information” regarding RIAA Gold and Platinum Records awarded to albums from the ’60s and early ’70s is factually incorrect. This applies to almost every website: the few that aren’t incorrect are often misleading, and this includes the RIAA’s own website! This article will assist most readers in understanding RIAA Gold and Platinum Record Awards for records issued prior to 1975. 1 This article addresses the basic criteria that were used by the RIAA for awarding Gold and Platinum Records to singles and albums. The focus is on the awards from 1958 through… Continue Reading understanding riaa gold and platinum record awards of the sixties


the ongoing damnation of faust (and a lesson on selling on ebay)

BUYER SCAMS ON EBAY and other seller sites are recognized, if poorly addressed by those sites. In my article “Ebay Buyer Scams And Shipping Items Internationally,” I wrote about these issues and an altercation that I had with a buyer in Europe who I believe was trying to pull such a scam. I said that safeguards needed to be put in place to protect sellers from scurrilous buyers—an idea that never occurs to buyers—and their ongoing damnation of all sellers! “If you sell on Ebay, more than a few people are going to try to rip you off via a… Continue Reading the ongoing damnation of faust (and a lesson on selling on ebay)


a complementary if brief surf raiders bio/overview

DO MOST YOUNG PEOPLE KNOW WHAT “SURF MUSIC” IS? That’s REAL surf music, the kind played by a guitar-and-rhythm-section-and-no-singer group! Many people—including non-record collecting older folk—think of the Beach Boys’ early harmonies when they hear the term “surf music,” but that was never considered surf music by surfer guys and gals (dudes and bunnies?). 1 Instrumental surf music was dominated by a heavily reverbed Fender guitar supported by a prominent bass line, one of the few pop music genres that placed emphasis on what was often just a part of the rhythm section. This music had its fifteen minutes… Continue Reading a complementary if brief surf raiders bio/overview

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beware fake bowie and prince autographs and memorabilia

FAKE AUTOGRAPHS AND DOMESTIC FRAUD is back in the news, this time featuring a mother-son combo forging the signatures on thousands of sports items. And while it hasn’t made any headlines, the recent unexpected deaths of two beloved superstars should have every collector of Bowie and Prince autographs treading cautiously as this is when they are ripest for a rip-off! A Grand Jury in Mahoning County, Ohio, is reviewing evidence concerning Cliff and Ruth Panezich as perpetrating “the biggest case of domestic fraud in the history of the online auction site eBay.” The mother-son combo is accused of  forging autographs, printing up phony certificates of authenticity,… Continue Reading beware fake bowie and prince autographs and memorabilia