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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

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stax records’ main soul men of the ’60s: david porter and isaac hayes

“IT WAS SUMMER 1967, and Isaac Hayes was at Stax Records in Memphis watching Detroit burn. The local news carried alarming reports of a massive riot in Motor City, which started when a police raid on an after-hours bar turned into a tense standoff with patrons and bystanders. Governor George W. Romney deployed the Michigan National Guard to quell the violence, which lasted five days. Even at the time, it was seen as a major event in the American Civil Rights movement, as well as proof that racial friction was not limited to the South. Hayes, an untrained but deeply talented… Continue Reading stax records’ main soul men of the ’60s: david porter and isaac hayes


david anderle’s won-won-wonderfully weird portrait of brian wilson

THINGS WERE GETTING WEIRD in Brian Wilson’s world when he met David Anderle. By the third quarter of 1966, many significant changes had taken place in his life and his surroundings. PET SOUNDS and Good Vibrations and the SMiLE sessions that everyone in L.A. seemed to know about had brought a very different kind of attention to Brian that previous Beach Boys records such as ALL SUMMER LONG and Barbara Ann had not. It also brought many new and important people into Brian’s circle of trust. While the Beach Boys had always projected a very simple, boy-next-door image, Brian’s new music gave off much… Continue Reading david anderle’s won-won-wonderfully weird portrait of brian wilson


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 A PIECE 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 50,000,000… 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… Continue Reading understanding riaa gold and platinum record awards of the sixties