Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bad, Very Bad

The Crusaders - Ghetto Blaster - 1984

New Year's Eve, Woodwards Auction House in Hampden, Baltimore:  I should have been suspect when I asked the salesman how much they charged for unmarked records - in this case "The Crusaders, Ghetto Blaster".  He took one look at the album, a sideways glance at me, then a pause.  He looked me straight in my eye, smiled, and said that the record was "on the house." Why didn't I throw that record as far away as possible and run in the opposite direction at that point?  I'm not sure.  Not only did I not accept his offer for a free record, but I insisted I pay him a quarter; making this a legit purchase.  A fun, if not entirely awkward transaction.  The second I walked out of that store sensed I might have crossed a line that I should not have.  Clearly I was not thinking straight.

This thing is downright horrendous.  I recognize I'm a sucker and I probably bought it because of the name Ghetto Blaster; it sounded like it had something going for it!  Also, it looked at least 5% interesting because the cover art.  Turns out the cover is the only thing about the record that doesn't spur me to gag.  The unusual piece, The Maestro, painted by rare combination NFL player and artist, Ernie Barnes, is spare and has a dark tone in its humor.  His stylized, elongated figures can also be found on the cover to Marvin Gaye's 1976 album, Sugar Shack.  That being said, the cover art is all this slab has going for it.  The VVers couldn't even get through all of the A Side without running for the stop button.  It sounds like elevator music with a beat.  I would imagine some incredibly shitty harmonized vocals also make up this album, but I don't remember getting that far into this one, and if I did, it has completely deleted itself from my C:\ drive.  No big loss.  Experiencing some of the really bad records that exist in this world of ours makes me appreciate quality records that much more.

Two things learned from this experience:
(1) If it is free (or if you have to convince the sales person to take your money), it is probably not good and buying random crap can sometimes bite you on the behind.
(2) Vinyl records sometimes have a way of piquing curiosity towards something equally (and in this case, more) captivating than the music itself.  Due to my self inflicted mistake of purchasing this dud, I got to read up on Ernie Barnes, someone I had never heard of before, who seems pretty interesting. A great deal more interesting than this record.

My apologies to whoever the next sad owner of this record will be. Perhaps a better next chapter for it will be to melt it, and turn it into pot for a cute plant.

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