Three discs from the Maraca collection: Chapter One

A year ago, I started a lease on a 2018 Mazda 3 and, on one of my morning drives, I thought I’d give the Sirius/XM app a rest and plug in a CD.

And then…

Oh yeah, it doesn’t have a compact disc player. Many new cars don’t. The music format that was supposed to kill off vinyl records is now about as popular as vinyl was in the late ’80s.

Over the years I’ve purchased hundreds of CDs that have filled several racks. I spend more time dusting them than spinning them and I live alone. I’m no slob but I don’t dust as often as I should.

So, what I’ve decided to do is close my eyes, run my fingers along the discs and pick three at random. No cheating. Whatever my digits land on is what will end up in this blog. Where and why I purchased said albums or collections.

Batting leadoff…

SOCIAL DISTORTION, by SOCIAL DISTORTION (1990)

I pretty much missed the punk explosion of the late ’70s. Wasn’t into it. Guess I actually liked the so-called bloated mainstream bands that The Sex Pistols sneered at…Pink Floyd, Yes, Fleetwood Mac.

Sorry Johnny Rotten, this Johnny begged to differ. When The Clash and Van Halen taunted each other at the US Festival in ’83 I sided with Diamond Dave and his drunken rants.

Anyway, the great Social D!

Typically, an artist has used an eponymous title for their debut album. This was actually Social Distortion’s third long player, and included The Story of My Life, Ball and Chain and a sizzling cover of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire. I played the latter many times on my radio show.

Not sure where I purchased this CD. It has a rough stickiness to the case which suggests it had a price sticker from a used record store. Perhaps BJ’s Records in Downton Barrie, or even back to my Owen Sound days and Randy’s Records.

Social D remains one of my favourite modern-day punk acts, and is often featured on Little Steven’s Underground Garage.

WITH THE BEATLES by THE BEATLES (1963)

I’ve been buying Beatles albums since the mid-’70s. I was born in ’62 so I was kind of late to the party but caught up in a hurry. Started with the 1967-70 greatest hits double set and then came Sergeant Pepper, the White Album, Abbey Road…

And, as I said off the top, compact discs were supposed to mark the end of vinyl. Guess again!

But, like millions of other music fans I started to buy digital versions of my vinyl treasures so that meant CD copies of Sergeant Pepper and the rest. Cha-ching!

Having said all that, I didn’t add With the Beatles to my collection until a few years ago. As the host of Johnny Maraca’s Rock & Roll Riot radio show, I took great pride in featuring deeper cuts. Dozens of oldies shows play only the top 20 hits but how about the Fab Four cover of Money by Barrett Strong? Or It Won’t Be Long, or Hold Me Tight?

With the Beatles was another find from BJ’s in Barrie. Great store, especially if you’ve gotten back into vinyl.

LIVE IN LAS VEGAS by LOUIS PRIMA & KEELY SMITH (released 2005, recorded 1958)

Somewhere in the ’90s I discovered Nick Tosches’s Unsung Heroes of Rock and Roll at a library book sale. Likely paid a quarter for it.

That book became my go-to source for early rock and roll, and introduced me to the colourful character known as Louis Prima. Married five times. Started recording in the early ’40s but as Tosches wrote, “he went through record companies like they were candy.”

By the mid-’50s Prima and then wife Keely Smith were one of the most popular acts in Las Vegas, earning $10,000 a week at the Sahara Hotel.

Unfortunately, Live in Las Vegas does not include Jump Jive & Wail (covered by Brian Setzer of The Stray Cats), or Just a Jigolo. The latter was a hit for the aforementioned David Lee Roth, post Van Halen.

I have a feeling I purchased this album on Amazon. My show ran for nearly 10 years and I can’t even begin to estimate how much I’ve spent on CDs online. And it was even more costly when the show was reborn several years ago (thanks Rockin’ Rod) but without compensation for yours truly.

I did it because I loved it.

That’s it for now. I’ll randomly selected another three discs and take more trips down my musical memory lane.

About johnnymaraca

sole proprietor of Maraca Media, former radio host (Johnny Maraca's Rock & Roll Riot), copywriter and producer and a print journalism grad.
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