The Vinyl Junky & The Infamous Butcher Cover

Butchercover

The Vinyl Junkie

All true record collectors will want to also view a newly acquired butcher cover at SoDo.

As you know, the Beatles released their seminal Yesterday and Today album with a cover of themselves in a butcher aprons surrounded by raw meat and pieces of baby dolls scattered around them (pictured below). Session photographer, Bob Whitaker hoped to make a conceptual pop art statement about the condition of the world at the time through the cover art. Paul McCartney aggressively pushed for the photo as the cover of the album as “our comment of on Vietnam War.” John Lennon also defended the photo as “relevant as Vietnam.” Capitol Records initially agreed to the cover art and pressed 750,000 copies of it in four major locations – Los Angeles; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Jacksonville, Illinois,; and Winchester, Virginia – for distribution nationally. The label also intended to use the same image for the British sleeve of the single, “Paperback Writer.”

Capitol Records wisely released only a few of these grotesque covers to the general public on its first day of release, June 20, 1966. Today, collectors refer to the untouched versions of this cover as the First State Butcher cover, which sells for a thousand dollars or more. One of the First State butcher covers of then-Capitol President Alan Livingston sold for $39,000 in 2006. After June 20th, the label recalled the record after outcries from fans and retailers.

To save money, the company decided that they would reuse the remaining butcher covers by pasting the more familiar “trunk” cover of the album (the Beatles pictured on an opened steamer trunk) over it, though the Jacksonville plant destroyed most of its First State copies. This pasted-over version of the album became known as the Second State cover. The cover art switch cost Capitol more than $250,000, though the company undoubtedly long-term saved money by the strategy. You can tell that the trunk cover has been pasted over the original butcher cover by looking carefully on the right side and observing the outline of Ringo’s black turtleneck through the new cover.

trunkcover

Because of the difficulty of removing the second cover to reveal the first and original butcher cover, collectors now value the unpeeled Second State version higher than a peeled version of the cover. Collectors call the peeled version of the cover “Third State” butcher covers.

For a mono unpeeled second state version, values have been assessed at $250 to $500. For a stereo version, the prices catapult to $500 to $1,000 because the company released only 10% of the stereo version compared to the monophonic LP.

Many butcher covers have surfaced around Seattle over the past few years, but Silver Platters just bought a stereo version from a Capitol executive that has no observable faults – no seam splits, no soiling, no writing. It looks perfect! They have placed a VERY reasonable price on the record. If you don’t have a butcher cover yet, get this one. I already have two of them, so I’ll let someone else snatch this gem.

As you all know, by the end of July 1966, the Yesterday and Today hit the top of the chart and stayed there for five weeks on the merits of such classics as “Drive My Car,” “We Can Work It Out,” “Nowhere Man,” “Day Tripper” and the title tune. The butcher cover has become one of the holy grails of collecting due to the stature of the band and the quality of the album. Don’t miss out!

More next week . . .

Dr, Dave Szatmary

Author Of

Rockin’ In Time

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The Vinyl Junkie Reviews Affinity

affinity

The Vinyl Junkie Returns

Sorry for the long silence, but I took a road trip to Phoenix on a record-finding expedition.

Since I left, Silver Platters has been inundated with many new collectibles that will amaze you. During the next few weeks, I will highlight two of them at a time.

For you progressive rock fans, SP snagged a collectible, which I never saw or heard, the first and only LP from the band, Affinity. They found the first American pressing of this gem on Paramount PAS 5027, released in 1970.

This self-titled LP of the British band contains rare psychedelia and Hammond B-3-driven progressive rock. You can be transported by the seductive vocals of Linda Hoyle and fuzzy guitar gyrations on such tunes as “Night Flight,” which conjures images of the Doors at their best. The band turns to a more jazzy, horn-dominated sound on “I Am and So Are You,” which ends with a killer guitar solo. Affinity also offers an orchestrated version of the Everly Brothers’ “I Wonder If I Care as Much” and an eleven-minute extravaganza, a remake of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.” Throughout, Hoyle sounds like a grittier version of her heroine, Grace Slick, and delivers powerful emotions as she and the band successfully bridge the gap between psychedelia of the late 1960s to the emerging progressive rock of the early 1970s.

For those of you interested in classic acid and progressive rock, please check out this item at Silver Platters in SoDo. You may never find it again!

Dr. Dave Szatmary

Author Of

“Rockin’ In Time”

The Vinyl Junky Reviews Flaming Lips

The_Flaming_Lips_EP

The Vinyl Junkie

 

I am a vinyl junkie. I admit it.  I enjoy looking in record stores for the perfect record, the one that somehow has slipped through the hands of everyone else.  With my superior knowledge of the holy grail of record collecting, I can spot perfection.  After more than a half century of scouring through record bins throughout the U.S. and the rest of the world (last month, I looked for vinyl in Istanbul), I know that I have an edge on at least the novice.

I guess that admission represents the first step to a cure, but I really don’t want to be cured.  From my vantage point, everyone should be a vinyl junkie.  First of all, music soothes the soul.  Those passionate collectors who search for the greatest music of all time, or the sounds of surprise in the words of one critic, should be lauded and not ridiculed.  Vinyl junkies seek truth through art, in this case music.  We hope to learn more about the human endeavor by experiencing the transcendence of sound, which has been crafted by musicians who in most cases suffer mightily for their craft.  We want to find the answers to some of the probing questions of all time through our pursuit.  We search for the meaning of life itself in seven-, ten- and twelve-inch pieces of vinyl.

Vinyl discs provide a medium unmatched by others.  Though compact discs surely have great sound quality, vinyl provides larger-sized cover art that can be framed and placed on the wall.  The vinyl record also offers a sound that cannot be easily replicated.  It has that analog hum, that buzz, which captures the very gestalt of a performer.  Moreover, vinyl provides a historical record of the music.  When you have a record in your hands, especially an original, you can be transported to a place in time, which no longer exists.  For example, hold an original Blue Note ten-inch record by Thelonious Monk and join the privileged few who experienced Monk during the early 1950s, when he first emerged on the scene and bop exploded from New York City.  Or lay your hands on a rare Stiff Little Fingers punk LP and feel the anger of youth during the heyday of U.K. punk.  With a record album, you become part of the times, which gave birth to the music.

I collect the music I consider to be great music in the genre of rock, jazz, soul, techno, funk, blues and other similar styles.  Others focus on different types of music or try to collect every extant artifact by a specific artist.  Others might collect Christmas records, big band albums or easy listening sounds.  Still others crave white-label promo records that came off the presser in the record plant first of all and have superior sound.  Yet other collectors, myself included, look for certain graphic artists who crafted the cover artwork of albums.  I collect David Stone Martin artwork which appeared on many jazz and a few other types of records from the 1950s to the 1980s.

I have agreed to write this column because I recently discovered the amount of rare vinyl housed in the three locations of Silver Platters.  Like me, you may have assumed that Silver Platters carries only compact discs and DVDs, given its name.  However, several years ago, the owner decided to offer new vinyl and then used records albums in his stores.  Within the past six months, he has bought a number of massive collections of highly collectible vinyl and placed it for sale in his three locations.  He pledges to continue to feed the habit of rabid vinyl junkies with rare and unusual items.  Of course, he also carries mint versions of all the classic rock (e.g. Led Zeppelin, Dylan, Bowie, Eagles, Doors, etc.) and jazz (Monk, Coltrane, Bird, etc.), which serve as the foundation of any record collection.

In this continuing column, I will feature one or two rare records that the store has just priced for sale.  I will highlight some very cool records that will whet your appetite to become part of music history and get you closer to the truth.

                A few weeks ago, Silver Platters bought the very first Flaming Lips 12-inch.  This record comes in a variety of pressings, but the store found the very first version, which the band pressed themselves in 1984 on green wax.

                If you collect, the Flaming Lips, you need this record. It represents the rarest piece of Lips history possible with only 500 copies ever made on Lovely Sorts of Death Records.  It also includes the photocopied lyric sheet.  As an original pressing, it comes with the black (not brown) border.  When you listen to this record, you will be carried to the early 1980s and the beginnings of indie rock.  You will be especially pleased with the steady, ominous beat of “Bag Full of Thoughts.”

Dr. Dave Szatmary

Author of

Rockin’ In Time