Albums I Spent Years Looking For........

Bob Burnett: I figured I'd digress from the normal routine of writing about albums I have and recount some stories about albums I wished I had and looked for--sometimes for years--sometimes with success and sometimes with longing heartbreak. In the internet/CD/re-release era we live in the thought of having to search out albums in a quixotic manner from store to store is now a slightly archaic, albeit glimmery warm and Proustian reflective consideration. Oh well, I'll share some of mine. Feel free to jump in with yours, too.

Chappaqua Suite: Ornette Coleman I first heard about this album while working in Haffa's, a record store in Athens, Ohio, in the early '80s while in college at Ohio University. The store's owner, and fellow Ornette Coleman afficionado Ron Esposito, was purported to have a coveted pressing of this rare gem--however I never saw or heard his copy played--I only heard his hushed, respectful reference to it. The reason it was so coveted was because it was a long out-of-print, Europe-only release of a rejected soundtrack for the film by Conrad Rooks. I looked for this one for about 15 years. I finally got it as a reissue on CD--which is once again out-of-print and on Amazon for $65 used.

Fly: Yoko Ono This was another fascinating mystery album for me in the early '80s because it was purported to be a difficult listen and because Yoko Ono annoyed everyone. Plus, it was a two album set which I found commendable in a Metal Machine Music difficult listen kind of way. I looked for this one for a number of years and finally found it, for something like $30 and played it a few times.....and now have no memory of it whatsoever. Ah....well....it's easily available now for about $20 re-issued on CD. Seems that makes it too easy to even return to.

Lumpy Gravy: Frank Zappa I heard a French pressing of this gem in the '70s while in high school and was smitten. I loved the layers of sound, abstract "fly on the wall" dialogue, clanging percussion, noise, chaos, rapid changes. This was when Zappa was known mostly for Apostrophe by a certain minority of shaggy, semi-geeky-but-hip Marlboro and weed smoking high school boys--and in the case of my high school by one additional girl known as "Susie Creamcheese". I finally found this one and dropped $25 of hard earned $2.35 minimum wage salary at the Long John Silver's on this one. I later sold the vinyl version for a profit and replaced it with a CD version.

LaMonte Young: The Well Tuned Piano My biggest heartbreak. I had the vinyl box set. Some time ago I was liquidating a substantial part of my vinyl collection and I sold it thinking it would be easy to get on CD. I was wrong. I've never been able to find it. I even wrote Gramavision and begged them to sell me one--after all it was discontinued from their catalog and surely there must be a few in some warehouse. Nope. Oh--in case you were curious, it's available on Amazon for only $850 used. The only thing I ever was able to recover was about 52:00 of it off of Napster. Thank you benevolent law-breaking soul who illegally posted that for me.


  1. What a fun post. Yeah, the idea of driving from store to store in search of that elusive gem is now a relic of the past-- a pleasure that future generations who live in the EBay world will never know.

    I remember the thrill of finding rare, long out of print bootlegs-- Eno and Crimson. Finding an EP of a band called the 77s. And while working in Schoolkids, the thrill of seeing a man bring in to sell his entire LP collection, which included all of the out of print Zappas, including Lumpy Gravy.

  2. ..seems some of those "rare out of print" King Crimson albums sound......um........familiar......

  3. "Hi Fi Snock Uptown" by Michael Hurley. It was something of a cult album in our little band of slackers in 1973, and then the only copy in England got stolen. Never seen another.

    Occasionally copies in the US on Ebay go for large sums, so I guess we weren't quite as alone as it seemed. But: was given a copy on tape bought from The Man Hisself's hand at a gig!

  4. hey bob, by conicidence, I stumbled upon a link to d-load a copy of well-tuned piano here:


    great site! thanks!