What you’re looking at here is my 100th Stylus Counsel column. It’s a fairly significant number, so I decided I should commemorate it with a fairly significant piece. Thanks so much for reading!
The house is on fire. I called 911 — go wake up the kids. I’ll get my records. I’ve decided to do a fire drill. Which records in my collection would I try to save from an imaginary house fire, if it was safe to do so? (And yeah, after everybody and the pets were out and safe. Please don’t write me any sour emails).
I have insurance, so there’s no problem simply replacing most of them, but I figure there’s at least 100 which have sentimental value or are borderline irreplaceable. So, that’s why you won’t see things like Led Zeppelin II or The White Album on here. At least not my copies, they’re super nice, but not rare.
The first thing which occurs to me is maybe I should have my “can’t live without them” records all filed together. Like, in their own shelf, so I could just drag the whole thing right outside. One hundred albums is pretty do-able. That’s two crates.
But I digress. OK, here’s the list and brief explanations, in no particular order:
1 | Third World War | Third World War (1971)
I found this album for $5 in a discount bin. It’s generally referred to as the UK’s first punk record. Worth around $60 because it’s long out of print. It’s totally awesome.
2 | Blinker The Star | Blinker The Star (1994)
I have both CD and vinyl copies of this debut by Blinker The Star (Jordon Zadorozny). He’s my bestie and is my main collaborator for my own music. I play drums on two songs on this album: Hunting At The Zoo and My Kinda Fun. There’s probably only a handful of promo copies in existence.
3 | The Growlers | Are You In or Are You Out? (2009)
These are just really hard to find and this one only set me back $15.
4 | B.B. King | Live at the Regal (1971)
A very scarce and awesome B.B. album. Cost me $1.
5 | Area Resident | Phosphene (2023) Jardinova (2020) Viscount (2019) Echolette (2018) Delano (2017) Area Resident (2016)
I have eight albums, but only six of them have physical copies. All limited editions.
6 | The Beatles | Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby (1986)
Was given this special picture disc for my birthday.
7 | The Beatles | Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane (2017)
Also got this special limited edition single for my birthday
8 | Les Big Byrd | Iran Iraq IKEA (2023)
Ordered this directly from the Swedish group’s Bandcamp. Limited edition.
9 | James Brown | Live At The Apollo (1964)
Probably the greatest live album of all time. You just never see it anywhere.
10 | Count Basie and his Orchestra | Basie (1958)
The famous Basie album with the atomic explosion on the cover. It has my dad’s favourite song on it: The Neil Hefti arrangement of Lil’ Darlin’.
11| Chris Page | Volume Vs Voice (2015)
One of the greatest albums ever made by an Ottawa indie artist. Page is a pal of mine. This out of print masterpiece is a personal favourite.
12 | Steely Dan | Pretzel Logic (1974 quadraphonic)
Not easy to find a nice copy of the quad mix of this beaut.
13 | Pink Floyd | Point Me At The Sky / Careful With That Axe Eugene (1973)
European pressing of this obscure Floyd single, re-released to capitalize on the popularity of Dark Side of the Moon. It’s got a snazzy picture sleeve as well. You never see this.
14 | Guy Lafleur | Lafleur! (1979)
Hockey instruction by the late Montreal Canadiens great, set to disco music. He signed it for me.
15 | Oscar Peterson Trio | Night Train (1963)
This was my dad’s record. I love it.
16 | The Last Poets | The Last Poets (1971)
Found this gem in a second-hand shop when I was in college. You see it in people’s collections, but never for sale. Ever heard it? Incredible.
17 | Deep Purple | Machine Head (1974 quadraphonic)
One of my favourite quad mixes. You never see this anywhere, and when you do it’s stupid expensive. This one was a gift!
18 | Tinker | Green Machine / Gnosis (1994)
Two pals and Melissa Auf Der Maur had a band when we were in university/college. Melissa joined Hole and Jordon started Blinker The Star while my other friend Steve started Moufette. Great band. Very rare 7″
19 | Blue Oyster Cult | Secret Treaties (1974 quadraphonic)
Took me ages to find this in quad.
20 | Louis-Jean Cormier | Le Treizieme Etage (2022)
Louis (formerly of Karkwa) only re-released his debut solo album last year. Up until then, copies of it were well in excess of $100. This stunning reissue is already getting scarce and pricey. I got it from his Bandcamp.
21 | Slim Harpo | The Best of Slim Harpo (1971)
The only Slim Harpo album I’ve ever found in VG+ that wasn’t a million dollars.
22 | Dinner Is Ruined | (Elevator Music) For Non-Claustrophobic People (1997)
I can’t even imagine what it cost to make this unique CD packaging. I’m sure there are probably only a handful of copies.
23 | Led Zeppelin | Physical Graffiti (2015 box)
Out-of-print box set.
24 | Paul McCartney | Flowers In The Dirt (1989 tour box)
I found this cool thing on Facebook Marketplace for a steal. It was only available during the tour.
25 | The Shocking Blue | The Shocking Blue (1970)
Tricky to find this particular pressing of Shocking Blue’s debut, which includes their original version of Love Buzz.
26 | Paul McCartney | Flaming Pie (2020)
A beautiful two-album set of Flaming Pie as part of McCartney’s “archive series.” Out of print, I believe.
27 | Andy Swan | Andy Swan’s Ottawa (2014)
Local singer-songwriter and friend. Absolutely brilliant. He’s been sidelined with a concussion for several years. Limited edition vinyl.
28 | fIREHOSE | Ragin’ Full On (1986)
This was a gift from my friend Jim Bryson, whose albums are all over this list.
29 | Jay Farrar & Benjamin Gibbard | One Fast Move Or I’m Gone: Music From Kerouac’s Big Sur (2009)
Jim also gave me this. I’d never seen it before. Still haven’t seen it anywhere else.
30 | Aretha Franklin | Live At The Fillmore West (1973 quadraphonic)
One of my favourite records, period. To have a quad copy is amazing.
31 | Alabama Shakes | Sound & Color (2021)
A gorgeous repress on colour-blotched heavy vinyl. Limited edition.
32 | Sex Pistols | Never Mind The Bollocks (Japan 1982)
The original yellow sleeve, Japanese pressing
33 | Neutral Milk Hotel | In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (2000)
Good luck finding this anywhere
34 | Jimmy Smith | Root Down (1972)
I somehow lucked into finding this is a discount bin for $3. It’s nearly mint.
35 | Jack White | Lazaretto (2014)
The extras album of all extras albums | laser-etched, matte on one side, reverse grooved, a locked groove, alternate grooves, has songs at three different speeds. Hidden tracks under the label sticker. Out of print collector’s item.
36 | The Growlers | Chinese Fountain (2014)
Expensive and scarce.
37 | Andrew Vincent And The Pirates | I Love The Modern Way (2014)
Another Ottawa masterpiece. I believe I bought the very last copy.
38 | The Police | Zenyatta Mondatta (1980)
The first record I ever bought with my own money at Woolworth’s in Pembroke, Ont. in December 1980.
39 | Pink Floyd | See Emily Play / Scarecrow (2013)
I just really like this because the sleeve has Syd Barrett’s original artwork on it.
40 | The Wilno Express | Coming Down The Tracks (1977)
Hometown trio’s first album. A short-run indie classic of Ottawa Valley lore songs.
41 | Expanda Fuzz | Cotton Candy Jet Engine (2018)
Hand-numbered limited edition indie album by two friends of mine.
42 | Loretta Lynn | Van Lear Rose (2011)
Got this at a favourite little shop in Brockville, Ont. Normally this is very expensive and hard to come by. It was a score.I’m keeping it safe.
43 | Dope Lemon | Rose Pink Cadillac (2022)
Expensive, rare, fancy and excellent.
44 | Rufus | Rags To Rufus (1974 quadraphonic)
Such a good quad mix. Pretty rare.
45 | Violent Femmes | Violent Femmes (2018)
All copies of this damn record are pricey.
46 | The Rolling Stones | Let It Bleed (Japan 1981)
I love the way this Japanese pressing sounds.
47 | The Golden Seals | Something Isn’t Happening (2019) test pressing
A test pressing of a masterpiece of a record by a friend of mine in Almonte, Ont. I bought the regular limited pressing of it and he gave me a test pressing as well.
48 | Tom Waits | Rain Dogs (1985)
I got this for a steal, still in the shrinkwrap.
49 | Expanda Fuzz | Bluets (2016)
Just like the other Expanda Fuzz album I mentioned earlier | this album came out two years earlier.
50 | Aphrodite’s Child | 666 (1972)
Somehow got this for $10. A prog landmark. Very hard to find.
51 | Bill Elliot & Plastic Oz Band | God Save Us / Do The Oz (1971)
Not likely to ever see this ever again, so I’ll keep it with my Beatles stuff. Lennon wrote the songs and plays on it.
52 | The Rolling Stones | Out Of Our Heads (mono 1965)
Gorgeous copy mistakenly placed in a discount bin for $7. Original Canadian press.
53 | The Friendly Giant | The Friendly Giant (1970)
Given to me by Bob Homme, the actual Friendly Giant, when I visited him at his home in 1994.
54 | Pink Floyd | Wish You Were Here (1976 quadraphonic)
A $25 score. Hard to find.
55 | Leaf Hound | Growers Of Mushroom (2015)
This re-issue is already so damn expensive.
56 | The Haunted | The Haunted (2018)
There’s only 500 copies of this.
57 | Blinker The Star | Careful With Your Magic (2019)
Not sure how many copies my pal Jordon had made of this, but probably not loads.
58 | Frijid Pink | Frijid Pink (2015)
Another rare and expensive re-issue. This one came from Europe.
59 | Young Galaxy | Invisible Republic (2013)
This pressing of the album was only available from live shows. Only 300 copies were made.
60 | Mississippi John Hurt | The Immortal Mississippi John Hurt (2011)
There were only 1,000 copies of this Record Store Day release.
61 | Flecton Big Sky | The Bright Side Of Dying (2008)
Hand-numbered limited edition of 350 copies. Flecton is another local friend of mine, aka Miche Jette.
62 | Punchbuggy | Dressed For Success (1995)
Given to me for my birthday by Jim Bryson, who was in the band.
63 | Hüsker Dü | Warehouse Songs And Stories (2014)
Limited edition Record Store Day.
64 | King Crimson | Thrak (2019)
First time on vinyl. 200g. Absolutely gorgeous. Crazy expensive now.
65 | Wu-Tang Clan | Tom Caruana Presents Wu-Tang* Vs. The Beatles: Enter The Magical Mystery Chambers (2020)
Hella pricey, limited edition and probably not even official.
66 | Jo Stafford | Suddenly There’s A Valley (1955)
One of my mother-in-law’s favourite songs. It’s not on any LPs.
67 | Blinker The Star | Nectarina (1995)
I play drums on the flipside, Hunting At The Zoo.
68 | Dope Lemon | Smooth Big Cat (2019)
Expensive, rare, fancy and excellent.
69 | Pixies | Surfer Rosa (1988)
I was actually shocked to see how much this reissue sells for now | if you can find it.
70 | Jim Bryson | Somewhere We Will Find Our Place (2016)
All Jim’s records are expensive and rare, but this one is also very special to me. It inspired me to finally start doing my own music. Foundational.
71 | John Lennon | Walls And Bridges (1974 Q8)
An 8-track! Believe it or not, this quadraphonic 8-track will set you back in excess of $200.
72 | Mort Garson | Mort Garson’s Plantasia (2020 8-track)
This 8-track isn’t even official and it’s worth around $100 because the album is so weirdly beautiful.
73| Roots Manuva | Brand New Second Hand (1999)
Scarce and expensive.
74 | Joni Mitchell | Court And Spark (1974 Quadraphonic)
This is an overlooked quad mix masterpiece. It’s so very great. Good luck finding one.
75 | Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans | The Falcon Lake Incident (2010)
Another stupid-expensive Bryson record you can’t find anywhere.
76 | Mac Miller | Swimming (2020)
Urban Outfitters Limited Edition on blue transparent vinyl.
77 | Dope Lemon | Honey Bones (2020)
Expensive, rare, fancy and excellent.
78 | Pink Floyd | Dark Side Of The Moon (1973 quadraphonic)
A must-have for the quad connoisseur, even though Wish You Were Here sounds better. This is a U.K. pressing.
79 | The Beatles | Love (2007)
Out of print now. I love these mashups.
80 | The Beatles | Yellow Submarine Songtrack (1999)
Bright yellow vinyl, now out of print. These were the first Giles Martin remixes.
81 | Jim Bryson | The North Side Benches (2003)
Even older, rarer Bryson that you won’t find anywhere.
82 | Mac Miller | The Divine Feminine (2016)
Of all my Mac Miller albums, this one seems to be the most scarce and dear.
83 | Nina Simone | Wild Is The Wind (1966)
Got this rare beauty for $1. Never been tempted to sell it, even though it’s quite valuable.
84 | Blinker The Star | Bluish Boy / Transona 5
Another short-run Blinker single — backed with a Stereolab cover.
85 | The Beatles | Abbey Road (MoFi 1980)
This was a nifty Etsy find, actually. $15. If it were in slightly better condition it would be worth north of $100.
86 | Jim Bryson | Where The Bungalows Roam (2007)
I think this album fetches $150 on Discogs. Jim’s my friend. I love this album. You can’t get it anywhere.
87 | Men I Trust | Oncle Jazz (2019)
Limited edition, numbered pink vinyl: 500 copies
88 | Blinker The Star | A Bourgeois Kitten (1996)
Their second album. Only a handful of promo LPs were made. Jordon gave me this.
89 | The Beatles | Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (2017)
This was pretty hotly anticipated — the remixed Sgt. Pepper. It’s already difficult to find.
90 | Death Cab For Cutie | Kintsugi (2015)
Vinyl is pressed on two 180-gram LPs (one gold, one white) with an etched D-side, all packaged in a gatefold jacket embossed with gold foil. A CD copy of the album is included inside the LP sleeve.
91 | Fujiya & Miyagi | Transparent Things (2017)
Shocking how expensive this is now.
92 | Nash The Slash | Hammersmith Holocaust (2016)
Bought this off his Bandcamp. Only 100 copies.
93 | Fleetwood Mac | Then Play On (2020)
Gorgeous repackaging of their monumental 1969 third album | remastered, complete and boasting a hardcover book. Hard to find this now.
94 | Percy “Thrills” Thrillington | Thrillington (1977)
Collector’s item. Just a terrible, terrible record. But it is very difficult to find an original pressing. In case you don’t know, this is an instrumental, orchestral version of McCartney’s Ram album.
95 | Dinner Is Ruined | Burn Yer Dashiki (1991)
Somebody offered me $50 to dub this cassette for them. Small-batch indie. This album was hugely transformative and foundational.
96 | Blinker The Star | A Satin Doombox (1994)
I’m probably the only person in the world with a copy of this.
97 | Syd Barrett | The Peel Sessions (1988)
It’s easy as pie to find Syd Barrett albums, except this one.
98 | Billy Bragg | The Peel Sessions (1987)
I think this is the only Billy Bragg album I like. It is very evocative and not terribly common.
99 | Hilotrons | Happymatic (2008)
Gift from Mr. Hilotron himself, Mike Dubue. One of the best records to come out of Ottawa, ever.
100 | Bob Dylan | The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)
Canadian first press in mono with the original cover which lists a bunch of withdrawn songs.
Somehow, I got this for $3. I think the store thought it was in worse shape than it was. Just needed a cleaning. It’s pretty valuable. Also, quite good.
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Area Resident is an Ottawa-based journalist, recording artist, music collector and re-seller. Hear (and buy) his music on Bandcamp, email him HERE, follow him on Instagram and check him out on Discogs.