We like to listen to vinyl on Fridays here at BSHQ. Every Friday we have a Bloodshot crew member randomly select a record from his/her personal collection and bring it to the office. The person has to explain why the album is on his/her shelves, and then we listen to it. We call this Random Wax.
Today's contestant is Bloodshot Records co-honcho and resident weird-ass record collector Rob Miller! He randomly selected Sin Alley, Volume Four: Filthy, Sleazy '50s Trash!, a compilation from 1988 on Sleaze Records. Here's his explanation on why it's in his collection:
"Probably picked this up at Car City Classics on the eastside of Detroit. I blame (or thank) The Cramps for this one. Their rock-n-roll grave-robbing took me on all sorts of strange side trips into the spider-webbed catacombs of forgotten music. The Sin Alley series specialized in collecting oddballs and no-hit wonders—I’m guessing in a not-at-all legal way (there’s no publishing or songwriting info on the labels)—onto LPs celebrating juvey culture and late night horror flicks.
Very lo-fi, lots of reverb, and uniformly demented. Think strippers, not sock hops; gravediggers, not clam-diggers, Bonnie and Clyde, not Frankie and Annette. An alternate-universe Arnold’s Drive-In where Fonzie gets shivved in the bathroom. A welcome corrective to La Bamba-grade 50’s nostalgia. We punk rock snots liked to think WE invented weird, anti-social music, but man-o-man, records like this were a sharp stick pointed in the eye of Arthur Godfrey and Lawrence Welk’s America.
Personal favorites here are by such household names as Jackie Morningstar (“Rockin’ in the Graveyard”), Don Cole (“Lie Detector Machine”—about a guy who doesn’t trust his girl, builds an LDM, but hooks it up wrong and electrocutes her), and the tender love ballad by Jay Blue called “Get Off My Back.”
Discovering music like this was akin to being on an archaeological dig in Egypt, expecting to find the usual stuff and coming across a carving of a Pharaoh mooning you."